The LG V30+, launched recently and going on sale on Monday (December 18), is the first handset by the South Korean smartphone manufacturer that comes equipped with LG’s plastic OLED screen, along with some other industry-first features. The smartphone takes the flagship game a notch higher, and even surpasses the company’s premium G-series offering, the LG G6. The LG V30+ boasts premium build quality, coupled with a flagship design language, powerful innards and advanced feature sets. Modestly priced at Rs 44,990, the phone offers value for money and has a bit of everything for all kinds of users. Business Standard reviewed the V30+ to test its features, besides the overall smartphone performance. Here are our observations: Display The V30+ is a delight to hold, thanks to its futuristic ultra-wide 18:9 aspect ratio screen, which happens to be of the p-OLED breed. The screen has a quad HD (2880 x 1440 pixels) resolution that stretches in a six-inch screen estate. Also, it is HDR10 compliant, which puts it head-to-head with Samsung’s AMOLED in the Galaxy S8-series and Note 8. The OLED looks vivid and renders deep blacks, something common in all OLED panels. While the default screen mode is set to throw punchy colours, the phone offers flexibility to adjust the colours based on personal preferences. For ease of use, there are four preset modes, along with one custom mode available to tweak the display settings. Also, there is an option to enhance the colours further during video playback – disabled by default in the display settings. The otherwise capable p-OLED, however, has average brightness levels, which, in turn, tempers the screen visibility under direct sunlight. Design The V30+ looks premium in every way. It has a solid build quality, complemented with glossy metallic chassis and Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back. The glass is curved from the edges which helps it blend smoothly within the frame. The glass build enables the wireless charging feature and the phone supports fast wireless charging as well. The dual-SIM smartphone has a fingerprint scanner on the back that doubles up as the power button. The volume rocker keys are placed on the right and the 3.5mm audio jack is housed on the top. The bottom is occupied by a microphone and speaker grilles, besides a USB type-C multi-purpose port. Overall, the phone utilises the space optimally, leaving no empty or crammed side. It looks balanced and improves the utility of the phone for both left- and right-hand users. Camera Imaging is one department where the V30+ has an edge over other flagship smartphones. The handset boasts a dual-camera set-up on the back that utilises a super bright 16-megapixel sensor and ultra-wide 13MP sensor. The 16MP lens features an f/1.6 aperture assisted with a three-axis optical image stabilisation (OIS), besides phase detection (PDAF) and laser autofocus. The 13MP ultra-wide-angle lens features an f/1.9 aperture with no OIS and autofocus capabilities. Leaving aside the technical specifications, the camera is a performer and delivers a consistent show in good day-light conditions.
However, there might be some lag visible in low-light photography. The dual-camera set-up is a blessing for landscape photographers. The wide-angle lens captures wide pictures, which otherwise are impossible using other smartphones. The primary lens, however, has a narrow field of view that brings limited view within its frame.Interestingly, the camera in the LG V30+ is more suited for video camera than photography. The phone comes with several modes, giving a level up to mobile phone videography. Among other modes, the most interesting is the ‘Cine Video’ mode, which allows you zoom to on any area available on the viewfinder. Unlike other phones that zoom only in the centre, the V30+ can zoom anywhere without moving the phone in a direction. Audio LG has been offering stupendous audio quality in smartphones by using Hi-Fi digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and tuning them to deliver impressive results. The V30+ takes the legacy forward with a 32bit quad Hi-Fi DAC. The sound output of the V30+ is marvellous, with no loose ends. The sound feels rich with balanced lows, mids and highs. The volume levels remain excellent with no distortion. However, the difference is felt the most while listening to high-quality ‘FLAC’ music files. The V30+ is by far a strong contender for audiophiles, with the HTC U11 being the only competition producing a similar audio output. Performance Talking about performance, the V30+ feels smooth overall with no sign of lag or stutters – thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, which ticks at the heart of it. The transitions are smooth and the performance remains top-notch even after extensive use. The Android Nougat-based operating system is optimised further by LG and the result is quite evident in terms of RAM management and other performance metrics. The 4GB RAM might look weak on the specification sheet but the scenario in real life does not cause any damage to the performance. The phone comes equipped with ample 128GB internal storage required to save high bitrate-based video files. Importantly, there is a memory extension slot that can accommodate a microSD card of up to 2TB to extend the storage even further. Battery The software-level optimisation shows efficiency in terms of battery life as well. The V30+ houses a 3,300 mAh battery which is below par for a smartphone with a six-inch screen. Yet, the battery easily keeps the show running for more than a day on normal usage and almost 14-16 hours on heavy use. Verdict The LG V30+ is a mixed bag of small and major improvements, and that makes the device stand out. The phone has a bit of everything but no singular area where the flagship convincingly wins the race. The water- and dust-resistant smartphone (IP68-certified) has been through US MIL-STD 810G test to prove its durability and strong build quality, which we agree are top-notch. Priced at Rs 44,900, the phone does offer value for money and is a deal for videographers, multimedia enthusiasts and audiophiles.