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LG K51 review: More polish than punch




LG may have ended the smartphone industry, but it’s still a familiar face to low-cost carriers in the US and around the world. As identical twins to the LG K51, the LG Reflect is one of the most popular models from several carriers, especially MVNO. It offers a lot of good specs on paper and a price tag under $200 and seems hard to beat. How all of the components work together is explained in our LG K51 review.

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What you need to know about the LG K51

Image of LG K51 opened as home screen from above

Ryan Haines / Android Permissions

  • LG K51 (3GB, 32GB): $149 / €139 / £120 ($199 launch price)

Launched in May 2020, the LG K51 sits at the bottom of LG’s rest of the smartphone lineup. Available in one configuration and one color: Titan Gray. Excess RAM or storage to work with is only 3GB and 32GB respectively, but you can always expand the storage with a microSD card. The LG K51 we tested arrived immediately with Android 10 and LG UX 9.0 skins. We haven’t received the Android 11 update yet, and we don’t have an update schedule available from Google. Android 11 Roadmap.

 MediaTek’s 8-core Helio P22 processor is running the show with limited RAM and storage. The device has a 4,000mAh battery and a 6.5-inch HD Plus display. LG has placed a headphone jack on the bottom edge of the phone, along with a USB-C 2.0 port and mono speakers.

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There is a charging block and a USB-C cable in the box with the SIM ejector tool, our version has T-Mobile Subway Brand Startup Guide. The documents you receive may vary depending on the carrier you choose.

LG’s K51 is close to the OnePlus Nord N200, Motorola Moto G Power (2021) and Nokia 5.4 in terms of price, but all three offer sharper specs. If you’re leaning towards an LG device in this price range, you might also see the LG Stylo 6 with a larger display and built-in stylus.

what good?

LG K51 back panel on table

Ryan Haines / Android Permissions

The build quality of the LG K51 is evident from the moment you take it out of the box. This is a good value phone that feels solid. The body is plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap. While we praise the hardware, LG’s headphone jack and bottom speaker are commendable. There is only one speaker, but you can adjust the volume to enjoy your favorite songs.

It’s also great to use the large 6.5-inch display with the speakers. There’s plenty of room to catch up on your favorite Netflix series or just play a light game.

The LG K51 can be used with various carriers, and each carrier has different apps. While we can’t talk about the pre-installed bloat on all of them, the Metro by T-Mobile version keeps the extra features to a minimum. You can find standard account management apps, etc., but in Metro you can mostly do it yourself.

The look and feel of the K51 far exceeds its reasonable price.

The 4,000mAh battery provides plenty of power to keep you moving all day. Whether it’s browsing social media, streaming music, checking email, it’s held up well for a day of moderate use. With the included blocks and cables, backups are fast enough.

Every time you look at a mobile phone with good value for money, you will be thinking about the camera. LG has addressed these concerns with a 13MP main lens that is good for the price. The shooter works well in most lighting situations, and LG’s AI Cam takes everything to the next level. It uses thousands of data points to analyze your subject and suggest ways to improve your photos. AI Cam, for example, can advise you to switch to an ultra-wide camera so you can shoot just a few more friends and family.

What’s not so good?

LG K51 port exposed on table.

Ryan Haines / Android Permissions

The K51’s 6.5-inch IPS LCD turns out to be a double-edged sword. It’s big enough, but the colors are good overall, but I’ve seen other phones in this price range reach sharper resolutions, including some of LG’s own lineup.

Like some of the cheaper phones we tested, the LG K51 is a fingerprint magnet. The undisturbed Titan Gray back panel looks pretty good, but unless you invest in a case, you’ll have to spend a lot of time wiping it clean.

The Helio P22 processor is a bit underwhelming when paired with 3GB of RAM.

Unfortunately, there are times when I feel that the K51’s Helio P22 processor is not suitable for the task. It works for light use, but lags behind when you move between apps or try too many games. This could be an example of the lifespan of chips released in 2018. MediaTek Helio P family growth Since the release of the P22, there are clearly other options for LG to choose from.

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Some processing issues can arise from the limited 3GB RAM as it quickly overloads itself with too many tasks running. Even LG’s 32GB native storage isn’t good enough given that only a fraction of that space is available. Our version of the LG K51 required a whopping 13GB of 32GB for Android itself and nearly 2GB for other pre-installed apps. Having said everything and done, the K51 only gives you about 17GB of usable space unless you’re using a microSD card.

If you want to take tons of selfies, you might want to look elsewhere. The K51’s front camera is repairable, but the images tend to come out a bit smoother. Take a look at the pool in the selfie example below. Pools tend to sacrifice detail almost instantly. On the bright side, the same AI Cam features are available on the front camera as it does on the rear option.

LG K51 Camera Sample

Waterfall image taken with LG K51

Waterfall image taken with the main camera

Low light AI cam image of the picture taken with the LG K51

AI Cam low light image in the picture

Portrait mode image of fish shot with LG K51

portrait mode image of fish statue

A standard selfie taken with the LG K51 shows a man with light hair and a beard wearing a white and blue T-shirt and a blue jacket on top.

Standard selfie taken with LG K51

Portrait selfie taken with LG K51 showing a man with bright hair and beard wearing a white and blue t-shirt and a blue jacket on top

Portrait selfie taken with LG K51

LG K51 Specifications

LG K51
Denote 6.5 inches
1,560 x 720 (19.5:9)
processor MediaTek Helio P22
lamb 3GB
Save 32 GB
camera Rear triple camera:
13MP main (f/1.8)
5MP Ultrawide (f/2.2)
2 MP depthfront:
battery 4,000mAh
IP rating does not exist
software Comes with Android 9
Can be updated to Android 10
size 6.57 x 3.07 x 0.33 inches
(166.96 x 77.92 x 8.47mm)
7.17oz (203.4g)
colors Titan Gray
security back mounted fingerprint scanner

LG K51 Review: Should I Buy?

LG K51 camera and fingerprint reader

Ryan Haines / Android Permissions

If you want an entry-level smartphone that looks and feels more than its price, the LG K51 is for you. It’s big and responsible, and the display and speakers are great for streaming video and music. What’s more, the 4,000mAh battery lasts longer than all day, and you can keep your favorite songs alone via the headphone jack. However, this isn’t very processing power, and if you’re gaming or busy, you may want to look elsewhere. There is also a question mark about support as LG has decided to withdraw from the smartphone business. If you’re interested in software and security updates (obviously!), there are more reliable alternatives.

The LG K51 is big and responsible, but it’s not the fastest or best-supported low-end phone.

LG K51 OnePlus Node N200 ($239) in terms of price, the OnePlus has a better spec sheet by a solid margin, not to mention the N200 will bring 5G on the T-Mobile network. Motorola’s Moto G series, especially the Moto G Power ($249). The last rival to consider is Nokia’s 5.4 ($249) with 4x the storage, faster processors, and better cameras on both sides.

Image of LG K51 open in Metro app

LG K51

The LG K51 looks good and feels solid in the hand. MediaTek’s Helio P22 chip stays on with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.


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