The LG V20 finds itself in a extremely good spot. Its mobile phone rivals are either in quite an explosive fix or have priced themselves out of the market like the Google Pixel. The stars have aligned themselves for LG’s taking and after three weeks with this phone, I’ll be looking to get one for myself and you should too.

Top end mobile phones are pretty much the same across the board these days. But, if you’re looking for a mobile device that has a beautiful screen, removable battery and dual sim functions, you’re at home with the LG V20. Combined with excellent video capabilities, the LG V20 knocks it out of the park. If these are features that you’re looking for in a mobile phone, this phone is perfect for you for S$998 without contract.

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Having tossed away the rubber/plastic/metal experiment of the V10, the LG V20 is now made of aircraft-grade aluminum with a silicon-based material at the top and bottom for extra protection. I’ve kept it in my pocket and bag without a case and it still looks as good as new. The shell does channel quite a bit of heat especially if you’re planning to do plenty of video or gaming but it doesn’t become as uncomfortable to hold as compared to the Nexus 6P.

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Like the Nexus 6P, the LG V20 comes installed with the latest Android Nougat pre-installed. How this would translate the timely updates eventually is still anyone’s best guess. However, having two Nougat devices side by side, I’ve found that the V20 performs better than the Nexus 6P is pretty much all departments from gaming to battery management. This perk could be attributed to the newer Snapdragon 820 which only illustrates that planned obsolescence might be really a thing.

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Doze is wildly inconsistent on the 6P with the battery draining as much as 20 per cent off the charger while the V20 hardly registers a trickle of drain. Additionally, the V20 does well to manage heat with it’s game battery saver mode while I’m on a marathon Hearthstone session unlike the Nexus 6P. Being able to adjust the frame rate and resolution does make a difference. After all, you’re gaming on the go and it’s nice to have plenty of battery life left after completing your daily commute.

The V20 has a reasonably sized 3200 mAh battery, which ekes out even more juice than numbers might state. I’ve been able to go a full entire day of 12 hours with heavy social media use and plenty of web surfing and only got the battery down to 10%. This is mighty impressive considering the size of the 5.7” screen this battery is powering.

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A removable battery is a big deal to me as I prefer not to lug a external battery pack around which is an extremely common sight these days. LG is providing an external charger and battery as a sweetener for each V20 purchase where I live so it makes really good value to grab this deal while it lasts. While some might still lament the relatively smaller battery size, the LG V20 comes equipped with fast charging as well. I’ve been able to revive a flat phone with a half hour to bring it up to the 50% mark. And if you have time to spare, 80 minutes will fill the battery completely. However, do note that you’d need to use the supplied Qualcomm QuickCharge wall charger as laptop charging via USB-C doesn’t seem to bear the same result.

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Focus peaking helps you get that shot in order by turning areas in focus green.

The camera department is where the V20’s allure wanes a little. Compared to the Samsung S7, the V20’s camera shoots slightly slower and has minor loss in quality. It’s not a dealbreaker but what the software lacks in finish, it makes up in features. Auto Selfie, which lets you take a selfie by simply keeping still for the camera, is found in the V20 which makes me wonder why other phone makers have yet to include something similar in their software without having to force a smile.  The full manual control mode for photo and video is great as well with it’s live preview of the shot. Great if you’re figuring out how ISO and shutter speed affects the overall picture.

The new addition of focus peaking comes in really useful for my case as I love taking pictures of toys. You can easily translate that application to food shots as well. Armed with an f/1.8 lens, you’d be able to grab beautiful bokehs for all your close up shots and works great in low light situations.

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Wide shots are great but not at extreme close ups.

Like it’s predecessor, the V20 has an additional wide angle lens as well but the fish eye effect seems more pronounced this time round. If you’re taking a selfie, expect your arm to look extremely elongated.

Video for the V20 has always been ace and with 3 microphones, you’re guaranteed stellar sound recording as well. I’m pretty sure combined with a gimbal, the V20 would possibly be the budget choice for any mobile recording enthusiast.

While the phone records up to 4k, you’re likely to run out of space before the battery gives up which is why the expandable memory slot comes to the rescue. The only sore point I’ve found was the time lapse recording after recording continuously for 15mins. I’d have love to recreate the same time lapse LEGO build I made last year but somehow the stitching of the video failed at the end which is a pity considering the other shorter test videos turned out great.

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For all the audio prowess that V20 possess when it comes to recording, playback from the device is a bit of a miss. The placement of the sole speaker at the bottom of the phone is easily muffled depending on hand placement.

While I’ve already been a great advocate of the pure Android experience, the LG V20 illustrates how third parties can bring out the best of the software. Tap to unlock is great to have especially when the phone unlock button is found on the rear. Something I sorely missed when resting my Nexus 6P on the table. It’s a first world problem but LG solves it for me.

The year end is a tricky launch date for any mobile phone but yet fortune seems to have favoured the LG V20 in 2016 and it’s the best Android phone I’ve seen so far and would likely serve you well into the new year. But if you’re feeling rich, there’s always the Google Pixel which is a great phone with an equally impressive price to match.


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Review overview

Aesthetics9
Build Quality9
Performance9.5
Value8.5
Geek Satisfaction9

Summary

If you can live without a stylus, the LG V20 would be your favourite large sized Android phone. The V20 is a good improvement over its predecessor and has big wins in all departments save for the camera.

9
Gerald

Gerald

Gerald currently straddles between his love of video games and board gaming. There's nothing that interests him more than trying out the newest and fanciest gadget in town as well. He dreams of publishing a board game sometime in the future!