LG V20 Impressions - It Could Be The Best Phone For 2016!

As a follow-up to last year's underrated V10, LG has recently launched the V20 in the Philippines. It's a device that's gearing up as major dark horse for the best smartphone in the world race for 2016.
LG V20 Impressions - It Could Be The Best Phone For 2016!
Meet V20, LG's most powerful phone yet!

Why? It appears that LG Electronics did their homework very well. The company listened to the clamor of their fans and combined everything that most people want in a modern top-of-the-line flagship handset.

To refresh our minds, the LG V20 is jam-packed with solid innovations such as the dual screen technology (Regular 5.7 inch QHD screen and 2.1 Inch QHD secondary display for notifications), the first phone with 4 camera setup (2 at the back, 2 in front for wide angle captures), first phone to load with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, and the rest of its top-of-the-line configurations.

On a personal note, the most exciting part of of the V20 lies in its audio quality. This handset is the first handset in the world with quad ES9218 DAC setup designed for every audio lovers including nitpicky audiophiles.

Given all those traits, we were very keen to find out what this flagship phablet is all about. Will it be the the right or even better Note 7 replacement?


Disclaimer: We just borrowed this unit from Ashley of Hardwarezone Magazine, thanks!

LG V20 Specs

Display: 5.7 Inch QHD IPS 2560 x 1440 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass and Gorilla Glass 4 protection at 513 ppi
Secondary Display: 2.1 Inch QHD IPS 160 x 1040 resolution w/ Gorilla Glass 4 protection at 513 ppi
CPU: 2.15 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 820 quad core processor
GPU: Adreno 530
RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4
ROM: 64 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 2 TB
Back Camera: 16 MP f/1.8 w/ Hybrid AF, OIS and 8 MP f/2.4 135 degrees wide angle lens w/ dual tone LED flash
Selfie: Camera: 5 MP f/1.9 (dual) w/ up to 120 degrees wide angle
Battery: 3,200 mAh w/ Quick Charge 3.0
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat w/ LG UX 5.0+
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, HSPA+, LTE Cat 12, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, A GPS, NFC
Others: Fingerprint sensor, USB Type C, quad ES9218 DAC, Colors: titan, silver, pink 
Dimensions: 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6 mm
Weight: 174 g
Price: PHP 35,990

Build Quality / Design

View behind V20 showing the dual cameras, dual LED flash, sensors, and fingerprint scanner
View behind V20 showing the dual cameras, dual LED flash, sensors, and fingerprint scanner

Coming from the LG G5, the V20 isn't modular anymore. Instead, it utilized most of the formula found with the V10 that made it one of finest phones last year.
The SIM slot and micro SD card slots, removable battery, and metal cover
The SIM slot and micro SD card slots, removable battery, and metal cover 

This phone boast flagship grade build quality that's mostly made out of military grade metal. The frame and removable metal back cover is thin, but feels way tougher than what it looks. In front, the there's a layer of Gorilla Glass 4 protection that'll be there to save it breaking from accidental drops and scratches.
The device feels solid, won't bend, and break easily as a whole.
However, there's still some silicon polycarbonate parts found on its upper back / lower bottom parts and it doesn't have water / dust resistances.
There's a microphone on top
There's a microphone on top
3.5 mm headphone jack, microphone, USB Type C, and single speaker below
3.5 mm headphone jack, microphone, USB Type C, and single speaker below
Volume rocker on the left side of the phone
Volume rocker on the left side of the phone

In terms of design, it isn't the prettiest phone around, but it is very slim and still looks sleek overall. We like its beautiful corner contours, reduced screen bezels, and low-profile paint finish. The cameras behind are just protruding, but that's minor thing for us.

Ergonomically, the V20 is very comfortable to hold even if it is considered as a big phablet with its 5.7 inch large screen. The slanting corners, slim bezels, and slim profile did that trick. We also find all its volume rocker at left and fingerprint sensor behind easy to locate.

Initial findings

Antutu score of over 131K!
Antutu score of over 131K!

1. Just like the V10, the very sharp and vibrant screen of V20 is a joy to view. While some may find the secondary screen a bit gimmicky, it'll be useful for those who'll master it overtime.
2. It's the first LG flagship (for me) that truly feels premium to hold and feel.
3. The cameras on both sides looks very impressive on first try. We also enjoyed its wide angle mode that gives an action camera like effect. For selfies, it can fit a lot of people in one frame!
4. As we all know, this is the first phone in the world that loads with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. It's LG UX 5.0+ is clean and simple to use.
5. It's the most feature packaged smartphone today, but there's no water and dust resistance.

The quad Sabre ES9218 DAC 

On paper, we find the its use of the quad Sabre DAC very exciting. Why? We're used to using HiFi DAP's that only have dual DAC setup which often cost a lot. LG did this on a powerful phone where they included not 2 but 4 DAC's coming from ESS Technologies, the known makers of high-end audiophile grade chips.

Unfortunately, we were only able to listen at 1 song using the V20. Anyway, from what we heard, the V20 sounded very clean, full, musical, and real at the same time. There's plenty of bass when needed, but it doesn't overpower the rest of the audio spectrum as it still packs with tons of details. So far, there's a good chance that as a music player, the V20 has the chance to compete even against pricier portable dedicated digital to analog players out there.

Note: We just don't know yet if it is capable of driving bigger headphones with high impedance.

Camera teaser

Rear camera, normal mode
Rear camera, normal mode
Rear camera, wide angle mode
Rear camera, wide angle mode
Normal selfie mode
Normal selfie mode
Wide angle selfie mode
Wide angle selfie mode

As of the moment

We'll need more time with the device before we can state our verdict, but easily, the V20 is the most value packed flagship phone for 2016 on paperWhy? It did everything right by putting all the high-end specs today, stylish design, what most people like (removable battery + expandable storage), innovative quad cameras, and quad DAC setup.

On top of that, LG surprised us on how low they priced this device at just PHP 35,990 considering all those innovations against its major competitors - the Note 7 and iPhone 7 series.
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