It is easy to forget about the humble mid-range, affordable smartphone. We often tend to focus press coverage on the more flashy flagship devices like new iPhones or the latest and greatest from a Microsoft launch. But in actual fact most people in the world buy more affordable, mid-range devices. In our LG Q60 review we look at how it compares to other devices in its price range and what sacrifices, if any, you make when buying this type of device.

As you would expect, there are some things you’ll have to do without in the type of device – like being waterproof or wireless charging (in fact, you don’t even get USB-C). But this device still has a lot to offer, especially when you consider how much you are getting for the price.

Design and Build

The LG Q60 follows a lot of the trends we are seeing in the modern smartphone. It has a solid build quality with small bezels and a small teardrop notch, as it doesn’t need more real estate up front for fancy sensors. The edge of the smartphone is made of metal while the back is a glossy plastic. While it does attract fingerprints, it isn’t as bad as some smartphones with glass backs.

Interestingly, the physical buttons have an very different arrangement here. All but one button in on the left side of the device. Only the power button is to be found on the right. The buttons feel solid and clicky, and you’ll also find the NanoSIM and microSD slots on the left hand side.

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The phone feels a bit longer than others in this class, with similar width and thickness. But the most distinctive part of the design is the beautiful blue / turquoise colour. It is truly striking, and photos don’t really do it justice. The glossy plastic reflects light in a very interesting way that makes it look different from angle to angle, very much like we saw with the flagship Huawei devices of recent years.

Display

As previously mentioned, with a device in this price-range you are going to make some sacrifices and the display quality is definitely one of them. The screen of the LG Q60 consists of a 6.26-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 1,520 x 720 pixels.

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While we would have preferred a 1080p display, it has to be said this one is extremely good for the given pixel density. It is also not the preferred OLED (that would have upped the price), but the IPS display does a good job of maintaining viewing angles and it bright enough for most people, unless you spend most of your time in direct sunlight.

The small notch in the display doesn’t distract from the overall experience and you grow used to it very quickly. It is commendable that LG still packed the display as close to the top and side bezels as they could at this price. Of course, it does have a rather large chin which is needed to house the display’s connection to the internal circuit boards.

While the screen isn’t as crisp as we’d like, it does deliver reasonable performance. The biggest problem with the display is that you can’t watch full HD content, which you pick up immediately.

Software and Performance

The LG Q60 ship with Android 9.0 Pie and you’ll get immediate security and performance software updates when you switch it on for the first time. As expected, you get LG’s proprietary software skin atop of Android which may not be to everyone’s taste.

In addition to various third-party software, such as McAfee Safe Family, LG also installs its own applications, such as LG SmartWorld. With it, users of the Q60 are regularly supplied with background images, ringtones, fonts and much more. This helps with the adjustment of smartphone’s individual appearance.

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The LG Q60 review period made it clear that it doesn’t have the best hardware to power it, with 3GB of RAM and the Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22. It’s not the fastest hardware around and you can definitely feel that. RAM management isn’t the best, with multitasking struggling at times (especially when you try to open 5+ apps at the same time).

The lower quality display coupled with the slower hardware is very much noticeable in the UI. Scrolling through apps just doesn’t feel quick enough, especially for 2019. While we don’t expect it to perform like a flagship, the heavy skin LG have employed here definitely slow it down more than it should with the given hardware.

Camera

Features that you wouldn’t expect at this price is triple cameras for a mid-range device. It features a 16 MP f/2.0 aperture sensor, a 5 MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture and wide angle, as well as a 2 MP sensor with f/2.4 aperture. On the front there is also a 13 MP camera with f/2.0 aperture.

This allows you to have a passable portrait mode, for one, although they are a bit pale for our liking. In addition to various colour filters, users can also enable a beautify mode that softens skin, for example. A manual mode for adjusting individual values is not available for the front camera.

The main camera is good with panoramic subjects. The edges of objects are slightly blurred though and poor lighting conditions is not suited to this camera setup at all. Frustratingly, the low-res screen can also make it quite difficult to see how exactly your shots will turn out.

The fact that you have a wide-angle lens in this device makes up for a lot of our gripes, though. Just having that option gives you so much more to do with your shot and it should be a standard in any phone going forward, we think.

Overall, we’d have to say the camera experience is passable, though not great. We weren’t expecting to be blown away, but the main camera especially did let us down more often than not.

Conclusion

Let’s not overcomplicate the conclusion here. To us, this value proposition is extremely simple. You are getting a very solid device for an extremely affordable price that should make it an automatic option if you are looking for a phone of this class.

Yes, there are several things that bothered us in our LG Q60 review period, but that is par for the course for this type of device. In fact, we’d go as far to say that it is probably better than any other device at the sub R4,000 price point.

What did you think about our LG Q60 Review? Let us know in the comments below.