LG takes aim at Motorola's Moto G with new Magna smartphone

The company will start selling it and three other new smartphones this week

lg magna phone
LG's new range of affordable smartphones have screen sizes that measure between 4 and 5 inches. Credit: LG Electronics

LG Electronics has announced four new smartphones, including the Magna, which could be a challenger to Motorola Mobility's Moto G.

Motorola has held the market for unlocked smartphones with prices of $200 or less largely to itself in the U.S. and Europe, helping it regain its footing with the Moto G and the Moto E. But it seems the now Lenovo-owned company will face some tougher competition this year from products like the LG Magna.

The Lollipop-based smartphone has a 5-inch, 720 x 1280-pixel screen and an unspecified 1.2GHz or 1.3GHz quad-core processor. The Magna also has an 8-megapixel front camera and a 5-megapixel camera on the back. There's 1GB of RAM and 8GB of integrated storage backed up by a microSD card slot.

With the exception of the high-resolution camera on the back, the specification mimics what you get when you buy the second generation Moto G, which Motorola launched last year. However, the Magna also has a larger battery (2,540 mAh versus the Moto G's 2,070 mAh) and LTE, features that Motorola offers on a $300, 16GB second-generation Moto G sold in Brazil.

How competitive the Magna really is comes down to its price, which LG didn't want to specify. A company spokesman only said it will be announced at the time of shipping. If it costs more than $250, though, it will struggle against the Moto G.

On Monday, LG also announced the Spirit, the Leon and the Joy, which have screens that measure 4.7 inches, 4.5 inches and 4.0 inches. The Spirit also has an HD screen, while the other models have low resolution versions.

All three models are based on Android Lollipop and have LTE, highlighting how the network technology is becoming available on increasingly cheaper products this year.

The devices also have either an 8-megapixel or a 5-megapixel camera on the back combined with a 1-megapixel front camera on the Spirit -- but only a VGA model on the Leon and the Joy. Including such a poor front camera is a curious choice since LG has also added a feature called Gesture Shot, which makes it easier to take selfies.

The new smartphones will roll out this week, LG said without revealing were they would first go on sale. The phones will be on display at Mobile World Congress next week.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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