LG AKA first impressions: a smartphone with emotions

“While the LG AKA has run-of-the-mill specs, its USP of a ‘phone with personality’ instantly sets it apart from the competition”

With smartphones becoming an integral part of our lives, they are now more than mere gadgets. Perhaps that’s why electronics giant LG has decided to give these non-living things some personality with its AKA smartphone. Is it quirky? Yes. Innovative? Not exactly. Useful? Maybe. But there’s a little doubt that this idea instantly differentiates the device from the plethora of options available in the market, and reaffirms our belief that there’s more to a device than its hardware.

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LG has made the AKA phones available in four options. Each of these phones differ in terms of personality and colours of their bodies, though they share everything else. Before we take a first look at the smartphone itself, let’s first introduce you to the devices. Each of the device carries a name as well – Soul is available in navy blue, while Wooky comes in white, Eggy in yellow and lastly, the Yoyo in pink.

Now, the important question is what’s this personality we’re talking about? All phones are partially covered by a removable case on the front and the remaining area on the screen shows a pair of eyes whenever it’s double tapped or the device is shaken. These animated eyes, apart from adding a living aspect to the device, also offer info about missed calls and messages. You’ll also get more faces while charging the phone or using earphones with it. If you start sliding the cover down, then you’ll notice that there are more animations on the screen. Even when the cover is completely removed, there will be some animations here and there. The case also acts as a protective layer, and in case you want to use the smartphone, then you can use it to protect its rear too.

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Thanks to its 5-inch display, the LG AKA fits well in the hand and can be used with a single hand. The front is majorly covered by the display panel with a couple of sensors along with a front snapper above. There are no capacitive keys for navigation, since the phone gets them in the form of software overlays. While it might be a mid-range smartphone, it shares its design characteristics with LG’s top-end phones. This means that both the left and right edges are completely free, while the top houses a headphone socket and the bottom gets a micro-USB port which is flanked by the speaker grille.

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The rear of the handset sports a matte texture, offering a nice grip in the hands. Here you’ll find a primary shooter along with LED flash on either sides of three buttons. Yes, similar to the LG G3 (review | FAQs), the power button and volume rocker are available at the back. The back cover is removable, which gives you access to a user-replaceable battery, a micro-SIM slot and a microSD card slot.

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The display on the LG AKA is a 720p affair, which delivers 294 pixels-per-inch on its 5-inch display. We found it to offer punchy colours and good viewing angles. The interface on the device is completely overhauled by the Korean brand , and comes with custom icons and colour schemes, though the underlying base is Android 4.4.2 KitKat. There are a lot of preinstalled apps too, but the unit we were trying out was from Korea and hence those might be region-specific apps. There are some useful features on the handset such as one-hand mode, gesture support, etc.

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Under the hood purrs a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, which is clubbed with 1.5GB of RAM. The combination should be able to handle modern-day apps and games, though we can’t comment on that since we weren’t able to test that by playing any processor-intensive title. Storage needs are taken care of by 16GB of flash memory, that can be extended by another 32GB.

For shooting, the LG AKA comes equipped with an 8-megapixel camera at the back, which can focus on the subject quickly thanks to the laser auto focus technology. The primary shooter is supplemented by LED flash. A 2.1MP sensor is available at the front for shooting selfies or making video calls. While we weren’t able to test the camera capabilities of the phone, we found it to offer good details and colour reproduction during our brief usage.

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Keeping the LG AKA alive is a 2,610mAh Li-ion battery. In terms of connectivity options, the device offers 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS.

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We got a chance to take a closer look at the various personalities of the LG AKA at the 2015 edition of brand’s tech show where it showcased its whole range of products. Sadly, the brand hasn’t revealed if it plans to bring the AKA to our shores, since it’s only available in its home country at the moment. However, we do hope that it’s launched in India, and if priced well, it can surely attract youngsters.

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One of the earliest members of the 91mobiles' editorial team, Nitansh is a walking encyclopaedia of product specs. Name a phone and he’ll tell you the specifics on screen resolution, processor and camera without blinking an eyelid. Ask him if he remembers the launch date of a noteworthy phone, and he'll tell you the dates when the device first leaked, its global unveil, its Indian launch, and when it got a significant update. He’s a lover of all things Android, and loves writing reviews and scouting for new apps. A Wordpress whiz, he’s always ready to help out a fellow writer. While he juggles between many things at 91mobiles, he always manages to find time to write. In his non-tech avatar, Nitansh is a philatelist, which is a fancy word for stamp-collector.