LG Reflect in the test: The evil twin of the K51

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Android Authority

From time to time, a carrier may decide to add a new name to an unlocked device. The LG Reflect is one such case – it’s a beat-by-beat clone of the more ubiquitous LG K51. However, the software experience offers something else. You can find out what gives this version its shine in our LG Reflect test.

See also: The Best Budget Phones You Can Buy

What you need to know about the LG Reflect

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

  • LG Reflect (3GB, 32GB): ~ $ 119 with select providers ($ 199 introductory price)

The Reflect hit the market at the lower end of LG’s smartphone lineup in June 2020, along with its unlocked sibling, the LG K51. The main difference is the Reflect’s close relationship with the Tracfone family. It was developed to be coupled with all networks and our version has a Tracfone logo on the back under the cameras. The Reflect didn’t come with a spec boost, so you’re still looking at a single configuration with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. You get the same titanium gray finish as the unlocked model.

Our LG Reflect ran on Android 10 with LG UX 9.0 for the duration of the test. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be part of LG’s Android 11 plans, which limits the Reflect’s future prospects. LG has also pulled out of the smartphone market since launching the Reflect, with support options virtually eliminated.

Under the hood, LG opted for MediaTek’s Helio P22 chipset to pull all the strings. It’s paired with a large 6.5-inch HD + display and a 4,000 mAh battery to keep the lights on. The headphone jack, USB-C port, and mono-firing speaker are all housed on the bottom edge of the phone.

Related: The best Tracfone smartphones

Tracfone’s plastic packaging comes with a USB-C cable, charging pad, and all the starting materials you could want. You will also receive a SIM ejector to help you set up your new network. Keep in mind that packaging may vary depending on your preferred brand of TracFone.

LG’s Reflect is priced similar to the OnePlus Nord N200, Nokia 5.4, and Motorola Moto G Power (2021), although it can’t keep up with the spec sheet. If you want an LG phone in your pocket at this price point, then you should check out the Stylo 6. It offers a larger display with an integrated pen.

What is good?

The LG Reflect on a table from an angle

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

This may be an affordable phone on some of America’s most popular MVNOs, but its build quality feels way above its price. The titanium gray finish gives the LG Reflect a touch of quality and the device feels solid from the moment it is taken out of the box.

Budget friendly phones sometimes tend to leave the camera array on the back, but the LG Reflect mostly finds a way around this common trap. The 13 MP main camera works well in most lighting conditions and works just fine outdoors. The real hero here, however, is LG’s AI Cam feature. It keeps track of tons of data points as you compose your image to give tips on how to improve your shot. For example, the picture of two Penn State branded beer mugs in the samples later in this review was taken in low light, but it looks bright as day.

AI Cam is the salvation of LG’s 13 MP main lens.

We’re always happy to have a headphone jack, and the downward facing speaker also gets impressively loud and pairs well with the large 6.5-inch HD + display, which is great for following your favorite shows. If you’re trying to stay caged, headphones can be an option, but I had no problem sharing videos with family and friends during a tailgate on the weekend.

The 4,000 mAh battery from LG also offers plenty of juice to keep the Reflect running all day. I had no problem exceeding a day’s usage, even hopping between apps and streaming music. The block and cable that came with it got me back on my feet quickly enough.

See also: The best mobile phone charging accessory

What’s not so good?

Close-up of the LG Reflect front camera

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The LG Reflect adopts everything we liked from the LG K51, but doesn’t do much to correct the defects. In fact, the Reflect comes with a slightly worse overall software on board, with some bloatware apps. Everything you see in the image above is pre-installed, as is the Discover Bar. While the Discover Bar isn’t quite as memory hungry as all of these apps, it does roughly the same job as Google’s Discover feed, and therefore feels like it superfluous.

The Reflect also turns out to be a fingerprint magnet – similar to many other budget devices from LG. You will definitely spend a lot of time wiping the titanium gray back panel unless you add a protective cover. However, the phone is pretty big already, so you may not be itching to add a lot more volume to your pocket.

The Discover Bar and additional apps put the Reflect behind the eights in terms of speed and memory.

LG firmly believes in the MediaTek Helio P22 chip. The Helio P22 is already three years old and by no means the newest member of the MediaTek P series. Although it often works well for one task at a time, once you dive into multitasking, the processor begins to show its age – something the meager 3GB of RAM or meager 32GB of storage doesn’t support. On the latter, LG’s Android version takes up 14 GB of the valuable total memory of 32 GB, while preinstalled apps consume a further 2.4 GB. When you’ve said and done all of this, within a month or two of buying the Reflect you will be reaching for a microSD card to add more storage to your storage.

See also: The best microSD cards you can buy

The Reflect may not be your phone of choice if you enjoy taking selfies. It carries a decent 13-megapixel selfie camera in its central notch, but the images tend to be soft. This was also a problem with the K51 – the camera just doesn’t capture background details the way you would like it to. The salvation is that LG has incorporated its AI Cam technology into the selfie shooter as well.

LG Reflect camera examples

An image of a mug in portrait format, taken with the LG ReflectAn image of a mug in portrait orientation.A low-light image of beer mugs taken with the LG ReflectA low-light image of two beer mugsA picture of a stuffed bear taken with the LG ReflectA picture of a stuffed bearA picture of flowers taken with the LG ReflectA close up of flowers outdoorsA standard selfie taken with the LG Reflect of a man with light hair and facial hair wearing a gray T-shirt, taken outdoors.A standard selfie, taken with the LG ReflectA portrait selfie taken with the LG Reflect of a man with light hair and facial hair wearing a gray T-shirt, taken outdoors.A portrait selfie, taken with the LG Reflect

LG Reflect specifications

LG Reflect
advertisement 6.5 in
IPS LCD
1,560 x 720 (19.5: 9)
processor MediaTek Helio P22
R.A.M. 3GB
storage 32 GB
Cameras Triple rear camera:
13MP main light (f / 1.8)
5MP ultra wide angle (f / 2.2)
2MP depth

Front:
13MP

battery 4,000mAh
IP rating None
software Supplied with Android 9
Update to Android 10 available
Dimensions 6.57 x 3.07 x 0.33 in
(166.96 x 77.92 x 8.47 mm)
7.17 ounces (203.4 g)
Colours Titanium gray
safety Fingerprint scanner attached to the back

LG Reflect Review: Should I Buy It?

Close-up of the LG Reflect with the connections

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The LG Reflect is a good alternative to the K51 in some situations. For example, this is the only option if you are on one of the TracFone cellular providers. If you’re with a different provider like Boost Mobile or T-Mobile’s Metro, the K51 offers a better way. Overall, the design is solid and the Reflect feels nice. It offers a slightly different software experience with the unnecessary Discover Bar and some bloatware apps that limit your usable space out of the box.

Some other options that stay in the same price range are the OnePlus Nord N200 ($ 239), which has the added benefit of 5G data speeds. You can also check out the Motorola Moto G series by size, including the Moto G Power ($ 249), Moto G Stylus ($ 299), and Moto G Play ($ 169).

An image of the LG Reflect open to show bloatware apps

LG Reflect

The LG Reflect serves as the exclusive version of the TracFone family of the K51. It offers a range of mid-range specs, but a few key software changes make all the difference.

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