LG V20 Audio Review

LG V20 Audio Review

LG V20 Audio Review 680 510 Maye

It was a real conundrum that LG faced after the unabashed wackiness of its G5 The question is, should it keep the modular streak for its 2016 flagship phone and risk lousy sales, or would it be better to do something just a little more conventional? However, in the end LG went with a conventional powerhouse and built a more conventional device It is called But none of that is an excuse for the phone to be boring. Aside from its stellar audio, a dual-camera setup and a second screen, the V20 has enough quirky features to make it stand out from the crowd. In the end, it’s important to look at whether all those disparate components can be made to work together cohesively. You’ll need to decide which question is more important to you based on your priorities.


A funny thing about the V20 ($672+) is how much it resembles its older sibling. As a whole, the rugged design of the V10 shoved its rugged design in your face with its rubbery DuraSkin back and its stainless steel display bars. I thought the design would look better in person, but my gut feeling was that it Although it’s rated for 4-foot falls, the V20 offers a more subdued look, considering its relatively low drop capacity of 3.5 feet. You shouldn’t confuse “subdued” with “attractive” — the V20’s aesthetic is most accurately described as utilitarian, and I’d be surprised if anyone felt the pang of attraction that sometimes comes with As soon as I first laid eyes on the V20, I could not help but notice the similarity to a BlackBerry Z10 – not exactly a comparison LG wants to be known for. No matter how sturdy it is, the V20 is impressive Aluminum 6013-series is used to make this device, with polycarbonate added to the top and bottom to maintain its toughness.

It also has a lot of room. V20’s 5.7-inch Quantum LCD display is a little bit small as it is, but it has a tiny secondary display above the main screen as well. A comparison shows that the V20 is just a hair longer and thicker than the iPhone 7 Plus, which is itself a massive device. The V20 is actually noticeably lighter than the V10 (which I’ll cover later). They both work with dual cameras (which I’ll review later). Unfortunately, the V20 is not water-resistant like some of its competitors, but some people might consider it worth it for the price. The LG G4 is one of only a few flagship smartphone makers that still allows you to use the battery. This can be accessed by pressing the button low on the left side of the V20, which pops off the metal cover, exposing a 3,200mAh battery and a SIM/microSD combo I had no trouble using the quick fingerprint sensor on the back, which is among the fastest I have used on a smartphone. The phone also accepts memory cards up to 2TB, though 64GB of storage is probably plenty for most. It seems that many people like the placement of the camera on the back of the phone, and I’m fast While it would be nice to be able to unlock the V20 with a touch when it’s face-up on a table, I like that the sensor is placed in the perfect position for my finger to rest on it when I pull the V20 from

Displays and sound

Aside from the Quad HD screen, there’s a 5.7-inch IPS LCD running at Full HD. The screen has a noticeably brighter display than the LG In addition, legibility and color reproduction are better with the G5 or the V10 under direct sunlight, though it is unlikely they are not. In terms of colors, they’re rendered well across the board and look surprisingly natural because LG’s Quantum display technology is in play. A claim was made when LG first adopted quantum displays in the G4 that it offered more accurate color reproduction. Though that may be true, the V20’s screen might not be suitable for everyone right away. Because the weather is cool, whites tend to look bluer than usual. AMOLED doesn’t offer the vivid contrasts and deep blacks found on LCDs, but let’s face it, this is a matter of personal taste. A secondary display has been added, and that is more important. So that it is Actually it’s just an extra bit jutting out from the main panel — not a separate screen. It seems like an excellent idea in principle to create an overflow area 1040×160 When the main display is off, it serves as a dedicated zone to show the time and notifications, and to offer shortcuts to applications and actions when the main display is active. I’m not a huge fan of LG’s use of multiscreens, but let me get the biggest issue out of the way As with Samsung’s Edge line and the V10, not much about the It makes little sense to create shortcuts for things like WiFi and Bluetooth and a screenshot, which are already in the Quick Settings tray. I also find it simpler to leave my most used apps in the bottom row than to reach up to tap an Although, it’s not as if the second display has no merit at all. Being able to access music controls even while the phone is locked is one of the best parts. You’ll probably find your mileage varies, but if the second screen wasn’t there, I’d have given up. I think the value of the second screen is dubious. While the audio performance of the V20 more than makes up for it, it still has a few shortcomings. A Quad DAC, as well as 24-bit high-resolution audio support, make the phone a powerful gadget. My attitude toward this stuff has been a little dismissive in the past, but the V20 has helped me change that. You will automatically hear your audio sound richer and fuller once you enable the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) and plug in headphones. Even though the DAC can make some changes difficult to identify with certain songs — especially those that you stream — the new features of the DAC are almost universally welcomed. V20 also supports 32-bit audio and lossless formats like FLAC, although it should go without saying that its single speaker doesn’t come close to matching them. You may not see them, but the V20 also boasts three microphones for recording high-quality audio. Acoustic overload point microphones are technically what I call acoustic overload point microphones. I won’t go into too much detail about how they work just know they are intended to keep distortion to a minimum in very loud environments. The quality of the resulting recordings has been pleasantly surprising, and while they would be ideal for recording concerts and performances right next to musicians, I have also used them for capturing interviews and conversations for my job.


