The last ‘beast’ of the year
Already fully in the final stretch of the year we have in hand after much waiting one of the mobile phones that has generated more expectation in recent months. Throughout this analysis of the LG V30 we will examine if it is the height of the smartphones of higher range of this 2017, shelling out what are its main virtues and those areas where it loses in front of its most direct rivals.
The arrival of the LG V30 to Spain is an extraordinary news not only from the point of view of users, who have one more option to buy a next-generation phone, but also represents a turning point for the brand in our country , since the previous generation did not reach the stores and the V10 had a very minor presence.
What then brings this LG V30 to terminals such as the iPhone X, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the Google Pixel 2 XL, the Huawei Mate 10 the One Plus 5T or even the LG G6? In principle, this terminal has a much more creative approach than the G line, until now the most recognizable of the brand in Spain. This is evident in some exclusive features such as Hi-Fi sound or the infinite options offered by the camera especially when recording video.
Of course for this analysis of the LG V30 we will also talk at length about its OLED screen, of which much has been written and not exactly for the better. We have done the tests with a smartphone preproduction unit; As soon as we receive a definitive unit, we will update this review in order to rule out possible failures that have affected only devices that will not go on sale to the public.
An extraordinary design
At first glance the LG V30 falls in love. It does so with a very modern design in which the frames that surround the screen are reduced to its minimum expression but also stands out for the choice of its construction materials. It is a smartphone with anodized aluminum body of high quality, reinforced both on the front and back with a layer of glass Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which already have an important reinforcement against scratches bumps and small falls.
In this sense the LG V30 stands out for its IP68 certification, so it is resistant to dust and water (up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes), a merit that can only boast the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 since neither the iPhone X nor the Huawei nor the Google Pixel 2 XL nor the Huawei Mate 10 reach that level.
But there is more to the level of durability since this LG V30 also meets the requirements of the Department of Defense of the United States to earn the MIL-STD-810G certificate having successfully passed extreme tests of resistance so it is certified to be used even in Army military campaigns.
And all this we insist with an extremely careful and elegant design. LG V30 is surprisingly light and pleasantly thin, two areas in which you can easily see the evolution of the phone with respect to the LG G6 that was presented at the beginning of the year in Barcelona.
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The design-level numbers of the LG V30 show us that South Korean brand engineers have gone a step beyond what their competitors have been able to integrate all in a phone that is much less heavy than the Note 8, iPhone X, Google Pixel 2 XL, Huawei Mate 10 the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.
Also in times when the headphone jack seems to be at risk of extinction LG shows that the latest generation design and high-end components do not have to be at odds with this connector: the V30 is thinner than the iPhone X or the Google pixel 2 XL, which have eliminated this connection that we will talk about later.
Needless to say, during our review of the LG V30 we have not had any problems at the level of durability. No scratches on the case or any damage to any occasional accidental fall. And beware because this should be a factor of purchase, especially in view of how expensive it can be to repair other smartphones.
The similarities with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus are quite evident to the naked eye, especially in the front (the location of the fingerprint reader in the back is key to differentiate them). We speak in any case of a large mobile, which is logical to have a 6-inch screen, but the reduction of frames makes it not very difficult to handle, especially if you are already used to using phones with 5.5-inch screens .
The front as we say is dominated by the huge 6-inch screen that has an aspect ratio of 18: 9 and rounded corners instead of square as your current smartphone surely has. There is no trace of the LG logo on this front part where we can see at the top edge the front camera the main speaker for calls the proximity sensor and the face recognition sensor
On the left edge we have two buttons to control the volume, which are of good quality but may be too small. On the other side we have the removable tray in which we can insert a micro SD card and a SIM card. At the top edge bands for the antennas are visible and we also have one of the microphones and the aforementioned headphone jack. On the lower edge we have another microphone the USB type C connector and the main speakers.
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The glass back of this LG V30 of course calls attention at first glance by offering a high quality appearance. In the upper center we have the double rear camera, which protrudes very lightly from the rest of the body of the device although it does not get to sway, and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4.
Below is the power button and lock that also acts as a fingerprint reader (you do not have to press to recognize our fingerprint), the Bang and Olufsen logo and finally the LG logo below.
