Updated: March 10, 2021 9:07:38 am
LG’s new budget smartphone K42 boasts of a unique new design, along with some pretty average specifications. I gave the device a spin for over a week and here’s my review of the smartphone. But before that, here’s a quick look at the phone’s specifications.
LG K42 specifications: 6.6-inch IPS LCD display | MediaTek Helio P22 chipset | 3GB RAM and 64GB storage | 13MP primary camera, 5MP ultra-wide camera, 2MP macro and depth cameras + 8MP front camera | 4000mAh battery with 10W charging
LG K42 Price: Rs 10,990 for 3GB RAM and 64GB storage
LG K42 review: What’s good, what’s bad?
LG K42 sports a very different kind of back that looks quite unique. I liked the fact that the camera module now looks like it is a part of the frame of the phone and the new curvy back also makes the phone a tad easier to grip when you’re wearing gloves. However, the back panel itself feels very flimsy and not sturdy at all.
This completely contrasts the military grade MIL-STD-810G certification of the phone, which does not guarantee any ruggedness or safe use in extreme conditions, but allows the phone to handle the elements better. A few taps on the panel with our fingers and you can feel the plastic back being hollow.
The frame of the phone on the other hand, even though made of plastic, feels very sturdy, and the buttons are some of the best we have used in this segment. They’re very tactile and not wobbly or mushy to press in the least. I also loved the new colour of the phone.
The dedicated Google Assistant button on the left feels completely unnecessary. Moreover, it is placed opposite to, but lower than the power button, which is already pretty high up on the frame. For most people with average-sized hands, this puts your middle finger right on the Google Assistant button every time you press the power button. Newton’s third law then makes sure you have plenty of accidental Google Assistant pop-ups every time you unlock the phone.
The LG K42 features an HD+ 6.6-inch IPS LCD screen, which is fairly decent. The max brightness is really good and combines with the stand-out colour scheme of the user interface, this makes reading things on the LG K42 easier than other phones under direct sunlight.
While it isn’t a bad display, it still has the limitations of an HD+ panel. It is noteworthy that some competing phones offer an FHD+ panel at this price, which simply put, adds twice as many pixels to make text crisper and photos and videos appear sharper to the eyes. The fact that this is a large 6.6-inch display, makes that lower pixels per inch (PPI) count even more apparent.
The LG K42 fairs well in day-to-day usage, but isn’t an ideal device for heavy lifting. The MediaTek Helio P22 chip is not the best chipset money can buy you at this price, but it is still a fairly decent addition. The phones can handle a few apps at a time. When it comes to games, endless runners like Temple Run or Subway Surfers are easily playable but more resource-heavy games will come at the cost of playing experience.
However, 3GB RAM on a phone that costs above Rs 10,000 is simply a bad deal. You can feel the lack of RAM beginning to slowly throw in some stutters and freezes in the interface during heavy use. An Android phone that costs this much should have at least 4GB RAM, which would make it much more usable and future-proof.
Coming to the software, it runs Android 10 on the LG K42 with LG’s own skin on top. The skin feels well-optimised and is good at managing the phone’s low reserves of RAM. While I ran into stutters during heavy use, the phone was never brought to a standstill.
Other elements like the phone’s call quality and sound output were pretty good. A dedicated secondary microphone can be thanked for that. While there is no face unlock here, the fingerprint sensor on the power button is pretty fast and accurate.
The LG K42 takes average pictures provided you have good lighting around you. While it is unrealistic to expect very good pictures from a phone in this segment, the LG K42’s image quality still lacks in elements like colour reproduction and details. The shutter speed wasn’t very fast either.
The presence of an ultrawide-lens is a plus point, as wide-angle shots are quite good, again, as long as you have good lighting. The front camera, on the other hand, is very poor. Images are soft and lack detail, the shutter speed is slow and there is visible noise even if you take pictures indoors during day time.
Check out some samples by clicking on the image below.
The LG K42 features average battery life. At 4,000mAh, it isn’t a big battery, but you still end up getting good battery life of over a day’s use since the low-res screen and lower-end processor do not eat up your battery life. However, I would have preferred at least a 15W charger along with the LG K42, which would have been faster than the 10W implementation. Thankfully, the phone still has a USB-C port.
The LG K42 is a good looking device, but fails to stand out in any other area. The phone’s looks are great and can turn heads, but a phone that doesn’t have the performance, the camera optics, or the battery life to stand out in a sea of competitors cannot be a good recommendation. Further, the LG K42’s grippy and good looking back is rendered pointless if you have to snap on a case to protect the phone anyway.
The LG K42 would have been a much better buy at a sub-Rs 10,000 price point. However, at Rs 10,990, phones like the Poco M3, Realme Narzo 30A or Redmi 9 Power sport more RAM along with better screens, cameras and battery life.