LG has been a company of hits and misses as of late. They have been able to continually move the needle in regards to phone design and innovation. Their devices are usually up to par with the design standards of both Samsung and Apple. In fact, they have been responsible for some of the coolest designs from the past 3 years. Despite all this, LG has failed to climb into the “top spot” or even close to it amongst smartphone buyers. With the disastrous launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, LG was presented with a golden opportunity. With the G5 struggling to steal the spotlight from the iPhone, and Galaxy S7 LG had to switch gears to garner affection from a different type of buyer.
The V20 is LG’s attempt to hijack those who were displaced by the failure of the Note 7. The V20 has everything in line to pick up where the Note 7 left off. Is it truly good enough to be considered a contender for best “big smartphone?” I definitely think so. Here’s why:
For years, LG has been getting consistently better with their display panels. The screen on the V20 could very well be their best yet. The screen on the V20 is a mammoth 5.7 inch Quad HD display, with 513 ppi. Not only is the screen big and bright, but it’s also one of the best on the market with color reproduction. This display is quite good, and it made watching videos and playing games on the V20 really enjoyable. There’s also a secondary screen on the upper part of the V20 panel, that acts as an always on notification center. It’s cool in theory, but I found it virtually useless during my time using this phone.
LG put a great deal of work into their Android skin, and while it remains highly functional, it still leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I’m used to a pure Android experience, and while most manufacturers are moving towards that same type of integration, LG still relies heavily on their custom software. This is one of the first phones to ship with Android 7.0, and that’s a huge bonus. The home screen is perhaps the biggest nuance for me as it’s skinned with the same type of feel as that of the iPhone. Thankfully you can change back to a more traditional Android home screen by changing the launcher from within the settings, or by downloading a different one from the Google Play Store. Aside from that misstep, I really enjoyed how LG was able to integrate the best features from their vision of Android across the entire device.
LG threw a Quad Core Snapdragon 820 processor in the V20 to ensure the hardware worked harmoniously with the software to give users the best end to end experience possible. What this means for users is when you go to fire up your favorite game or watch a movie, there won’t be any stutter or lag. I’m a heavy user of my smartphone, and while using the V20, I noticed there was no slowdown no matter what I was doing. On top of all that, there’s a 3,200 mAh battery powering it which lasted a surprisingly long time. On average, I could get between 10 – 13 hours in between charges. LG also pumped 64GB of storage into the V20, and added in a microSD slot for additional storage capabilities.
As mobile photography becomes more and more prevalent, it’s not enough to have a decent camera on a phone anymore. On the V20 LG managed to provide users not only with a great camera system, but also features within it that you’d normally only see on high-end digital cameras. On the front there’s a 5MP wide-angle lens with f/1.9 aperture, while on the back there’s a 16MP standard, and an 8MP wide-angle lens. Pictures turned out great, with only minor white wash if photos were taken in direct sunlight. Low-light pictures were solid as well, but not quite on par with those taken from the Pixel XL or the iPhone 7 Plus. Video mode on the V20 was also pretty stellar, and video buffs will especially enjoy the manual mode controls for a more hands on shooting experience. It was awesome to have the extra features available, especially the audio direction controls and wind noise filter. Both added extra spiff to my videos, and I could see them being amazingly useful for the growing number of content creators out there.
After using the V20 for a little over a month, I’m convinced that LG finally entrenched themselves atop the smartphone game. While they face stiff competition from the likes of Apple, Samsung, and now Google themselves, LG put together a winning formula with the V20.