The LG V30 rivals the Samsung Galaxy S8 on all fronts.
There are a couple of ways to approach the new LG V30. It’s obviously the technical successor to the LG V20, incorporating the same wide-angle camera tech, enhanced audio, and more of last year’s top-end LG smartphone offering. Another way is to look at it as the true LG G6+ (I am aware there is an actual G6+), with a more refined design, improved camera, and a bigger and better screen. Or yet another way is to admit what it truly is: the phone the G6 should’ve been from the start.
At least, it’s the phone the G6 should’ve been if LG had intended for that phone to go head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy S8. That’s now the job of the V-series, which has ditched the divisive and hefty styling of the past for a design that’s stylish and more than just a wink-and-a-nod to the curved glass front and back of the Galaxy S8.
|Category||LG V30||LG G6||Samsung Galaxy S8+|
|Operating System||Android 7.1.2||Android 7.0||Android 7.0|
2880×1440 (536 ppi)
2880×1440 (564 ppi)
2960×1440 (529 ppi)
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835||Qualcomm Snapdragon 821||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895|
|Storage||64GB||32GB (U.S., Europe)
64GB (Asia, Korea, HK, India, CiS)
|Rear Camera||Main: 16MP, ƒ/1.6, OIS, 71° lens
Wide: 13MP, ƒ/2.4, 120° lens
|Main: 13MP, ƒ/1.8, OIS, 71° lens
Wide: 13MP, ƒ/2.4, 125° lens
|12MP, ƒ/1.7, OIS|
|Front camera||5MP, ƒ/2.2||5MP, ƒ/2.2||8MP, ƒ/1.7|
Quick Charge 3.0
Quick Charge 3.0
Wireless charging (U.S. only)
|Dimensions||151.7 x 75.4 x 7.4 mm||148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm||159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm|
When it comes to specs and design, the V30 is like the love child of the Galaxy S8+ and the G6. It takes after Samsung when it comes to looks, with a curved black glass front framed by a polished metal frame with a metallic-under-painted curved glass back (and that’s not a bad thing) while bringing the G6’s cameras to the party with a Samsung-style AMOLED display and the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU.
It’s worth noting that the Snapdragon 835 simply wasn’t widely available when the G6 launched — it came out as the same time as the Galaxy S8, and with Samsung as the exclusive manufacturer of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, they got first dibs on the processor for their new flagship phone. The Snapdragon 821 in the G6 is no slouch, but the 835 and 6GB of RAM in the V30 make it fly in comparison. Whether that holds up over time remains to be seen, though that’s a persistent issue with almost all Android devices.
The V30 takes after its predecessors in the photography and videography department, offering both high quality optics and advanced software features. For one, the ƒ/1.6 lens over the V30’s main camera lets in roughly 25% more light than the ƒ/1.8 lens on the G6. LG’s also used a “Glass Crystal Clear Lens” for improved clarity and colors, while also tweaking the optics for the wide-angle lens to cut down on the dramatic edge distortion that was clearly evident in the G6, V20, and G5. In addition, LG has carried over the slew of manual photography and video controls from the V20. If you’re serious about video recording, it’s a good reason to consider the V30.
I mistake the V30 for the Galaxy S8+ all the time, but then I realize it has a properly-placed fingerprint sensor.
On the design front, the V30 borrows heavily from Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+. In fact, in the time that I’ve had a V30 it’s been playing constant tricks on my mind — I’ll pick it up, feel it in my hand and see the always-on AMOLED display clock, and press the bottom of the screen to trigger the haptic home button.
But this isn’t a Galaxy S8 and there’s no fake home button there. Conversely, I’ll pick up my Galaxy S8 and automatically place my finger on the centrally-located rear fingerprint sensor, only to find that it’s not yet unlocked because that’s not where Samsung put the fingerprint sensor (a travesty of ergonomics they have continued with the otherwise excellent Galaxy Note 8).
I’m not upset by how LG has so thoroughly aped the Galaxy 8-series design language here; LG clearly knows a good thing when they see it. And it’s looking increasingly likely that we’ll see a similar design (though perhaps with even less bezel) from the iPhone 8 when it launches later in September 2017.
It kind of reminds me of when Ford rolled out the updated Fusion in 2013 and it borrowed heavily from the design language of Aston Martin — few were upset because it was simply a good design language. There are certainly some slight design differences between the V30 and the S8 — the screen curve and back glass side curves are much more dramatic on the S8 leading to a narrower metal frame around the left and right, and the V30 only has volume buttons on the side (you’ll find neither power nor Bixby [cue eye roll]) — but you’d be forgiven for thinking these two phones come from the same manufacturer.
That might be something LG is banking on here. Sat on the store shelf next to a Galaxy S8, the LG G6 simply isn’t as appealing. The screen doesn’t pop the same, it feels chunkier thanks to the squared-off sides and flat front, and it’s just not as attractive of a device. The V30, on the other hand, hits all the same sexy notes as the Galaxy S8 in a way that’s almost certainly intentional — and in a way that I have no problem with.
The V30 takes the things that I love about both the G6 and the Galaxy S8 and merges them into one device. You get a beautiful, solid, and great-feeling device with great cameras, a quality display, and more than enough processing oomph. I like the G6 because the wide angle camera is great and it’s a good all-around phone. I’ve fallen in love with the V30 because it’s a delight to hold and use.
LG has a truly incredible phone on their hands, but it remains to be seen if they can turn it into a true hit when they have to compete against Samsung and Apple.