The LG V20 managed to pull off a neat trick Preloaded with Android 7.0 Nougat, it is the first smartphone to ship with the OS. That victory paled in comparison to what Google gave to the Pixel and Pixel XL when it launched Android 7.1 In my part of the world, Nougat still keeps eluding me, so I’ll take what I can get. All the new little — and not so little — tricks in Android 7.0 are here and ready for you to try. (Check out our Android 7.0 review here.) Some features of Nougat, including the notifications panel and the quick-settings box above it, have been completely ignored by LG. I like the way you did this. The problem is that not all Nougat features work as they are supposed to. With Android 7.0, you can adjust the text size and app icons, among other things, by changing the size of the display. With Nougat you can select five display sizes to find the perfect fit, but without LG’s implementation you can only choose This is probably not a big deal, but it serves as a reminder that OEMs don’t follow Google’s word for everything. At least the V20 has plenty of power for multitasking There are some apps that don’t run smoothly in Google’s new multiwindow mode, but there are plenty that do. The factory update is not LG’s sole contribution to the update — LG has painted over Nougat with its own custom software, labeled In part, it’s a rehash of the G5 model’s user interface, but there’s at least one significant change you’ll want to look out The V20 doesn’t come with a traditional app drawer by default You don’t get an app drawer by default on a flagship Android phone, but you can restore it easily. While it could be a little unusual to see an Android smartphone ship without an app drawer in the US, these setups are much more common in Asia. Throughout the rest of LG’s custom skin, you can find that it’s very bright and inoffensive. As for LG’s first-party apps, they tend to feel clunky due to LG’s paint job. I wish that the company would strip back the paint job to let stock Android shine through. This is made worse by the fact that my review unit is a Verizon model, which is loaded with bloatware I couldn’t wait to uninstall. In any case, Verizon was kind enough to shove most of its apps in a folder so they could be easily removed.

The cameras

How did you feel about the dual-camera setup of the G5? Is it the one that fell short of its own goal, even though it was clearly comparable to that of the iPhone 7 Plus? In the V20, LG swapped in different sensors in order to tweak the formula. Despite the narrower aperture of 8-megapixel wide-angle camera next to it, both 16-megapixel primary sensor and 16-megapixel main camera give you fun photos to play with even when the ones that result You’ll typically use your 16-megapixel camera with f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization most of the time to take pictures, so most of the time you’ll have pretty good results. Although other phones can match the V20’s color representation and detail — Apple’s iPhone 7 and the Galaxy S7 both put up a good fight — it’s still a good phone. In this case, the major issue is inconsistency. While the V20 performs well in Auto mode — which most people will choose — its automatic noise reduction can be a little too ambitious. Low light performance is solid too, but not even a wide aperture, image-stabilization, and a plurality of autofocus methods will prevent grain. View the gallery A quick look at the LG V20’s 15 photos 1/15 The smaller, 8-megapixel sensor has to contend with these issues too, as well as the barrel distortion that occurs when you take a shot I wish LG had tightened up the transition between the front and back cameras when you zoom in and out on an object. There’s still about a second of pause while the phone makes the switch, so you can miss the photo you meant to take. If you want to shoot off the cuff, the V20 could be far better than its predecessor. I may be biased, but I think that the manual-shooting mode that LG included on this phone might be my favorite. There are the usual settings like ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and more at the bottom of the screen, but there’s also a handy manual focus mode that helps you pick out sharp parts of the image. If you are tragically vain, the 5-megapixel front-facing camera should be adequate to get some of your friends in the shot, and it offers a wide field of view so that it is easily possible to include a few of your buddies in the shot. In addition to the V20’s perfectly adequate video recording qualities, it also took 4K video that was quite pleasant to watch. What LG needs to do is do a better job of managing expectations. It spent a considerable amount of time discussing Qualcomm’s video image stabilization built-in to the V20 at its launch event. The tool is useful, but it isn’t the miracle worker I had in mind.

