LG V35 ThinQ review: not that smart, but still has plenty to offer
The LG V35 ThinQ is the latest phone in LG’s V-series line up for creators. It comes packed with high-end specs, a smart camera, and more. Keep reading to discover if our V35 ThinQ provided by AT&T delivers where it counts the most.
If you have seen any of LG’s flagship phones from the past several years, then there isn’t anything that will surprise you here. The LG V35 ThinQ uses the same LG design that we’ve become accustomed to, combining a metal frame with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back.
The front houses a crisp 18:9 QHD P-OLED panel with deep blacks, good color reproduction, great brightness, and minimal bezels. Overall, it’s a great looking screen but like other OLED screens, you will notice the black smearing issue from time to time. This issue is when an area of black pixels doesn’t transition fast enough to colored pixels, causing the black pixels to linger a little longer on screen. I mainly saw it while scrolling and when browsing through photos.
The glass back of the LG V35 ThinQ sticks with the dual lens camera layout, including laser focus and an LED flash. This, along with the power button/fingerprint scanner combo has become the standard for LG flagships over the years.
Like many other premium flagships these days, the V35 ThinQ comes with an IP68 water and dust resistant rating. This allows it to survive dunks in water up to 1.5m for no more than 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, for all of the audio prowess LG flagships are known for, the V35 ThinQ still only uses a single bottom firing speaker. LG has at least put this in an area that is more difficult to cover while holding in landscape. However, adding a secondary speaker in the earpiece would have been preferable. On the bright side, LG still includes a headphone jack with advanced audio settings.
The V35 ThinQ utilizes a nano SIM and includes a space for a microSD card with support for up to 400GB on the same tray. This is something that comes in handy considering the V series is made for creators and we can always use more space for photos, audio, and especially video.
LG has never been known for a light-handed approach with their UX skin on Android. They typically change the overall appearance while adding a myriad of features, and the V35 ThinQ is no exception. While I’ve never been a big fan of the change in appearance, I’ve seen much worse and I’ve always appreciated the extra features.
With the V35 ThinQ, you can expect the usual features such as double tap to wake, custom themes, always on display, comfort view, gaming tools, and much more.
Two of the stand out features of the V35 ThinQ include the floating bar and advanced sound settings such as the Hi-Fi Quad DAC and DTS:X Surround. The floating bar is for those of you who were fans of the secondary always on screen found in the previous generations of the V series phones that contained shortcuts.
In my opinion, the floating bar is a big upgrade because it provides more freedom to place the bar anywhere you’d like, while on previous generations I rarely used the always-on screen because it was too far out of reach when using the phone one-handed.
LG spoils audio lovers with the Hi-Fi Quad DAC and DTS:X Surround settings which allow you to tweak and play with the audio until you find the sound that most pleases your ears. After a little customization, I had the music sounding crisp and full of bass, giving me the clarity and boom I enjoy. There is something about the clarity that is hard for other phones to match and my ears really appreciate it. The one downside I find with the Quad DAC enabled is that the volume rocker must be pressed several times before there is any audible difference in the volume.
The amount of enhancements that LG includes has always been one of my favorite parts of their software. I’m glad to see they still offer plenty of customizations and features, but if you’re an Android purist some of these extra features and the theme could be off-putting.
In the past, I’ve run into issues with performance on LG phones, usually nothing major but often a stutter here or there. I’m happy to report this was not the case with the V35 ThinQ. Performance was smooth and snappy thanks to the Snapdragon 845 and 6GB of RAM.
Games loaded quickly and switching apps was plenty fast enough for me. When I benchmarked the V35 it turned in a respectable 255,555 from AnTuTu, placing it within the top 10 fastest phones. For Geekbench tests, it scored 2434 in single core and 8631 in multi-core.
As for the camera, LG stands out of the pack by offering a dual-lens camera with a traditional camera and a super wide angle camera. I am a big fan of this setup in comparison to other dual camera setups that include a zoom lens or black and white sensor for their secondary camera.
The super wide angle camera gives you a fun unique perspective similar to a GoPro camera. This comes in handy when shooting in tight rooms or shooting broad landscapes, as I’ve not found too many instances where I needed a dedicated black and white camera or a zoom lens. However, I find myself playing with the super wide camera on LG phones frequently.
The greatest benefit of these other dual lens systems was the portrait mode, but now LG has that too, giving you the best of both worlds. However, the V35 uses a setup more similar to the Pixel 2 phones and their implementation of portrait mode. By this, I mean it’s not as convenient to use or as accurate as the dual lens system found on Samsung phones. For example, you only receive a warning that portrait mode didn’t work after the photo is taken instead of before, like on Samsung phones. But as long as you’re careful about your shooting distance, it works pretty well.
Despite my praise of the super wide angle camera and portrait mode, I found the overall picture quality on the LG V35 to be a little disappointing. It’s not that the pictures were terrible but standards are high for premium flagships these days. Many times the 16MP f/1.6 traditional camera and 16MP f/1.9 super wide camera produced images that were washed out and lacking contrast. While at other times, they could crush the blacks in the scene, blow out the highlights, or cause banding in the sky.
A couple of other tricks the V35 ThinQ has in the camera department is the shortcut to Google Lens built into the camera app and the AI Camera. The shortcut for Google Lens is convenient and limited to very few phones at the moment. However, the AI Camera feature appeared to be little more than a setting to crank saturation up to 11. It didn’t always look bad, but it wasn’t exactly “smart”. However, it did offer a cool effect popping up words on the screen to identify what was in the frame.
The front-facing camera is an 8MP f/1.9 shooter that also includes a portrait mode. This worked quite well, only managing to miss the occasional spot along the edge of your face from time to time.
Battery life is so good on the LG V35 ThinQ that it left me scratching my head as to how it is possible. Using only a 3300mAh battery, the V35 ThinQ was able to give me over 3 hours of screen on time each day without dipping below 50%. I haven’t been this impressed and baffled since the Pixel 2 XL. Unlike the Pixel 2 XL though, the V35 ThinQ uses a glass back and includes wireless charging as well as fast charging.
I thought for certain LG must have set the resolution to FHD like Samsung to squeeze some extra life out of the battery, but after inspecting I was surprised to find it is set to QHD by default. This means that if you really wanted to maximize the fantastic battery life even further, you still have the option to lower the resolution in the settings. I’m not sure what kind of magic they are using but the V35 blew me away with its battery life.
When it comes down to it the LG V35 ThinQ isn’t much more than a minor spec bump over the V30S ThinQ and it’s basically the G7 ThinQ without the notch. It’s not a bad thing, especially if you dislike the notch and crave the highest end specs. It only makes sense that LG’s most premium phone targeted at creators would offer maxed out specs. While the camera left a little to be desired, there is no denying that the rest of the V35 ThinQ was built to please.
Unfortunately, if you’re wanting to pick up a V35 ThinQ for yourself there are a couple of caveats. The first is that it’s exclusive to AT&T and Project Fi, and then you have to consider the $899 price tag. However, that is the going rate for most flagships these days and if you’re on one of those networks then you can use the links below to pick one up for yourself in Aurora Black or Platinum Gray.LG V35 ThinQ at AT&T LG V35 ThinQ at Project Fi