LG X Power 2 Review: The battery king of budget

This budget phone may not have all the bells and whistles, but it sure does last

lg x power 2 header

The Pros

  • Amazing battery life
  • Improved performance from the X Power

The Cons

  • Poor camera
  • Unimpressive design and weak screen

The LG X Power series may just turn out to be a sleeper hit in the budget mobile market.

When the X Power 2 debuted this year at CES in January, I was surprised to find that interest on our site had grown for LG’s second generation power beast.

How could there be such interest, I wondered, when the specs are largely unimpressive aside from its massive power cell? How could it impress solely based on battery life?

But to ask such questions is to crucially misunderstand the device.

It’s not just that the X Power 2 has amazing battery life, it’s that amazing battery life is sorely missing from most budget devices currently on the market.

When a customer purchases a budget device, they know they’re taking a hit on performance, camera and design. The purchase is made based on functionality; will it perform the basic tasks they need, when they need it to?

The first demand is easy to fulfill by nature, but the second is open to interpretation, with many manufacturers adding a battery as average as the rest of the specs.

In that environment, an exceptional battery may well clinch the sale — and LG is offering just that, at the low price of between $250 and $300 outright at most Canadian carriers.

A battery that reminds you of the good old days

With the LG X Power 2’s Snapdragon 425 and 1.5GB of RAM sipping gently from a massive 4,500mAh battery, the phone breezes through a full day of medium usage — multiple hours of data and Wi-Fi browsing coupled with around 30 minutes of calling — without even hitting the mid-way mark on its power stores.

To be exact, 24 hours after its last charge, I woke up to a phone at around 60 percent charge. Twelve hours, by early evening, I made it to a little under 40 percent with the same medium usage.

This sort of dependable multi-day usage is unusual with modern smartphones. High-end phones like the Google Pixel, LG G6 and iPhone 7 generally only manage single 12-hour days, while mid-range devices are hit and miss.

The Asus ZenFone 3 and Moto Z Play were standouts when it came to battery, but the Moto Z2 Play that followed this year cut down on battery size to make other marginal improvements.

As for budget devices, several offer impressive battery life due to the limited nature of their processing power, but none that I’ve experienced — from the Moto G5 to the Sony Xperia XA1 — have offered quite the same dependably long-lasting battery that LG provides with the X Power 2.

The one potential issue that I identified concerning the battery life was that the battery occasionally felt quite hot in the hand, but after checking temperatures I found it only peaked a degree or so above 40 degrees Celsius once during my time with it, which isn’t overly concerning. That benefits battery longevity, since high heats are the surest way to degrade batteries and the X Power 2’s is unfortunately non-removable.

A basic budget look


The phone’s design is bland but not unattractive. Its no-frills appearance is not likely to be a major point of attraction or detraction for most customers. The backplate is a textured plastic that would seem to lend itself to being removable but for some unfortunate reason is not.

At the top centre is a small circular camera and flash sitting flush with the back. Underneath is the LG logo and at bottom left is a somewhat oddly placed circle of speaker holes — though there’s also a speaker at the top of the device on the front, providing decent quality external audio for a phone of this price.

On either side of that speaker is a selfie cam and front-facing flash, set in a mid-sized bezel with no physical buttons or fingerprint sensor.

The lack of a fingerprint sensor on the device is unarguably one of the main detractors for this device — having to key in a PIN is extremely inconvenient. Those who have experienced the ease of a fingerprint sensor may find even find taking a step back in time in this manner is deal breaker, but for those who haven’t, or simply aren’t fazed by a lack of efficiency, it should be fine.

The device’s 5.5-inch 1280 x 720p IPS display is also a minor downside — streaming video content looks dull and lacks definition, while in direct light outdoors it’s difficult to see. However, in the right conditions and for everyday tasks unrelated to entertainment, it’s more than sufficient.

The phone’s resolution is also not uncommon for budget devices, though quality is trending upward. The Sony Xperia XA1 has a 5-inch IPS 1280 x 720p display, while the Moto G5 has a slightly better 5-inch IPS 1080 x 1920p screen and the Alcatel Idol 4 has a 5.2-inch LTPS IPS 1080p x 1920p display.

Improved performance from the original

The second-generation X Power is much improved from it’s predecessor on the processing front. It kept its 1.5GB of RAM but stocks a quad-core Snapdragon 425 chipset clocked at 1.4GHz quad-core, a significant enhancement from the X Power’s Snapdragon 210 clocked at 1.3GHz.

Whereas the X Power crashed heavy-processing apps like Apple Music and Snapchat multiple times during my review period, the LG X Power 2 has only suffered two or three crashes during the two and a half weeks I’ve been using it as my daily driver.

One of my other complaints with the X Power’s performance was that it didn’t work with the augmented reality mode in last summer’s smash hit mobile game, Pokemon Go.

