LG Aristo 2 Plus - 2018's Best New Phone For Broke Nerds

The LG Aristo 2 Plus isn't the best new phone in 2018; it would've been up there in 2008, maybe. (Just look at these badboys.) However, if you want a solid GSM/HSPA/LTE phone (sorry, Sprint) without buying used or spending a lot of money (maybe it's just me), this is the phone for you.

There are better, more qualified places to go for specs and reviews; I'll point you to some I found helpful. The bottom line is that I love my LG Aristo 2 Plus, 2018's best brand new phone for broke nerds.

Specs

I'm not hardware savvy, but I understand the basics and did a fair amount of shopping. I recommend GSM Arena - one of the most trusted smartphone resources out there - for specs on the LG Aristo 2 Plus. Just for comparison, here's a look at my second choice, 2016's LG K20 Plus, and a head-to-head look at both (GSM Arena allows comparisons of up to three).


The big win here is the Android Nougat 7.1.2 OS. All hardware in this price range is limited, but it's refined and the 7.1.2 software makes the most of it. It makes me feel better about the likelihood that most T-Mobile (my carrier) budget phones won't get Android's 8th major update, Oreo. 

Reviews

There aren't many highly detailed, professional-grade text reviews out there yet for this model. I appreciated these notes and visuals from PhoneRated, but it's mostly spec comparisons and little else. YouTube, however, has a number of reviews I found helpful in making my purchase. My favorite is from JG Tech Blog for the Metro PCS version (the exact same, minus the word "Plus," something that irks people).


Most reviews covering this phone focus on its value. There are plenty of ways to get it for about $100, but at that price sacrifices little compared to the next tier of "better" phones. Consumer reviewers frequently compare it to the LG K20 Plus (turning me onto both phones, originally), and that's not a bad thing.

My Take

I know budget phones. I've had the lowest end LG Optimus and Nokia Lumia models, and most recently the Samsung Galaxy Avant. I bought an Avant used in 2016 - it was already a 2-year-old model - and only in recent months did I notice some performance decline... especially after I dropped it on the concrete outside my apartment.
Technology was different then, but the Avant first released in 2014 for around $200. My new phone came out at $150 earlier this year, and is safely twice the phone. It's almost incomparably better than any other phone I've ever owned (and I've liked them all). Maybe most importantly, I feel like I didn't pay for more than I need.

Sure, it won't live up to the standards of hardcore phone gamers and the storage/memory negligent. (It handles my relentless Dragon Quest I - III play, but I suppose that's not exactly the standard for modern gaming.) It's not for literally everyone.

However, I will happily recommend it to anyone wanting to buy a phone out-of-pocket, particularly if that person has appropriate expectations. The LG Aristo 2 Plus is 2018's best smartphone for any broke nerd in need of a cheap one.