LG V10: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

LG V10 AH 22

LG has announced the company’s new flagship during their press event on October 1st, the LG V10. This smartphone has been surfacing in the shape of leaks for quite some time before LG decided to pull the trigger and actually announce the device. The LG V10 is a very sleek-looking smartphone, and it’s premium in basically every way. This phablet actually has a rather unique ‘Secondary Display’ which is placed above the main panel, which is also one of its main selling points. The phone is premium in basically every way, it sports 4GB of RAM, which is 1GB more than the G4, it’s made out of metal and ‘Dura Skin’ (durable silicone), it has serious firepower in terms of image quality and so on, Let’s take a closer look at this device, shall we.

The Good

Let’s kick things off by talking about the ‘Secondary Display’. Even though it’s called that, it’s not exactly a separate panel. The ‘Secondary Display’ is actually a part of the device’s main IPS panel, but it’s backlight controller and display drivers are completely separate. This display is also set to stay awake at all times, which can come in really handy when your device is turned off, and it actually changes content when you use your main panel. This display is, of course, customizable, so you can basically tweak it to suit your needs. Keep in mind, though, that this display might not be as customizable as you might think, it’s (currently) limited to LG’s apps and features.

This approach is different, but it’s not the first time we’re seeing such a display in a device. Some older Sony Ericsson devices sported such a ticker display (placed elsewhere though), and I’m sure you’ve heard of YotaPhone’s E-Ink display which is placed on the back of the company’s devices. The best examples are, however, Samsung’s Note Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus devices. LG’s ‘ticker’ display is in a rather interesting place though, and it doesn’t exactly take away from the overall design of the device. Now, the ‘ticker’ display isn’t LG V10’s only strong suit though. The company has included the LG G4’s 16-megapixel camera here as well, which is not even more polished and offers more features, especially in the video department. It is also worth mentioning that the device now has two 5-megapixel front-facing cameras, which LG calls ‘Dual Lens’ cameras.

The LG V10 is made out of metal and silicone, which is an interesting combination. The ‘Dura-Guard’ frame is reportedly really resilient, which is a good thing. Kudos to LG for this approach, the silicone on the back provides a good grip, while the metallic frame sure gives the device a premium look and feel. The LG V10 is a very sleek device, and as far as design material choices go, LG has done a really, really good job here.

The Bad

The ‘Secondary Display’ or ‘ticker’ display is an interesting approach, but LG could have approached this differently though. How? Well, a separate OLED panel might be a better choice considering that way only the non-black pixels would be in use. The ‘Secondary Display’ doesn’t really drain that much battery though, LG says that it can take up 5% out of overall battery consumption per charge cycle. This might seem like nitpicking, but an OLED panel would definitely be a better choice for something like this, so I had to point that out. Now, the ‘ticker’ display can be useful, but there are those of you who probably don’t think so, and yet you like everything else this device has to offer. If LG didn’t include the ticker display, and managed to move the Dual Lens camera in a different place on the front, the bezel on the top of the device would be far thinner. This would, of course result in an even more appealing device as far as the design goes.

These are not necessarily bad sides of the LG V10, but are something to think about, that’s for sure. It’s also worth mentioning that LG’s software is far better than it was before, but it’s still not as smooth as it’s supposed to be. LG V10 is said to sport with Android Lollipop pre-installed, which means we’ll get LG UX 4.0 on top of Google’s OS. This software offering will be very reminiscent of the software skin you can find on the LG G4, and LG can improve upon that. The UX 4.0 is not bad, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it could be even better. LG has promised that the V10 will get Android 6.0 Marshmallow soon though, so it remains to be seen what changes will we see there. LG’s skin has a lot to offer, and it’s both good and bad, but there’s certainly room for progress here.

The Snapdragon 808 64-bit hexa-core SoC is a powerful chip, that’s for sure, but it has been around for a while now. It might be a good thing LG has avoided using the Snapdragon 810 here, due to its drawbacks, but perhaps the company should have waited for January and included the Snapdragon 820 in this smartphone. The LG V10 is a powerhouse, that’s for sure, but it would look even more powerful if it had a Snapdragon 820 on the inside. Truth be told, this chip still isn’t available on the market though, so that’s not something we’d hold against LG.

The Ugly / Wrap Up

The LG V10 is a formidable offering by this Korea-based smartphone OEM, and even though there are some things they could have done better (as pointed out in ‘The Bad’ section), there’s nothing exactly worth listing in ‘The Ugly’ category. We’ll admit, this is a rather odd smartphone, but that really doesn’t have to be a bad thing, quite on the contrary. It remains to be seen how well will it sell, will the LG V10 be a success LG is expecting it to be, or will it just be one of those ‘throw it against the wall and see if it sticks’ products.

All in all, LG V10 is a combination of the LG G4 and something we haven’t seen from LG just yet. This device certainly is different from more or less anything out in the market right now, and even though it has its drawbacks, it definitely is an interesting offering by the company. The release of this handset actually makes me wonder what the LG G5 will look like and what features it will sport. LG did say that the V10 is a beginning of a new line of devices, but it is possible that this device might alter LG’s G5 plans, especially if it turns out to be a success in the end.