Do we have a good one for you today – the LG V20 takes on the updated OnePlus 3T. LG used the 'G' series as its flagship for years, and it puzzled the tech world when it came out with the LG V10 last year. We wondered if LG was changing to a new flagship but soon found out that the LG G5 was to be their shot at a modular phone and the LG V10 was a more traditional design. Like the LG V10, the LG V20 is an all-metal design that emphasizes the photo and sound aspect. The OnePlus 3T is an upgraded version of the OnePlus 3 that came out earlier this year. OnePlus was questioned as to why they would bother upgrading – perhaps to increase Christmas sales? A North American version sold in the US still only works with AT&T and T-Mobile. The OP3T is also an all-metal device that has an upgraded processor, larger battery, and more base memory. When it comes to specifications, just how do these two smartphones stand up to one another? Let's take a look and see just what these two devices have in common and then we will look at each one in greater detail.
The LG V20 and OnePlus 3T have very little in common other than their physical dimensions with the LG V20 just slightly larger due to its larger display – 5.7-inch versus 5.5-inches – and the LG V20 weighing in at 16 grams heavier. Other than that the devices have a different resolution for their displays and use a different technology. When it comes to processors, they picked the best available at the time – the LG V20 uses the Snapdragon 820 quad-core, and the OP3T uses the updated Snapdragon 821, which gives it about a 10-percent boost in performance. They both use the same Adreno 530 GPU, which will handle the most demanding graphics. Only the 64GB LG V20 has room for expansion while the OP3T has a 64GB or 128GB version for internal storage. The main cameras start with a 16MP shooter, but the LG V20 adds an 8MP wide-angle lens as well, but both put out great pictures. Both have a fingerprint sensor to unlock the device and NFC to authorize mobile purchases. Both have a large battery, but only the LG V20's is removable. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and the new Type-C reversible port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a careful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
The LG V10 had a more macho kind of look with its chiseled stainless steel, but the new aircraft-grade aluminum gives the LG V20 a smoother and more elegant look. The original silicone backing was moved it to the top and bottom of the LG V20, much like silicone bumpers. The V20 retained the dual display for notifications, although LG increased the brightness of the secondary screen. The LG V20 is designed for those interested in experimenting with photography or that want a device with a great sound through earphones.
Rather than use an 'always-on' display, LG decided to use two displays – a primary IPS Quantum QHD display that measures 5.7-inches with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 513 pixels-per-inch (PPI) and a secondary display that is a 1040 x 160-pixel display that is also 513 PPI. The secondary display, like the 'always-on' display, will help save the battery by allowing the primary display to stay off while the smaller display stays on and feeds your notifications. LG seriously brightened the secondary display this year making it easier to read the notifications, time, and date. The LG V20 uses a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with dual cores running at 1.6GHz and dual cores running at 2.15GHz. The LG V20 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of faster UFS 2.0 internal storage with room to expand.
For the photographers out there, the LG V20 uses a dual camera arrangement with a primary 16MP sensor and another 8MP wide-angle lens that operates independently from the main camera. The V20 will use the 16MP for routine shots, but for those shots when you would like a wider view, the 8MP wide-angle can step in. LG included laser and phase detection autofocus (PDAF,) added a large f/1.8 aperture on the primary camera and f/2.4 for the 8MP sensor, OIS, and a dual-tone LED flash. For the front-facing camera (FFC) LG included a single 5MP FFC with a f/1.9 aperture for selfies or video chatting. The LG V20 packs a 3200mAh removable battery that should last you throughout the day. Quick Charge 3.0 makes for a fast charge, or you can just replace it with a new battery.
LG went all out in designing the V20 with four DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters), which is a first in a smartphone. LG then provided an EQ with left/right balance controls that are B&O Play certified. If you get a good set of earphones, you can certainly appreciate the work that LG put into the V20, but it is a shame LG forgot to add dual front-facing speakers to blow us away with their sound. Because of its rugged build the LG V20 was awarded the MIL-STD-810G certification. The V20 measures 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm and weighs in at 174 grams and cost about $670. The LG V20 is available in the colors Titan and Silver. Last, but certainly not least, the LG V20 will be running Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box.
It is very hard to pick out the new OnePlus 3T over its predecessor, the OnePlus 3, except for the new Gunmetal color. The real updates occurred on the inside with a slightly faster processor, a larger battery, and changes in memory storage capacity and an improved scratch-resistant lens cover on the primary camera. OnePlus has still not laid out their reasoning for the upgrade but perhaps OnePlus was hoping to increase the holiday sales. It now makes us wonder what OP has in store this spring – a new OP4? We are looking at an all-metal device that has OP's usual good build quality and excellent value, but just how does it hold up to the LG V20?
OnePlus has always shied away from QHD displays and the OnePlus 3T does not deviate from that philosophy. It does sport the OnePlus 3T's new 5.5-inch FHD Optic AMOLED display that should give it more contrast and brighter colors. The OP3T comes with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a respectable 401 PPI. OnePlus used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor for their OP3 but decided to up the stakes on the OnePlus 3T and included the new Snapdragon 821 with the same dual-core clocked at 1.6GHz and another at 2.15GHz and running an Adreno 530 GPU for graphics. OnePlus then packed in a full 6GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of the faster UFS 2.0 non-expandable internal storage – up from the base of 32GB – although you can now order 128GB of internal memory and still keep the price under $500.
OnePlus upgraded an already great camera by including a more scratch-resistant sapphire lens. The 16MP sensor on the OP3T comes with fast PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus), LED Flash, a large f/2.0 aperture, and OIS for extra stability. The FFC camera increased from 8MP to a huge 16MP with a f/2.0 aperture for terrific social selfies and video chatting. The OnePlus 3T has a larger, non-removable 3400mAh battery that includes their rapid charge they call Dash Charge that will give you up to a 60-percent charge in only 30 minutes.
OnePlus is finally including both a fingerprint sensor and an NFC chip on their OnePlus 3T, which allows the device to make mobile payments and Android Pay purchases with a swipe of your finger. Thankfully, OnePlus decided to make a North American model for sale the US, but fell short by excluding Verizon and Sprint. It runs mostly stock Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out-of-the-box with OnePlus' OS called OxygenOS on top. OnePlus has promised that a Nougat upgrade is not far behind. The OnePlus 3T measures 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm and weighs in at 158 grams. It will cost you about $450 USD for the 6GB/64GB model and about $480 for the 6GB/128GB model. There is a choice of Gunmetal and Soft Gold.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
This was a tough decision as the LG V20 has more technology and features, but the OnePlus 3T is such a damn good value at only $450. However, you can get the LG V20 for only about $200 more, and with it, you get a QHD display, a secondary display, expandable memory, a removable battery, a better camera set up, incredible sound, and Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.
The OP3T does offer an incredible value with only a Full HD display, minor processor upgrade, and more RAM. However, you are limited to certain US networks, there is no memory expansion, no always-on notifications, and no removable battery.
If you are okay on AT&T or T-Mobile and do not mind the limited storage, or lack of photo options, then you should be very happy with the OP3T.
The LG V20 is a more complete device with more options and can work on all major US networks and that is why I am picking it as the winner of this comparison.