LG V10 Review: Practical, Intuitive, and Unique

LG V10 Review: Practical, Intuitive, and Unique

When the LG V10 was first announced, I have to admit, I was very skeptical about it. After all, do I need a second screen?

We do, after all, live in this new technological world where people are more willing than ever to buy into gimmicks. All the time, I hear about how this phone is better than that one because it has more cores, GHz, MP, or mAh. People believe whatever meme is floating around.

The megapixel thing is the most obvious. Two years ago, anyone would have told you that the better cameras all have a higher resolution, or more megapixels. They would tell you that the iPhone camera is generations behind because it’s only 8 MP while Android phones are 13 MP. Then, a year ago, everyone would say, “Well, more megapixels doesn’t necessarily mean a better camera.” When I hear a line like that in a podcast or I read it in a review, I know that the masses are going to be throwing that line at me from every angle.

Needless to say, it seems like people don’t really have their own opinions anymore, so was this going to be another story of being told I needed something that I didn’t need? The hype around the V10 was huge. As it turns out, the V10 is a pretty great phone. Read on to find out more.

Specs

CPU Snapdragon 808, 1.82 GHz Dual Core ARM Cortex-A57, 1.44 GHz Quad Core ARM Cortex-A53
GPU Adreno 418
Display 5.7″, 1440p, 515 ppi, IPS LCD
Body 159.6×79.3×8.6 mm, 192 g
Camera 16 MP, 5312×2988, 5 MP Dual Front Cameras
Video 4K – 30 fps, 1080p – 60 fps, Front 1080p – 30 fps
Aperture f/1.8
Sensor Size 1/2.6″
Storage 64 GB
RAM 4 GB
Battery 3000 mAh

As you can see, it’s a very similar phone to the LG G4 with the same processor, same rear camera, and same resolution display. It does have more RAM, more storage, and different front cameras.

The Second Screen

The second screen is the headlining feature on the LG V10. Research shows that users unlock their phones an average of 150 times a day, mostly just to check the time.

This gives us the first reason for a second screen, to check the time. A user can easily look down at the screen and check the time. Many phones have a glance setting that simply wakes the screen from time to time, but that really uses more system resources than it should.

It’s also great for notifications. Personally, I can’t stand when I’m playing a game, someone texts me, and I get a huge banner across the screen from a notification. It sucks. It’s just another problem that the second screen fixes.

Of course, the second screen does other things. You can add a bunch of app shortcuts, music controls, and calendar events.

I’ve heard many criticize the V10 that the second screen is a gimmick and there’s no reason they would need it. Let me make something clear. It’s a convenience. When you see a new feature, you’re most likely always going to say “I don’t need that”, because you get by fine with the device you have. You don’t need anything. You don’t need a great camera. You don’t need a high resolution display, but they make your experience more pleasant, just like the second screen does.

LG V10: Fingerprint Reader

Like most phones these days, the LG V10 features a fingerprint reader. Yes, it’s the power button on the back. It’s the first fingerprint reader that I’ve used that’s located on the back of the phone.

First of all, I only programmed one finger. Normally, I program four fingers: two thumbs and two index fingers. I only programmed my right index finger because that’s the only finger I’m ever going to use on this phone. If it was a home button on the front, it would be a different story.

The fingerprint reader is surprisingly accurate. Not only that but it’s the perfect speed. Apple introduced TouchID 2.0 this year which is too fast. You tap the home button and you miss all of your notifications on the lock screen.

With the LG V10, the fingerprint reader is the perfect speed to interact with the lock screen or go straight to the home screen.

Rear Camera

LG did a lot of work with the rear camera here. It seems to be the same sensor as the LG G4 and it seems to act like it. With the LG G4, LG added a manual camera. Like most phones that boast manual controls, it’s great at manual but struggles at automatic.

I’ve found the same to be true of the LG V10, although it’s a bit better. Sometimes, automatic photos don’t make good use of the laser focus and come out a bit out of focus.

