- Fantastic 5.7 inch QHD display
- Premium build quality
- Exceptional camera and camera app
- Wide angle front facing camera
- Replaceable battery
- Expandable storage
- Below average battery life
- Sub par audio from the speaker
The LG V10 was LG’s next step in making their phones more premium. This time by using metal and improving on what they are already fantastic at. Making beautiful screens and offering a great photography experience. Read on to find out where they excelled and where they fell a bit flat.
LG used a 5.7 inch Quad HD LCD screen here with fantastic color saturation and good black levels. It honestly reminds me a lot of an OLED display and is one of the best LCD screens I’ve ever seen. Speaking of OLED there is also a secondary OLED display up top for notifications. If they were going to use OLED I wish they would have used it for the entire screen, not just the top. However with an LCD this gorgeous it’s hard to complain.
The V10 has a really great solid build with a brushed metal frame on the left and right side. It’s rounded edges are very comfortable to hold. You’ll notice the absence of buttons on the sides. Which makes it easy to pick up and hold without accidentally hitting the power or volume buttons. Instead LG houses the buttons on the back, and it’s really comfortable to use once you get use to it. Their is a volume up and down button, along with a fingerprint scanner in the middle that also doubles as the power button.
I’m not a fan of the power button and fingerprint scanner combo back there. Sometimes I just wanted to check the lock screen and the phone would unlock. Other times I wanted to unlock the phone but it took too long having to press the button and wait for it to scan my finger. The scanner itself wasn’t bad but I did have to occasionally scan my finger more than once to get it to unlock.
Along the top there is a microphone and an infrared blaster. Something that almost all flagship phones have lost these days. It must not be very popular but I’ve always enjoyed having one. LG’s bundled Quick Remote app is really nice and makes great use of the sensor. Now if you ever misplace the remote you always have one in your pocket.
On the bottom you’ll find the headphone jack, micro USB port, microphone, and speaker. Which isn’t really bad but I found the mids and highs to be lacking. From such a high quality phone that was a bit of a disappointment. Due to the high placement your hand won’t cover or muffle it as much when gaming or watching videos though.
The back is removable and has a rubbery texture to it. Making it very easy to grip, which I think is fantastic. Under the hood is a 3000mAh removable battery, this has become a rarity in flagship phones. As well as the SIM and microSD card slot which will support up to 200GB. I know people want metal unibody or premium built phones these days. Personally I’m more happy with something like this which makes it easier to grip the phone without a case. Plus allows you to replace the battery. Overall I love the feel of this phone in my hand it feels solid, premium, and so easy to grip.
LG took a different approach with this phone offering a secondary always on OLED screen at the top. The fact that it’s OLED helps it use less power and allows it to stay on all the time. Because of that you can get a quick glance at the time, date, weather, and battery life at any time. You can even give it a quick swipe to access quick toggles for sound, WiFi, flashlight, and camera. They also have it setup to turn off when the ambient light sensor is covered to conserve battery life even further.
Once the screen is on the secondary screen becomes even more useful. You can setup a custom signature at the top and even choose the font. Swiping it will reveal a few quick shortcuts, a list of recent apps, music controls, quick contacts, and even events from your calendar. Most of these can be customized in the settings menu and rearranged.
LG tried really hard to make it as useful as possible but I rarely found myself using it. Mostly because with it at the top of the phone I couldn’t reach it while I was using it one handed. While it was nice to get a quick glance at the time or weather. It was also kind of strange watching notifications pop up and not go the full length of the screen. Overall it just came off as a gimmick to me, and not even a cool looking one like the dual edge Samsung screens.
The V10 is running Android 5.1.1 but I’ve never really been a fan of the design of LG’s software. Most notably the theme’s colors, icons, and settings menu. However I’ve always really enjoyed all the features they offer. Double tap to wake has always been a favorite feature of mine, and it’s even more useful on a phone with buttons on the back. If you long press on the home screen a mini app drawer will appear. Another great feature that makes it quick and easy to add icons to the home screen.
Then there are the tweaks they add to help you with using a large screen phone. Such as one handed mode that is activated by swiping along the nav keys on the bottom. Making it much easier to reach everything with just your thumb alone. As well as this notification drop down button. Coupled with the quick toggles it puts notifications right within thumbs reach. To further help you utilize this large 5.7 inch screen they also offer dual window. With it you can open two apps side by side. Just like Samsung’s version it doesn’t support many apps though.
Clip tray is a stand out feature. It keeps a history of the most recent text you’ve copied and screenshots. Making it even easier to copy, paste, and share. LG even gives you some nice eye candy with a weather widget on the lock screen. That will reflect your current weather conditions.
Performance is really good on the V10 and it’s using an older Snapdragon 808 instead of the 810 from last year. Most likely to avoid the overheating and performance issues with the 810. The phone is very responsive and games played without issue. Plus that 4GB of RAM made switching back and forth between apps a breeze.
The LG V10 features a 16MP f/1.8 camera with optical image stabilization, laser focus, and dual LED flash. The focus is super quick and it’s great at focusing up close for macros. LG was one of the first to introduce full manual controls and raw images with the G4. It’s nice to see them continue that with the V10.
The app is fairly straightforward and includes HDR of course which can be set to on, off, or auto. You can also use your voice to trigger the shutter. I’m happy to say it snaps 16MP images in 16:9 so the images fill the frame at full resolution. It offers several modes such as Auto, Multi-view, Panorama, Slo-mo, and Time-lapse.
Over on the OLED screen you can switch over to manual mode. I really love the layout with the current settings at the top and the toggles at the bottom. It reminds me a lot of a DSLR. It gives you full control over everything except for aperture, and changing settings is really easy. It supports saving raw images and supports the Camera2 API. Allowing you to use third party cameras to have manual control and raw image support.
The photos are amazingly sharp and very detailed. Even zooming in I was very pleased at how crisp and clear the images were. The exposure is very well balanced, I almost always shot in HDR. Unless using the manual controls, but the exposures were so good I didn’t have to to use manual mode hardly at all. Between the photo quality and the fantastic app, you really can’t ask for much more out of mobile camera.
The V10 really shines as a video camera as well, offering you full manual controls. You can record 1080P at up to 60fps as well as 4K at up to 30fps. Not only that but you can choose whether to use the front or back microphone. Then even change the microphone sensitivity and see the audio levels in the top left corner.
The LG V10 is very unique in that it uses two front facing cameras, one of them utilizing a 120 degree wide angle lens. It’s supposed to be used for group selfies, but I honestly love it for all selfies. It’s a great way to get more in frame than just your face, and capture some of your surroundings. Plus they have this great gesture control for taking the photo by just making a fist, and a flash function for the front camera.
Battery life was a little below average for me. I usually got around three and a half hours of screen on time. If I really pushed it I could get just around four hours. Most days though I felt I was just making it to the end of the day. I think it would be hard to make it through a full day, without topping off at some point. Especially if you want to use that fantastic camera out in the daylight, where the screen needs to be brighter. At least LG offers a replaceable battery and quick charging. Still it’s best to not have to rely on those and be able to make it through your day on a single charge.
LG got a lot right on this phone and tried to make something unique. From the build quality to the outstanding screen, camera, and camera app. It’s almost a great all round phone. The only real disappointment I found was the below average battery performance. If you’re a photographer or videographer you’re going to love using this phone though.
It’s was definitely built with those users in mind, and I am a big fan of both the back camera and wide angle selfie camera. As well as the full featured well laid out camera app, it’s definitely one of the best I’ve ever used. I just wish they would have put a little more emphasis on the battery life and speaker. Big thanks to AT&T for lending us this review unit.