LG V20: Yes, it’s worth the hype

First things first: Yes, the battery’s removable. No, it’s not modular. Yes, it features a dual camera – only it’s not in the front. The much-anticipated LG V20 is finally here, and while the bookies were right on the money with some predictions, others the South Korean giant managed to keep under wraps successfully.

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Key Specifications: 

  • Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 Processor
  • Display: Main 5.7-inch QHD IPS Quantum Display (2560 x 1440 / 513ppi) /
    Secondary IPS Quantum Display (160 x 1040 / 513ppi)
  • Memory: 4GB LPDDR4 RAM / 64GB UFS ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera: Front 5MP with F1.9 Aperture (Wide Angle) / Rear 16MP with F1.8 Aperture OIS (Standard Angle) and 8MP with F2.4 Aperture (Wide Angle)
  • Battery: 3200mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Size: 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm
  • Network: LTE-A 3 Band CA
  • Connectivity: X12 LTE (up to 600 Mbps LTE Category 12 with 3x Carrier Aggregation) / Wi-Fi (802.11 a, b, g, n, ac) / USB Type-C / Bluetooth 4.2 BLE / NFC
  • Colors: Titan / Silver / Pink
  • Others: Hi-Fi Video Recording / Steady Record 2.0 / HD Audio Recorder / Studio Mode / High AOP Mic / Second Screen / 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC / In Apps / B&O Collaboration / Finger Print Scanner / Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0

First impressions (IFA,2016)

At IFA 2016 in Berlin this weekend, we got to play around with a titan gunmetal V20 handset – behind locked doors, of course. The successor to the immensely popular V10 is lighter, but feels sturdier. It’s ultimately lighter than the V10, but boasts 20 per cent improved battery life.

LG says users responded positively to the durability of the V10, and the V20 takes it a step further. The removable back cover is made from military-grade metal used in airplanes, and built to withstand twisting, drops and the like. The top and bottom parts aren’t modular like in the G5, but are made of a silicon-based organic polymer said to be 24 per cent stronger than polycarbonate.

In keeping with the V10 precedent, the cover peels off to reveal the removable battery, a SIM card slot and a micro-SD card slot.

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LG has kept the lines clean and stylish, with a sophisticated finish. The top and bottom bevel ever so slightly, adding to the overall sleekness of the phone.

Like its predecessor, the V20 features a second screen to complement the 5.7-inch, QHD main LCD. Instead of two cameras in the front, the V20 features a dual camera at the back, but you can take wide-angle selfies with the front camera.

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LG collaborated with Qualcomm to improve the video-recording capabilities with nifty features like hybrid auto focus and track focus. This delivers more stable video recordings. The phone’s mics on the other hand deliver high-quality sound, and audio reproduction comes with Bang & Olufsen technology in most markets – but sadly not the Middle East and North Africa. However, LG maintains we won’t be disappointed by what they have managed to cram into the V20.

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Oh, and it’s the first smartphone out of the box running on Android 7.0 Nougat, although depending on rollout other manufacturers could beat it to the shop floor.

Double take

The Always-On second screen retains the V10’s dimensions but is upgraded so you can fit more content into the space available. LG has also confirmed it will support Nougat’s new In Apps feature, so you can search for keywords within your apps. This second screen combined with the 5.7-inch Quad High Definition LCD main screen takes the face to almost 6 inches. The width is the same as the V10, but it’s brighter and the font is larger and has higher contrast, so it’s more legible. Where the V10 could fit 14 digits, the V20 can accommodate 24, so your signature can be longer.

Media capabilities

The V20 sports three cameras that come with four camera modes. The rear has a 16MP (F1.8) normal camera and an 8MP (F2.8) wide-angle camera that gives you 135-degree angles. In normal mode, the front 5MP camera gives you 83 degrees, while the wide-angle mode takes it up to 102-degrees at F1.9 – that’s 34 per cent brighter than the V10’s F2.2. The front camera uses the wide-angle as its basis, and crops the shot for normal-mode pictures.

LG-V20-Wide-Angle-CameraFor videos, the V20 uses new Qualcomm video stabilisation technology that works on two fronts. While the gyro sensor works to stabilise footage you take in real time, another process analyses the stream of 15-20 frames to adjust the object to where it should be. It combines three autofocus features – laser detection for indoor and low-light conditions, phase detection for outdoors and focusing on moving objects, and micro focus control to get the clearest image.

LG continues its collaboration with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HitRECord project, and believe this is the perfect phone for emerging artists.

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According to LG, the V20 has unmatched audio and video recording capabilities. While the V10 was comfortable recording vividly at 120 decibels, the V20 ups this to 132dB. It uses the backward-compatible LPCM format that allows a bit rate of 24, compared to its competitors’ 16 bit rate on AAC. Files are also not compressed.

The V20 delivers studio-quality sound recording through its imbedded mic.

According to an LG spokesperson, the company decided to take the “geek route” to improve the V20’s audio capabilities. The phrase “Quad DAC” or four DACs gets thrown around quite a bit as if to prove that, which is meant to reduce noise levels by up to 50 per cent to deliver clearer sound. The phone also has HD Audio Recording.

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Conclusion

The V20 is a bigger phone that doesn’t feel as big. It’s also not a delicate flower you have to handle super gently. The UI is pretty standard and works logically. It’s got a lot more features than your average user will want or use, but it’s good to know it’s there should the need arise. If nothing else, just think of the amazing selfies you’ll get with that wide-angle front camera! We can’t wait to get our hands on one for a proper review.

The V20 comes in three colours – titan, silver and pink. UAE price and availability hasn’t been confirmed, but it ships in a few weeks.

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