This year, there has been a clear trend with companies trying to get the most screen real estate on a device by reducing its bezels. LG's first attempt at this was with the G6 and while it indeed offered slim bezels, it wasn't anywhere near as sleek look as its competitor, the Samsung Galaxy S8. But in August, LG debuted its latest, the V30, which would offer something that would look both stunning but also pack in quite a set of features. After using it for a few days and getting some quality hands-on time, it's probably time to lay down some impressions of the handset.
First and foremost, the V30 feels great in the hand, sporting a solid build with an expansive screen that eclipses anything previously owned. This feels like the culmination of everything LG has worked on in the past couple of years and it works in every respect. While I do wish that the T-Mobile model was in black, the silver is still quite nice, albeit a bit flashy. The display is also quite nice, getting extremely bright when outdoors and viewable from all angles. The Always-On Display that shows the time, date, and notifications, is a decent way to show off critical information at a glance, but it would have been good if LG also included an LED indicator, as that is much clearer to see from farther distances and different angles.
As reported by many news outlets, there is a problem with the display. To summarize what occurs, the V30's display suffers a dip in quality when viewing things at a lower brightness level. This is a persistent issue where things can look grainy or there might be slight patches of inconsistency when viewing the panel. While this is a disappointment, for a majority of my use, I never noticed it. But at night, resting in bed, it's noticeable.
If there is another thing to complain about with the V30, it's the audio quality. The handset's speaker is not nearly as loud as it should be. The max volume is passable in an outdoor scenario and will probably never make anyone yell at you to turn it down while indoors. As far as the microphone goes, it is located on the bottom of the handset as a pinhole opening. This seems to be a problem area when in use because there is a high chance to cover this up. When covered, it won't sound muffled, you'll instead be muting the audio completely, so be cautious. Lastly, is the wind noise when talking on the phone. According to some, in light winds, it sounded like the call was being taken while hanging out the side of a bullet train in monsoon season.
LG has always done its own thing when it comes to dual cameras and the V30 is no different. The V30 utilizes a 16MP standard-angle lens at f/1.6 and a 13MP wide-angle lens at f/1.9. A majority of my time was spent testing during the day, with some night shots. During the day, where brightness is at its peak, the pictures look fantastic, with the focus being quick and accurate. At night, things still look pretty good too, with all the examples shot using full auto. As for the video, stabilization was quite good, showing very little shake. This is no doubt thanks to the phone's use of optical image stabilization and electronic image stabilization. Naturally, more testing will be done before the full review.
Performance comes as no surprise, with the phone chugging along happily most of the time powered by its Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB RAM. But, during use, there were times that it would run into small hiccups. This wasn't while gaming or doing something intense but was instead occurring during simpler tasks like opening a text message, tapping the address bar in Chrome, and the like. It seems like this could be an isolated phenomenon, so a hard reset will be performed to properly test out the device prior to the review. As far as battery life goes, the 3,300mAh battery provides just enough to get through a full day. If you're one to push your phone hard, you'll want to keep an external battery pack or charger handy. Luckily, it offers Quick Charge 3.0 which should get you quite a good chunk of battery life back just by setting it on the charger for an hour.
Overall, the LG V30 is a stunning device and is working well when used on a daily basis. As far as how well it will perform in the long term, that will need to be determined and will come in the comprehensive review soon. If you have any question, be sure to leave a comment below or ask on Twitter.