Unfortunately, augmented reality performance didn’t improve much with the X Power 2 — when I attempted AR, the game recommended against it and I wasn’t able to spot the Pokemon in front of me. What’s more, it quickly began to overheat with the strain.

The second-generation X Power is much improved from it’s predecessor on the processing front.

Suffice it to say, the phone’s still not a powerhouse — which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Still, it’s much improved from last year’s model, and if you’re not playing with AR, you’ll find that games with mid-level graphics run smoothly for the most part, and don’t tend to immediately overheat the device.

Further, it’s this mediocre processing that allows, in part, for the phone’s stellar battery performance — the Snapdragon 425 and its accompanying capabilities are less demanding than those of a 600 or 800 series chipset, which are voracious energy saps.

In comparison to other devices, the X Power 2 is still in last place when it comes to specs — though of course, implementation is also important when it comes to performance, which is more difficult to qualify.

But based on clock speeds and cores alone, the X Power 2 sits behind the octa-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon 430 in the Moto G5, the octa-core 4 x 2.3GHz and 4 x 1.6Ghz MediaTek Helio P20 in the Sony Xperia XA1 and the octa-core 4 x 1.7GHz and 4 x 1.2GHz Snapdragon 617 in the Alcatel Idol 4.

LG’s quirky UI

lg x power 2 front

The X Power 2 comes pre-loaded with Android Nougat 7.0 and LG’s UX5.0+ skin for the device remains, like the X Power’s, thoroughly dummy proof.

There’s no app drawer setting, for instance, so your apps must be spread across multiple pages or stuck in folders — perhaps alright for those who don’t have many apps or former iOS users, but I found the format untenable and downloaded the Google Now launcher instead.

However, to touch on the quirks of LG’s UX a bit more, there’s no Google Now baked in and a funny stretch effect that happens when you attempt to swipe to a page that’s not there — which is cute but a little goofy. Bloatware is manageable, though there are a fair amount of preloaded apps tucked into folders.

All in all, it’s not ideal for a more advanced user, but those who are less tech savvy may not mind — besides, downloading a launcher or altering the UI in other ways isn’t hard, which more or less lets LG off for its quirky skin.

A very budget shooter

The 13-megapixel, f/2.2 rear camera, as one might expect on a phone of this price, is nothing special. In both experience and results, the rear shooter doesn’t seem to have improved from the original X Power, which makes sense considering the technical details of the cameras are very similar.

Unfortunately, this is one of the critical elements of a handset for me — and for many. The fact that indoor photos come out soft, dark and prone to blur is less than ideal, as is its tendency to blown out photos in areas of direct, bright light.

In the right lighting conditions, pictures can come out well and capture a surprising amount of detail even far in the distance, but you’ll need a steady hand since it doesn’t come with any image stabilization tech.

The camera also lacks a robust set of photography features and settings, but switching into HDR mode, which is preset to ‘off’ out of the box, allows for more richly saturated and detailed photos in ideal conditions.

LG has also upgraded its 5-megapixel selfie camera with an LED flash – the only downside being that when you turn it blares away consistently, not timed to the camera’s capture.

Long last the LG X Power 2

The LG X Power 2 stayed true to its roots and focused on battery, delivering a market-leading lifespan coupled with improved performance.

While there’s still a lot to be desired in the camera and design department, it’s not fair to demand the device excel in all quadrants. As with most budget phones, it picked a niche, and within that niche it’s thriving.

With an all-weekend battery and a reasonable price both on and off-contract, I’d recommend the X Power 2 to those who are looking for the basics, but with an uber-dependable twist.

Photography by Dean Daley.

"I’d recommend the X Power 2 to those who are looking for the basics, but with an uber-dependable twist"

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Comments

  • bigshynepo

    I think the BlackBerry Keyone merits a mention when making comparisons in the article. It’s 625 ‘sips’ from it’s 3505mah battery with incredible efficiency, of course with an admittedly higher price tag.

    • Techguru86

      Agreed, they’re not many devices that outlast that device and for what it offers as awhole

    • John Lofwire

      The new Alcatel A50 seem like a good contender with the included battery back cover its like 6000 mah with a sd435.

    • Techguru86

      I would never recommend Alcatel to anyone, horrible products for quality and the software is non existent, why most providers in Canada don’t sell them anymore

    • John Lofwire

      Alcatel had under 5% return at the store i work (5 device out if 100 sold) compared to over 30% for both apple and Samsung.

      Dont forget 2 years warranty you got nothing to loose and everything to gain.

    • Techguru86

      Mine had nothing but problems with them, we avoided them at all costs, Alcatel never update their devices, one good thing about Apple is you have to deal with them only

    • John Lofwire

      Well maybe you guys had a specific model with issues.

