Review by Sunetra Chakravati,1/12/2016 10:19:38 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Fingerprint sensor | battery life | music upscaling | video editing features | camera with RAW format | removable battery
Plastic backplate | not waterproof | runs Android 5.2
Not to be outdone by their Android-totting competitors, LG unleashed the V10, a bigger, badder version of the G4 which was more reminiscent of the Blackberry Priv than the S6 Edge, but one that almost out-specs the other two.
We are the first UK magazine to have a device to test and give our verdict on- UK release is imminent and going by the response of our readers, it is going to be an eagerly awaited one.
There are are quite a few features that make the phone very very interesting...
First up is the second screen. Perched atop the primary one, next to the two front-facing camera lenses (we will come back to this later) is a scroller-like area that fits in app notifications. It is swipe-able, so it is a second screen because of its functions however dimunitive its size and is customisable so you can also have a little bit of text in there, I just went for my name, it was interesting to see it there for a while before I lost all interest.
If you have every used a Samsung S6 Edge, the second screen on the LG V10 does exactly what the 'Edge' does but if you havent, read on...
Your most used apps go on there as well as notifications and you can set it up within the settings area, you can even have it lit at night to show the time and let you know of notifications that have turned up.
There is not much obvious use for it, and it does make using the pull-down notofication area trickier to navigate but full marks to LG for thinking out of the box!
So there are two front-facing cameras: Because, obviously selfies are now almost as (if not more!) important than primary cameras. There is a standard one and another which is wide-angled to incorporate more of what's around you, so perfect for groufies and panoramic selfies.
The angles on them are 80 and 120 degrees each and as you can make out from these two example selfies, the difference between the two is pretty impressive.
With Vine and Instagram, we all know the importance of video has gone up suddenly. And with most of us making and sharing videos from our phone, LG have gone a step further with the controls they have added to the V10's video recording capabilities. There is a video mode called Snap which lets you record short videos between 3s-60s that are instantly shareable. And this is not where it stops,
Not only can you record video in 4K but the V10, additionally has three microphones so you are not struggling to listen to what's being said on camera as well as the ability to control the audio scales so the end result is noise free. The wind noise filter further helps with sealing its place as one of the best devices for bloggers, journalists and parents who record videos regularly.
How many times have you forgotten to pack your headphones and then been forced to listen to music using tinny rubbish ones spoiling the listening experience? The V10 supports audio formats like flac and wav and it can also recover corrupt MP3 files, just imagine how many of these you can then store on the 200GB memory card!
Furthermore, the LG V10 also converts all music that it pipes through headset or earphones to 32 bit Hi-Fi DAC making everything sound incredibly crisp, clear and on a more gushy note, an absolute dream to listen to.
The rear camera is a 16-MP one and while in auto format you are able to take quite good pictures in good light as is obvious from our Instagram posts although it does get a bit hairy in low light conditions. However with the manual camera mode, LG are onto a winner. Not only are you able to take pictures in RAW format but the range of dials make it a very able substitute for a DSLR.
A photo posted by mobile choice (@mobilechoicemag) on Jan 15, 2016 at 10:03am PST
A photo posted by mobile choice (@mobilechoicemag) on Jan 15, 2016 at 10:00am PST
Video recording wise, it is the first phone to offer a manual video mode so you are not only able to record in FHD (cinema and 16:9), UHD (16:9) and HD (cinema and 16:9) but also change the frames per second (fps) rate on the videos (1, 2, 24, 30, 60) to suit your needs, this is super-handy when you are trying to convert phone videos and trying to get them to look professional for your Youtube channel.
You can also adjust the bitrate and the Optical Image Stabilisation makes sure that your videos don't look like terribly amateurish or Blair Witch Project-like.
Make no mistake, this is a phablet and quite large in the hand but the rubberised removable backplate makes sure that it cannot slip out of your hands unlike the iPhone 6s and Galaxy S6 Edge+. It weighs a hefty 192 grams and this is probably down to the stainless steel edged body. It has the signature LG bodyline with a curved back that fits in the palm better and the straight sides.
The power button on the back is very handy and using the index finger to unlock the phone is very easy when using the phone one-handed during a commute.
The fingerprint sensor is built into this button and the volume toggle flanks it on two sides.
A note on the usability of the phone: I love the fact that you can shrink the size of the screen down and depending on which hand you use for it, get the screen to occupy 3/4ths of the actual display area, eliminating the need to juggle it unendingly.
LG have decided to depart from their usual curved POLED screen leaving the V10 with a flat one. However, their expertise with displays is all too obvious here with the QHD IPS screen an absolute joy to use. Colour reproduction is realistic and vivid and that results in a superior viewing experience.
The backplate of the phone is rubberised but the device certainly isnt ruggedised. The sides and edges have a silicone buffer and the two vertical sides sit within stainless steel bumper giving it a military standard transit drop certification.
There are also two separate layers on the display so this basically means that if you drop the phone and it lands on its edge or sides, there is a smaller chance of it breaking than other devices that aren't certified.
Snapdragon 808 from Qualcomm powers the phablet, a small step down from the ill-fated 810 which was plagued with issues relating to overheating. The step down doesnt seem to have mattered because the V10 performs well in benchmark tests. An AnTutTu benchmark test gave a score of 67251 which sits just about the G4 with 65507 and below the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge with 67520.
There is LG's signature overlay atop Android 5.1.2 and although it is heavier than Samsung's overlay, it is definitely not as bad as some of the ones we are seeing from newer manufacturers.
Everyday working is fine and the phone handles all tasks that you throw at it with ease. We experienced the phone getting very warm while streaming over 4G and while it wasnt alarming, it was unexpected.
The 4GB RAM is superfast and the internal memory of 32GB (64GB only in the US) does well to store all your apps on it. For all your multimedia content, you get the extra 2TB on the microSD card to play with.
Battery life was good and charge on our review handset dropped from 45% to 36% after 15 minutes of streaming Youtube over 4G at 100% brightness. The battery is 3000mAH and in general lasted us a little over a day but the biggest advantage is that the battery is removable which makes it quite easy to swap for a fully charged one if you are away from a charging point for too long.
The V10 recharges superfast as well and you should be able to get from 0-100% charge in an hour.
The V10 is a fantastic product, it is robust, has a fantastic screen and enough quirky and fantastic new features that other manufacturers can only dream of packing into a phone. From the manual video mode to Vine and Instagram friendly video maker and the very novel second screen and the biometric reading power button on the back.
Currently it is available online and we still dont have details of which networks will stock it on the British high street and that is a real shame.
The LG V10 might not be a blindingly beautiful handset, but I would rather have something non-slippery that doesnt need a case than a super-slippery phone which has to be sheathed in a £9 case ruining the kerb appeal- I am looking at you Samsung!
The battery is swappable but it still runs an older generation of Android and although it is brilliant for streaming, the phone does get warm under duress.
Would I recommend the LG V10? Yes I would, it is a great phone and I think it brings a refreshing change to the mobile landscape. Whether it proves to be the winner that LG need right now remains to be seen.
OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Dimension: 159.6 x 79.3 x 8.6mm
Display: 5.7” plus second 2.1" QHD IPS Quantum
Resolution: 2560 x 1440 Quad HD
Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon 808 Hexa-Core, 64 bit
Camera: 16-MP Auto-Focus, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), f1.8 lens; 5-MP dual front camera; Video recording at 4K UHD
Memory: 4GB LPDDR3 RAM / 64GB eMMC ROM (microSD upto 2TB)
Battery: 3000mAh (removable)
Fingerprint scanner: Yes
Misc: Upscales audio when connected to earphones/headset to 32-bit DAC