21 Dec 2017 15:48 IST

A beautiful all-rounder phone — mostly

The LG V30+ has a go at throwing in something for everyone at a reasonable price

LG has taken its time bringing its flagship V30, now called the V30+ because of added storage, to India. All was quiet from the Korean company when others were busy launching their top phones and those who had to buy from the top tier finished doing so.

On the other hand, the end-of-year season is upon us and the V30+ may have the advantage of being a new entrant at this time, that too, at a reasonable price of ₹44,990. And a great price is not the only thing to boast of on this phone.

Build and beauty

It’s a beauty of a phone with a front that looks all the better for having no differentiation from screen to border — it’s all black and so looks more expansive and seamless. On the back, it looks like silk glass and comes in four colours: Silver, lilac, blue and a black that looks special because of the sheen built into it. The lavender or lilac looks particularly unusual and a refreshing change from the usual designs going around.

The V30+ is really well built and very light despite its six-inch glass body and is made all the more slippery because of its curves. Without a case for protection, I would think the device would be especially vulnerable when being quickly pulled out of a bag or pocket unless special attention is paid to gripping it from the sides. LG does say though that it’s passed military-grade MIL-STD 810G tests, which include 26 different angle drop tests from chest height.

Otherwise, its ergonomics are not bad. It’s not uncomfortable to hold and has no glaring design flaws. Other than that, the V30+ and LG logos leap out too much against the nice looking back of the phone.

The OLED display is something LG is particularly proud of, especially the very thin bezels or “FullVision” as LG calls it, giving the device the 18:9 ratio that is now so popular. It’s a bright display, at 606 nits and in any case looks vivid and rich. LG was actually one of the first to adopt thin bezels, a pleasure for those who use their phones for a lot of video and photos. It’s also an Always-On display. But there are reports of lines and grains cropping up, from reviewers. One can’t easily forget that the recently launched Pixel 2 XL , which had so many screen issues, is also made by LG.

Like all the current crop of flagships, the V30+ uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor combo with 4 GB of RAM. That seems more than enough for it as one experiences no lack of smoothness. For storage, we have 128 GB and a hybrid SIM tray that lets you put in a memory card, though you should hardly need it. The phone has a 3,300 mAh battery that very easily lasts the day. It’s also water and dust resistant.

Disappointingly, the V30+ doesn’t come ready with the latest version of Android but with Nougat 7.1.1. An upgrade will arrive, though. LG’s skin is not as heavy as some but it is dense with settings and customisation options which, convenient as they are, may present a bit of a problem for those who are not particularly tech savvy. You can even change the positions of the buttons on the bottom of the screen or the behaviour of the home screen, but it will mean users need to dig in and familiarise themselves with the options, which somehow give the impression of being unending because of the way they’re arranged. The icons LG uses and the overall look is still not as sophisticated as users would like and one wishes they would finally do something about that, having universally received this feedback.

Super fast unlock

But there’s lots to like as well. This device has one of the most convenient ways to unlock a phone because you can become accustomed to naturally resting your finger where the power button is on the back. If you recorded your fingerprint, this single touch unlocks all unlike some devices that require a double action such as swipe or tap and then unlock. Another way to unlock is using face recognition, which LG emphasises is a secondary method. It works remarkably well and straight from a sleeping screen and again makes waking and unlocking a single, quick action. There are a number of options on waking and unlocking including making the face recognition more specific and difficult for others to access with any trickery.

A photographer’s phone

LG positions the primary camera setup as being one of the highlights of the V30+ though it’s much more suited to those who know something about photography and don’t want to leave everything on Auto. The camera has an f/1.6 aperture and doesn’t resort to much artificial light boosting. There are tons of settings and modes in the camera app but if you don’t know what to do with manual control of both photos and video, you can end up with blurred results. The shutter speed is really the slowest I’ve seen on a flagship and low light or indoor shots are quite dark and desultory unless you tinker endlessly.

But what is real fun is that with a touch you can switch from 16 MP normal to a 13 MP wide angle view for photos and video that really looks interesting and is great for those who spend time outdoors.

The 5 MP selfie camera is a big let-down for the self-obsessed.

The V30+ is a music lover’s delight. It has a built-in DAC, which supports hi-resolution music if you use the right headphones and listen to loss-less files.

Price: ₹44,990

Pros: Lots of camera settings, built-in DAC, IP68 water and dust resistance, beautiful back, light, good build, many customisations, available in nice colours,

Cons: Unintuitive interface, camera innovative but results a bit dull, only a 5 MP front camera, dangerously slippery without a case, no Android Oreo out of the box

(The article first appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine.)

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