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The LG V10 is the latest flagship from LG as of now, but that is all about to change come the next few weeks at Mobile World Congress. But enough of LG’s next flagship lets talk about this flagship.
Design and Hardware
The design of the V10 isn’t as shiny or flashy as say the Samsung Galaxy S6, but LG has stepped up on the quality of the V10 compared the previous flagships. The backing on the V10 is a rough silicon like material that LG calls Dura skin The back is also still removable, and you then have access to a removable battery, the sim slot, and the SD card slot. Also on the back is LG’s signature button placement with the power button which is also now a fingerprint scanner in between the volume up and volume down buttons. The sides of the device are of a stainless steal finish. On the top there is an IR blaster which I will tell you right now does not work well, and I suspect it is because it’s pretty small. Also on the top is a microphone. On the bottom is the headphone jack, USB port, and another microphone. The phone feels nice in the hand and at 5.7 inches. The V10 definitely fits in that phablet category. The speaker is mounted on the bottom of the device. It sounds moderately good although when the phone is held in landscape mode the speaker gets muffled. On the internal side of things the LG V10 includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 (Not the 810 due to obvious reasons) clocked at 1.44 GHz coupled with the Adreno 418. Another perk about the design aspect of the V10 is that it has a certified military drop rating. The back and the sides of the device absorb the shock of a drop.
The LG V10 is running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop right out of the box with an update to 6.0 Marshmallow coming fairly soon. Like most other Android manufacturers LG has put their own custom skin on top of Android. Some people might say that it looks hideous, and to an extent I agree. LG needs to rework their UI to be less bloated. There are some positives to LG’s GUI though. One nifty software feature that I think should be in every Android device is double tap to wake and sleep. It’s already in plenty of devices, but it isn’t actually in stock android. Another welcome feature is 32 bit Hi-Fi DAC audio. This extra feature is especially useful for those who like to listen to music with headphones. There are also many other software features that aren’t really all that useful, and that’s mostly because LG hasn’t made it really made them worth using. Multi window and the QSlide applications are just two examples of this. I would definitely use both features if there were actually more apps that support it, and that will hopefully change soon with the release of Android N later this year. The device has 64 gigabytes of on board storage with micro SD card support up to 200 GB and 4 GB of RAM.That unfortunately is the only storage option, but 64 gigs should be more then enough for the average user. Like I said earlier the LG V10 has a fingerprint scanner that is now embedded into the power button on the back of the device. The scanner reads my fingerprint 8 out of 10 times. It isn’t the fastest fingerprint scanner, but it’s still pretty good since it’s LG’s first time putting a fingerprint scanner in one of their devices. If you have small hands there is a one handed mode which makes the whole user interface smaller, but if you find yourself using it a lot then the V10 probably isn’t the phone for you.
Some might think LG’s horrendous UI would cause for some performance issues on top of lollipops RAM management issues, but you’d be surprised to hear that that isn’t the case. Even though the LG V10 is using the Snapdragon 808 instead of the 810 the performance is still very good. While playing high end and graphic intensive games the V10 does a great job at not dropping any frames. Also the device doesn’t get as warm as I thought it would while playing graphic intensive games. This happens very rarely, but sometimes just doing simple task like scrolling through the recent apps screen can cause lag. Just for heck of it I used the popular benchmark application Antutu, and I got some pretty interesting results. The LG V10 scored a 57313 way under last years Google Nexus 6 which scored a 71588. Now that’s a shocker.
The LG V10 has two displays rather then one. The main display is of a 1440 x 2560 IPS LCD QHD configuration with 515 pixels per inch. The display looks like any other LCD QHD display. It looks great, but since it isn’t an AMOLED display your not going to get deep blacks and super bright vivid colors. Also since there ‘s a back-light the display uses more battery then a and AMOLED configuration. Now this is where things start to get interesting. LG decided to put a secondary “Ticker Display” as LG calls it above the main display. While the main display is off the second screen shows a signature which could be your name or a phrase of you choice, and if you swipe to the right you can configure volume, turn on and of WiFi, turn on/off the flashlight, and access the camera via a shortcut. When both the main display and second display is on yo see your signature, recent apps, app shortcuts which can be changed in settings, music controls, contacts, and calendar events. You can also see notifications when they come through. One thing that I like about the second screen is when a call comes through while I’m in an app I can answer or decline the call from the second screen, which doesn’t interrupt whatever I’m doing on the main screen. Some might say the second screen is a gimmick. I actually wouldn’t have used it all if I didn’t have to incorporate it into the review. Also reaching for it at the top of the device can be difficult with one hand, but where else would you put it.
The rear facing camera is a 16 MP shooter with f/1.8 aperture, laser auto focus, optical image stabilization, and LED flash. There are three different modes that can be used when taking pictures with the rear facing camera. The first is Simple Mode. All you have to do is point and shoot, but you probably won’t get the best pictures that way. The second is the Auto mode which has a little more adjustments that can be made. Here are some camera samples with HDR on auto using the automatic camera mode. This first image here was taken in very low light conditions, but the flash did a good job at not over exposing and getting as much detail as possible. Here is a picture taken outdoors with the same settings.
The last camera mode is the Manual Mode. The Manual Mode has all the basic settings that a DSLR has, but if your a photographer a real DSLR would probably be the better choice. You can change things like ISO, shutter, and exposure. I would’ve been happy to show some pictures taken in the manual mode, but I’m not really a picture taker. I actually rarely take pictures. There’s also a manual video mode which pretty much does everything the manual picture mode can do, but you can change frame per second and since the V10 has two microphones you can actually change which microphone is used so you don’t get any extra noise that you don’t want. This feature would be extra useful at a concert. Overall the camera is pretty good. It does its job pretty well, and I don’t have any complaints.
The LG V10 has a removable 3000 mAh battery. During my testing I get on average 2.5 hours of Screen on time. I know that sounds pretty bad for a 3000 mAh battery. Only one time did I get about 4 hours of SOT. On a casual day I’d get 2.5-3 hours of SOT, and when doing heavy gaming I’d only get 2. My day starts at 6 o’clock in the morning and ends at about 9:30 or ten at night. The battery will last until then with casual usage, but if I game a lot it will only last to about six at night. Having the second screen on or off does make a somewhat significant difference in the amount of time the battery lasts. You could easily get about an extra two hours of battery life with the second screen off. The battery does last long enough for me to get through a whole day, but the amount of screen on time isn’t enough for a 3000 mAh battery.
The LG V10 is a great device. LG did a great job. It excels in many of the categories. If the LG G4 wasn’t good enough for you then the V10 is the way to go. The V10 is a flagship phone, and therefor it has a flagship price. The price can range from $572.oo to $700.00 depending on which carrier you get it from. I think you are absolutely getting what you pay for. The LG V10 is everything the LG G4 isn’t.
If NOn-removable is a must with performance and rigid design, LG V10 is a must go go. Still, it’s too early to say, how LG V10 will perform in long run. My experience with LG service has never been than good.