LG V30+ Review
Announced back in September during IFA in Berlin, the LG V30 is a successor to the company’s flagship phablet line. LG went back to the drawing board and re-thought the design approach, this time giving the V30 more semblance to the LG G6.
LG Philippines decided to release the V30+ instead of the V30 primarily to match the hardware configuration of the competition, most of which already offering 128GB storage as standard fare.
Before proceeding to our full review, check out our quick unboxing of the LG V30+ below:
To those who are curious, LG decided to name the variant with 128GB internal storage as the V30+. No size difference, no extra features. Yes, we’re equally perplexed with this naming convention.
Design and Construction
The LG V30 is nothing much like its predecessors. The design signature is closer to the LG G6 rather than the LG V20 and that’s not an entirely bad thing. For one, it unifies the design DNA of LG’s two flagship line — the G series and the V series. Second, we believe it’s going in the right direction. On the other hand, there seems to be not enough differentiation between the G series and the V series with this move, except for the display size.
It’s a refined version of the LG G6 and nothing like the V20 — sleeker, more polished and looks more premium. For a 6-inch smartphone, it’s not much bigger than the LG G6 which is just 5.7 inches across. It’s also less blocky compared to the G6. The edges are rounder both at the front and back so it’s still comfortable to hold despite having a wider profile. It’s even lighter than the G6 by 5 grams and thinner too (7.3mm vs 7.9mm).
The hybrid SIM card tray is on the right side with the volume controls are on the left. At the bottom are the primary mic, USB Type-C charging port and speaker grills while the 3.5mm audio port and noise-canceling mic are up top.
The circular power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner and is found at the back, just below the dual rear cameras. The silver Bang & Olufsen logo is conspicuously printed in the center while the LG logo is flushed towards the bottom end.
Just like the G6, the back side is covered by Gorilla Glass 5 (front and back) for protection which is nice but can also be a bit bothersome since it easily gets smudged with fingerprints. LG also claims they used Gorilla Glass 4 to cover the lens module. There’s a subtle pattern beneath the back glass of the back panel just like the one we saw in the LG G6+ before.
The V30 is without a doubt, the best looking and well-designed smartphone from LG to date. Feels just right in the hands, not too big and not too chunky like the G6. The placement of the rear fingerprint scanner is most ergonomic and aside from being shock resistant with MIL-STD-810G Testing, it is also IP68 dust and water resistant for up to 1.5m and as long as 30 minutes.
Display and Multimedia
LG has always been using IPS panels in all of their previous phones but this time they chose an OLED panel instead. It’s a good decision as OLED produces great-looking displays, rich colors, and high contrast ratio while consuming less power.
The V30+ comes in a 6-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and an 81.2% screen-to-body ratio. This required extra pixels more than a quad HD resolution (2880×1440 pixels) giving it a 538ppi pixel density.
The OLED display looks really nice and with the HDR 10 support, watching Netflix and Amazon Prime Video gives a noticeable difference in picture quality (for some HDR titles only) although the device can also intelligently improve other video content to near-HDR quality. There’s “Always-On Display” as well which shows time, date and notifications even while the screen is off/asleep.
Both the front and back panels are protected by Gorilla Glass 5. The glass at the front panel is slightly rounded along the corners (2.5D) which gives that impression that the device is thinner than it is.
The phone supports 32-bit/192kHz audio which is nice if you’re particular about sound quality. When activated, a Hi-Fi icon appears at the top right corner of the screen beside the battery and WiFi icons. It works when plugged into earphones and your music files are at least 24bit and 192KHz in FLAC format. If you have really good earphones to pair this with, you will definitely hear the difference.
LG followed the same setup with their dual camera system — one fit for portrait shots and the second is for taking wide-angle shots. The primary camera has a wide aperture of f/1.6 ( 71? field-of-view) which is good for low-light conditions and reduces shakiness while the 13MP secondary camera has a decent f/1.9 aperture and 120? field-of-view which is fine when taking landscape shots.
We noticed a slight camera lag when using the native camera app. At times, it takes a full second from tapping the capture button to actually snapping the picture. This can be annoying if you want to take successive shots. We hope this gets addressed in upcoming firmware updates.
Check out some sample shots below:
Samples above are assorted shots of the 16MP and 13MP rear cameras.
The front-facing camera has a decent 5-megapixel sensor with a 90-degree field of view for wider shots but it can also be adjusted to just 80-degrees for tighter selfies. It supports face detection for automatic selfie shots, the old hand gesture to shot is still there with additional features such as screen illumination (adds ambient light for selfies) and a special Beauty Shot that softens facial features.
Beauty Shot of the frotn camera is a little over-processed here.
The Manual Mode (photo and video) is also something we really liked since it allows full control of the camera — from shutter speed, ISO, exposure, white balance. There’s also the ability to save image as RAW (JPG + DNG).
The rear camera can shoot 4K video at 30fps or capture slow-motion shots up to 240fps at 720p. It’s got OIS+2.0 and EIS for better stability. The V30 can also shoot in LG-Cine Log (when in Manual Mode) which captures 211% wider color gamut (Rec.2020) for enhanced video. This allows you to grade the footage later on or immediately apply up to 16 different color grading presets to add a cinematic look.
