It’s the Phone You Can Abuse Because it Can Take it
We’ve been using a Korean telecom unit of the LG V20 as our daily driver for the last week (loaned to us by LG Philippines). After thoroughly abusing it as much as we can for a little over a week, we’ve come to an initial conclusion that this device can stand side-by-side among the very best flagship smartphones out in the market. Simply put, it’s a functional powerhouse beast of a machine with strong emphasis on making mobile music excellent and mobile photography fun.
Here’s a quick refresher of the specifications:
LG V20 Spec Sheet
- 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor
- Adreno 530 graphics processor
- 4GB RAM
- 5.7-inch QHD Quantum (IPS) display, 2560 x 1440 resolution
- 2-1-inch secondary screen, 160 x 1040 resolution
- 64GB expandable storage, up to 2TB via microSD
- 16-megapixel (main) rear camera, f/1.8, OIS
- 8-megapixel (secondary) rear camera, f/2.4, wide-angle, laser AF, phase detection AF, contrast AF
- 5-megapixel front camera, f/1.9, wide-angle
- Dual SIM
- 4G LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, A-GPS, GLONASS
- USB Type-C port, Fingerprint sensor
- 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC audio chip
- Android 7.0 Nougat (LG UX 5.0 UI)
- 3200mAh Li-Ion battery, removable, Quick Charge 3.0
Let’s jump right into it.
It’s Not the Nicest Looking Phone But it Gets the Job Done
The LG V20 is an all-metal device which feels sturdy and solid in the hand. It’s not as light as the LG G5, but it definitely feels more premium. However we do feel that the design could be better aesthetically. Simply put, it’s a big, solid, and thin block of metal and glass. The backplate is removable which means you can swap out the battery anytime. This is something that we’ve always loved about LG smartphones and hopefully they find a way to keep this even with their next releases like the LG G6.
That said, don’t let the unassuming design fool you. This is a beast through and through and the best way to use the LG V20 is to study it and try to unlock the power the phone has. The LG V20 is all about unleashing the potential it has in it because if you don’t, you’re better of with any other Android flagship out there in the market.
So how do we make the most out of it? Let’s start with the audio.
Superb Audio Output: Beats Down the Competition
When the LG V20 was announced, they harped on the 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC Audio Chip. This is not a gimmick. If you know how to make the most out of it, the sound trip experience on the LG V20 beats down the experience offered by most, if not all, of the flagships in the market. To those who want a better understanding of how a DAC (digital audio converter) works, think of it as much more powerful sound chip in your device. Because it has more sophisticated tech, it can properly power headphones, especially the more power hungry ones, and this gives you a much better sound output.
Before we talk about power hungry headphones, let’s take a look at the Bangs & Olufsen in-ear headphones that comes in the box. These earphones are far more superior (as in ridiculously much better) than the Apple EarPods (or AirPods) and the crappy generic earphones you get with Samsung smartphones. The difference is just night and day when it comes to audio output. If ever you guys find an LG V20 on display at the malls, try it out and let your ears tell the whole story.
Where the LG V20 truly shines is when you start using more power hungry headphones. By the way, remember that NOT ALL HEADPHONES ARE CREATED EQUAL. The more sophisticated ones that offer better audio output REQUIRE MORE POWER and the standard digital audio chip in your smartphone can’t handle it. The LG V20 makes a better effort in driving more power hungry cans using its 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC Audio Chip.
We tried a variety of cans ranging from the usual Audio Technica M50s to the crazier HiFi Man cans that we have in the photo above. At the end of the day we were surprised to see that the built-in DAC was capable to drive most of the cans that we had in our collection. Plugging these cans in other flagships, even the iPhone, produced lower volume, more distorted, and less detailed music. But the LG V20 was able to give a much better listening experience for us.
By the way, make sure you download a better music player. Our favorite has always been Power Amp Pro. You guys should give it a try.
Fun Camera with the Wide Angle and Fast Autofocus
Three key things about the LG V20 camera.
- The wide angle lens for both the back and front cameras are fun to use. If you love taking selfies, this works really well to get bigger group shots.
- If you’re a hardcore user, just toggle on Manual mode and tweak the settings to shot you want to take.
- It has a lot of built-in features even for video like Time Lapse and Live Filters.
So regardless if you’re a power user or just someone who wants to have fun taking photos, the LG V20 can deliver. More on this when we do the full review.
It Does Everything Else Well
Given the beastly specs inside, we were surprised that the LG V20 handled everything we threw at it pretty well. Graphics demanding games such as NBA 2K17 and Marvel Future Fight were smooth and we didn’t encounter any hiccups playing them. Given the price point and the flagship status, anything less is truly unacceptable.
Verdict: It’s a Fun Phone But It’s Really For Power Users
So what’s our net takeaway? The LG V20 is a good smartphone and it can stand side-by-side all the other flagships in the market. However it truly does shine when you spend the time and effort to unlock the potential it has in it especially with the camera and audio experiences. It’s a beast of a device and we would gladly recommend it to people who are serious about their music and their mobile photography.
The LG V20 is now available in the Philippines with an SRP of Php35,990.