NEW LG V30, CAN IT TAKE ON THE IPHONE 8?
I have a new best friend, who has been with me from Berlin to Barcelona for the past week, the Samsung Note 8 is the ultimate travel companion, but is it the best ever smartphone?
During IFA 2017 in Berlin, ChannelNews and SmartHouse were given LG's all-new V30 smartphone. For the past month, I have been using the phone throughout Europe and Australia, and can attest it's as good as several other Androidbased devices attempting to strip market share away from Apple and Samsung.
In the past we have openly awarded LG a SmartAward for their G6 and V20, but with this device, LG has not only advanced several steps forward, they have also demonstrated they are a significantly superior force than Apple, Sony, Nokia, HTC and several other brands which are competing to take the last remaining 23% of the premium market, behind the two major brands.
Comparing the V30 to Apple's iPhone 8 demonstrates that Apple is light years behind, when it comes to delivering superior smartphone technology - a statement likely to turn Steve Jobs in his grave, as his once precious baby is beaten up by products such as the V30.
The device not only offers superior battery life, it features an OLED screen which is made by LG, too.
If carriers in Australia don't range this device, they are doing their customers a massive disservice. This should be right at the front, alongside offerings from Apple and Samsung, which carriers gush over because they are more interested in margins than giving their customers vast choices.
LG was one of the first manufacturers to release an edge-to-edge “bezel-less” phone, and this one feels especially good in the hand, as the device is extremely light weighing 158 grams.
While the G6 lacked a top end Snapdragon processor, the V30 makes up for it with a superior Snapdragon 835 processor, delivering a significant speed advantage. The 4GB of RAM certainly helps.
With the V30, you get the option to choose between 64BG or 128GB of internal storage, plus an added MicroSD card slot allowing you to increase anytime you need more space.
The phone is also IP68 water-and-dust-resistant, meaning you can take it underwater for up to 1.5 metres or 30 minutes.
We also noticed that the battery life on the V30 was superior to the HTC U11 and the new Nokia 8. During IFA 2017, a major European trade show, I was able to get a day out of the V30 and still have 50% battery life left.
The V30 has a 6-inch screen, and after using the large Samsung Note 8 - which has a significantly larger screen - I felt extremely comfortable with the V30, as it fits perfectly in your hand.
In fact, my wife (who has smaller hands than I) fell in love with the device instantly, as she does not like large smartphones such as Nokia's Note 8.
The screen's corners are rounded and the frontfacing camera and earpiece sit at the top. At the bottom are a USB-C charging port and a single speaker grill.
Another big advantage is that the on-off and fingerprint scanner on the back is in the middle of the V30. Contrary to the Samsung S8+ and Note 8, the scanner is easy to reach. On the right is a SIM card slot, and on the left is volume controls.
A dual-camera setup is at the top centre next to the flash. Given the positioning of the fingerprint sensor and on-off button, you don't accidentally smear the lens with greasy finger marks.
The phone's covering is a mix of glass and chrome, though this is not sophisticated enough for what this device delivers under the bonnet.
As for the OLED 2,880 x 1,440-pixel resolution display and 18:9 aspect ratio, it's as good as you get for a smartphone. LG is the best when it comes to OLED and this device reflects that. Blacks are deep blacks, and image colours scream out of the display in just about all viewing conditions. As for Netflix movies, the exclusive relationship between Netflix and LG shines through the 18:9 aspect ratio.
A key plus for this device is that the V30 is now a Daydream-ready device, which allows owners to use Google's mobile VR platform - you will, however, have to buy a separate Daydream View VR headset.
Under the bonnet, the device is built to run on Android 7.1.2, but LG states it's already working on an update to bring the latest flavour of the Android mobile operating system to the V30.
Another big plus with past LG smartphones and the V30 is that users can double tap the screen to turn the display on or off. Smart settings allow the phone to automatically turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you leave your home and change your sound profile.
Apart from the fingerprint sensor on the rear, the V30 lets you unlock your phone with your face. There's also Voice Print, enabling you to use a specified phrase to unlock the phone. When it comes to taking pictures, the V30 really comes into play.
The device has dual-camera setup on the rear, and like several other dual camera systems, one camera takes wide-angle photos (13 megapixels, f/1.9 aperture), while the other is standard (16 megapixels, f/1.6 aperture). Compared to Samsung's Note 8, the camera performs well, however, resulted in not as sharp images.
LG has added a “telephoto zoom” lens for portraits and a black and white sensor. The company went against the grain with a super wide-angle camera.
Travelling through Barcelona, I could compare LG's V30 side-by-side to Samsung's Note 8 camera. I found the new telephoto zoom feature and one big advantage.
LG has also significantly improved aperture on its wide-angle lens and eliminated the distortion which sometimes creeps to the edge of really wide shots.
Another area where LG offers improved performance is in the V30's ability to shoot videos.
A new Cine Video mode allows users to add filter-like themes to videos, before even filming anything. The themes are all designed around different movie genres.
‘Classic' will force you to shoot in black and white. ‘Thriller' adds a dark blue tint, ‘Flashback' offers sepia hues, and ‘Romantic Comedy' adds a warm colour palette.
Interestingly, on two separate occasions, I accidentally shot video without knowing a filter was on.
There's also a slider that utilizes object tracking technology, allowing users to it push up or down to zoom in or out of videos. Instead of zooming in the centre of the screen, you can tap an object or person you want to zoom in on, and when zooming starts, the camera automatically zooms in on that subject.
The 5-megapixel front-facing camera also utilises a wide-angle lens, and lets you swap between a close-up photo for selfies, or wider-angle for group photos.
Where this device especially excels in is the battery department. It just keeps going and going.
The V30 comes with a 3,300mAh battery, whilst the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus features a 3,500mAh battery. Despite the bigger battery the V30 outperforms the S8, which in part is due to Samsung device software sucking down battery life far more frequently than LG's V30.
The retail price for this device is $1,199, which I believe is $200 too expensive. This is more a $995 device, which on a plan would be affordable, yet at the same time would deliver a device which is up there with the best of them.
What LG must realise is that when it comes to smartphones, it does not have the brand clout of Apple and Samsung. Whilst the device has some of the same features of some top-end models, LG doesn't have the street cred to drive consumers to buy the V30. If this was a Samsung device it would walk out, but it's not.
This is the equivalent of Volvo attempting to sell their product a tad under Mercedes' and BMW's top-end models.
Overall, this is great phone, both in performance, video camera capabilities, and best of all boasting an amazing battery life and display screen which is as good as the new Apple iPhone X.
What I personally suggest is that if you want this device, haggle with your retailer because there is margin in this product, and it's better that it's in your pocket than someone else's.