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Care/Don't Care: The LG V30 smartphone review

Care/Don't Care: The LG V30 smartphone review


If you like big phones, then you might have your eye on big-name handsets like Apple’s latest iPhone Plus and new X or perhaps the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. But: Should you actually care more about the lesser-known LG V30?

Care: Design

LG’s larger counterpart Android phone to the G6 is more along the lines of an iPhone, design-wise. And that's something most people will probably care about. And, though it doesn’t have a notch at the top of its display a la the iPhone X (yay!), it is missing the nice side waterfall curves found on the Galaxy Note 8 (not so much yay).

Note 8 and V30
The very big Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (left) next to the big LG V30 (right).

Rest assured, with its nearly non-existent bezels, the V30 does wind up with the same kind of all-screen face as both of those phones – the kind of look everybody cares about these days. The actual screen here is a manageable six-inch display – a third of an inch smaller than the Note 8’s but a half of an inch larger and nearly quarter of an inch larger than the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, respectively.

Oh, and the V30 is also thinner and lighter than all of those phones, so if you care most about having a phone that’s big but doesn’t feel it, the V30 might be your sweet spot.

Don't Care: Performance

Though the V30, in practice, is definitely a fast enough phone, it’s hard to care about that when you know that the new Note 8 is available and can multitasking with fewer hiccups. And comparing the performance of the V30 to the smoothness of Apple’s latest phones – all of which, from smallest to biggest, include the brand new A11 Bionic chip – can make it look even slower, especially when taking pictures.

Care: Camera

And, ah yes, the camera. Even though LG tried to differentiate the V30's camera setup by adding an industry best f1.6 low-light sensor and new “Cine” features for recording film-looking video, you’re not going to wind up caring about those. I mainly appreciated this camera’s shooter for the return of LG’s unique kind of second lens: It’s a wide-angle – or nearly fisheye – lens that lets you really capture a full scene with ease.

The picture quality of the camera in general is good – probably just a tad below the Galaxy or iPhone cameras launched this year – but trust me, it’s all about having that wide-angle option, something no other phone today does.

Care: The LG V30

So, all said, here’s who should care about the V30: Anyone who wants to spend no more than $800 on a big phone. And hey, who wants to pay more for a phone if you don’t have to?

It kind of goes without saying that, besides the wide-angle camera lens (which I will continue to tell you is pretty killer), you’re not going to find any feature on the V30 that’s a leg-up over its higher-priced competitors. So if you care to spend a little extra on the $930 Note 8 or $999 iPhone X, you will get you a slightly better phone. And laying out the same $800 on the bulky-but-smaller-screened iPhone 8 Plus or even less on the single-camera-lens Galaxy S8+ will land you a phone that’s not as great.

What LG has with the V30 doesn’t feel quite like a luxury device, but it just might be the sweet spot between that and a smaller or clunkier phone. (And yay wide-angle lens!)

What do you think? Do you care about the V30? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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