LG is planning a significant refresh for its subsequent mainstream smartphone, however earlier than getting there, the corporate determined to launch one other entry in its spec-heavy V-series, the V60 ThinQ. With superior handbook digital camera controls, a hi-fi headphone jack, and top-end specs, these telephones have at all times been geared towards tech fans.
This 12 months, LG is undercutting Samsung’s Galaxy S20 — the Android standard-bearer for 2020 — in worth, whereas nonetheless making an attempt to cram a variety of upgrades into the V60. It’s bought a Snapdragon 865 processor with 5G connectivity and is able to taking pictures 8K video. You’ll be able to outfit the V60 with a second show (with the non-obligatory Twin Display screen case) for unequalled multitasking. Microsoft’s Floor Duo is about to reach later this 12 months, and it’ll push the dual-display cellphone idea ahead, however LG is already on its third strive with the V60.
However the V60 lacks among the options which can be more and more frequent on “flagship” Android gadgets in 2020. There’s no fluid 90Hz or 120Hz show; LG as a substitute sticks with a conventional, no-frills 60Hz panel. Its bezels are plain to see and thicker than what you’d discover on a Samsung or OnePlus. As different high-end gadgets transfer as much as 12GB of RAM (and past), LG is being barely conservative with 8GB of reminiscence. And regardless of continued refinement, the Twin Display screen accent by no means actually unlocks its full potential: the large promoting level continues to be that fundamental, core capacity to run completely different apps facet by facet on the identical time. However LG’s hallmarks — a great digital camera, blissful headphone audio, and top-notch efficiency — are nonetheless represented within the V60. Pricing is somewhat scattered, with the cellphone itself costing $800 (T-Cell) or round $900 with the Twin Display screen on Verizon and AT&T. Both manner, you are available underneath the S20’s $999 sticker worth.
The V60 simply does a lot (doubly so should you get it with the Twin Display screen) that, in a vacuum, it’s onerous to not be impressed. The battery life is astounding, and it’s a wonderful selection for the kind of one who will use each trick this cellphone has in its arsenal. If that’s not you, there’s ample motive to have a look at Samsung or OnePlus as a substitute.
Truthful warning, although: even individuals aware of LG’s previous efforts will likely be shocked by the V60’s measurement. This can be a large, honking cellphone. At 6.67 inches tall and three.06 inches large, it’s by some means even bigger than the Galaxy S20 Extremely and pays completely no thoughts to ergonomics. It’s attainable to make use of the V60 with one hand, however doing so is an ill-advised train in finger gymnastics and grip changes. The chamfered aluminum rails supply a safe grasp on the cellphone, which has a flat 6.8-inch display screen and sloped glass again. Quantity toggles and a non-remappable Google Assistant shortcut button take up the left facet, with the facility button on the precise. The V60 comes with 128GB of storage, nevertheless it helps microSD growth.
On the backside, you’ll discover a speaker (which doubles up with the earpiece for stereo output), USB-C port, and a headphone jack, which nonetheless contains LG’s glorious 32-bit DAC for audiophile-grade music playback — should you’ve bought the precise headphones to get essentially the most from it. LG will get my reward each for holding the jack round and delivering a listening expertise that may rival devoted hi-fi audio gamers. Listening to hi-res tracks in Amazon Music HD with my Sennheiser headphones made me recognize LG’s quest to protect the headphone jack even when everybody else has moved on.
The V60 is available in both white (with silver edges) or navy blue, which has a gold body. To me, there’s no debate available: the blue V60 is a stunner of a cellphone. The white one, in the meantime, is forgettable. LG makes use of an in-display optical fingerprint scanner on the V60, and my success price was combined, inconsistent, and worse than the readers I’ve used on Samsung and OnePlus telephones. That is a kind of circumstances the place I miss the previous, extra dependable rear fingerprint sensors. (The V60 doesn’t have an equal to Face ID just like the G8 ThinQ did.)
