LG adds AI to its new V30S ThinQ smart­phone

It won’t be faster, but it will be smarter. MICHAEL SI­MON re­ports

Android Advisor - - Contents -

LG is start­ing to think dif­fer­ently about phone re­leases. If you were hop­ing for a new LG flag­ship phone at Mo­bile World Congress, you got your wish. Well, sort of. In­stead of the G7, LG has launched the V30S ThinQ, which fresh­ens the V30 with AI, though not spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

The V30S has the same dis­play, chip, bat­tery, and cam­era as the V30, but bumps the RAM up to 6GB and the stor­age to 128GB. It also comes in two new colours, Plat­inum Gray and Moroc­can Blue. But those mi­nor changes do not a new model make. To jus­tify the name, LG has given the V30 adds AI.

While cur­rent V30 own­ers might be a lit­tle miffed that they’re not get­ting in on the ac­tion, if you’ve been on the fence about buy­ing one, let this be the thing that pushes you over.

The V30 is al­ready a great phone, and the new AI fea­tures only en­hance one of its best fea­tures: the

cam­era. It re­mains to be seen whether an al­go­rithm can make that much of a dif­fer­ence be­tween the V30 and V30S, but as­sum­ing the new phone doesn’t cost much more than the orig­i­nal, it’s def­i­nitely the model to wait for if you were plan­ning to buy one.

Smarter all around

While last year’s pre­mium G6 and V30 phones are still wait­ing for their Oreo up­grades, LG is ship­ping the V30S with the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid out of the box. But the up­graded UI isn’t all that’s new about the V30S: LG has pumped it full of AI as well.

It starts with the cam­era, which was al­ready one of the V30’s best fea­tures. When you launch it, you’ll now see LG’s AI Cam at work, as it analy­ses the scene and iden­ti­fies what’s in the frame. Once it fig­ures out what you’re look­ing at (via small la­bels placed all over the viewfinder), it will rec­om­mend the ap­pro­pri­ate shoot­ing mode based on colour, light­ing, and sat­u­ra­tion lev­els.

For ex­am­ple, if you’re shoot­ing a plate of pasta for your In­sta­gram feed, Vi­sion AI will sup­pos­edly se­lect Food mode, or if you’re point­ing at a build­ing, City mode will pre­sum­ably be more ap­pro­pri­ate. The most use­ful op­tion of all seems to be Bright mode, which uses the al­go­rithm to dou­ble the bright­ness in low-light im­ages with­out up­ping the noise.

And the V30S’s tricks go be­yond pic­ture-tak­ing as well. Also in­side the cam­era app is a fea­ture called Q-Lens that can au­to­mat­i­cally scan QR codes and of­fer shop­ping re­sults based on the pic­tures you take. Google does some­thing sim­i­lar with Google Lens,

which works with the cam­era and As­sis­tant to in­ter­act with the world around your phone. Google As­sis­tant is also tak­ing a big­ger role on the V30S, with deeper in­te­gra­tion into set­tings and new cam­era con­trols.

Phone-spe­cific AI isn’t new, but un­like phones like Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro, which in­cludes a ded­i­cated Neu­ral Pro­cess­ing Unit to work its magic, the V30 re­lies solely on soft­ware. To whit, it has turned to EyeEm’s Vi­sion tech for the V30S’s smarts. EyeEm’s AI runs lo­cally on the phone and uses more than 1,000 im­age cat­e­gories to make its anal­y­sis.

It’s un­clear how much the V30S will cost, but LG says it will start ship­ping in­ter­na­tion­ally in March.

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