The CES was home to a lot of new products, but one of the lesser noticed ones was the LG AKA device. At the time , the device was more of a prototype than anything else, and frankly speaking, I didn’t expect it to hit the markets at all, but it looks like it did.On the spec side the LG AKA is nothing special. LG never intended to take on the highly competitive market. Rather , it launched the AKA lineup , to attract the younger audience, and why wouldn’t it. All phones these days come with voice control, be it Cortana in Windows Phone, Google Now in Android and Siri in the Apple lineup. However, what these voice assistants lack are the human element and eyes. Yes, you heard me, EYES.
For those of you who have used Windows Phone, you will be familiar with the glance screen. For those who don’t know, the glance screen lets you know the basic information like Time, Date, Day and notifications of chosen apps when the phone is in the sleep mode. Not only is it convenient, it also saves battery.
LG has taken that very Glance screen concept , a step further with the AKA lineup. The Glance screen on LG’s new lineup features eyes which change expression depending on the time of the Day, your activities, incoming notifications and much more. To take the ‘personal’ gimmick , a step further, the Korean Giant has even gone as far as naming the phones in the AKA lineup. So, you have –
- Eggy -Yellow
- Wooky – White
- YoYo – Pink
- Soul – Blue
So far, the phone sounds like every kid’s dream come true, but this is where the spec sheet jumps in, and mind you, its not kiddish at all.
The AKA runs Android 4.4 KitKat on a Snapdragon 400 chipset and packs a 5″ 720p screen. There’s an 8MP camera, 16GB of inbuilt storage with a microSD card slot, LTE connectivity and a 2,610mAh battery. The camera has laser-assisted auto-focus and the volume rocker and power button are placed at the back. Specs like this places the AKA lineup firmly in the Mid range domain, where it will compete with the Moto G and Zenfone and probably every other Chinese phone that comes out in the market these days.
Now that we have the basics covered, lets get into the details –
- Design – Keep aside the Mascot and the kid friendly glance screen eyes, and what you are left with is a surprisingly sleek looking device. The design language follows that of the sacred ‘G’ lineup. The handset has clean and simple design with the trademark rear-placed power and volume keys. There is even the laser-assisted autofocus for the camera too. If it wasn’t for the proprietary front covers, the AKA would have become the official twin device of the LG G2 mini, complete with a matte finish battery panel. The front mask is glossy plastic, so you can expect some fingerprint problem here, but hats off to LG for the design. The mask fits so snug that it actually feels like a natural body part of the device. What this mask does is, it clouds out all the remaining display, leaving room for just the eyes of the mascot you have purchased.
Overall, smart designing by LG. You really couldn’t ask for anything more in this price range.
- Display – The LG AKA features a 5 inch 720p display, which is good for its class. The pixel density clocks in at a robust 294 ppi, which is scarily close to the famed retina density. Blacks are deep at both 50% and 100% brightness. Speaking of, it’s a sufficiently bright screen and its contrast ratio is impressive. Sunlight legibility is not the best of the lot, thanks to the reflective screen , but that said it not the worst either. I firmly believe, that when it comes to sunlight legibility, one should learn from the Windows Phone Devices, which boast of arguably , the best sunlight legibility in the market.Overall, I would say its a no nonsense display package with nothing overly exciting nor anything sub standard at the same time. LG has gone absolutely stock in terms of display of the AKA.
- Connectivity – The LG AKA features quad-band 2G/GPRS/EDGE support, quad-band 3G with HSDPA and HSUPA, as well as quad-band LTE support with band 1(2100), 3(1800), 7(2600), 20(800) support. It also comes with Wi-Fi with Direct functionality but it doesn’t support the 5GHz band, so you’d have to rely on the more common but more congested 2.4GHz band. Bluetooth 4.0 is also on board with A2DP support.The microUSB 2.0 port does not support USB on-the-go.You can also stream your display via the Wireless Display feature via Miracast. GPS support is available, but not the GLONASS variety.There’s also FM Radio and NFC but no IR port and no way to get wired TV Out functionality either.
- Performance – The AKA is powered by the outgoing Snapdragon 400 chipset. I said outgoing because Qualcomm is set to rest the chipset very soon. That said , the 400 is not a weak chipset in any manner. You can carry out all your basic tasks without a hitch, thanks to the quad-core Cortex-A7 processor running at 1.2GHz, Adreno 305 GPU and 1.5GB of RAM. The 410 chipset would have been a better option I suppose, but since the AKA comes with a bit more RAM than your average Snapdragon 400 devices, I guess it won’t really make a difference.The Adreno 305 GPU isn’t the most recommended when it comes to 720p devices, but at the same time, the Driver can handle the OS with complete ease, as well as let you play some of the basic playable games. Here again , we see that LG has not gone overboard with the specifications, although I would have preferred a slightly better performance package.
- Camera – So far, we have seen that the LG AKA isn’t a performance beast. The camera is no different. The 8 MP rear sensor can shoot pictures at a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 and 1080p videos at 30fps. Sadly, there’s no option for 1080p videos @ 60fps, neither 720p @ 120fps as the Snapdragon 400 just can’t handle it. The 2.1MP front-facing camera shoots 720p videos.The camera benefits from the laser-assisted autofocus, which should help with focusing in low light.
The LG AKA is also capable of 360-degree panorama shots, and while those take some time to shoot, there is absolutely no problem with the stitching. The quality is excellent – there is more than enough detail, the exposure is great as is the contrast, while the color reproduction is just superb. The portrait pano mode outputs about 16,000 x 3,200 pixels sample, which is about a 50MP picture – amazing, indeed.
- Battery – The AKA comes with a rather impressive 2610 mAh battery. This is probably the redeeming factor for this rather simplistic device. A conservative user can easily milk out 3 days of use form this device, while the more extensive of the lot will still be able to do 2 days on a single charge. Smartphones these days are all about battery life, and thankfully for the AKA, that is one thing it has absolutely nailed.
All in all, I would say that the AKA is not a phone you would buy for the performance or Camera superiority. This is a device for the youth and even kids, and for everyone else who likes the concept of blinging out their phones. The overall availability is a still a big question mark, but hopefully, we will get the clarification soon.