In short we have a smartphone built with high quality materials in an avant-garde design, rounded and slightly curved at the edges to facilitate its grip, which stands out for its light weight and minimum thickness, in addition to its screen without borders.
The similarities with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus are quite evident to the naked eye, especially in the front.
A large OLED screen, although not perfect
The LG V30 has a 6-inch OLED screen with Quad HD + resolution (2880 x 1440 pixels) and an aspect ratio of 18: 9, boasting in addition to having a density of almost 540 pixels per inch, but what does all this mean?
Until very recently, the vast majority of mobile phones except Samsung’s high-end phones operated with IPS screens. However, more and more manufacturers are making the leap to OLED technology, a process that we have also seen in the television universe over the last few years.
OLED technology offers several significant advantages: by their way of working they offer purer blacks by eliminating light pollution, they usually have a higher level of contrast, normally better viewing angles to see the image as it is even from oblique perspectives, and They are also much thinner and more flexible, which makes them especially attractive in the universe of smartphones.
Note that this does not mean that an OLED screen is by definition better than an LCD screen. The experience makes it clear that there are good and bad panels within these two technologies, to which we must add that it is not just a matter of making the panel: another important aspect is the calibration of it.
LG is an emblem of OLED technology in the universe of televisions, so it was a matter of time his landing also on smartphones. Or rather its return since years ago the brand launched the LG G Flex, which had a striking curved design.
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For years, many manufacturers have resisted mounting OLED panels on mobile phones claiming problems of burning, banding, ghosting and others, but no one escapes the fact that the high cost of manufacturing these panels was one of the main reasons for not using them.
In the collective imagination, the idea that OLED panels offer a more spectacular color is also installed, something that has its part of reason but also has to do with the fact that manufacturers usually incorporate more striking color profiles for the user, which In general, it is not concerned with the level of accuracy but with the intensity of the panel, which often leads to oversaturation.
All this introduction was necessary to talk about the screen in this analysis of the LG V30 for everything that has been talked about in recent months. We have submitted our terminal (a preproduction unit, I insist) to a battery of tests to examine in depth how this panel behaves. The results have not been extraordinary but they have not been as worrisome as we have come to read.
The main problem with the LG V30 screen is that it tends to blue by nature. Eye because it is not something exclusive to the terminal, but a question (for now) intrinsic to OLED technology: it also happens with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and even the iPhone X, although in both cases to a lesser extent so it is less evident to the naked eye.
That tendency to blue tones is much more marked if we test the viewing angles, at least this test unit we have received for the review of the LG V30. The cotton test is very simple: just open Google Play or any app with a white background and slowly turn the smartphone to see how quickly we turn to blue.
This “strange” trend in color management is also evident if we have the brightness below 30% and we visualize the mobile in dark environments: whites will not be as pure as we would expect. The problem can be minimized by changing the color temperature through the system settings menu but it does not disappear completely. And that does not speak very well of a top-of-the-line phone.
The numbers are not everything, but our tests say some good things about the screen of the LG V30. To start, it is placed at the head in gamut, representing 149.20% of the sRGB color space. This means that the smartphone is able to show a wider palette of colors, although the key lies in how it manages content reproduction, where for example the iPhone X is surprisingly successful.
The contrast of the LG V30 is high in normal mode, but lower than Note 8 when compared to the adaptive mode. The thing changes when choosing the cinema mode of the V30 in the settings menu of the screen, which triggers the contrast well above its two most direct rivals. And at the level of brightness does not clash.
What does all this mean? In practice we will enjoy an outstanding experience in multimedia content, especially if we use videos that incorporate HDR technology. If we put the same video on the V30 and Note 8 we will see that the LG phone is able to better manage the range of colors and hits more at the level of contrast, defining better objects and scenes. Almost always.
Throughout this review of the LG V30 we have encountered some specific situations in which the phone has problems when it comes to displaying some subtones, mainly in dark scenes with contrasts between blue and yellow tones, which is quickly visible in scenes of In search of the Coral [Netflix] or in the first seconds of this other video. It remains to be verified whether the ruling affects the final sale devices to the public or not.
The LG V30 is left along the way support to Dolby Vision, or