LG V30+ Review: The phone that’s almost there
Specced for greatness
It has been in the market for quite a while now but unfortunately, it has not been able to set its feet in the smartphone world like some of the other companies have. Yes, we are talking about LG. It is a brand that has been around but is invisible, especially of late, to many of us for some reason. But this has not kept the company from launching new devices.
Back in 2015, LG launched the V10, a device with dual cameras on the front and a second screen and while many people questioned the idea back then, the idea of both dual cameras and second screens was picked up by many companies afterward. Fast forward to 2017, LG has added another member to its V series, the LG V30+. But is it going to make the brand visible in a market full of well-established names?
Premium right off the bat
The minute you will take out the LG V30+ out of the box, the premium-ness of the device will hit you right off the bat. The face of the device is all about that display. The six-inch QHD+ OLED display beautifully covers the major part of the front as the smartphone follows the minimum bezel trend. The display comes with soft curves on the edges which go well with the curvy frame of the smartphone. With minimum bezels around the display, LG has only kept the essentials on the front. The bezel above the display carries the front-facing camera, the proximity sensor, and the earpiece while the bezel below remains featureless. The display is one of the USPs of the smartphone and there are no prizes for guessing why. The colors on the V30+ are very bright and vibrant. That said, there is slight blue tint in the display, which can be a little annoying but can be fixed by turning on Comfort View in display settings. You also get options like; Best for Movies, Best for Photos, Best for Web and Custom in the display settings that change the color of the display as per your requirement.
The back of the LG V30+ is encased in glass, with a metallic sheen which is highly reflective. That said, glass on the front and glass on the back makes the device a little slippery. The upper half of the back houses the dual primary camera unit, which protrudes a little with an LED flash. A little down south from that is the round power button (yes, LG is sticking to having that on the back) which also functions like a fingerprint scanner and then comes the V30+ logo. We have seen fingerprint scanners on the back of various phone before, but there have been only a few that use the fingerprint scanner on the back as a power button as well. So, taking your fingertip all the way back to unlock the phone might take some getting used to. The lower end of the back sports the LG logo.
One thing that is really annoying with most smartphones with glass backs is the smudge problem and how quickly the glass picks up scratches. But fortunately, that is not the case with the LG V30+. The back picks up fingerprint smudges but most of them are not as pronounced as we generally see in many glass backs. The reflective nature of the back does a great job in camouflaging the fingerprints. The back of the smartphone also seems to have some kind of power shield against scratches because while the front of our smartphone has picked up numerous scratches, we cannot find any prominent ones on the back.
The frame of the smartphone is metallic silver in color. The left side of the V30+ hosts the volume buttons while the right side of the smartphone holds the hybrid SIM card tray. The top of the smartphone sports the 3.5 mm audio jack while the base carries the speaker grille and the USB Type C port.
The design language of the LG V30+ screams premium. The phone looks like it is dipped in glass and is very sleek and light for its size – 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm and 158 grams. That said, this does not make the smartphone a softy. It comes with IP68 dust and water resistance and also has military-grade durability. It might be a bit of a slippery customer, but should get away with a few drops, of water and otherwise.
Well specced with multimedia muscle
When it comes to performance, LG V30+ comes with some good names and numbers. It is powered by the super high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor bundled with 4 GB RAM. It comes with 128 GB internal storage which can be further expanded up to 256 GB via microSD card.
Although the V30+ is packed with all the right numbers, the phone does not feel snappy enough. It does not respond to the commands as quickly as we have seen some of the other 835 devices out there do. This does not jump right at you initially but signs of sluggishness appear once you start using the device for a while or compare it with a similar specced device.
That said, the V30+ performed very well in the gaming department. The casual games were obviously a breeze and the scenario did not really change in the case of high-end games either. We tried games like Asphalt Xtreme and NFS Most Wanted and both the games worked smoothly. We did not face any lags and the apps did not crash while we played the games, both of which are major thumbs up.
In terms of multimedia, one of the USPs of the LG V30+ is the quad DAC that the device houses. You can turn on the feature by pushing a toggle in Quick settings or opening the Setting app. While most people might not be able to spot the difference in sound when the feature is turned on, audiophiles are definitely going to spot the enhancement. The story remains the same over headphones. That said, the quad DACs paired with that six-inch QHD+ OLED screen definitely make a great combination for those with the multimedia bug.
Boss in details, apprentice in colors
In the camera department, the LG V30+ comes with a dual primary camera combination, consisting of a 16 megapixel and a 13-megapixel wide angle lens. The 16-megapixel lens is the standard lens that comes with f/1.6 aperture while the secondary lens comes with f/1.9 aperture. The camera duo also features OIS+, EIS, laser autofocus, PDAF and the LED flash.
