AT&T LG Nitro HD – worth the switch from Verizon Galaxy Nexus?

I'm not sure I'd take Rezound, but I'd definitely take a Droid RAZR or Nexus over the Nitro. I'm actually somewhat surprised AT&T didn't snag something more differentiated to woo us Androids coming off 2-year contracts.

LG Nitro HD
LG Nitro HD display compared to a certain competitor...
LG Nitro HD
LG Nitro HD display compared to a certain competitor...

While us OG Androids (circa Nov 2009) wait for ICS-packing Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Snuffleupagus of smartphones (does it or does it not exist?) to hit Verizon in the US, there are many other tempting offers. Many have told us they’ve already upgraded to an HTC Rezound (decent, the beats are the thing) or Motorola Droid RAZR (better, thin is in).

Since patience continues to wear thin around the actual release date of Nexus, other carriers are trying their best to steal away Verizon loyalists. It could be a tall order, especially for those (like myself) that are grandfathered under the unlimited data plan–that all but assures I’ll stick with Verizon.

Last night LG unveiled its latest offering, the LG Nitro HD running on AT&T’s 4G LTE network.

LG Nitro HD launch event New York
LG Nitro HD, $249 with 2-year AT&T contract.

Spec-wise, it’s a familiar deal: 4.5″ display (AH-IPS) with 1280×720 resolution and 500 nits, 1.5-GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 8MB HD camera, 4GB internal memory, 16GB microSD, Android 2.3.5. Priced at $249 with two year contract, it’s a decent Android. At 329 ppi, the biggest feature LG is pushing is the display. You can see in the above photo Nitro compared to a Samsung S II. It will be interesting to see how it compares to a Nexus–there have been a few mixed reviews out there regarding the Nexus display, though they appear to be in the minority.

Perhaps most importantly–pay attention please Google/Samsung/Verizon–is the refreshing, and drama-free inclusion at Thursday’s New York announcement of a release date. December 4 at AT&T stores. Done, and done.

Is it enough to tempt Verizon customers to jump to AT&T?

I say no-way (San) Jose. It’s decent, but ultimately weak sauce compared to the current Verizon lineup.

I’m not sure I’d take Rezound, but I’d definitely take a Droid RAZR or Nexus over the Nitro. I’m actually somewhat surprised AT&T didn’t snag something more differentiated to woo us Androids coming off 2-year contracts. And there are hundreds of thousands of us. In fact, November 2011 marks the largest ever upgrade cycle of Android smartphone users. The Verizon/Moto/Google launch event was executed brilliantly back then. “Droid Does” was a memorable campaign that shook-up the industry. It was refreshing to have a credible non-Apple alternative.  I still recall popping by my local Verizon store in Silicon Valley. I entered my Google credentials and–boom!–my contacts, gmail, and calendar were synced pronto. It was goodbye BlackBerry 8700c (a great phone) and hello Eclair.

Just like I was expecting, we’re starting to hear rumblings of even better Verizon Androids (RAZR MAX?) hitting early next year. That should not come as any surprise, and it’s causing me to wonder if upgrading to Nexus is the best move at this point. The Android juggernaut is moving at breakneck speed. Maybe too fast? At least with Apple you can plan your upgrade accordingly. Google, though, seems content to have its mobile OS and partner handset launches happening at seemingly random intervals.

[LG PR: LG Mobile and AT&T Debut Nation’s First 4.5-inch True HD AH-IPS Mobile Display With LG Nitro HD]

Stark Smartphone Rankings Dec 2011

Samsung Galaxy Nexus leads the Stark-Insider rankings1. Samsung Galaxy Nexus / Verizon

2. Motorola Droid RAZR / Verizon

3. LG Nitro HD / AT&T

4. Samsung Galaxy S II / T-Mobile

5. Apple iPhone 4S / AT&T

6. HTC Rezound / Verizon

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  • Anonymous

    “I entered my Google credentials and–boom!–my contacts, gmail, and calendar were synced pronto. It was goodbye BlackBerry 8700c (a great phone) and hello Gingerbread.”

    Don’t you mean Froyo?  I’ve got my OG Droid from Verizon still stock and I don’t think you’ll get Gingerbread without rooting and installing your own ROMs.  I, too, am getting weary of the waiting game on the Nexus, though.  At least give us a release date!  I’m about ready to go spur of the moment and pick up an iPhone just because I think other than the Nexus’ potential it’s the best alternative out there.  I feel like if I’m doing another two year contract I want something mostly future-proof.  The RAZR already has last generation’s screen and the Rezound is cluttered with HTC’s Sense.  At least the iPhone would be unencumbered by Verizon’s stuff, although I don’t know where it will be in two years – really the 4S is still last generation’s tech, too.  Sigh….