      Also this software update crap is getting old.

      You can run 99% of all app on any android from 2.3.5 to 7.

      Important api are updated by google.

      As for security there is amazing security software on android that really work.

      So dont come up with apple as with such a high return rate its basically overpriced crap. I still sell them because apple user see iphone as a drug (with good reason as when you use apple ecosystem and make purchases you are done as if you switch to another oem you loose everything.

      So android is better as you keep everything no matter what android own you choose you also get much more for the price hell a 400$ android midranger is as good as the iphone 7 in most aspect.

      Anyway I would sell the Alcatel a50 over mostly all crap low end phone available at any carrier this lg x power2 been the only exception as its a nice phone as well.

    • bigshynepo

      “Anyway I would sell the Alcatel a50 over mostly all crap low end phone
      available at any carrier this lg x power2 been the only exception as its
      a nice phone as well.”

      How much of a additional bonus are you getting to sell the Alcatel A50 to your customers over other phones?

    • John Lofwire

      Probably less than you get paid by blackberry lol.

      I only sell superior device to be truthful.

      Brand mean scrap for me.
      I test each device capacity and position it accordingly.

      If blackberry keyone was sold as a smartphone lite and not a premium its would be an amazing device but otherwise its clearly inferior (beside battery) compared to similar priced device and even some lower priced device. That a simple reality.

    • bigshynepo

      I own a blackberry KeyONE, a quality midrange phone that isn’t trying to be anything but, because I’m a professional who does loads of business and because I can touch-type on a Blackberry keyboard. I paid the extra $100 because I can:
      a) afford it
      b) want something besides a garbage throwaway phone
      c) don’t spend my days pissing away time playing games on my phone

      If you’re job pays you so pathetically that you look at the $100-on-contract KeyONE as overpriced, then that’s on you.
      If your primary use for a smartphone is pissing away hours playing games and watching your battery life app, then by all means, enjoy the Alcatel with it’s gimmicky snapback.
      I’ll enjoy my choices and you enjoy yours, but don’t come into my thread spreading propaganda and not expect to be called out on it. I bet if I walked into a Telus/Koodo store tomorrow and asked a rep if they are getting SPIFs for pushing Alcatel, they’d confirm my suspicion.

    • John Lofwire

      Ah so you assume I use it perso ally? Lol that a good one.

      It is not because I take time to compare device of each category to find out the best device for each type of customer that I want to use them.

      In fact I change phone as my main one every 3 to 6 months.

      I do work at the business to business level and its funny only blackberry and apple gave us free phone (keyone from blackberry and iphone 7 128 jetblack from apple) no others I oem gave me anything.

      But hey assume all you want. For 1 blackberry keyone

    • bigshynepo

      So let me just summarize,
      – You say the Alcatel’s screen is better when it’s absolutely not. The Blackberry has way higher PPI, Corning glass, it’s way brighter, etc.
      – You say the Alcatel’s camera is better, which it isn’t. Blackberry has better front cameras, better HD recording, etc.
      – You say the Alcaltel competes with the LG X Power 2, when it only does if you use the snapback to fatten it up (and then the other attachments become useless).
      – You say you’d sell the Alcatel A50 over ‘mostly all low end crap’ when the phone has been out for only a few days and you have absolutely no sense of it’s long-term reliability or firmware update schedule.

      I actually will go in and see what this handset is all about when I am in a store next, but please, try to have some restraint when talking up such an unproven brand/handset. Your customers depend on you for an honest pitch, and your vendors expect you to push all their phones with equal enthusiasm (even Blackberry).

    • John Lofwire

      You love acting dumb I see..
      I was comparing lg x power 2 and Alcatel a50.

      I already said I do not care about firmware update and as for reliability its not the first Alcatel I will sell and they had a much lower ratio of phone returning with issues per phone sold compared to many others brand.

      I will not push inferior product to my clients as I said I base myself on real life testing as well as previous experience with each brand.

      As a result black berry keyone is not a phone I recommend as its over priced for what its give.
      Sd625 is very underpowered in a phone at that price point 2 years old moto x play had the same soc and was sold at least 200$ less outright and also had outstanding battery life a good camera ect but at 0$ on contract and less than 500$ full price.

      Now stop wasting my time 😉

    • bigshynepo

      Time that would be better spent working at a cell phone store?
      or waiting for your next shift at the cellphone store?

      Please. You couldn’t even bring the right facts to this discussion and you’re the salesman here. Thankfully, I never need a bias associate’s help choosing a handset that’s right for my needs.

    • John Lofwire

      I dont work in the store i work by going meet client.

      I am not interested in wasting my time in store doing 1 by 1 when I can do 50 to 200 of them one shot at a client business place.

      As for the rest of your comment its worthless as you could not even understand I was comparing two low end device. You are so obsessed with your crapberry lol.

