Comparing the old media and the new is like comparing a desktop to a smartphone. They both do the same thing, but they do it differently. They use different processes, and in the end, one can do it better. With that being the case, how does the LG V20 stack up when it comes to audio performance? What about its cinematic capabilities? We can go through all of that in this review of the LG V20.
The metal build leaves nothing desired in the body of the V20. It’s rugged and has a military grade rating when it comes to drop durability, which leaves an extra bit of security in your mind. The back is very clean with only a V20 logo at the bottom, which looks beautiful, to say the least. More than halfway up lies a fingerprint sensor, which works very well. A small problem some may have with the sensor is that it doesn’t protrude or sink into the phone enough to give a response when you try to find it with your finger, given you aren’t looking at it. A few centimeters up lives the camera. Now the camera hump may bother some, but I find it gives a little distinction to the device.
When it comes to buttons on the V20, the back fingerprint sensor is also a power button; such was the case with the G5. On the left side is the volume rocker set. It does bother me a bit that the rockers are on the left side and not the right. It makes using the device a little hard because my hand just isn’t big enough to go around the other side of it to comfortably adjust the volume, given the screen is 5.7”.
That brings us to the display. If you’re looking for a brilliant screen, look no further than the 1440×2560 IPS display on the V20. Colors are incredible and pop wildly, as they should given you’ll want to use this phone for taking some incredible shots, whether they be video or photos. The screen gets fairly bright, so you don’t have to worry about being in direct sunlight while using the phone. Viewing angles are on point, thanks to the IPS display and you won’t want anything more out of it.
You’ll find yourself playing around with the second display on the top quite often, which comes in at 160×1040. It’s really useful in day to day use. For instance, when a notification popped up while using the V20, the notification popped up in the second display rather than interrupting the main display. I had a nice reminder of the notification in the corner and it didn’t interfere with what I was doing, which is awesome. It stays on when the main display is off, giving info like time, date, and even the icons of your notifications, so you have an idea of what’s happening. You can swipe through controls even when the main display is off to control things like music that’s playing. Overall, the second display is a welcome feature.
One thing to remember is with the power button on the back ─ you can always double tap to wake up the screen, which is a running feature in LG’s flagships.
The V20 is the first non-Nexus device to run Android 7.0 (Nougat) straight out of the box. All the same, features are there, as expected, including split screen mode and quick app switching. The V20 has a powerful setup inside it with a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of Ram, and up to 64GBs of storage out of the box. LG put their own skin over top of Google’s software, but it’s not overbearing as LG’s software has been in the past. It only changes a couple of things and with a good launcher, you can have the V20 set up just how you like it. In my case, I slapped Google Now Launcher on it updated my folders and apps, leaving me feeling right at home. If you’re worried about whether the V20 can handle all of your favorite apps and more, don’t be. The 4GBs of RAM will provide more than enough power to speed through any apps you have open. Performance beefiness is a must when it comes to handling things like video processing and audio quality, which the V20 excels at.
The V20 is packing a 32-bit Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) inside it. This converts those ones and zeros into signals that’ll produce vibration in your headphones, and this phone does it well. If you’re an audiophile, you’ll want to buy this phone for sure. I slapped a pair of Audio-Technica AD700x HiFi headphones on, and I couldn’t pry them off for an hour or two merely because of the crispiness of the audio the phone produced. It was incredible to hear something that good come out of a portable device. That brings me to my opening question of whether this phone steps it up with the whole digital vs. analog media debate. I’d go so far as to say this phone has a chance in that battle. I’m sure some would disagree in a heartbeat, though.
The V20 automatically enables HiFi mode, as long as you keep it enabled. If you don’t enable it, you’ll end up hearing a normal DAC conversion that would sound similar to any other smartphone.
Another huge selling point in the V20 is the cinematic qualities it displays in its camera app. First off, the V20 houses two lenses on the back of the phone; one is wide-angle, and the other is a normal lens. One is 16MP, f/1.8 and the other is 8MP, f/2.4. The fact that you can do both wide shots and normal photos is awesome. This leaves enough space if you want to get pretty creative with your shots. But if you really want to get creative, you’ll be at home in the manual camera mode, which is pretty intuitive and easy to use.
Video mode is a similar story. It also utilizes the wide lens and has a manual shooting mode. You can control almost every aspect of the camera you would need to, allowing you to get some amazing videos.
Stabilization is an interesting thing, though. It worked ok, but it definitely struggled. As long as your hands aren’t as shaky as mine, you should be fine.
The V20 doesn’t seem to ever stop powering through all of its bells and whistles. With this phone, I can easily do all of these things and spend a considerable amount of time on each of them, and still, have enough battery at the end of the day where I’ll actually ask myself whether I should charge it or not. I’m kidding, of course. You should never go into a full day without a full battery.
Jokes aside, the battery in the V20 is remarkable, not only because it’s 3200mAh, but also removable. Buy yourself an extra certified battery, and you’ll be good for a couple of days without a charge. I tried very hard to drain the battery, and I struggled to do so.
Taking everything into consideration, the V20 is an awesome phone. It does every task very well and lets you forget about worrying about whether your phone can handle it or not. It’s perfect for a decent size population as well. Whether it be amateur cinematographers, audiophiles, or the average battery drainer who takes extra batteries wherever you go, this is the phone for you.