    • Oops, yes: Froyo. It’s been so long. Two years is an eternity in the mobile space. Yes 4S is last gen, and in my view, underwhelming. I’d rather have RAZR or Nexus, but I’m hopelessly into Android (for smartphones, not tablets).

      • Joe

        Actually, it wasn’t even Froyo.  Froyo came out about 9 mo. after the OG Droid launch as I recall.  Honestly, my OG ran much faster with Eclair.  I love my OG but can’t wait to get rid of it.  It is sooo slow now with only 256M RAM and I have it overclocked at 1GHz!

        • That’s right. Eclair. Froyo. Gingerbread. Honeycomb. ICS. That’s a lot in just 2 years. My Droid was way faster in 2009, now also chugs. Still like it, but looking forward to more power.

  • Nboatr

    THE REAL QUESTION IS -AT&T LG Nitro HD – worth the switch from at&t Samsung and HTC. because of LG’s really bad updating history, in order for me to purchase this phone -LG will have to come out with a ICS time-frame statement as to when they will update the ice cream sandwich update NOW! i like the phone but i dont trust LG update policy. We need to know that after our purchase will LG, CARE and supply us with regular updates? or will they take the money and forget about there customer base?

    • Right, if I were to buy Nitro and not get ICS, I’d be running back to Motorola or Samsung pretty damn quick.

  • Anonymous

    There are a couple things that people are failing to remember when it comes to the Galaxy Nexus vs other phones.  While the screen is 4.65″, there are no physical buttons…they’re part of the screen.  Other phones like the RAZR and Nitro HD are 4.5″ with physical buttons.  Ultimately when it comes to viewable screen, you can subtract 1/2″ from your home screen or other screens where you have your 3 soft keys on display.  Not only that…if the Nexus has the same Pentile technology as the Galaxy S II…no thanks.  Brighter and higher color saturation does not equate to a better screen.

    Ultimately I’m glad Verizon has remained silent and taken its sweet time on the release of the Galaxy Nexus.  It’s given people to mull over the choices.  I think that once the other honorable mentions (RAZR, Nitro HD) get ICS, the race will be a lot closer.  I’ve read a lot of negative comments about the RAZR…how hot the screen gets and how awful the battery is.  For me, I’m strongly considering the Nitro HD. 

    • Great points. The nice thing about softkeys is they’re dynamic, but that comes at the expense of screen real estate. Also agree once ICS is widely available, the decision becomes even tougher.

    • Anonymous

      You do bring up good points, but the main selling point for me on the Galaxy Nexus is that it is pure Android.  No other OS overlays to worry about. I am used to pure Android with my OG Droid, and I want to keep it that way.

      For those who likes the other overlays, their options do open up more, especially once ICS goes to the masses. But I am stubborn and do not like them, so Galaxy Nexus is for me.

    • EJ

      RAZR is a 4.3″, not 4.5″. And even though it’s super AMOLED, it’s resolution is not as high as Galaxy Nexus, Rezound, or Nitro. So text is not as crisp. I like sharpness. And I did hear because RAZR is so thin, you can feel it heat up.

  • Clinton,  I wouldn’t be too married to the idea of being grandfathered under the unlimited data plan.  I’ve hashed this through with several different verizon reps and they consistently state that the unlimited plan is a 3G plan that is not compatible with 4G devices …. so switching to a 4G device requires picking a new ‘compatible’ plan.  Poof! – Unlimited data plan evaporates!!


    • Anonymous

      I’m sorry Todd, but you are wrong.  There is no difference between the 3G plans and the 4G plans and you will be grandfathered in.  You are the only person I have ever heard of stating that you would not.

      I also have spoken with my VZW reps. I was in there the other day to verify my account was good to go for the Galaxy Nexus.  It was a no brainer reply that I will be able to keep my unlimited plan.

    • EJ

      Wasn’t true for me….I just went on through 4G and unlimited. It might depend on who you talk to maybe.

  • Hs

    Think its a mistake to have moved so slowly. As stated android is moving at breakneck speed….by the time the nexus is out. The first quad core phone release will be right around the corner.

  • Anonymous

    CLINTON – There is NO OFFICIAL release date. How can you possibly state December 4. I don’t think that is factual information.

    The Samsung Experience store @NYC is only a preview of the device. It is not a release date for the phone,

  • EJ

    I usually like or agree with the stuff you write, but aren’t you being a little hard on the Rezound? Let me say right off that I do not usually like LG phones.  I have the Rezound phone right now, even if possibly a filler until the Nexus finally rears itself (went through Best Buy because of the 30 days exchange policy). I have to say that I have been damn impressed with the Rezound’s HD display and snappiness despite having Sense on it. And the camera has done an amazing job all around. And yes, Beats is nice too, but that’s not the selling point for me.  I have this phone ranked higher than the RAZR in my book.  Other users are also giving it rave reviews. When it has ICS, it’s going to fly. So what is it that you don’t like that makes you rank it #6?