The LG V30's camera takes breathtaking images that bring pictures to life.
The LG V30 is finally official, and we've been using a "preview" version of the device for about a week now. Which is long enough to really give our first thoughts and impressions of the brand new device from LG. But keep in mind that this is not a review, as this is not final hardware nor final software, but just a preview of what LG is cooking up for this fall – at the time of writing, LG does not have a firm release date for the V30, other than the fact that it is coming this fall.
The first to notice with the LG V30 is the design. This is the first smartphone in the V series to sport that taller display that debuted earlier this year on the LG G6. It sports a 18:9 aspect ratio 6-inch OLED display. So it's a tad larger than the LG G6. It actually feels wider, but in all honesty, it's only a hair wider than the LG G6, and just a tad bit taller as well. Which means the screen-to-body ratio here is even higher than on the LG G6. Which is impressive to say the least. A few other changes that LG made in terms of the design here include the edges. While the G6 had flat edges, the V30 has curved edges and even the back and front are slightly curved, which makes the V30 feel smaller in the hand, and also makes it easier to hold.
The number one question with any smartphone, especially one with glass or metal in its build, is how slippery is it? And since the V30 is a glass smartphone, it is actually less slippery than you'd expect. Now you will likely want to put a case on the V30, but you don't necessarily have to. LG does have Corning's Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, with Gorilla Glass 4 on the camera. And since there's a very small camera bump here, that shouldn't be a problem. It also has the MIL-STD-810G standard, so it's a pretty rugged smartphone, despite being made of glass. So it's able to take a tumble, but that's still not recommended here.
This is the first smartphone from LG that has the Snapdragon 835 inside, since the LG G6 launched with the Snapdragon 821 earlier this year. The Snapdragon 835 does make the V30 nice and snappy. Although I don't see much of a difference between the performance on the V30 and the G6, so the difference in processors isn't that big of a deal. But battery life seems to be better – of course take this with a grain of salt since this is a preview unit and not final hardware. And that's a bit of a surprise given that both smartphones have a 3300mAh battery inside, and the V30 has a larger display. Now LG did opt to stick with 4GB of RAM here, which for the tech geeks may be a bad thing. But for those that just want a fluid experience from their smartphone, there's no issues here. The V30 works well with 4GB of RAM and Android 7.1.2 on board. There is also 64GB of storage – LG heard all of the complaints following the G6's 32GB earlier this year. And there is also a micro SD card slot – still no adoptable storage support, and that'll likely never change.
On the software front, it's Android 7.1.2 Nougat. A bit surprising since the V20 was the first with Android 7.0 Nougat last year, many thought that LG might get Oreo on the V30 for launch, but that's not the case – Sony has that distinction this year it seems. LG will be rolling out Oreo to the V30 in due time, no specifics were given but LG will roll it out once it's stable on the V30. So that could be before the end of the year, or even next year. Now when it comes to LG's experience on the V30, there's not a whole lot of changes here, which could point to a round of big changes coming with Oreo later on down the road.
There are some small changes in the software here, and the bigger ones that people will notice is in the app drawer/launcher. With the LG G6, there was a huge gap between the dock and the rest of the home page. Which meant you weren't able to add as many apps to the home page as you'd like, and aesthetically, it just looked a bit odd. But now, that is gone. It looks more evenly spaced than it did on the LG G6, which is a great improvement for LG. The company is keeping with the option to have no app drawer by default. Luckily, you can just hop into settings and change that out. The majority of the other changes are in the camera app, which we'll get to a bit later in this preview.
The camera has always been a strong suit of the V smartphones, starting with the V10 in 2015 which gave users the ability to not only shoot pictures in manual mode, but also video. And the V30 has improved the camera quite a bit over the LG V20 and even the G6 from earlier this year. Despite going back to making the two cameras the same megapixel-count in the G6, the V30 has gone back to making the main camera a bit higher resolution. So once again we have two cameras, one is a 16-megapixel standard angle lens, and then a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens, and you are able to switch between them quickly now. The wide angle camera is a great feature on the V30, as it allows you to really get everyone or everything into the frame. On top of that, LG has made (or rather, kept) the front-facing camera a wide-angle sensor, so you can get everyone in that selfie.
LG is really excited about a new feature called GRAPHY this year. What GRAPHY does is it allows you to shoot like a pro without being a pro. It can set up the scenery for a great photo just by telling it that you are taking a picture of food, or maybe a drink in a bar or even landscape and much more. And it does allow you to add more templates to it, to help it get better over time. It's really outstanding, and works really well on the V30. One of my favorite features on the LG V30, however, is the Point and Zoom. So with basically every camera ever, when you zoom in, it just zooms into the center. That is no longer the case. With the V30, you can point to something like a person or an object and have it zoom into that object. The camera will pan and zoom in smoothly to that subject, and it looks great. Allowing people to really create a professional video on their smartphone.
A few odds and ends here. The LG V30 does have a headphone jack, and it does have a Quad DAC on all models, unlike the LG G6. Plugging in a pair of headphones to the LG V30 gives you an incredible experience. Many that are not audiophiles may not have known that their smartphone needed a DAC let alone a Quad DAC but after experiencing the LG V30, you really can't go back. The V30 is also IP68 rated for waterproofing, so you can take it to the beach, the shower, etc without any issues. And finally, it is available in black and silver in the US when it launches this fall, some carriers will get exclusive colors, but those are the main colors this time around.
The LG V30 has a lot of great things going for it, and it's going to be available on all of the carriers in the US, so everyone will be able to pick one up. LG has essentially taken all of the good from the G6 and made it even better with the V30. It's pretty tough to find something to dislike about the LG V30 here, but there will likely be some other things that we'll find when we do start the review.