Telstra's twist on the LG K10 stands out among budget smartphones thanks to its fingerprint sensor, 13MP camera and long-legged removable battery.
The Telstra Signature 2 is essentially the LG K10 with a new name. It occupies a similar position at the higher end of the budget space, offering respectable performance and a solid repertoire of features at a relatively affordable price.
Curved design is standard but solid
Few other budget handsets feature a fingerprint sensor
The Telstra Signature 2 is a simple-looking smartphone. Its curved frame follows the sleek template that's become standard among modern smartphones, and its screen makes use of LG's "2.5D" Arc glass, which just means the edges of the screen curve slightly to flow more naturally into the phone's frame itself.
Rather than incorporating capacitive buttons, the Telstra Signature 2 opts for a larger 5.3-inch screen that relies on virtual buttons for navigating the Android operating system. It's not quite an all-screen phone, however, with sizeable bezels at both the top and bottom of the face padding out the Signature 2's footprint. The screen itself delivers a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels or basic HD, which isn't quite as sharp as full HD but is still decent for a phone at this price point.
Modern smartphones often double as entertainment devices, and the Telstra Signature 2 provides plenty of options in this regard. The all-important 3.5mm audio jack is here, as is support for wireless headphones and other wireless devices via Bluetooth 4.2. You've also got 16GB of onboard storage for loading up your music and movies, and you can expand that by as much as 2TB thanks to the phone's support for microSD cards.
One key feature that sets the Telstra Signature 2 apart from other similarly priced budget handsets is the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. This can be used for securing the Signature 2 against unwanted snooping and preventing other people from authorising purchases through payment systems like the Google Play store. Fingerprint sensors are still relatively uncommon in budget smartphones, so this is a neat addition that gives the Signature 2 an advantage over the competition.
On the software front, the Telstra Signature 2 comes loaded with Android 7.0 "Nougat". Though it's not the latest iteration of the Android operating system, Android 7.0 includes plenty of useful features including a customisable quick settings toolbar, faster switching between running apps and the ability to run two apps side-by-side on the same screen.
Plenty of versatility in its 13MP rear and 5MP front cameras
Wide-angle front lens enables bigger group selfies
You get quite a capable camera package with the Telstra Signature 2. The rear-facing camera is equipped with a 13MP sensor and an f/2.2 aperture lens which should be more than sufficient for capturing sharp shots under reasonable conditions. Around the front, meanwhile, a 5MP sensor teams up with a 120-degree wide-angle lens that gives you the capacity to squeeze more people into your group selfies. That wide-angle lens also packs an f/2.2 aperture.
Taking good photos requires the camera software to be just as versatile as the hardware, and the Telstra Signature has been designed with this in mind. Along with typical features like auto-focus, HDR support and a burst-shot mode, you can activate an "Auto Shot" mode that uses face detection to determine when you're lining up a selfie and automatically takes a photo as soon as the phone is still.
Decent hardware for a budget phone
Should rarely struggle under average use
More often than not, budget smartphones opt for MediaTek's low-power processors over the Qualcomm Snapdragon chips common to more expensive handsets. The Telstra Signature 2 continues this trend. Its eight-core 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6750 processor is built for efficiency rather than raw power, and its 2GB of RAM lands on the lower side of average for a modern smartphone.
That's not to say the Telstra Signature 2 is under-powered, however. For a budget handset, these specs are still decent. More importantly, they provide the Signature 2 with enough grunt to handle typical tasks like browsing the Internet, streaming video and even playing a wide variety of mobile games. It might not be as snappy or slick as a top-of-the-line iPhone, but it should be more than powerful enough for the majority of phone users.
Up to 6.5 hours of talk time and 290 hours on standby, according to Telstra
Removable battery is always a plus
While the Telstra Signature 2 isn't exactly the most powerful handset on the market, its modest hardware works in its favour in the battery department. The combination of a power-efficient processor, a relatively low-resolution screen and a respectable 2,800mAh battery promises plenty of longevity, with Telstra itself claiming that the Signature 2 can deliver up to 6.5 hours of talk time or up to 290 hours on standby.
These numbers align with our testing of the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, a phone that packs a comparable processor and a slightly larger 2,910mAh battery. The Idol 3 had no difficulties surviving a full day of average use on a single charge, and it's a good bet that the Telstra Signature 2 can achieve the same.
As an added bonus, the battery in the Signature 2 is completely removable. This gives you the freedom to carry around spare batteries to swap in as necessary, a feature that is especially handy for frequent travellers or anyone who simply doesn't have the time to leave their phone charging for hours on end.
Pricing and availability
The Telstra Signature 2 is only available on contract through Telstra.
Matt Sayer is a writer for Finder, covering all things technology and telecommunications. Along with reporting on events like CES and Mobile World Congress, he has produced comprehensive guides for popular products like smart speakers and graphics cards. He has a Bachelor of Computer Science from RMIT University and is passionate about helping Aussies leverage technology to better their lives.
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