Performance and battery life

Though the V20 has its quirks, it has a lot of familiar technology under the hood. It is powered by a Snapdragon 820 chipset with 4GB of RAM and a GPU called the Adreno 530 that is similar to that found in the G5. While it would’ve been nice if LG had given the V20 a slight edge over its competition by providing the Snapdragon 821 chip, we probably ended up looking pretty silly by our supply-chain management problems. It doesn’t matter which way you slice it, you’re dealing with a phone that keeps up with the competition Although I encountered slowdowns that were rare, I was able to run graphically demanding games without any problems. The horsepower is fine, but if the battery isn’t the right size, I doubt it matters much. A 3,200mAh battery here isn’t as impressive as it could be. While it is larger than the one shipped with the G5 earlier this year, the V20 doesn’t last any longer on a single Over the course of my nearly two weeks of testing, the V20 was consistently able to run 12 hour workdays of Slack messages, emails, podcasts, and even some Hearthstone games, and still had about 10 percent battery life left. This is almost exactly the same amount of usage as I was able to squeeze from the G5 with A single charge gives the V20 an impressive 12 hours of continuous, mixed usage, and Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 lets you top up the battery very quickly. And if you don’t need that much power, you could always carry around a spare and change it out whenever Yet, while these devices tend to last longer with their sealed batteries, it cannot be denied that smartphones like the Pixel siblings and Samsung’s Galaxy series have Our video rundown test also showed the same results. In that test, we looped an HD video while connecting to WiFi, then set the brightness to 50 percent to see how the video looked. I was able to use the V20 for over 11 hours and 10 minutes — that’s better than my G5’s 10.5 hours, but it fell behind devices like the Galaxy S7 and Google’s Pixel phones by some time.

The competition

It is not an accident that I keep mentioning Samsung’s Galaxy line of phones and Google’s Pixel family, and for good reason, too. There are many alternatives to the V20 if you’re looking for a new flagship — these devices offer similar performance for around the same price. For those who like the idea of the V20’s second screen, there’s always the Galaxy S7 Edge to choose from. Its processor is just as powerful as the V20, and it features an always-on display you can use to get a peek at your notifications and the news without unlocking your Additionally, its battery life is better than the Samsung Galaxy S7, even if you have to deal with a custom interface and On the other hand, if you really want to take great photos, a Pixel or Pixel XL will be much better. These two phones offer impressive 12-megapixel cameras with impressive (and almost immediate) HDR image processing, making them the best point-and-shoot cameras you’ll find on any Android device. They also run a fast version of Android 7.1 Nougat and offer access to Google Assistant. But the V20 is much more than an average Android flagship, as it’s clear from now on. A creative element lies at the core of this device, and that extends beyond what has been attempted before by other manufacturers. That being the case, I cannot think of a clear competitor.


There is no question that LG chose top-tier components and emphasized things such as audio quality and manual photography in designing this smartphone. I think that sounds fantastic on paper! As a result, there is an underlying lack of coordination between these components. There’s a lot here for audio enthusiasts, the swappable battery is a nice feature, and there are some great shots you can take if you’re comfortable adjusting the settings for the camera. For users who want a smartphone that works well with LG’s vision, the V20 is a great option. But if you’re a consumer who values power and polish over a very specific set of tools, you’ll find more options to consider.