Most of the 4k videos taken by the wide-angle camera looked wobbly even when held with steady hands. This could be the result of the OIS/EIS over-compensating for shakiness. We don’t observe the same wobbling effect when shooting with the primary camera though.
OS, UI and Apps
The V30+ runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat with LG UX 6.0+. It’s a simple-looking interface that’s almost vanilla-flavored except for the old LG-themed icon set. The on-screen menu can be configured to accomodate 3 or 4 icon shortcuts and also re-arrange them to your liking.
The screen can be set to layout 4×4, 4×5 or 5×5 icons per grid and you can turn the leftmost home screen as a Smart Bulletin to show customized content and information.
By default, there’s no app drawer so you’re left with multiple home screens for apps and widgets. Looking deep into the Home Settings, this can be reverted back to a UI with the default app drawer included. There’s a floating bar for additional shortcuts straight from the screen.
Aside from the Fingerprint ID as the most convenient way to unlock the phone, there’s also Facial Recognition and Voice Recognition (2 to 3 words) and the Knock Code that uses a 6 to 10-point pattern on the screen. The original Knock-On that uses double-tap to wake or put the phone to sleep is still present.
There are not a lot of pre-installed apps except the usual LG native apps like LG Health, LG SmartWorld, RemoteCall Service,
Of the 128GB, only 109GB is available for apps and files which is more than enough but you can expand that up to 2TB via the hybrid SIM/microSD card slot.
Performance and Benchmarks
The LG V30+ is powered by the latest Snapdragon 835 chip from Qualcomm with Adreno 540 GPU. This is paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB storage. We were expecting LG would drive the memory to 6GB at least but they kept it at 4GB just like other flagships like the Galaxy S8/S8+ and the Note 8. Nothing biggies but that would have made a more convincing reason to call it the V30+.
Nevertheless, the V30+ is a beast in the hardware department. Operation is buttery smooth, the UI is snappy and the phone is very responsive.
Antutu Benchmark: 176,199
GeekBench 4.0: 1,932 (Single-core), 6,143 (Multi-core)
PCMark Test: 8,323 (Work 1.), 6,077 (Work 2.0)
AndroBench: 730MB/s (Read), 200MB/s (Write)
Power-intensive apps and hevay games runs well and smooth on the device. There’s no noticeable lags and graphics performance are spot on. The device does not heat up during extended heavy usage although it could get warm a bit once in a while.
Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life
Call quality is excellent — voice calls are loud and clear, SMS are sent and received quickly and signal strength for WiFi, GPS and mobile internet are good in most cases. The noise-canceling mic works pretty well in reducing background noise.
GPS is pretty good with an accuracy rate of about +/-8m based on our GPS tests.
The hybrid dual SIM support allows for two nano SIM cards or one SIM and a microSD card of up to 2TB. Both SIM slots are LTE-capable and support up to 12 bands, including the 700MHz band.
The V30+ comes with a 3,300mAh Li-Ion battery that good for an entire day of moderate use.
In our video loop test, the V30+ managed to last 19 hours and 30 minutes in a single full charge at 50% brightness, zero volume and in airplane mode. That’s a pretty impressive battery life. We could not double-check this with PCMark Battery Test because the app crashes every time the results are computed during testing.
The device also supports Quick Charge 3.0 and can go from zero to 100% in about 60 to 70 minutes. There’s also wireless charging support (wireless charger sold separately).
The LG G6 rebooted LG’s direction to something more concrete and the LG V30+ cemented that focus into something more compelling and truly desirable. It’s got a simple yet beautiful and elegant design, solid performance and nice pair of cameras. It took everything that is good from the LG G6 and made it great.
We’re just a bit disappointed that the released was delayed for months. Nevertheless, the LG V30+ is a very strong contender — remarkable in so many ways. If LG could have priced it more competitively.
LG V30+ (LG-H930) specs:
5.97-inch 18:9 Quad HD+ OLED FullVision Display @ 2880×1440 pixels, 538ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (Front and Back)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 2.4GHz octa-core processor
Adreno 540 GPU
4GB LPDDR4x RAM
128GB UFS 2.0
Up to 2TB via microSD
16MP Standard Angle (F1.6 / 71°) / 13MP Wide Angle (F1.9/ 120°)
5MP Wide Angle (F2.2 / 90°)
LTE-A 4 Band CA
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
USB Type-C 2.0
Voice and Face Recognition
IP68 Water and Dust resistance rating
32-bit Advanced Hi-Fi Quad DAC
Android 7.1.2 Nougat w/ UX6.0+
3,300mAh battery w/ Quick Charge 3.0, wireless charging support
Shock Resistant with MIL-STD-810G Testing
151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3mm (dimensions)
158 grams (weight)
Aurora Black and Moroccan Blue
The LG V30+ is available from Widget City for Php42,000 (see listing here).
What we liked about it:
* Great performance
* Very nice display
* Impressive dual-rear camera
* Beautiful design
* Wireless charging
* HiFi sound
What we did not like:
* Very expensive