LG’s play for US smartphone market share is simple: bring over the popular Optimus LTE from Europe, and tweak it for different carriers. The $199.99 (with a two-year contract) LG Spectrum for Verizon is the second such handset, after the Nitro HD for AT&T.

When I reviewed the Nitro, I called it the best LTE phone available on AT&T, and the Spectrum is every bit as good on paper: 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, a 4.5-inch IPS display, LTE connectivity, and an 8-megapixel camera. But the handset competition on Verizon’s LTE network is considerably tougher than on AT&T, with the Galaxy Nexus, Droid RAZR (and RAZR Maxx) and HTC Rezound stocking Big Red’s shelves. Can LG’s flagship phone jump into a more competitive ring and hold its own? Read on for the full review.