The LG V60 ThinQ 5G is the weirdest phone to come out in 2020, so far. And it's not weird because it has some crazy gimmicks or tricks. It's weird because it's super simple. Not something that we really see a lot of in the smartphone world. Let alone, something we see from LG often.
Normally LG relies on different gimmicks to sell its phones. But with the V60 ThinQ, it appears that LG has finally heard our calls for ditching the gimmicks and giving us things that actually work and are useful. Like a bigger battery.
The V50 ThinQ had a 4000mAh capacity battery, and the V60 ThinQ jumped to a 5000mAh capacity battery this year. That's a 25% increase in capacity, while the display resolution dropped to 1080p. So naturally battery life is pretty incredible.
The best battery life we've seen in 2020, so far
During the review process of the LG V60 ThinQ, we've had a very hard time killing the battery in one day. It typically lasts us at least two full days of usage. And that's with over eight hours of screen on time. We're confident that if you really wanted to push the battery in the LG V60 ThinQ, you could get 10 hours or more, based on our findings in this review.
This included time on both mobile data and WiFi. Unfortunately, that did not include time on AT&T's 5G network, since it was not available in our area. Despite AT&T's coverage map saying it was.
Now it does go without saying that your usage is likely to vary. Since no one uses their phone the same. But still, 8+ hours of screen on time is pretty impressive. And it beats what the Galaxy S20 Ultra was able to do in our testing.
One of the main reasons for such incredible battery life, is that 1080p 60Hz display, as well as that large 5000mAh capacity battery.
60Hz displays should not exist in 2020
One of the biggest downsides to the LG V60 ThinQ, and the biggest con that we've listed in this review, is the display. And it's not because the display isn't good. Because it is. It's because it is only a 60Hz display.
This is at a time where every other manufacturer is embracing higher refresh rates like 90Hz and even 120Hz. But LG is choosing to stick with 60Hz.
Now the untrained eye likely won't notice the difference, but after coming from a 120Hz phone like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, or even 90Hz like the Pixel 4 XL, it is very noticeable.
Luckily, the display on the LG V60 ThinQ does exceed our expectations in every other aspect. It is a large 6.8-inch Full HD+ OLED display, which actually looks really good. As I've been saying for years, there's no real need for QHD+ on a smartphone, as FHD+ is about the max that the human eye can distinguish. And it usually effects battery a lot more than it should.
LG makes some really good OLED panels, and only in the past couple of years has the company started using them with its smartphones. Now it's not quite on the level of Samsung's devices, but it is pretty close.
If you can look past the 60Hz refresh rate on the LG V60 ThinQ, then it is a really good display. Though coming from using the Galaxy S20 Ultra, S20+ and other smartphones I've had to review lately, the LG V60 ThinQ just seems like a step back, at 60Hz.
Let's talk about that dual display
This is now the third iteration of LG trying out a dual display approach to its flagship smartphones. And well, not much has changed from the LG G8X ThinQ released last fall. It's still mostly a gimmick. But the good thing is, some carriers – like T-Mobile – is allowing you to buy the phone without the Dual Display attachment, for $100 less. So it's a gimmick that you can get rid of and pay less.
There are still very few apps that support the dual display right now. Including Google Chrome. If you want to use a web browser that spans both displays, you have to use LG's browser. And it's just not good at all. The only real use case for this dual display is actually gaming. And specifically games that use a game controller. As you can use one screen as a game controller and then the other for the actual game. This also means that your fingers aren't covering up the game. Making for a better experience.
Other than that, it's mostly a waste of space. It's something that LG should just drop, and look towards doing a real foldable smartphone, like Samsung and Huawei are doing.
This design looks familiar…
Okay, let's address the elephant in the room. The design. Yes, it looks like a Galaxy S10+, with a new paint job and an LG logo slapped on it.
Honestly, I have no problem with this. I would prefer that design over the Galaxy S20 design with that chonky camera bump on the back. There is a camera bump on the LG V60 ThinQ, but it is nowhere near the size of Samsung's camera bumps as of late. In fact, it didn't even cause any issues while we working on this review of the LG V60 ThinQ.
Now, I will say, this color combination is bold. Navy blue on the back with a gold frame and trim for the camera. It's not one that I expected to really love, but after using it as a daily driver for a couple of days, I came to love this color combination. It's different and that's what I love about it.
Though what is weird about this design is that only about half of the side is actually covered in the frame. The back continues to curve for a bit before hitting the frame. That makes it a bit more slippery than it should be. The reason for this is that huge battery that's inside. Which is making the V60 ThinQ a lot thicker.
