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LG V20 Review - The Jack Of All Trades

No doubt, LG's V20 flagship phone is one of the most interesting handset yet. It's equipped with all the goodies we wanted to see on a high-end smartphone and more. That's the reason why we really raved about this handset the first time we saw it.
LG V20 Review - Jack Of All Trades
LG V20 review

Now, after a month of using it, will our thoughts still be the same? Here's the continuation of our review.


Display Quality

The 5.7 inch of display goodness!
The 5.7 inch of display goodness!

LG is always known for producing the best IPS LCD on flagship phones. That remained to be the case with the V20's 5.7 inch QHD screen, as they even managed to improve make we saw with the G5 and V10. It's very sharp looking at 513 pixels per inch, color accuracy is amazing, and blacks are really deep even if this isn't an AMOLED screen.
It's arguably the best screen found on a mobile phone today!
What's special with screen of this handset it has a secondary 2.1 inch screen with a resolution of 1040 x 160 pixels. It can be used as a shortcut to some apps and check notifications.

Note: There's an option to turn the secondary off if you don't prefer to use it.

To my eyes, I even liked it better than Nexus 6P's QHD AMOLED screen due to its slightly less saturated colors that gives it a more natural look. On top of that, its brightness level is outstanding as well. It's adaptive display tech is also accurate and has the full 10 points of touch for the best typing experience.

Overall, V20's screen simply ranks among the best we've seen which only lags a tick behind the late Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Audio Quality

The other highlight of V20 that we discussed in our first impressions article is its audio prowess. Why? This is the only smartphone we know that's equipped with ESS's quad DAC for audiophiles. Exciting right?
Speaker grill found below the phone
Speaker grill found below the phone

Anyway, let's check its speaker first. Just note that this won't benefit from the Quad DAC inside the phone that makes the sound better. Fortunately, LG ensured that this handset is equipped with one of the most detailed and clean (little distortion on max volume only ) sounding speaker on a phone. However, just don't expect it to be a bass monster or the type of speaker that's as loud as the two front firing speakers found with Nexus 6P.
It's speaker is great even if it is not the loudest out there.
V20's HiFi audio settings
V20's HiFi audio settings

Moving to headphone audio quality output where you'll experience the benefit of its highly touted Quad DAC setup, we were very happy with what we heard. Why? The V20 does most of the things correct on an audiophile grade music player.

It's very clear sounding with almost no audible distortion, highly detailed that can impress even the most picky analytical audio lovers, well balanced across the spectrum, can easily play lossless audio files, and can go loud automatically even on some high-impedance or hard to drive headphones.

Bass response is great and can produce surprisingly very tight and punchy bass and skull rumbling sub-bass. Mids are well represented and clear. Highs are sparkly and doesn't have annoying peaks / pierce. Everything else is well separated and its can make the soundstage of your headphones wider than usual.
We're sure that the V20 can match or even beat some midrange portable DAPs!
However, just don't expect it to be as good and loud as most super expensive HiFi music players. But, that won't change the fact  that were in awe of its audio output prowess.
B&O PLAY H3 w/ mic
B&O PLAY H3 w/ mic

It's Quad DAC setup is useless if you don't have a good pair of earphones or headphones. Fortuantely, LG partnered with B&O and bundled the V20 with PLAY H3 IEM (in-ear monitors).
The B&O Play H3 IEM is highly comfortable and has that warm relaxing sound!
As a quick recap, the B&O Play H3 is a wired earphones with decent cables and comfortable build. It offers a slightly warmer sound signature that's suitable for pop, rock, electronic, and hip-hop genres. It's balanced enough, slightly bassier (a tad uncontrolled) than flat sounding IEM's, and has an open soundstage for an IEM. It's just sibilant on some tracks, but for a freebie, this is arguably the best we've heard and the most comfortable to wear.

In terms of mic, this is could be on par or even better than what we heard with the Lumia 930 of the past. It has 3 High Acoustic Overload Point microphones that can record very clean tunes without much distortions for a phone. It can even record lossless 24 bit / 48 kHz audio for video recordings. It's call quality is also very clean and clear.

Battery Life

Battery life test and battery saving options

Packing a 3,200 mAh of juice on a 5.7 inch QHD screen and all those powerful hardware, we didn't expect much from the battery life of this device. But, it performed decently in our test.
Battery life is average, charging speed is great!
It clocked a score of a little over 6 hours at PC Mark's Work Battery Life test and we were able to use it from 8 am to 4 pm on a single charge. That's decent and average, but it lags behind the S7 and in battery life. Let's hope that LG can further improve on it in their next releases.

Fortunately, this handset has a good type of battery saving options. Plus, it has one of the fastest charging time at just around 1 hour and 20 mins to be fully charged.

Camera

Dual cameras!
Dual cameras!