    • Trevor Cashin

      The 2 year old Moto X Play (2015) used an SD615, not the SD625. SD625 is much more efficient, faster modem, etc, and is used (and very much liked) in many mid-range phones, to say it is “very underpowered” is very misleading.

    • John Lofwire

      Go look real life test and benchmark you gonna see its pretty much similar in mostly all performance beside the modem that i agree.

      As a matter of fact battery life test at gsm show blackberry keyone as 81 hours endurance test where moto x play is at 83 hours lol. Samsung A7 also beat it ( 83 hours ) and is also using the SD615.

      Its very under-powered compared to others mid range that are sold cheaper and using SD 660 by example witch simply destroy the sd625 in all aspect. ( i am talking about today now not 1 year ago )

      Back in start of 2016 its was a good SOC for mid range but not anymore.
      And at the price point blackberry keyone is sorry but its underpowered for the price.

      End of the story.

    • Trevor Cashin

      625 just came out in a few phones last fall, mainly it’s been among the best mid range CPUs of 2017. The 660 is brand new, different league altogether really (will replace 652/653 while the 630 will replace 625), of course it is better.
      The edurance test is a phone test, SOC is only one of many factors for that.
      The 660 will indeed be popular, but how many phones can you buy at stores today will have it?

      End of my story.

    • John Lofwire

      Asus zenfone 3 used this chip first quarter of 2016. Its was out start of 2016.

      So its was more than 1 year old when the black berry keyone came out.

      So its outdated end of the story.

      They could used 626 and get 10% improvement or 650/660 and its would had made the price on that phone make much more sense.

      The performance difference between 615 and 625 is almost non existant as well go compare real life test and benchmark.

      Plz dont waste my time as 625 is NOT a new soc

    • John Lofwire

      At the price of the keyone you can get a much faster and overall better device.

      My point is black berry keyone is 200$ overpriced.

    • John Lofwire

      I got a free iphone from apple after following business to business genius course its was a 7 128 gb jetblack.. Well after a month I gave it to my wife as its was clearly not as good as any android flagship I used in the previous 12 months easy.

    • bigshynepo

      Alcatel is not even in the same league as the Blackberry.

      The A50 comes with a 2800mah battery and a Mediatek chip….please. If you want to start adding battery packs that double the size of your phone, that’s your choice – even then Alcatel is only promising ‘double’ the battery life with the accessory you refer to, which is not 6000mah.

      I would even suggest a Huawei over an Alcatel, but the latter must be paying Koodo and Telus reps a nice kickback on unit sales right now for your to be online talking them up.

    • John Lofwire

      Have a hard time calculating?

      2800 mah + 3200 mah accessories how much do its make? just asking… yes! 6000 mah!

      I just used the phone and its less thick than the LG X power 2 ( with the battery addon on it ) its also has fast and its make less heats.

      You really compare a 240$ CAD phone with one over 700$ CAD? Seriously are you joking me? The blackberry keyone is a joke overpriced crap sell it for 400$ to 500$ and its would be amazing but at thats price point no thanks.

      So its smaller than the LG X power 2.
      Its has a more premium build ( metal versus plastic )
      Its give you 2 very good accessories in the box ( no extra charge ) and one not thats very good ( at least for me )
      and its cost less than the LG X power 2.

      So please go and try it before speaking.

    • bigshynepo

      You were the one who replied to MY comment thread, touting your piece of garbage Alcatel phone as a contender – when it’s not comparable to the phone in the article or the phone I mentioned (without a bunch of gimmicky add-on no one wants). Your comments are an advertisement.

      After reading the product info, the manufacturer states “2,800mAh battery (extended to 5,900mAh with the Power SNAPBAK)”, which still doesn’t take it to a total 6000mah, Mr. Mathematician.

      Throw as much cheap crap in the box as you want, If i wanted modular, I would’ve bought into LG years ago. The Blackberry KeyONE was only $99 at launch with the trade-in of almost any phone….I gave them a Blackberry Q10.

    • John Lofwire

      You are truly acting like an *** lol your keyone is not to be compared to lg x power 2 or Alcatel a50 not same type of device.

      Your blackberry is a mid ranger trying to be a flagship.

      Only 99$ yeah with a premium plan.

      Both lg x power 2 and Alcatel a 50 are available at no minimum price.

      So plz shut your pie hole 🙂

      After testing both device as they do compare to each others and are in same categories.

      Alcatel have better overall camera (yep mpix not everything) Alcatel is as fast at everything (game to app opening ect) but Alcatel dont become uncomfortable to hold because its dont become hot like the LG x power 2.

      Next step will be battery life.. Will let them both okay same video files (720p) in loop see wich one hold longest.

      So stop wasting our time with your overpriced crap that can easily be compared to mid rangers.