Update: The LG V30 has now been released in the US and to make up for the wait since its reveal in late August, LG has sweetened the deal. If you pick up the phone, not only will you be treated to the Google Daydream View (2017) but you’ll also automatically be enrolled in LG’s second-year promise program, which effectively doubles the manufacturer’s warranty.
While the phone is out in the wild, LG is still in the process of shipping out final review units. Stay tuned for the final score once we check out the retail model.
Original hands-on review follows below.
The LG V30 stands out from the competition enough to be considered LG’s true flagship phone for 2017, not the LG G6, its impressive, albeit instantly outmatched smartphone from six months ago.
That’s an unexpected relief because the LG V20 came onto the scene last year and its rivals frankly picked apart everything unique it had going for it. The HTC U Ultra lifted the second screen for notifications, and just about every flagship phone now utilizes a dual-lens camera.
So how has LG’s experimental smartphone branch move forward? By focusing on the subtleties and producing its most bold, feature-packed device yet.
We’ve spent more time with a pre-production LG V30 unit since its IFA 2017 debut and have worked to scoop through each and every feature (there are many) to be found within LG’s latest smartphone.
While we’re withholding a score until we receive a final unit, you’ll find our full impressions below. If the software or hardware should change during the move between units, we’ll be certain to note those changes and the effects that they have on the overall experience, if at all.
Watch our video review of the LG V30 below
LG V30 price and release date
- Pricing and availability details still unknown at this time
- Will likely be available unlocked and compatible with most carriers
- Like the V20, it will probably be very expensive
For the first time, LG’s V-series smartphone will be more broadly available across the globe. Having been limited to just the US, Australia and part of Asia, the V30 is making the jump to multiple regions, of which we’ll confirm once we hear from LG directly.
As for the price, LG hasn’t shared that information just yet. The LG V20 debuted for a rather costly $799 (AU$1,099), so the V30 is likely to follow suit. We’ll be updating this section with information we receive from carriers following today’s announcement.
- Understated design lets the screen stand out
- Feels very light considering all of the tech inside
- Waterproofing and military-grade toughness are always welcome
Instead of straying from the pack, the LG V30 blends in with this year’s fleet of flagships. But that’s not such a bad thing. It even takes cues from the LG G6, evolving that design ID ever so slightly, all while steering itself in a few new directions, too.
Starting on the front, LG’s FullVision 18:9 aspect ratio tech is on display here, complete with a gorgeous 6-inch OLED (finally!) display tuned at 2,880 x 1,440. While there are still bezels at the ends and the sides of the V30, the presentation renders them to be quite understated, letting the screen stand at the center of the stage. In fact, we really appreciate having just a little bezel on the sides, as it lessens accidental presses while typing or playing a game.
LG’s latest measures in at 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3mm and weighs 158 grams, all of which puts it on par in sizing with the Google Pixel XL. That said, it’s remarkable that LG has fit a screen that’s a half an inch larger inside of a chassis that’s nearly the same size. Interestingly, it’s just a bit wider than the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, though the rest of its dimensions pale in comparison.
Around its glossy steel siding, you’ll find a tactile volume rocker to the left, and a SIM and microSD tray on the right. Down below, there’s a bottom-firing speaker grill next to the V30’s USB-C charging port. Up top, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is your one-stop shop for experiencing the phone’s Hi-Fi audio capabilities. LG has never been one to let us down in this department.
Flipped over on its slightly curved glass back, the phone’s fingerprint sensor, which doubly works as its power button, sits right in the middle – a more ergonomic location than Samsung’s choice with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
Glancing upward has us stumbling upon the V30’s center aligned dual-camera system. This isn’t LG’s first foray into the technology – the LG V10 was released in 2015. But this phone’s duo of lenses puts them to the best use yet. We’ll dive into that more below.
Lastly, LG has done the V30 a solid by implementing wireless charging as well as making it both water and dustproof with IP68 resistance. It also meets military spec standards, meaning it’s very durable. While this doesn’t ensure that its glass won’t break, the tough frame works to prevent bending. And for such a pretty phone, that’s a very good thing.
Where’s the second screen?
Unique to the V experience, up until now at least, was the second screen display. The V30 changes that staple hardware feature into a software touch called Floating Bar that looks reminiscent of Samsung’s Edge feature, but operates a bit differently.
The second screen might be gone, but it’s still here in spirit. On our preview unit, the feature was strangely not turned on by default, but when activated, it’s tucked away into the side of the screen. A simple tap opens the bar and holding on the icon lets you move it wherever you’d like.
In addition to letting you customize what sort of app or command goes into the bar slots, the feature also focuses on surfacing some of the phone’s more hidden abilities, like QuickMemo+ note-taking and capturing a picture or GIF of the screen.