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The LG V20’s claim to fame is that it was the first handset
to ship with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, but it’s really a lot more than
that. For one thing, it contains such advanced features like a 3.5mm headphone
jack and a non-exploding battery, so it already beats two of this year’s second
half flagships.
But all jokes aside, this device has really solid hardware,
along with some great features. The second screen – which debuted in the V10 –
can be very useful at times, and the camera is fantastic.
It’s one of very few flagship phones on the market where you
can still remove the battery, as it has a button on the lower-right side of the
device to pop off the back cover. On a personal note, when I first saw the
device, I was hoping that that was a camera button, as that’s where one would
typically be, and it would be great on such a camera-centric device.
On the upper-left side of the handset, you get your standard
volume controls, which – first seen in the G5 – is a departure for LG. Previous
models, such as the G4 and the V10, has the volume controls on the rear panel
on the top and bottom of the power button, and in the V10’s case, the
fingerprint scanner.
The power button/fingerprint scanner, however, is in the
same location, right below the cameras. On the bottom of the device, you’ll
find a USB Type-C port, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. Personally, I’m a
fan of having both ports on the same side of the device, as it leaves the user
able to more easily position the handset in a way that one of them isn’t
exposed to the elements.
Speaking of not exposing the device to the elements, the V20
passed the MIL-STD-810G Transit Drop Test. This means that the handset can be
dropped repeatedly and still function, and LG says that it’s “tough as nails”.


The LG V20 has a unique display. It has a 5.7-inch 1440p
display, but above it is a 2.1-inch 160×1040 IPS LCD. To start with, the
display is about as beautiful and vibrant as LCD panels get, the whites are
white, and the colors are accurate. The blacks wouldn’t fool me into thinking
it’s AMOLED, but it’s a fine LCD, nonetheless.
Now, onto the second screen. Its main purpose is to show you
the time, date, and notifications when the phone is asleep, as LG says that the
average user wakes their phone 150 times a day, often just to check the time.

It’s certainly not perfect; for example, I’d prefer that the
device use an AMOLED display, even if the main display was LCD and the second
screen was AMOLED. LCD panels are entirely backlit, whereas an AMOLED only
lights up the pixels that are being used. This is why you can see the backlight
even when the phone is asleep (in the second screen area). You can set it to
turn off at certain times, but I feel like it would just be better as an

Audio quality:

OK, I’m no audiophile, so I’m certainly not the expert in
this department. The LG V20 has a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC (digital to analog
converter). The company says that it reduces ambient noise by up to 50%.
 I can tell you that it sounds really good, and it should
improve the quality of any pair of headphones. I’ve been using the pair of
headphones that came bundled with the Amazon Fire Phone (yes, I know; I
typically use headphones that came with phones because I have so many damn phones).
Naturally, the DAC only works with the 3.5mm headphone jack.
It’s a digital to analog converter, so it won’t work with headphones that plug
into the USB Type-C port or connect over Bluetooth. These would rely on the DAC
in the devices themselves; for example, an analog signal can’t pass over

Rear camera:

You might have noticed the dual-camera trend in smartphones
lately, and the V20 is no exception to that. I’m going to compare it to the
iPhone 7 Plus for a moment.
You might recall that the V10 also had a dual-camera setup,
but in the front of the device, which served the exact same purpose for
selfies. Obviously, LG has ditched the idea for the selfie camera and
implemented it in the main camera.
The thing that sort of bothers me is that the resolutions
are different. The main 16-megapixel camera has a 75-degree lens, and the
secondary 8-megapixel camera has a 135-degree lens, which LG says is wider than
the human field of vision, which is around 120 degrees.
In short, you’re getting a much wider field of view from a
lower resolution camera, and since you’re getting so much more in that shot,
that’s more likely to be the image that you want to crop, which would cause a
significant loss in quality. A 720p display is only around 1MP, 1080p is about
2.1MP, and 4K is 8.3MP (these are all at 16:9), so anything smaller than that
will be a noticeable difference.
While the low light performance of the front camera is
pretty good, you can see that the flash can come in pretty handy.

