It was no surprise whatsoever that LG launched the new V30 at IFA 2017 in Berlin. We’ve been able to spend a couple of days with a sample so here’s our in-depth LG V30 hands-on review.
LG isn’t one to keep its phone a secret right up until the launch event and so not only confirmed the name ahead of time, but various specs and features and well.
LG V30 price and release date
It’s not been confirmed yet, but the LG V30 price is expected to be $749. The firm is running a competition to win the phone and this price has been spotted in the small-print.
It will arrive first in South Korea on 21 September followed by other markets so we’re hopeful it will come to the UK.
LG V30 design and build
With a larger screen, the V30 is a bigger phone than the G6 but it doesn’t really feel like it. This is somewhat down to the fact LG has managed to make it thinner and lighter.
It’s just 7.4mm and 158g which is impressive for a 6in phone. It’s also 8mm shorter and 3mm narrower than its predecessor despite a bigger screen. It feels great in the hand with a very nice balance.
Overall, the V30 looks very much like the G6 in design with very little to differentiate the two. It uses a metal frame and a glass rear cover which is adorned with the dual camera module, power button and logos.
Although the V30 looks and feels great, the design does mean that it’s a slippery customer. This isn’t unusual for phones at the moment but can be an issue, especially if you don’t want to use a case.
LG keeps the IP68 rating so the V30 is fully waterproof and can be submersed in 1.5 meters of water for as long as 30 minutes without worry.
It also feels very strong and durable. This, according to LG, is down to the ‘H-Beam’ metal frame and Gorilla Glass 5 front. There’s also a heat pipe and cooling pad to help get rid of heat.
The screen might not have curved edges like its Samsung rivals but the glass does so it has a similar silky feel.
The V30 is available in four colours: Aurora Black, Cloud Silver, Moroccan Blue and Lavender Violet. You can see the latter in our photos but we’ll have to wait and see which ones come to the UK.
LG V30 specs and features
Apart from making the phone thinner and lighter, it’s mainly the specs that make the V30 better than the G6.
It’s the screen that is largely why the V30 looks so great. There’s even less bezel here than the G6 and means a screen-to-body ratio similar to the Galaxy S8. Like the G6 it has rounded corners and a tall 18:9 aspect ratio.
The V-series was known for it’s secondary display but this has been dropped in favour of a floating bar – see the software section for details on that.
At 6in, the screen is a little larger than the G6’s 5.7in display but keeps the QuadHD+ resolution (1440×2880). It’s super crisp and you will not notice the slight drop in pixel density compared to the G6.
The headline feature here is that it’s P-OLED rather than IPS LCD. The ‘P’ stands for plastic and is nothing to worry about. The tech means that you get excellent contrast, with blacks being especially impressive.
Brightness is good, although not as bright as the G6 and has nice colour reproduction set in the default ‘normal’ mode. You can also switch to others if you prefer, some of which are for movies or photos.
Processor, memory and storage
Although the G6 is fast, it was a slight disappointment that it came with a Snapdragon 821 instead of the 835 which about to be the latest model.
Well the V30 gets Qualcomm’s chip and the performance over the last couple of days has been impressive. We’ll run benchmarks when we get a review sample as this Korean model is pre-production and not running the final software.
There’s 4GB of RAM with no 6GB model in sight and there’s 64GB of storage. A V30+ has 128GB but it’s unclear if this model will make it outside of Korea.
Like many of its rivals LG offers expandable storage with a microSD card slot so even if the 128GB doesn’t come to the UK, you’ll be able to add more very easily.
Connectivity and audio
As you’d expect, this flagship phone is packed with the latest tech including 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC and Bluetooth 5.0. It also has Gigabit Cat 16 LTE which is an upgrade compared to the G6.
LG continues to put its fingerprint scanner on the back and it’s built into the circular power button below the camera.
Where LG put different specs into the G6 for different markets, that’s not the case here, we think. The V30 has a Hi-Fi Quad DAC with tuning from B&O. There’s also B&O Play headphones included in the box.
LG says the V30 is the first phone with MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology that allows high-resolution audio streaming.
This all sounds impressive but we’ll need to test it properly over time. It’s a shame that with a focus on audio, there are no stereo speakers but the bezel-free design makes this very difficult to achieve.
By the look of it, the V30 has the same camera setup as the G6 but it has been upgraded.
The standard view camera is still 16Mp but now has an f/1.6 aperture which is the largest on any phone and will help let in more light. This camera has optical image stabilisation (OIS) to stop your hand shaking to cause blurry results.
A second camera gives you a much wider view – 120 degrees instead of 71 – and comes in really handy to get a lot more in your photo rather than the telephoto zoom offered by most rivals.
It bumped from 8- to 13Mp and has an f/1.9 aperture. LG says it’s upgraded from the LG V20 with two-thirds less edge distortion.
We really like LG’s setup here and tend to find the wide-angle camera more useful than a telephoto alternative.
There are plenty of modes to play around with, regardless of having two cameras and an interesting new feature is Point Zoom which allows you to zoom in on a selection section of the frame while filming. A slider on the screen means you can choose how fast to zoom in and out on that area.
We’re also keen to test out Graphy properly which is a feature of the manual mode. This allows you to effectively import the settings from professional photos so you can get similar results.
You can check out a couple of sample photos from Berlin below but we’ll reserve full judgement for when we have final software and more time.
The DAC on the G6 is market dependant and so is the wireless charging but this a standard feature of the V30. That’s a good move, of course.
It’s battery capacity is 3300mAh like the G6 and if you don’t have a wireless charger then the USB-C port will be needed. The V30 supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, so you should be able to get 50 percent charge in 30 minutes.
LG V30 software
One of the only surprised with the V30 is that it doesn’t come pre-loaded with Android 8.0 Oreo like the new Xperia XZ1. Instead it has 7.1 Nougat but we assume an update will arrive before too long.
The V30 comes with LG’s UX 6.0 but the biggest thing here is that the second screen is gone. Now there’s a ‘Floating Bar’ which you can optionally use and an always-on display feature.
Like some rivals, the screen can provide information without being fully switch on such as the time, date and battery level. You can also scroll through options for things like music control quick settings.
The Floating Bar is used when you’re using the phone and can be moved around like a Facebook Messenger Chat Head. Tap on it and you can access the apps you want as well as other functions. We’re not sure how much we’d use this just yet.
LG has provided various security options so you don’t have to use the fingerprint scanner if you don’t want. You can also unlock the phone with your face, the old school Knock Code or even your voice.
The Google Assistant is built-in, it supports Google Daydream and there are loads of features hidden in the settings menu that you might not know exist unless you go digging. For example you can switch on a Mini view that allows you to run apps in a smaller size if the 6in display is too big.