[First Cut] LG V30+: LG’s Knight in Shin-y Armour

 

LG’s V series has always had a rather odd positioning. Although the company has always positioned them as devices for viewing and creating high-class multimedia content, especially in the audio department, there are many who see it as a more multimedia oriented update of the classic G series flagship that inevitably gets released earlier in the year. And well, that certainly seems to be the case with theV30+. It comes a long time after the G6, but ups the spec and performance ante considerably, even while insisting that it is more of a multimedia device.

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Shine on, you crazy…

Oh, and it comes with a swank new design too. Let’s get one thing clear – you look at the LG V30+ at the peril of being dazzled. LG has taken a page out of the Sony and HTC design books and given a new mirror finish to the V30+ (Gorilla Glass 5 at the front and back, we are told) meaning you can see yourself clearly on the back. It is extremely eye-catching when placed face down on a table, but will alas catch anything that will smudge it too. So yes, there is a case for encasing this right away. With great shine comes the great need for cases, it seems. Sigh! That said, there is no denying that the V30+ is an out and out looker – the front is dominated by a curvey 6.0-inch QHD+ (2880 x 1440) AMOLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, with very tiny bezels. The back has dual cameras and a fingerprint scanner that also twins as a power/display lock key (LG is not giving up on that part of its interface). The metal frame all around it has room for the volume keys, the SIM card tray, the 3.5 mm audio jack (hooray), the speaker grille and the USB Type C port. The metal core also ensures that the phone has a good grip to it – the glassy curved front and back notwithstanding, the phone does not feel in the least slippery. And it is pretty tough too – it is not just water and dust resistant, but also has evidently passed the US Department of Defense requirements for durability.

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Pick up the V30+ and it is a fair chance you will be surprised at its sheer lightness – at 158 grammes, LG claims that it is the lightest 6.0-inch display phone out there and well, it certainly feels very light (significantly more so than the 174 gramme iPhone X for instance, or the 175 gramme Pixel 2 XL). At 7.3 mm in thickness, it is very slim, and at just 151.7 mm, surprisingly compact – compare that with the 7.9 mm thickness and 157.9 mm length of the Pixel 2 XL, which also sports a 6.0-inch display. If you want a large display without stretching your palms or trouser pockets, this has got to be one of the best options out there.

…multimedia and spec diamond!

And within that surprisingly compact frame, LG has packed in some seriously good hardware. There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB of storage (expandable to 200 GB), and all the connectivity options (Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/ 4G/NFC) you would expect in a flagship. The phone runs on Android 7.1.2 (no Oreo, alas), with LG’s interface skin over it – it seems a whole lot less intrusive than in the past, but we will know for sure only after we have used it more extensively.

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Of course, this being a V series phone, there is lots of multimedia muscle to go around. In the audio department, the phone claims to be the first to come with Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology, which facilitates streaming of high-resolution video. Audio recording capabilities also have been improved. And of course, just like the V20, the V30+ claims to come with the very best in audio, and there are headphones within the box too (hallelujah, say we!). On the camera front, the V30+ has dual rear cameras – a 16.0-megapixel main camera and a 13.0-megapixel one with a 120-degree wide angle, continuing LG’s tradition of having one standard sensor and one wide-angled one when it comes to dual cameras. The main sensor is clearly the star here – it has a f/1.6 aperture, the largest we have seen on a phone camera and also has OIS (low light photography SHOULD rock. Will it? We will find out). LG has as usual packed the camera app with a stack of tricks, and there is also Cine Video Pro, which as per LG “allows users to produce movies like a pro.” We will have the proof of THAT pudding when we eat it, of course. We must, however, confess to being disappointed with the selfie camera being just a 5.0-megapixel affair in this era when front cameras are going double digit with a vengeance. There are a few shooting modes, but we do think selfie mode has been shot in the foot…a little!

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That compact form factor, however, has resulted in a 3300 mAh battery, which is certainly not small (it is the same size as the one on the OnePlus 5T), but is smaller than the 3520 mAh one found in the Pixel 2 XL and some might feel that given the size and resolution of the display, one might struggle to see off a day of heavy use. Again, that is something that will be revealed in our final review.

All of this at a price tag of Rs 44,990, which is surprisingly low by LG flagship standards, and places the phone well beyond the likes of the Pixel 2 Xl and not too far beyond the current budget flagship favourite, the OnePlus 5T (which stands at Rs 37,990 for the 8 GB/ 128 GB edition). Just how well it fares against them will be revealed in the coming days. As of now, we can say that LG has a new knight in shin-y, shining armor. Just how good that armor is the question. Stay tuned for our review.

What we like in LG V30+ so far:

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The dazzling design
The spec sheet
All the audio and camera add-ons
The resistance to dust and water
Well, that price!

What we like not…so far (we might change our minds):

The dazzling design can pick up smudges
The older flavor of Android
Just a 5.0-megapixel selfie camera!

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