But should you upgrade from the V10?

I normally don’t include a section like this in a review,
because it’s usually pointless. Should you upgrade from an iPhone 6s Plus to an
iPhone 7 Plus? Of course not; why would you break your two-year contract when
you’ve already got a phone that you’re probably satisfied with?
But I think that this is a different story. In this case,
the V10 was a phone that I wasn’t impressed with at all, and the V20 is a
device that I fell in love with.
For one thing, I felt that the V10 underperformed. In fact,
2015 was a really rough year for Android phones in general. You had flagships
that were powered by the Snapdragon 810, which overheated, and then companies
like LG stuck with the Snapdragon 808, which wasn’t very impressive. On top of
that, everyone wanted a 1440p display, making the device very underpowered when
attempting to do anything graphics-intensive, like mobile gaming.
Fortunately, the Snapdragon 820 that’s in the V20 – as well
as most of this year’s flagships – makes up for just about all of the
shortcomings of its predecessors, and I’ve been very pleased with the
performance of the handset.
The camera was another thing that I didn’t care for on the
V10 (by the way, most of what I’m saying in this section about the V10 also
applies to the G4). LG really nailed it when the company introduced laser focus
in the G3, but it just didn’t feel as good the second time around. The device
seemed to have trouble with autofocus.
Once again, that seems to be solved in the V20. As I
mentioned above, the hybrid autofocus system works very well. I feel like the
V20 is the V10 done right.


As I mentioned in the last section, I’ve been very satisfied
with the performance of the V20, as I have been with most flagship Androids
that I’ve reviewed this year. The Snapdragon 820 is a solid chipset and the
Adreno 530 GPU can handle 1440p far better than the Adreno 418 or 430 did.
But some of you won’t be happy until you can see some
benchmarks, which of course, we will provide. For the average user that’s
reading this to see if you should pick the V20 as your new phone, I’d skip this
section, as benchmarks don’t always reflect real-world usage.
I ran tests in both Geekbench 3 and 4. Geekbench 3 has been
replaced, but its successor gives out different scores, so if you want to
compare it with older devices that came out before Geekbench 4 was around, you
might want to have access to both. Either way, it’s just better to be thorough.
Naturally, the V20 scores similarly to other Snapdragon 820
devices, but you can see that it doesn’t do quite as well as Samsung’s Exynos
8890, which the company used in some international variants of the Galaxy S7,
S7 edge, and Note7.
A 1080p display is 2.1-megapixels, and 1440p is
3.7-megapixels, so with an additional 1.6 million pixels, that QHD display
taxes the GPU quite a bit more. In other words, if Device A’s GPU is slightly
more powerful than Device B’s, but Device A has a QHD display while B’s display
is FHD, B would probably still get the better result. The offscreen tests put
the two devices on an equal playing field.


As you’ve probably realized by now, I’ve been super happy
with the V20. In fact, it’s hard to find anything meaningfully wrong with it.
If I had to criticize something, it would be the boring design – in comparison
with some of the more exciting-looking handsets out there – and the display, which
is good, but not great. Recently, I actually booted up my HTC 10 and was
reminded of just how beautiful an LCD can look.
But with those minor criticisms aside, I absolutely love the
second screen, the device is powerful, it gets all-day battery life, and the
audio sounds great. The camera is fantastic (and I’m a bit of a smartphone
camera nerd), with a wonderful hybrid autofocus system that takes the best
elements of PDAF, laser focus, and contrast focus.
We’re closing in on the end of 2016, which means that if I’m
going to say that one phone was the best of the year, I’ll say this: the LG V20
is on the short list. If you’re considering buying an Android phone, I don’t
think you can go wrong with this one.

To know more about LG V20 click here – http://www.lg.com/us/mobile-phones/v20

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