The V30 is LG’s latest flagship device. It’s supposed to be a no-compromise phone for media lovers, packed with a high-quality DAC for excellent audio and a wide-aperture camera.
It’s a great phone, but one that appears to have lost some of its lustre as a result of the delayed release. Currently on the market are the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, Pixel 2 XL and iPhone X, all of which are muscling in on the V30’s territory.
LG V30 – Design
The V30 is the best designed LG phone I’ve ever used. It’s the perfect mix of high-end metal and glass, sporting curves in all the right places. It spells the end in LG’s transformation from making unattractive devices – the leather LG G4, anyone? – to ones that are gimmick-free.
Like all the best flagships in 2017, the V30 slims down the bezel surrounding the display and pushes that screen out as far as possible. The corners of the screen are rounded, but the display doesn’t curve in the way of the Samsung Galaxy S8. This means the device is a tad wider, but still surprisingly manageable to grip considering the 6-inch screen.
The LG V30 feels great in the hand, but unnervingly light. I’m sure that there will be many that like this, but I’m not so sure; I like my phones to have a little heft. Tap the rear of the V30 and it feels hollow, something you don’t get with an iPhone 8 or Note 8.
However, in terms of the LG V30’s design, this is really the only negative in my opinion. Elsewhere, it’s IP67-rated for water-resistance; it retains the headphone jack; and its fingerprint scanner sits in the right place – below the cameras on the back. That scanner also doubles as the lock button – and it’s one of the fastest I’ve tried.
This is the first LG flagship to swap an LCD panel for an OLED one since the days of those weird Flex phones. LG makes some of the best OLED panels for TVs, so you’d assume its smaller versions would be equally as good.
Annoyingly, they’re not. The screen isn’t terrible, but it’s comfortably the weakest part of the phone.
Detail isn’t the issue: the quad-HD resolution ensures pixels are impossible to spot. However, colours often come across slightly off. Whites are muddy, and it’s virtually impossible to watch HDR/Dolby Vision content on Netflix because it’s far too dark.
Viewing angles, too, are poor – tilt the device to the side and you’ll be met with a blue tinge.
Use the LG V30 and you’ll quickly realise that we’ve been spoiled by the Super AMOLEDs in Samsung devices. LG’s OLEDs, called POLED (that P is for plastic), just aren’t as good. It’s the same panel type that let the Pixel 2 XL down. People often conclude that OLED is always better than an LCD, but viewing the V30’s display, I’d have been happier with the iPhone 8 Plus’ screen – which is LED.
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Following the blueprint set by the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone X, the V30 stretches the display out to the corners, reducing the distracting bezel. As a result, the V30 has an 18:9 aspect-ratio as opposed to the typical 16:9.
The panel is taller, which means it’s great for reading and multitasking, but less so for video. In YouTube, for example, there will be chunky black bars sitting either side of the video.