The V60’s show is a pleasant 2460 x 1080 OLED panel with a tiny teardrop notch that homes the front-facing digital camera. As I discussed earlier, LG hasn’t managed to shave away bezels to the identical extent as different corporations. Some will discover the black borders ugly; others will likely be grateful to keep away from unintentional presses — an occasional frustration that impacts curved screens with barely there bezels. Brightness, shade vibrancy, distinction, and viewing angles are all completely passable, if a rung or two beneath Samsung’s greatest cellphone shows.
However the lack of a buttery-smooth 90Hz or 120Hz refresh price is noticeable and made all of the extra apparent if you swap between the V60 and one thing just like the Galaxy S20 or Pixel four XL. Not everybody will care, and I believe LG made this trade-off partially as a result of driving two shows at 90Hz or 1440p would have posed a problem. Nonetheless, I want the choice existed at the very least for the principle cellphone. To me, that is the V60’s most obtrusive draw back compared towards its 2020 competitors. It affords a ton of energy, nevertheless it feels held again — prefer it didn’t fairly get the entire improve guidelines — by the same-as-ever scrolling.
So the display screen is a little bit of a letdown, however there’s some good in all of this. Limiting the show to 60Hz and a modest decision, mixed with an enormous 5,000mAh battery, helps the V60 obtain unbelievable battery life. I’ve been capable of preserve the V60 operating properly into and thru a second day of frequent use. This stamina solely applies when utilizing the cellphone by itself, nonetheless, since enabling the Twin Display screen case will curtail battery longevity by 20 to 30 %.
All through my evaluate interval, the Snapdragon 865 chipset has carried out flawlessly, with the V60 chewing via any job I threw at it. Wi-Fi 6 is supported, and the V60 can pull down 5G knowledge on T-Cell and AT&T, although solely Verizon is promoting a model that works with ultra-fast (however very restricted) millimeter-wave 5G.
Just like the G8x, the V60’s Twin Display screen connects over USB-C. There’s somewhat magnetic adapter that attaches to the underside of the case if you wish to plug in for charging whereas it’s on, although quick wi-fi charging is the extra handy possibility in that situation. The secondary display screen is a precise match for the first show, with the identical decision and even the notch cutout. (It’s actually the identical panel half, which LG says helps lower prices and protect shade uniformity.)
The commonest use case for the Twin Display screen is the best: two apps without delay. This factor is the final word Zoom cellphone, let me inform you. You’ll be able to chat along with your colleagues over Zoom on one display screen and have a look at cute pets on Instagram with the opposite. Wish to browse Twitter whereas watching Netflix, YouTube, or Prime Video? Have at it. As soon as we’re all allowed exterior once more, I do know the V60 will make it simple to control my Uber or Lyft whereas writing an electronic mail on the identical time. And this makes for a simple manner of listening to music on YouTube whereas doing one thing else on the first show. It’s all admittedly superfluous, however I nonetheless discovered myself actually liking the pliability at occasions.
LG optimizes a few of its personal apps for Twin Display screen. Once you take a shot with the digital camera and faucet to see the picture, it pops up on the secondary show, so the digital camera app stays open and prepared for extra snaps. You need to use the V60 like a mini laptop computer or moveable sport console with your complete backside show serving as a keyboard or gamepad. You can too stretch a small variety of apps (together with some from Google like Maps, Gmail, and Chrome) throughout each screens without delay, however I by no means discovered this very helpful. The hole within the center is simply too onerous to disregard. LG, now on its third Twin Display screen launch, hasn’t made a lot progress and is leaving Microsoft an enormous opening to come back in and present everybody what an Android system with two shows can actually be. However keep in mind that you could at all times simply detach the chunky, heavy Twin Display screen case if you don’t want these multitasking powers. Factors for versatility, I suppose.
