Residing with an LG V30

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For the previous few weeks, I have been travelling with an LG V30, a high-end Android telephone with all the newest options and a particular emphasis on video, together with a wide-angle lens that I’ve discovered significantly helpful. The unit I attempted stood out partly due to its vibrant crimson colour, which LG is asking “Raspberry Rose”—good for Valentine’s Day, in keeping with the corporate. I am not a trend professional, however the distinctive colour does set the telephone aside.

From a fundamental bodily standpoint, other than the colour, the telephone appears to be like very like the opposite high-end Android telephones this yr. I proceed to understand the pattern towards thinner, longer telephones with very small bezels. The V30 has a 6-inch show with an 18:9 (or 2:1) ratio, and the V30 felt good in my hand. In contrast with the sooner LG G6, which has a rounded show with curved glass that appears extra fashionable, however the curve is not fairly as pronounced as on the Samsung fashions. I significantly like the position of the on/off button/fingerprint reader; it’s in a good-sized circle on the again on the telephone, far sufficient under the digicam that you do not by chance smudge the lens (an issue I’ve had with current Samsung telephones).

Like a lot of the Android telephones I’ve used over the previous yr, this one is predicated on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, with 4GB of RAM, and it appeared fairly speedy in operation. I can not say I’ve observed any actual pace variations among the many Android telephones based mostly on the 835. The V30 runs Android eight.zero (Oreo) with LG additions like a “floating bar” that may be docked on the left or proper fringe of the display and offers entry to shortcuts, music, in addition to a straightforward approach to take screenshots. (It is enjoyable, however I did not discover myself utilizing the floating bar that a lot.)

The colour is totally different, and I used to be shocked by how many individuals commented on it as I used to be carrying the system. It is not the colour I’d have chosen for myself, however it’s definitely distinctive.

At 5.96 by 2.96 by zero.29 inches, and weighing 5.57 ounces, it’s kind of heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S8 however notably lighter than the Galaxy Be aware eight or the S8+. That makes intuitive sense, since the V30 has a 6-inch p-OLED display while the S8 has a 5.8-inch display, the S8+ has a 6.2-inch display, and the Note has a 6.3-inch display. Another, and perhaps more relevant way of measuring the display is called SQUID, according to which the total area of the screen is 14.4 square inches, still more than the iPhone 8 Plus or LG G6 and less than the S8+ or Note 8.

I was surprised to see that, compared with LG’s own G6—which has a 5.7-inch display with a total area of 13 square inches—the V30 is not only a bit bigger, but is also a bit lighter (the G6 weighs 5.8 ounces.) It’s not a big deal, but it is notable.

Regarding the screen, the V30 uses LG Display’s p-OLED screen. The difference in terminology is confusing, as both Samsung’s AMOLED and LG’s p-OLED displays use active matrix organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) on a plastic substrate (the p- in p-OLED). Side by side, the LG is a bit cooler than the Samsung display, but looked very good to me. You can set different color tones for the display; I stuck with the default “normal” choice, though you can choose color temperatures optimized for movies, photos, or websites. There is even an optional HDR video effect option (off by default) that makes colors stand out more when you’re watching videos.

The screen defaults to its native 2880-by-1440 pixel resolution, though you can opt for either 2160-by-1080 or 1440-by-720 pixels, which should save battery life. I stuck with the defaults the vast majority of the time, as that’s what I expect most users will choose.

PCMag’s tests showed that the 3300mAh battery delivered a bit less battery life than other phones in the class; in my use, I never ran into a problem and it always got me through the day. I typically charge phones overnight.

The fingerprint reader worked very well; using it was fast and almost second nature. The V30 also supports face recognition, which worked for me, but slower than I would have liked. Overall, I thought face recognition worked better than on the Galaxy line but was not as well (or as securely) as on the iPhone X. In practice, I’ll stick with fingerprints on Android devices.

Other physical features include USB-C or fast wireless charging, 64GB of built-in flash storage (49 GB available), a microSD slot for additional storage, and a headphone jack. The speakers are on the bottom of the phone and LG has made a big deal about including a 32-bit DAC. I thought the speakers sounded pretty good.

Video and Photos

GCT V30

What makes the V30 particularly special is its emphasis on video and the phone offers some unique features in this area. The main rear camera is a 16-megapixel with a glass lens and an f/1.6 aperture, which allows in more light than most other cameras. In addition, the V30 has a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens with an f/1.9 aperture, as well as a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

Like most phone cameras, it has auto and manual modes, slow motion photography, and a special setting for food (a trend this year).

What’s different when it comes to video is a “Cine Video” option, which lets you choose the color palette for your video, with 15 options ranging from “romantic” to “noir.” For each of these you can set the strength of the effect, as well as add a vignette option that darkens the edges. I’m no cinematographer, but I did find it quite impressive, and thought this feature really does let you change the feeling of the video you capture. I’ve seen video filters before, but Cine Video is notably well done. You could do a bunch of the same things with video editing tools, but it would be much more difficult.

Another new video feature is called Point Zoom, which lets you select an area of the screen to zoom into. I found that this provided a much smoother zoom than I was able to get manually. More prosaically, I found it to be a convenient option to easily control a video’s brightness; on the other hand, I thought the video stabilization (on the main camera) was quite good, but not the best I’ve seen.

GCT Wide V30

I continue to appreciate LG’s choice of rear-view cameras, and found that the 120-degree wide-angle camera is often the best way to capture a really good look at the full surroundings when taking a landscape photo. LG says the distortion in the edges of such wide-angle shots has been reduced from the G6, and all I can say is that I thought these pictures looked very good. I prefer this arrangement to the more common dual-camera pattern of having a “zoom” lens as the second option—this approach, used on the Samsung Note 8 and the iPhone X, is better for creating a blurred background, which is nice. But in daily use, I find LG’s wide-angle shots let me capture more different kinds of photos, as I tend to take more landscapes and pictures of things, rather than portraits.

The camera has all the usual options such as panorama, as well as additional options for things like taking four photos to fill a grid and store them as a single photo, or a match shot for taking two photos sequentially. (You can do similar things with 3-second videos.) Both of these options produce nice effects, though I can’t say I found them all that compelling.

GCT Night V30 Norma

Low-lights shots were good, but not quite up to par with the best of the competitors. In particular, I found it took a bit longer to focus in low light. But my guess is that most people looking for a smartphone camera will be quite happy with the V30, particularly if they focus on video or want wide-angle shots.

Compared with other high-end Android phones, the V30 is a fine performer, but lacks some of the extras other phones offer—like the ability to use a stylus, with you can do on the Note 8. What truly distinguishes the V30 from these other phones are the video features, the wide-angle lens, and of course, the color.

Here’s PCMag’s full review.

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