Capture high-quality videos and photos with this high-end Android phone’s unique dual camera
South Korean consumer electronics major LG Electro-nics has been a strange player in the smartphone market. It has always been on the fringes, coming out with some innovative phones once in a while. It has never been shy about adopting new technologies and was the first to push the envelope with the curved screen. In India, it has never been a volume player, primarily because it has delayed launching new phones here. No comp-any can afford to ignore the Indian market any more; LG now seems to have realised this. It has been quick to bring its new flagship phone, LG V20, to India. But does this phone have enough to take on the likes of Apple and Samsung in the top-end segment?
From a design perspective, LG V20 is not all that different from top-end phones now. However, it is not a run-of-the-mill design either. I say this because the phone has a dual camera at the back, housed in a largish bump of its own. The power button is just below, like in a host of recent LG phones. I prefer the power button to be at the rear as it feels much more natural, especially when it also comes with the fingerprint reader. The other significant feature is that the frame above and below the screen are tapered in. So if the phone falls face down it will fall with all the weight on the screen. Therefore, it is advisable to spend some extra bucks to buy something that will protect the screen.
What is good?
The LG V20 is a flagship in every sense. It offers top-draw performance whatever you do. From playing graphics intensive games to working on large Google Sheets, this phone is capable of high-end performance on demand. The phone also manages to stay relatively cool most of the time.
The LG V20 has a really unique dual camera. It offers frames that are not seen on smartphones. In the wide angle format the rear camera offers a 135-degree view which gives it a
fish-eye kind of feel. There is even a ‘Cinema’ mode which offers an amazingly unique perspective for shooting video.
The selfie camera has a 120-degree view and thus perspectives on offer are really different and it doesn’t take long for people to realise that you have a very different camera. The video quality is great too, though there is no wide angle feel here. In the zoom mode, the rear camera switches to the
75-degree secondary, more conventional, lens. This has an f1.8 lens and works better in low light. In fact, in video it might be a better idea to show in the regular mode and not the wide angle if you like clarity.
The LG V20 offers high definition audio in recording and playback. I loved the Hi-Fi quad DAC option when you are playing back music from your local memory or streaming via an app like Saavn. And the phone comes with B&O earphones that just add to the overall experience. The Hi-Fi recorder is great for people who work in the media industry.
This phone does not have a lot of software tweaks and the UI is almost like pure Android. However, there is a secondary screen—a small strip on top of the 5-7 inch Quad HD display that can be customised with icons that you need to access the most. The best aspect of this feature is that this small display stays awake even when the screen is off, showing alerts and other notifications. Also, this can be configured to switch off when you are asleep. In the week that I used the phone, I used this feature quite a bit despite being skeptical about its practicality.
What is not that good?
The wide angle lens, while being innovative, struggles in low light and throws up pictures that are very noisy. In a few of the shots I could see what looked like smudges. I was not all that impressed with the 3200 mAh battery which could last only till the end of the day. The extra bright display seems to suck the battery a bit too much. You will need to be mindful of what you do with the camera also to ensure the battery lasts as long as needed.
The design of the phone, which pushes the display ahead of the rest of the phone, makes it very vulnerable to cracked screens. So you will need to be careful with this phone at all times.
Should you buy?
Yes, if you can afford it and love a great camera which has the potential to be a conversation starter. The LG V20 is among the best Android flagships out there, but make sure you need the extra features for which you are going to be spending some serious money. The LG V20 is by no means cheap and if you need a good flagship there are better options there.
Estimated street price: R54,999