Just like what we explained before, LG equipped the V20 with a 16 MP f/1.8 camera w/ Hybrid AF and OIS and a secondary 8 MP f/2.4 sensor w/ 135 degrees wide angle lens.

In its software, it has an easy to use interface with HDR mode and filters. What we like the most there is its intensive professional camera mode with manual focus, up to 32 seconds shutter speed and ISO 3200. Anyway, it also has grids, levels, and metering options.

Then just like what most LG flagship phones, its focus ranks among the speediest out there which won't give you much problem at all. Even shooting macros in close distance is easy with this smartphone.

For the quality of the main camera, shots that came from the normal mode and super wide angle mode are great. Colors are rich, vibrant, and more on the punchy side of things. Details are resolve and dynamic range is decent as well. However, we noticed captures on bright conditions get blown out highlights and have some noticeable noise.

In lowlight, it is better than most flagships thanks to its f/1.8 lens except when you are using the wide angle mode. Use its good type of flash or long exposure via manual to get best results though.

Speaking of its wide angle camera, it has that stunning wow factor effect as it can produce action camera like shots. Its color quality is also punchier that makes your outdoor images look more fun. There's some limitations though as its 8 MP f/2.4 secondary camera suffers in low-light situations. Again, using long exposure manually will help you take better images in the dark.

Rear Camera Samples

Wide angle shot in daylight 1
Wide angle shot in daylight 1
Wide angle shot in daylight 2
Wide angle shot in daylight 2
Wide angle shot indoor
Wide angle shot indoor
Wide angle shot indoor in lowlight
Wide angle shot indoor in lowlight
Macro test
Macro test
Night shot 1
Night shot 1
Night shot 2 manual
Night shot 2 manual

V20's selfie camera is one of my favorites for outdoor use. Like its main camera setup at the back, it also has a dual camera module that can take normal or wide angle shots with a maximum resolution of 5 MP.

It takes photos with decent color accuracy, balance, and saturation while being not that noisy. We really enjoyed using its wide angle mode for taking groufies with friends as it can more people in your frame. Your arm may just look stretched or distorted, but still it has that wow factor that you'll rarely see on other phones.

Note: Use the selfie screen flash mode in taking photos on dark conditions

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie in daylight
Selfie in daylight
Wide angle selfie in daylight
Wide angle selfie in daylight
Wide selfie in lowlight
Wide selfie in low light
Wide selfie in really low light
Wide selfie in really low light

For videos, this is arguably the best video shooter found on a mobile phone yet. It can take up to 2160p at 30 fps and 1080p on 60 fps at the back. It's stabilized due to its proper combination of a gyro-enabled EIS and OIS. The result, it is far from shaky even for handheld use.

Its selfie camera can also record up to 1080p on 60 frames per second which is rare for a secondary camera. It's quality is also decent in quality even if it has some grains and shaky at times.

Note: You can also use the manual mode for taking videos

Video Samples



Performance

Monster scores on Antutu and Geekbench benchmark apps
Monster scores on Antutu and Geekbench benchmark apps

The LG V20 is a certified speedster on paper. It's loaded with a 2.15 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 820 quad core processor, Adreno 530 GPU, and 4 GB of RAM. This phone also has 64 GB of expandable storage with the use of a micro SD card slot.

In real life scenarios, this phone has a flagship worthy type of snappy performance all around. We never had a problem in loading apps with ease and even doing heavy multitasking. Playing high-res videos and high-res music which can cause hiccups on some phones is very fluid with the V20 as well.

In gaming, this device runs almost anything we throw at it on high-settings easily. We just experienced minor throttling when the phone gets warm.
LG V20's skin
LG V20's skin

Moving to its software, this is the first non Nexus phone to run with Android 7.0 Nougat OS w/ w/ LG UX 5.0+ skin on top. It's optimized, easy to use, and has almost no annoying bloats. We also liked some of its pre-installed softwares like the QRemote app (IR blaster software), music player, audio recorder, and Smart doctor for phone optimization.

Lastly, everything else from WiFi, LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, fingerprint scanner, and telephony works well. 

Pros - Tough exterior, outstanding display, flagship worthy performance, great cameras for stills and videos, amazing headphone audio output quality
Cons - Doesn't feel as premium compared with most modern flagship phones, no waterproofing, speaker isn't as loud as expected, secondary screen feels gimmicky

Verdict

The LG V20 is a surefire smartphone of the year candidate. It's one of the most enjoyable phone we used this year where we particularly enjoyed its wide angle front / back cameras, best in class video quality, and the best audio output through headphones found on a phone yet.

It may have some shortcomings on some areas, but nobody can still deny the fact that this device is worth all your hard earned bucks at PHP 35,990 only. We even think that LG could have made the SRP of this handset higher due to all the innovations they placed inside this machine.

With no exaggeration, the LG V20 is that great!


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