The camera on the V30+ is backed by great numbers and features and it delivers in most departments, especially when it comes to details. The V30+ captures close-ups, landscapes and everything in between with great detail. We were often able to get quite close to a subject (as close as six inches) and were able to take very good pictures without having to readjust the camera – tapping on the subject did the job in most cases. In landscape pictures, the camera does a good job in capturing as much detail as possible.
Because the camera comes with a combination of wide-angle lenses, it makes the V30+ the perfect device to take pictures of landscapes. The primary lens has a usual limited view but the camera app has a mode that allows you to your smartphone to capture a wider area, and it does so well – we could spot no compromises on quality.
The camera of the V30+ may be scoring on detail and landscape mode but its color reproduction a little flawed. The colors delivered by the V30+ are often over saturated as compared to the real conditions.
The low light performance of the V30+ is pretty average as result often turn out to be a little grainy and the camera app is also little laggy in low light environments – the large aperture does pull in more light and makes even objects in dark areas visible, but this benefit is offset by the amount of noise that creeps into the images. The colors also seem to fade in lower light conditions.
The camera app of the V30+ is pretty extensive and is loaded with shortcuts. There are various modes. You can slide the shutter button right to left to zoom in and zoom out. But all of this takes a lot of time to get used to and we think the interface is rather too crowded, making it often feel clumsy rather than efficient.
Apart from its still photograph taking skills, the V30+ also comes with some notable videography features. It comes with what LG calls the Cine Video, this mode allows you to zoom in to any part of the viewfinder while taking a video. Unlike other devices that only allow you to zoom-in the middle. It also offers real-time filters that you can apply on your videos.
You can slide your finger on the viewfinder to switch to the 5-megapixel front camera. It also offers a wide view mode for group selfies and a bunch of real-time editing options. The selfie camera on the V30+ takes just passable selfies – it whitens the subject up a bit and often creates hazy images but if you are looking for a selfie camera that takes Instagram and Facebook-worthy images, the LG V30+ passes that exam.
All day battery life
No matter how fancy a device may look or how powerful its processor or cameras may be, every flagship (and even non-flagship) phone needs decent battery life to make all the fancy features work and the LG V30+ is no different.
In terms of battery, the V30+ is powered by a 3,300 mAh battery which is a pretty good number for a device which feels pretty sleek.
And it is not just numbers, the V30+ delivers on the battery front as well. The phone can easily see a heavy duty day through and can even last for more than a day when used moderately. The V30+ comes with Quick Charge 3.0 and also supports wireless charging. The phone also comes with a battery saver mode which turns off a lot of apps and features running in the background to save battery when needed.
Nougat never felt this overwhelming
The world may have moved to Oreo but the LG V30+ is still running on Android 7.1.2 but unlike most companies choosing stock Android over Android with their skin on top, LG has laden the V30+ with its own touches.
The smartphone feels nothing like a stock Android device. It comes preloaded with a bunch of third-party apps but the interface is not really clustered as these apps are arranged in folders. That said, we think the LG skin is a little overwhelming. There are tutorials for even the most basic things which might be handy for some but can very easily get on your nerves, as well.
The UI offers a few shortcuts that can be used to launch apps, open camera when the phone is locked. LG also offers a feature called Floating screen which seems like the software version of the dual screen we have seen from LG in the past (just in case you were missing it – for the record, the V30+ has a single screen). But all these features and shortcuts take a lot of getting used to.
A high-end smartphone still running on Android Nougat is a bit of a disappointment, but the V30+ comes with a few tricks of its own, even if it seems a little too laden and overwhelming to us.
Life’s not good in this uncomfortable zone
Priced at Rs. 44,990, the LG V30+ finds itself in the premium segment – a segment which demands nothing less than perfection. While the idea of the LG V30+, with 6-inch QHD+ OLED display with 18:9 aspect ratio, quad DACs, Snapdragon 835 under the hood, dual cameras with wide angle lens and a good battery may SOUND perfect on paper, the LG V30+ just stops short of greatness. The smartphone has not disappointed us in any significant segment (the UI and Nougat rankle) but also has not managed to wow us. It comes laden with both software and hardware oriented features and you might fall in love with the way it looks moments after you take it out of the box, but getting used to how the smartphone works and what it offers may take some time. It is a very good device but as we stated, it is not a great one and at that price, it finds itself in the very uncomfortable zone that exists between the high-end flagships like the Galaxy S9 and Pixel 2 XL and the budget ones like the OnePlus 5T and the Moto Z2 Force.
And Life is not all Good there. Those with deeper pockets will be tempted by the more expensive competitors which the V30+ does not really beat, while those on a tighter budget will not be able to see it offering significantly more bang for their bucks than the Budget flagship fleet.