Two thousand and sixteen was the year of VR, modular phones and dual-lens cameras. We’ve seen a lot of those all year round, but only a handful actually turned out to be great at either one or two. Sadly, most turned out to be just dipsticks to test if the market was ready for phones that does more than take a great selfie or be really fast at multitasking. The LG V20 is one of the few smartphones that tried and got so close to getting it right. Here’s our review.
Disclaimer: Our review unit is a display unit from SK Telecom in Korea. Some functionalities were not available for review.
- Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
- Adreno 530 graphics
- 4GB RAM
- 32/64GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD up to 256GB
- 5.7-inch Quad HD IPS LCD display (1440 x 2560 pixels)
- 2.1-inch secondary display (1040 x 160 pixels)
- Corning Gorilla Glass 4
- MIL-STD-810G certified – shock resistant
- Bang & Olufsen audio
- 16 megapixel (f/1.8 aperture) + 8 megapixel (f/2.4 aperture) with PDAF, OIS and dual LED flash
- 5 megapixel front facing camera
- 4G/LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, Fingerprint Scanner, USB Type C
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
- 3,200 mAh battery
- Android 7.0 Nougat with LG UX 5.0
A successor to last year’s LG V10, the V20 shares some similarities to the previous model, most notably the second display at the top of the main display. This display doesn’t differ that much from the V10’s and is still mostly for additional shortcuts and notifications.
What changed, though, was the overall build and construction of the phone. The overall construction has been improved, as well. It no longer looks like a concept phone like the V10 did, and now favors a more commercial design which is actually similar to the G5. No longer is the volume rocker found in the back, too. It’s now placed on the left-hand side of the device. The power button / fingerprint sensor, however, remains at the back for easier access.
Overall, the design seems more consumer-friendly following the aluminum-glass trend that every smartphone maker has started to adapt last year.
The V20 runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. Thankfully, even with its all-metal design, it can still accommodate expansion through a microSD card slot. With all of these, you can expect the V20 to run smoothly and handle daily tasks with ease.
Even with the all-metal design, the V20 still comes with a removable 3200mAh battery. Our test unit came with a broken battery, though, as it was only able to charge up to 51%. It comes with a quick charging feature through its USB-Type C port, however, so topping up is no problem.
The V20 is also designed to be an audio beast with 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC (Digital-Analog Converter) capabilities, which means the V20 can drive high capacity earphones and headphones and deliver HD audio. It also has 3 HD microphones for audio capture.
The main differentiator of the V20 is the newer dual-lens camera system both at the back. The V20 has a pair of cameras – 16-megapixel f/1.8 regular sensor and 8-megapixel f/2.4 wide-angle sensor with a 135-degree view. Videos taken with the wider camera resemble that of a video taken with a GoPro.
Captured images are well-balanced in terms of color, but tend to be too grainy indoors. Image capture is also quick and almost instantaneous and focusing time is superb thanks to the dual laser autofocus system.
You can fit more people in your group selfies, too given that the V20 has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with an f/1.9 aperture and 120-degree wide angle lens.
Here are some sample photos.
It’s undeniable that the V20 improves so much better on its successor with a better design, a larger battery, a faster processor and better audio capabilities. The camera has been significantly improved and made more desirable, which will excite camera phone enthusiasts. The V20 remains a niche smartphone still, however, with only a portion of the market to attract. But at least, that market segment is going to enjoy this smartphone, at least until the next one comes out.