LG hasn’t had the best year when it comes to smartphones. Despite some innovative ideas, its G5 was not exactly well received. But, LG has more than one smartphone line, and the newest in the V series has more than few tricks under its unassuming shell.
It’s a very conservative design compared to last year’s blend of shiny steel and colorful rubber. On the one hand, I like it. I always thought the V10 looked a little confused with its mix of materials. The mostly aluminum V20 offers a comparatively consistent aesthetic. Also, while it’s not waterproof, it does feature the same durability rating as the V10. On the other hand, the V series is supposed to be LG’s extreme phone.
This design doesn’t even hint at its crazy capabilities. I guess I just wanted something more memorable. LG comes through for the target audience of power users, though. Push a button on the side and you’ll see that the V20 offers the increasingly rare removable battery. Also, there’s microSD expansion for beefing up the on-board storage. And the phone is built on a foundation of specs solid enough for all but the most extreme users. And it’s not just a scattershot spec dump. As with the V10, the V20 is all about optics and audio.
On the back, two cameras sit side-by-side, one for wide angle shots and the other for high resolution ones. If the phone works as claimed, you should get some of the steadiest videos around with the V20, because it uses a new blend of optical and digital stabilization as well as a hybrid focus system that uses laser ranging, phase detection and contrast detection. Now, all that tech talk word salad means, you should be able to focus faster and in more conditions.
You’ve also got manual controls for everything under the sun, as well as a bunch of film effects to spruce up your shots. Up front there’s just a single selfie camera, this year. But it is wide angle and LG says it’s 34% brighter than last year’s.