LG Spectrum hands-on (video)

We got our first glimpse of Verizon's latest LTE family member, the LG Spectrum, yesterday at the manufacturer's event. At the time, however, we weren't given an opportunity to get our own smudge marks on the glossy black device. That's all changed now, as we've spent time on the showroom floor getting know this Android handset -- a veritable twinner of the LG Nitro HD. So click on past the break as we parse through our first impressions.

The Spectrum is, without a doubt, a fingerprint magnet. Its smooth, piano black casing attracts a slew of smudges and smears that will put off users more predisposed to clean-looking smartphones. And despite its tendency to mar the visual appeal of the device, that lightweight enclosure does lend itself to a great fit in hand. A bit of subtle patterning is apparent on the backplate, in addition to logos for LG and Verizon's 4G LTE. There's not much else adornment, aside from the 8 megapixel camera up top capable of 1080p video capture. Underneath the back, you'll find an 1830mAh battery, microSD slot loaded with a 16GB card to complement the 4GB of internal storage.

Running the Android OS is a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S3 processor that's bolstered by 1GB of RAM and it shows. The phone is incredibly responsive to touch, shooting through homescreens and submenus rapidly and smoothly. Thankfully, it seems the Spectrum sidesteps the performance hiccups that seemed to plague the Nitro HD. If Gingerbread is a deal breaker for you, though, then you might just want to hold out. The Spectrum will ship out of the box with 2.3.5, with a planned upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich for sometime in Q2 2012.

So, let's talk display tech. The Spectrum joins the ranks of other recently released handsets boasting HD resolution -- here, it's 720p. The 4.5-inch 1280 x 720 HD IPS display is a stunner, showcasing vibrant colors and solid viewing angles. Users can look forward to a pleasant on-the-go, streaming video experience, as the combination of Verizon's 4G LTE and the brilliant display make for a more than adequate laptop replacement. Speaking of apps, expect the typical boatload of bloatware. We counted 14 apps alone listed under Verizon's segment of the app drawer, so consider yourself warned. They won't all immediately invoke your ire, as both the Netflix HD and ESPN Scorecard apps should definitely serve their purpose.

Verizon's prepping this phone for a January 19th launch and, at $199 on contract, it's certainly an attractively priced LTE lure. If you don't feel like you deserve a pure Google experience and just need a starter 4G phone on Big Red, this could well be the one.

Zachary Lutz contributed to this report