LG V20 first impressions: Looks good, but this price is way too high

LG V20 will take on the likes of the Galaxy S7 Edge, iPhone 7 Plus and OnePlus 3T. Here’s our first impression.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | Updated: December 9, 2016 6:44 pm
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LG is in a strange position, their smartphones aren’t bad, especially if you look at G4 or G5. In case of the G5 the modular smartphone is solid and zippy, but stumbles due to its flawed design. But the G5 couldn’t beat the Galaxy S7 Edge in the popularity.

But it seems as if LG has moved on and is betting on the success of V20, its second flagship smartphone of 2016. The dual-screen V20 is a follow-up to the V10 (well, it never got launched in India), and you will need to shell out Rs 54,999 for this smartphone. Here’s our first impression of the phone.

Design, Display

It’s time to go traditional, again. After experimenting with a modular smartphone in the form of G5, LG has gone back to its roots. And the result: V20 which takes a lot of cues from the G5 compared to the V10.

The original V10 featured a plastic textured back; it was bulky too. The V20 is a different breed; it is one of the few metal smartphones with a removable back cover. V20’s metal back can be removed easily by pressing a button located on the right side of the smartphone. You can then remove the battery, SIM card or microSD card. LG V20 has a MIL-STD-810G rating, meaning it can be dropped from a respectable height and will be fine. V20 feels rock solid in terms of build quality. It feels good in hand, just like the G5.

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LG has abandoned its signature volume keys on the rear, so now the V20 volume buttons are on the side. The top of the phone features a microphone and IR blaster. The bottom of the phone has the reversible USB Type-C port, microphone, single speaker system and the headphone jack. The top and bottom of the V20 appears to be made from metal; however, they are actually polycarbonate. The back of the phone houses a dual camera setup. Below the camera is a physical power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner.

However, the V20 is a massive phone to carry in your jeans pocket. The bezels are smaller, but the 5.7-inch display is still huge. I couldn’t even hold the phone properly when I was asked to take a selfie with the V20 during the launch event. At one point of time, the phone almost slipped from my hands (Oops!). I think V20 is too big for folks with smaller hands.

The highlight of the V20 is its secondary display above the 5.7-inch Quad HD (2560×1440) display. Compared to its predecessor, the V20 has a bigger 2.1-inch colour screen with a resolution of 1040 X 160 pixels. The horizontal ticker lets you read notifications, add contacts, open selected apps and more importantly, you can customise it fully. I think LG did the right job to add a secondary display on a smartphone as large as the V20.

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Hardware and Software

V20 is a powerful smartphone on the hardware front featuring Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory and a microSD card, in case you need more onboard memory. One wonders if LG could have launched the V20 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. Google has just launched the Pixel series with 821, and the OnePlus 3T also comes with the newer chipset as well.

Battery should be solid in my opinion. The smartphone packs a 3,200mAh removable battery. Expect the V20 to last a day on a single charge. It also includes fast charging capability.

The V20 runs Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box. The interface is clean. It also supports Google’s In Apps feature, which lets users to find content from apps that are installed on the phone.

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Camera

The V20 features a dual-camera setup with a 16-megapixel F/1.8 camera lens and an 8-megapixel F/2.4 wide angle lens offering a 135-degree view. The front camera is 5-megapixel with 120-degree wide-angle support and F/1.9 aperture. I took a few shots at the venue and since it was quite dark, I only managed to test the phone’s low light performance which doesn’t look so impressive.

Sound

LG is trying to differentiate the V20 on a superior audio experience. After all, V20 is the “first smartphone in the industry” to feature 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC. LG has also added three microphones on V20, which should allow users to record high resolution audio. So now it is possible to record studio-quality recordings on the phone. What’s more, the company will bundle a pair of Bang & Olufsen earphones free with the V20.

Early verdict

LG is struggling to get onto the top of the premium smartphone market. While the V20 doesn’t look bad, it’s not exceptional either. The Rs 50,000 price bracket is not easy to crack; my best bet is still the Galaxy S7 edge. No doubt for the LG V20 it will be a hard competitor to beat.

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