LG added a number of new features to the V10, including manual video mode. I know many will ask if the G4 will be updated to include manual video. I’m going to guess not since the G3 and the G Flex 2 never received manual camera.

There’s also cool features such as snap video, which allows the user to record a video up to one minute filled with three or more second clips. There’s also multi-view, which is an expansion of the dual view options that we’ve seen on many Android phones. There’s a number of designs that you can use to combine photo and video. It’s pretty awesome.

One feature that I fell in love with is a very simple thing. When the user takes a photo, a little drop down menu appears that allows him to quickly share the photo to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

Let’s check out some samples.

Front Camera

LG decided to use two 5 MP sensors for the front camera of the LG V10. One of them has a 80° angle and the other has a 120° angle. The idea is that one is better for personal photos and the other is better for group photos.

The idea, in theory, is sound. Sure, if you’re at the front of a group of people, you might want one picture of yourself and one of the group. Then again, it won’t take both photos at once, which I feel would make the feature more worthwhile.

I just don’t know if it’s necessary. The LG G4 has an 8 MP front camera, so if they only had one 8 MP 120° front camera, the phone could still have two modes and crop for the individual selfie photos. You’d end up with around a 5 MP photo.

Here’s the hook. The idea of the two cameras works, but I feel like the cost of the extra sensor gets passed on to the consumer when it could have done with one sensor.

80° Sensor 120° Sensor

As you can see, the front camera does have a flash. LG was lighting up the screen for a flash long before Apple was.

One thing I don’t like is the beautification slider that most Android phones have these days. That’s why the photos on toward the end look better, because I finally thought to turn it off.

Benchmarks

Never buy a phone based on benchmarks. They very rarely provide any insight into real world performance. It’s like deciding that a camera is better based on megapixels or assuming a processor is better because it has more cores.

Of course, they’re the best tool we have for testing hardware and writing down the performance of a device. The first test is a battery test. On the left, we have the test with the dim screen toggled off and on the right, the dim screen was toggled, you guess it, on.

LG V10 Battery

 

Battery tests should be taken with a grain of salt. This is not how you’re using the device in real life. The one thing you can discern from this is that brightness drastically effects battery life of the LG V10.

Next up is benchmarks from Geekbench 3 and AnTuTu.

LG V10 Bench

This result actually surprised me. Most Snapdragon 808 devices that I’ve worked with come in at around 46,000 on AnTuTu, such as the LG G4. I’m impressed with the amount of power that they’ve been able to pack into this device.

Next up, GPU tests from GFXBench. First up is GFXBench 3.1 and after that is GFXBench 4.
LG V10 GFXBench 3.1 LG V10 GFXBench 4

The GPU is where the LG V10 disappoints. Trying to play a game with high definition graphics is nearly impossible on this device.

Many people don’t realize just how much a 1440p display can hinder the performance of a device with almost no advantages (no advantages if you don’t use virtual reality). If you play a lot of games on your phone, the LG V10 simply isn’t for you. Luckily, if you’re anyone else, it’s not a problem.

Pros

  • The software makes for a very practical and intuitive experience
  • The second screen is useful
  • The rear camera is great for those that like manual controls
  • The front camera is good all around
  • The fingerprint reader is surprisingly accurate and fast
  • Tons of internal storage

Cons

  • The 1440p display really hinders this phone. It makes playing any graphics intensive games almost impossible
  • It’s fairly heavy and uncomfortable to carry
  • Rear camera isn’t perfect in automatic mode
  • Two 5 MP front cameras isn’t necessary when one 8 MP sensor and cropping would do. The extra cost is passed onto the consumer

Conclusion

The LG V10 is an awesome phone. Most of the cons listed shouldn’t be a deal breaker, unless you play a lot of games on your phone.

About the author
Rich Woods

Being a computer programmer wasn't enough to fulfill his love of technology. In 2013, Rich founded For the Love of Tech and has been writing about his love of tech ever since.

  • Zenpen

    Nice reading! Kudos!