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LG V20 Review
This might just be the most underrated flagship of 2016. Behold, the LG V20, successor to the unconventional LG V10. The LG V10 was unconventional in a lot of ways. It had a dual camera setup in the front. The rear was covered in military grade duraskin. And the most interesting feature was the addition of a secondary screen. Even though the phone was extremely well received, it didn’t get the attention that it deserved. They are planning to change things around with the LG V20 and surprisingly it ticks most of the boxes.
The phone might look like a metal unibody, but the metal back plate is removable.
The LG V20 is full of surprises starting right from the box itself. It features a trifold design which can be opened up twice. On the left side, you get the smartphone under which there is the battery and some additional documents. At the center, there is the charger cable and the charger which supports fast charging. And on the right side, you get the BNO earphones. Overall, the box package is extremely neat and what you’d expect of a flagship.
Design and Build Quality
Your first impression about the LG V20 would be magnificent. The device looks and feels spectacular in hand and might confuse you for a metal unibody. It is not a metal unibody and the metal back plate can be removed for inserting and removing the battery. Not many manufacturers have this feature nowadays, and it’s great to see that LG still goes with it. The LG V10 had duraskin on the rear side which was really rough, but that is not the case with the V20. The top and bottom have plastic caps for the antenna lines but it sits flush with the metal.
The secondary display is great for notifications and shortcuts, but might not find a lot of use.
The phone comes with MIL-STD-810G certification which is a military grading for resistance against drops and shocks. There is Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection for the screen as well. The dual-camera setup that we saw on the front on the V10 has now been moved to the rear. There is an IR blaster which is just a great little addition that most manufacturers overlook. The build quality is top notch and LG has done an amazing job with the V20.
Hardware and Performance
Let’s start off with the screen. The V20 features a 5.7-inch QHD display which is extremely sharp and crisp. It is easy to read under bright sunlight, but the colors lack a bit of vibrancy. Don’t forget the tiny 2.1-inch display that sits atop the main display. Just like the V10, this shows the notifications and is somewhat useful when it comes to multitasking. But the secondary screen wouldn’t find a lot of use in day-to-day activities.
Since it is a flagship of 2016, it is obvious that it will definitely be a great performer. Under the hood of the LG V20 is the favorite chipset for the majority of smartphone makers, the Snapdragon 820. It has the Adreno 530 GPU which handles high-end games and 3D applications with ease. There is ample amount of RAM available at 4GB and internal storage can be expanded up to 256GB via the microSD card slot. The power button at the rear doubles up as the fingerprint scanner and it is snappy.
Even though the custom UI from LG is heavily skinned, performance was flawless. It is the world’s first phone to ship with Android Nougat and it is also one of the key selling points of the phone. The UI is colorful and chirpy. An app drawer can be enabled or disabled according to the user’s preference. Gaming is also superb on the V20 and there is added support for the Vulkan games, which perform with higher frame rates and video quality.
The battery on the LG V20 might seem inadequate on paper. With a QHD display, a secondary screen, dual-cameras and more we would expect at least a 3,500mAh battery, but LG went with a slightly lower 3,200mAh battery. But thanks to Android Nougat and the Snapdragon 820, the V20 was able to last a whole day. Don’t expect anything more than a day and you’ll need to charge it fully for a complete day’s usage.
Dual cameras seem to be the rage in 2016 and the number of flagships that feature a dual-camera setup has increased tremendously. The dual-camera setup at the rear features a 16MP sensor with an f1.8 aperture and an 8MP sensor with an f2.4 aperture. The 16MP sensor also has optical image stabilization. If you’re a person who likes wide angle shots, then you’ll fall in love with the snaps captured with the 8MP sensor. You can easily switch between the 16MP sensor and the 8MP sensor through the camera app.
The camera produces some of the best wide angle shots that we’ve seen on a mobile camera.
The camera app itself is extremely professional. You should take the time to tinker with the settings to get the perfect output or simply select the auto mode. The auto mode might not take the best pictures and the dynamic range is on the lower side. There are settings to alter the ISO, shutter speed, focus, white balance and more. You can also set the bitrate and frame rate for the videos. Since the phone features a quad DAC, it can record Hi-Fi audio.
The front camera is a single 5MP sensor, unlike the dual-camera setup that we saw on the V10. It is adequate for taking selfies and that’s pretty much it. We would’ve liked to see an 8MP shooter at the front which would’ve taken selfies with much more details.
A lot of amazing smartphones released in 2016 and the V20 is one among the top. There is nothing wrong about the smartphone except that it is on the higher end of the price margin. But that is to be expected with all the extraordinary features that it provides. It features a 5.7-inch QHD display with a 2.1-inch secondary display. There is a quad DAC which can power high impedance earphones for studio sound quality. The dual-camera setup at the rear is excellent and the build quality is top notch. Those who are not willing to shell out the big bucks can surely go for their other flagship, the LG G5, which has most of the features of the V20 except the military grading and the secondary display.