1. Quality issues with the screen
The LG V30 has an impressive, edge-to-edge 6-inch display… with a problem. Our review unit has the same issue that many others have also reported: brightness uniformity. What this boils down to is that when you view a pure white screen, you do not get a consistently bright output across the entire panel. Instead, there are splotchy areas of dimness here and there.
Is this an issue that affects all LG V30 phones out there? Not really. We received a second unit that did not have any such issues. If you do care about great display quality – and considering the high price of the phone, it really is expected – then just make sure to double check the unit that you receive carefully and ask for a replacement until you get one with a proper screen.
2. Great camera
The LG V30’s other big selling feature is its camera. Or rather: cameras, as the phone has two on the back, a main one that has around 30mm field of view in regular camera terms, and a secondary, wide angle one with 14mm field of view. Both cameras did very well in our tests and we are generally happy with the V30’s camera. It captures detailed images with pleasing colors, but speaking objectively, it lacks a bit to compete with the very best: first, dynamic range was just okay, but the phone was not as smart as others with auto HDR and does not have the dynamics that you can get with say a Google Pixel, so you often end up with burned highlights. And secondly, photos do turn out a bit (or sometimes a lot) underexposed, especially when you shoot at lower light with the secondary, wide-angle camera.
3. Great for videography
What the V30 does unlike any other phone out there is video. It has a full-on manual video mode that will be a great thing to have for the aspiring videographer (it’s not something that regular users should care too much about, though). So what do you get? First, you get manual focus and focus peeking, two features that are available on higher end cameras. Then, you have granular, refined control over white balance, exposure, shutter speed and all the rest. You have a smooth zoom that is not jerky like on other smartphones. And you have the option to shoot log files and then color edit them in a program like Adobe Premier or DaVinci Resolve to get some truly cinematic footage. Awesome!
4. One of the best all-screen designs
The LG V30 is a looker. The glass back and metal frame look stylish, even posh. There is no ugly notch to spoil the experience. It’s just a beautiful all-screen design.
5. Solid battery life
LG phones have traditionally struggled with battery life, but LG finally gets battery life right with the V30. On our test, the phone scored on par with other Snapdragon 835 phones and will be able to give you enough power for a full day off the charger, even if you use your phone more than average. That is a lot due to the power efficient Snadpragon chip, but LG’s fine tuning also should have contributed.
6. Fastest LG phone to date
The LG V30 does not quite feel as smooth and fast-running as an iPhone or a Google Pixel, but it provides a mostly stutter-free experience that makes using the phone a breeze for daily tasks, games and even photo and video editing.
7. LG skin is different from stock Android
LG still uses a very distinct custom user interface on top of Android 7.1 Nougat. If Material Design is your thing, well, you get none of that on the V30. Instead, you get cartoonish icons, no pull-up gesture for the app drawer, and completely reworked dialer, messenger and other important stock apps. There is a new Floating Bar gimmick that is said to be a spiritual successor to the secondary screen on other LG V phones. It works as you’d expect: tap on it to get shortcuts, but get used to that always-present dot on your screen.
The other thing is the Android version. The V30 does not have the latest Android 8.0 Oreo, and that will probably only be available in the beginning of next year (we’re only guessing here), so that’s a bit of a bummer.
8. Fantastic sound with headphones
The LG V30 has a dedicated quad-DAC and fantastic sound quality. You do need a bunch of conditions to fully benefit from this: a pair of quality headphones for starters and a lossless music collection, but if you do, get ready to be blown away with sound clarity. The difference in sound quality will not be as huge for those who rock the built-in headphones, but it’s still nice to have the capability of higher sound fidelity.
9. But underwhelming loudspeaker quality
This, however, does not extend to the quality of the loudspeaker on the V30. You have a single bottom-firing loudspeaker that sounds very tinny, lacking in bass. That’s not news for a speaker on a phone, but with recent flagships higher quality, it is particularly noticeable that the V30 cannot match it.
10. Very good call quality
We did not expect any major phone in 2017 to have problems with call quality, but after both the iPhone 8 and Google’s Pixel 2 having some issues, we were curious to see how the V30 does with calls. Good news is that it does well: there are no crackling sounds or any other weird issues, and calls sound just fine. If your carrier support VoLTE/HD Voice, you can also get that on the V30.