LG V10 Review
Display and Multimedia
The V10’s 5.7-inch IPS Quantum display has a QHD resolution (2560 x 1440) that equates to an impressive 513ppi. Needless to say, images are packed and detailed while viewing angles are impressive throughout. The screen real estate is also big enough for it to feature a split-screen function so you could multitask on its display in portrait and landscape modes.
Going to its 2.1-inch secondary display that’s situated right above the main screen, it has a 1040 x 160 resolution that’s always on to show new notifications and shortcuts when the main display is both on and off. The only time it’s disabled is when it senses that the phone is faced down or inside a pocket that’s determined by the sensor up front. One of the main purposes of this feature (while the main display is on) is that it populates the strip of the last 5 apps that you have opened. Give it a swipe and you’ll see 5 more apps that you could personalize. Swiping it once more shows the name of the device’s owner, but could be changed and personalized as well.
During our daily usage of the device, we found its second screen useful for switching between recent apps since we no longer needed to press the Recent Apps button when jumping from one task to the other. Although when the main display is off, the supporting display dims down which is actually hard to read and we had to squint and look at it closely. When this happens, it’s easier to just unlock the screen and check whether we have new notifications.
In general, we could say that the implementation of a second display has its useful moments, but could still be done better.
As for the speaker at the bottom, it could provide a loud volume but somehow distorts when cranked up to maximum. On average, it gave off good quality and its positioning at the bottom eliminates accidentally blocking the grille, as compared to devices with speakers at the rear panel.
The V10 also features a built-in Hi-Fi DAC (Digital to Analog Converter). This is supposed to be a better converter than the common ones found in smartphones which eliminate unwanted noises and creates more depth to the overall soundscape. Listening to a series of tracks on Spotify, we were able to hear detailed and satisfying sound using the in-ear Quad Beats 3 (said to be tuned by AKG) that was included in the package. Thing is, we were trying to listen to the difference of the sound quality with Hi-FI DAC on and then turning it off afterward. The difference was was very little to none. We had a hard time telling when the said feature was active and when it’s not.
Don’t get us wrong, the quality was impressive to begin with — drum kicks were solid and whole, mids were powerful but not overboard, and highs were warm (although has a tendency to go too bright at times). In short, an audiophile wouldn’t find this bad considering it’s built-in with the phone. It’s just that it was hard to tell the difference if the feature was on or turned off.
Sporting a 16-megapixel rear camera accompanied by a laser autofocus and dual-tone LED flashes, the strength of its imaging doesn’t solely rely on hardware. LG puts the camera’s software a notch higher above other flagships as it has full manual control over its optics. For photos, you can manually set its white balance, focus, exposure, ISO (50-2700), and shutter speed (30 – 1/6000). It can also shoot RAW photos which is more flexible during post processing.
The dual front-facing cameras are also what make this device unique. This is so that users can choose between the normal front camera or a 120-degree wide angle lens that could accommodate more people for group selfies. For us, this is simply a gimmick feature and the same effect could be achieved with just one camera that uses a special software. It’s a nice addition but isn’t totally needed. If you want to see the difference between the two front shooters, play the video after the photo gallery.
Here are some sample photos using its rear camera:
As for the OIS-equipped video mode, users also have full control over its white balance, focus, ISO (50-2700) and shutter speed (1/30 – 1/6000). You can even adjust its microphone settings to tell it to concentrate more on sound coming from the rear of the device or the front when you’re narrating something while shooting video, for example. To add more enticing features on top of those, it shoots up to 4K resolution of video at a maximum of 30fps or Full HD videos topping at 60fps (on either 16:9 ratio or cinema mode with letterbox).
Another feature that the V10 has is the Snap mode as seen on the camera’s UI. It basically lets you shoot videos in one timeline that you can record and stop to create one “edited” video done from the Camera app itself. It has a maximum length of only 1 minute so you have to be creative. Check out the sample below.
Using its rear camera just gives the user so much flexibility that photo and video buffs (like myself) would really appreciate this device. We would boldly say that the V10 has, by far, the best rear camera available in the market today. Some things we noticed, though, was that it consumed the battery really fast so be sure to have a power bank around if you plan to shoot for extended periods of time. Additionally, we noticed the device easily getting hot while shooting videos on Snap mode since all three cameras are capturing simultaneously.
OS, UI, and Apps
The V10 doesn’t come loaded with the latest Android Marshmallow OS, but its Lollipop 5.1.1 proved to be capable of making the UI a fluid experience. Swiping from page to page was smooth while jumping between apps seemed like a menial thing for the device to accomplish. It comes preloaded with some bloatwares like LG Health, but with its internal 64GB storage there was plenty of room to accommodate those.