But on the plus side, there is still a headphone jack on the V60 ThinQ. That makes LG the last hold out on the headphone jack. And this makes lots of sense, seeing as LG has put a big focus on audio on its smartphones in recent years. With the Quad DAC that is included on all of its flagships. And without a headphone jack, that Quad DAC is fairly useless.
The LG V60 ThinQ is pretty chonky, and we'd be doing a disservice if we did not talk about this, after all we complained in the Galaxy S20 Ultra review about its size. And the V60 ThinQ is actually taller and wider than the Galaxy S20 Ultra. However, it has not bothered me as much as the Galaxy S20 Ultra did, and for one big reason. And that is because it is not as heavy as the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Samsung used stainless steel for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, as well as a huge camera module. Which makes it crazy heavy.
Meanwhile the LG V60 ThinQ used lighter materials. So while it is actually larger, it doesn't seem larger or heavier.
It's no slouch, in the performance department
This is no surprise, but the LG V60 ThinQ is no slouch when it comes to performance. The LG V60 ThinQ stacks up quite nicely with other Snapdragon 865 devices that I have been able to review.
There's no lag whatsoever with the LG V60 ThinQ. And with the Snapdragon 865 inside, along with 8GB of RAM, that should come as absolutely no surprise.
Even with LG not doing so hot with software optimization, the V60 ThinQ absolutely flies on this hardware. You won't notice any issues when it comes to performance. Even when playing some of the most demanding games available on Android. And with 128GB of storage included, it's definitely future-proof for a good little while. Which is really nice to see.
Software is still terrible
I've written about LG's terrible software for years now, so I won't rehash everything that is bad about the software on the LG V60 ThinQ.
It is improving, very very slowly. It's not as bulky as it had been in recent years. The notification shade now is translucent which looks better than the white shade with teal icons. But still has a bit to go. But the overall theme of the software is still pretty outdated.
And LG hasn't really done much with its theme engine since debuting it many years ago. It's almost not even worth using.
Given how great LG is with software updates (that's a bit of sarcasm in case you missed it), it's good to see that our LG V60 ThinQ review unit is at least running on Android 10.
Of course, the biggest issue when it comes to software on LG smartphones is the pre-installed apps. Our AT&T variant here came with at least 30 pre-installed apps. Many of which were AT&T apps, or random games. The T-Mobile model also comes with quite a few pre-installed apps, but not quite as many as AT&T's. This is another place where LG needs to make some changes, and stop letting carriers install as many apps as they can on our phones that we are spending close to a grand on.
LG really needs to go through and just start over, when it comes to its software. Start from scratch like Samsung did with One UI. It's something that OEMs need to do every once in a while, and now is LG's turn.
The V60 ThinQ camera is good, it's just not better than its predecessors
So let's be clear here. We are not complaining about the V60 ThinQ's camera setup. It's good, but it's not really better than the V50 ThinQ or the G8X ThinQ cameras. And where this is a successor to the V50 ThinQ, it should be better.
LG is using a new main sensor, which is a 64-megapixel sensor with a f/1.8 aperture. It sports Dual Pixel PDAF and OIS. It's good, but the 16-megapixel sensor LG had been using is better, in our experience. Now this is paired with a 13-megapixel ultrawide sensor at f/1.9 aperture. And of course the popular time of flight sensor is here for making those portrait shots even better.
The one area where the V60 ThinQ has improved, though, is with portrait mode pictures. And this is likely primarily because of the ToF sensor that is included on the back. I have been quite impressed with how well portrait shots are coming out on the V60 ThinQ. Still not quite to the level of the Pixel 4, but very close. I'd say it's a close second place in portrait shots.
The ultrawide camera is still really good, of course we'd expect no less. LG is the one that pioneered the ultrawide camera, that everyone is including in their phones now – except for Google.
LG has a good camera setup here, but our expectations were a bit too high for it. And this is LG's fault actually. LG has done really amazing things with its cameras in recent years. Which led us to expect more from the V60 ThinQ. Hopefully, they are saving that for the new LG G9 ThinQ that is expected to be announced next month.
Should I buy the LG V60 ThinQ?
While most of this review sounded like I really disliked the LG V60 ThinQ, it's quite the opposite. I actually like this phone. LG seemed to have dropped all of the gimmicks that have held back its previous phones, and kept it simple here. Giving us a really good phone, at a decent price.
With most other smartphones coming in at well over $1,000 now, the LG V60 ThinQ coming in at $799 for just the phone (without the dual display) is actually a really good price. And the fact that there is a monstrous battery inside, makes it even better.
If you can find the LG V60 ThinQ for $799 or even less, then yes it is definitely worth buying. But if you're on Verizon where it's being sold for $999, it's not really worth buying at that price.