The rear dual-camera system delivers good outcomes, with the principle 64MP sensor (pixel binned right down to 16MP) is ready to seize a variety of dynamic vary and element. LG kicked off the ultra-wide pattern, in order that’s what the second 13MP digital camera is for. As is the norm, it’s a bit softer than the first one. The third “lens” is only a time-of-flight sensor for depth knowledge, so the V60 doesn’t have any sort of portrait or optical zoom lens in its repertoire. However I used to be more than happy with the colour processing, nice depth-of-field, and total output from LG’s digital camera. The corporate is utilizing a bigger sensor this 12 months, which explains a few of these enhancements. If the V60 has one weak point, it’s evening mode, which doesn’t meet the bar that Apple, Google, and Huawei have set. Video recording can be stable — LG provides you extra handbook management over settings and bit price than most Android telephones — although 8K is simply foolish overkill in the intervening time. You’ll be able to’t even edit 8K footage on-device, so what does that inform you? Persist with 4K or 1080p and the V60 nonetheless excels, second solely to Apple in video high quality.
You’ll be able to at all times rely on LG to toss in a single very unusual digital camera function, and this time, it’s 3D photographs. For those who’ve ever seen certainly one of these on Fb, you already know what to anticipate. You snap a shot, and the V60 makes use of depth data to create the phantasm that the focused-on object is shifting round as you progress your cellphone. I took like two of those after which ignored 3D photographs altogether. A nicer, extra necessary contact in regards to the digital camera is that, in most lighting situations, the viewfinder is displayed at 60fps. It doesn’t actually add any profit, however now that I’ve had a style, I would like that smoothness from the digital camera on each different cellphone.
LG’s software program stays a messy combined bag. A few of it’s good, like the wonderful digital camera app, which has the entire handbook controls you might need and useful instruments like focus peaking. The audio recorder app can be greatest in school. I even had a great expertise with LG Pay (I simply occurred to have one of many few cards that’s currently supported), which may trick cost terminals into considering you swiped an actual bank card with a magnetic stripe — similar to Samsung Pay.
Different corners of the software program expertise really feel like they’ve been deserted. The icons and common look really feel dated (even after a current refresh). And by some means, nonetheless, within the 12 months 2020, LG’s app launcher can’t preserve apps organized alphabetically. Each time you put in a brand new app or sport, you’ve bought to kind the checklist once more. Come on. Switching to a third-party launcher means dropping out on Android 10’s gesture navigation, and none of them are optimized for the secondary show. The awkward software program choices prolong to the Twin Display screen, which is handled like its own residence display screen, which makes complete sense, nevertheless it additionally will get its personal app drawer as a substitute of simply mirroring the principle cellphone’s, which is unnecessary in any respect.
After which there’s the bloatware. LG shouldn’t be promoting an unlocked model of the V60 within the US, so that you’re on the mercy of Verizon, AT&T, and T-Cell — and it’s not fairly. After organising the cellphone, you’ll discover at the very least 5 or 6 video games you don’t need and a handful of provider apps that you could’t totally uninstall. The Verizon V60 consistently offered me with a “useful” system well being notification that inspired me to restart the cellphone and clear its reminiscence cache. These are pointless, annoying distractions that folks actually don’t want to fret about.
Probably the most under-the-radar perks of the V60 is correct stylus assist. For those who purchase a Wacom pen, you’ll get Galaxy Be aware-like stress sensitivity for drawing. There’s an non-obligatory slide-in shortcuts bar the place you possibly can rapidly begin writing a brand new memo, annotate no matter’s in your display screen, and entry different tips. LG doesn’t have its personal stylus like Samsung’s S-Pen or a slot to hold one in, however what’s right here is fairly helpful and, once more, speaks to the V60’s versatility.
It ought to say all the things in regards to the V60 being a jack-of-all-trades that I’m ending on stylus assist. This cellphone provides you a ton for $800 — even should you go with out the Twin Display screen. It’s a blazing performer, battery life is perhaps the very best for any cellphone in 2020 up to now, and it’s bought terrific headphone audio. However I actually want LG had carried out extra with the large show. I can put up with the bezels simply advantageous, however high-refresh screens are already turning into desk stakes at this worth within the Android world. If I’m sacrificing consolation and ergonomics, the show had higher be unbelievable. And I’m keen to pay a pair additional hundred bucks for it.
Images by Chris Welch / The Verge
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