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LG V30 1LG’s new V30 phone ticks
many of the right boxes.
Business
Insider/Jeff Dunn

LG on Thursday announced its latest high-end smartphone, the LG
V30.

I’ve spent a few days testing out an early version of the device,
so I can’t give a full review just yet.

But based on what I’ve seen thus far, it seems safe to say two
things about the V30:

  1. It looks great.
  2. It probably won’t catapult LG ahead of its eternal rival,
    Samsung, and the
    Galaxy S8
    .

Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve seen thus far:

  • The V30 is effectively an enhanced version of the LG G6, the
    flagship phone the company launched earlier this year.

    Like that device, the V30 is made from a mix of glass and
    aluminum, which helps it feel smooth, cool, and solid all at
    once. There are few unnecessary design flourishes — just a
    simple rectangle with nicely rounded corners. You could call it
    pleasant or boring; I lean toward the former.
  • The first thing you’ll notice is those tiny borders
    around its display.
    The bezels here are a bit slimmer
    than those of the G6, which has allowed LG to squeeze a big
    6-inch display in a phone that’s slightly more compact than
    Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch screen. This is
    the hot new thing
    for lots of smartphones in 2017, but nice is nice.
  • Despite the giant screen, the V30 doesn’t feel
    particularly unwieldy.
    Those with small hands will
    have to be a little more careful, but it’s not out of the
    question for others to get around the phone with one hand. The
    whole thing is lighter than it looks, too, at 158 grams. The
    high-end materials don’t make it feel like a brick.

LG V30 4Business Insider/Jeff Dunn

  • I have long-standing
    issues
    with phones with glass backs: They’re more
    susceptible to cracking, they’re fingerprint magnets, and they
    tend to slide around if they’re not on a flat surface.

    The V30’s rear is coated in Gorilla Glass 5, but it hasn’t felt
    as slippery or offensive as it could be. Still, you will see
    some smudges in the right light.
  • If you’ve never used an LG phone, you’ll probably need
    a few moments to get used to the placement of the power
    button.
    It’s about three-fourths of the way up the
    back of the phone. It also doubles as a fingerprint sensor,
    which has worked fast enough in my testing. This is much more
    logical and comfortable approach than what Samsung has done
    with the Galaxy S8, which, inanely, has it next to the camera
    module.
  • There’s a headphone jack! What’s more, LG has
    equipped the device with a stronger-than-usual audio chip,
    which should let those with higher-end headphones hear
    a little more detail. That won’t matter for most people, but
    the fewer dongles, the better. And it’s not as if you’ll be
    forbidden from using Bluetooth headphones.
  • The 6-inch display is excellent. It’s an OLED
    panel, which means its black tones are especially deep and
    dark. Colors are nice and vivid as a result, and everything can
    get sufficiently bright. It has the standard 1440p resolution,
    too, so it’s plenty sharp.

LG V30 2Business Insider/Jeff Dunn

  • It could stand to be a little more visible in direct
    sunlight.
    In general, I’d say the world-beating panel
    on the Galaxy S8 makes things pop a little bit more, but we’re
    talking fine margins for most people here — the screen will
    undeniably be one of the bigger selling points.
  • Like recent Samsung phones, the V30’s screen has an
    18:9 aspect ratio, which means it’s taller than usual.

    Since this kind of design is still new, not every app takes
    advantage of it (YouTube probably being the biggest). But it’s
    great for web browsing, and I’d expect people to adapt fairly
    soon.
  • The V30 will come with a top-end Snapdragon 835 chip and 4 GB
    of RAM, and my demo unit felt plenty fast as a result.
    Performance is unlikely to be an issue here.
  • There’s 64 GB of storage by default and the option to add
    more space through a microSD card. All good there.
  • The speaker at the bottom of the phone is loud enough, but
    nothing stellar.
  • The phone is water-resistant and supports wireless charging.
  • There’s a 3,300-mAh battery, which could be bigger but will
    probably last the requisite full day with normal use. My demo
    unit did as much. But again, I can’t say for sure just yet
    whether the finished phone will have anything more or less than
    average battery life.
  • It’s too soon to say if the V30’s camera is anything
    special.
    LG is certainly touting a few new features.
    There are dual rear lenses — one is 16 megapixels, the other is
    a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens — and one of those has a
    superwide f/1.6 aperture that will ostensibly help take better
    photos in darker settings. There are also several effects
    filters that you can apply over a video before recording. So
    far, most of what I’ve shot falls in that “good but not the
    best” category, but it’s pointless to make any judgments before
    the phone ships with finished image-processing software.

LG V30 3Business Insider/Jeff Dunn

  • The V30 will not ship with the newest Android 8.0
    Oreo
    , which is mildly disappointing.
    Instead,
    it’ll come with Android 7.1.2 Nougat. That, per usual, comes
    overlaid with LG’s own software skin, which takes some
    liberties with the look of the operating system but generally
    behaves close enough to typical Android.
  • There’s a handful of extra features you’ll most likely
    ignore, you have to go into settings to put in an app drawer, and
    I’m not much of a fan of whole skin’s aesthetic. If history is
    any indication, LG will take its time updating the software, too.
    But it’s not the worst thing ever. Thankfully, there’s no needless “second
    screen”
    like there was on the LG V20.

LG isn’t saying how much the V30 will cost or when exactly it’s
coming out in North America. But assuming the price isn’t
unusually high, the V30 seems likely to be a solid high-end
Android phone. It has the right specs, the tiny bezels everyone
is going crazy for these days, and a headphone jack.

Even if isn’t the kind of giant leap LG probably needs to beat
Samsung’s marketing machine, the V30 is shaping up to be a
perfectly fine alternative to the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy Note 8,
and the inevitable Google Pixel
2
. If the camera holds up, that’ll be hard to complain about.

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