At just under £130, the LG K8 is primed and ready to take on the 3rd Gen Moto G, which has also dropped in price to around £130 SIM-free in the wake of its brand-new successor, the £169 Moto G4. The G4 is an incredible bargain and most people should buy one without a second thought. However, it does have one weakness, in that its 5.5in display is a bit monstrous compared to most phones and can make it hard to use one-handed on the go.
Those after something that sits more comfortably in your palm will need to turn their attention back to the rest of the budget competition, and the LG K8 actually puts up a pretty good fight against its lauded 3rd Gen Moto G rival.
With a quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6735 processor and 1.5GB of RAM it managed almost identical results to the 3rd Gen Moto G in our Geekbench 3 benchmarks. Whereas the Moto G scored 531 and 1,625 respectively in Geekbench 3’s single and multicore tests, the LG K8 finished with results of 536 and 1,602. Indeed, it certainly felt pretty nippy and responsive during day-to-day use, and LG’s version of Android 6.0.1 never felt like it was struggling to keep up with our swipes and taps.
Even the K8’s GPU performance was good, as graphics tends to be an area where MediaTek chips have struggled in the past compared to their Qualcomm-based counterparts. In GFX Bench GL’s offscreen Manhattan 3.0 test, for example, the LG K8 scores a very reasonable 188 frames (around 3.0fps), putting it ahead of the 3rd Gen Moto G which only produced 103 frames (or 1.7fps).
I wasn’t able to see how it handled Hearthstone, as the game kept crashing on launch, but other 3D games like Beach Buggy Racing worked absolutely fine, providing a smooth frame rate that rarely stuttered or made it a hassle to play. Simpler games like Threes! also felt silky smooth on the LG K8, so it should be more than capable of keeping you entertained when you need a bit of a distraction.
Web browsing was a little more stop-and-start while pages were loading, which is no doubt a result of its rather underwhelming score of 497 in the Peacekeeper web browsing test. However, as long as you’re prepared to wait a few seconds, even media-heavy pages like the Guardian homepage can become perfectly manageable when scrolling up and down at speed.
I’m a big fan of the LG K8’s design as well, as its plastic, cross-hatch patterned back feels great in the hand and provides an excellent level of grip. You can prise it off to reveal the phone’s battery and microSD slot, but overall it feels well built for a budget handset and it’s very comfy to hold and use one-handed. It will take some time to get used to LG’s rear-facing buttons, but the power button is positioned at just the right height for your forefinger, and its ridged surface makes it easy to pick out in between the two volume keys.
The K8’s battery life is also promising, as its 2,125mAh battery lasted 10h 16m in our continuous video playback test. It’s still an hour behind the 3rd Gen Moto G, but it’s still pretty respectable for a budget smartphone.