The New V20 May Take the LG Flagship Throne from the G Series
LG announced their latest high-end device on September 6 and its specs are pretty amazing: The new V20 sports three cameras, two displays, three microphones, four DACs for high-end sound, and it's all powered by a removable battery.
Seriously, it's almost to the point where LG couldn't have crammed more tech into this Swiss Army phone if they tried, which makes us wonder if the V series has supplanted the LG's premium G lineup as the Korean manufacturer's new flagship device. Sadly, there's no news yet on price, or when this phone will hit the market.
Last year's V10 won smartphone fans over with its secondary display and dual-lens camera setup, and the V20 definitely looks like a worthy successor. Aside from a few internal upgrades, LG went all-in with major improvements to the audio and video capabilities in this year's model. While its release may be overshadowed by Apple's iPhone 7 announcement less than 24 hours later, the V20 certainly deserves its fair share of acclaim.
On the front of the V20, you've got a wide-angle 5 MP shooter with an astounding f/1.9 aperture to let in more light. Flanking that is one of the defining features of the V series: a second, separately-powered display that resides at the top of the phone, which lets you quickly launch apps and view notifications.
When you flip the phone over, however, the V20's media strength becomes even more apparent. LG opted for a dual camera setup to give photographers more flexibility, so one of the rear-facing lenses is a 16 MP f/1.8 shooter, which is impressive in and of itself. But the second camera sensor packs a wide-angle lens to go along with its 8 MP resolution and f/2.4 aperture, which gives you the choice of capturing more content in the field of view, or using the primary camera for more detail.
As an added bonus, the rear-facing camera setup can be used to capture 4K video, with LG's anti-shake "Steady Record" feature to keep everything smooth. While you're recording, you can capture still images at the press of a button, and manual controls such as white balance and ISO can be applied to videos as well.
LG kept audiophiles in mind, too, as they're using a 32-bit "Quad DAC" (digital-to-analog converter) setup for all sound output modes, supporting lossless formats such as FLAC, DSD, AIFF, and ALAC. This is paired with a headphone amplifier that outputs twice the voltage of anything else on the market, so you won't need an external amp to do any serious sound editing.
But one of the most interesting media features in the LG V20 is its three-microphone setup. This allows the phone to pinpoint background noise and create a clear audio recording when filming video, and LG claims that this will drastically improve the sound quality of clips recorded in loud environments like concerts and parties.
LG seems to have a renewed vigor for prompt software updates, too, as the V20 is officially the first phone to ship with Android 7.0 Nougat preinstalled. This is an amazing feat, considering that LG has even beaten Google to the punch here.
Nougat includes many improvements over Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and although LG puts a thick skin on top of Android (LG UX 5.0), these are all present. You'll get native split-screen mode with support for a wider range of apps than years past, Vulkan graphics API for better gaming performance, and a revamped set of emojis—likely well before Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and other manufacturers release their Nougat update.
If there's anything to indicate that LG might be shifting its priorities from the G series to the V lineup, it's the specifications. All of the hardware here is top-notch, so the V20 is most definitely a flagship device from a technical standpoint.
- size: 6.29" (h) x 3.07" (w) x 0.30" (d)
- weight: 6.14 oz.
- screen: 5.7" LCD display
- resolution: 1440p QHD (513 PPI)
- processor: 2.15 GHz Snapdragon 820
- RAM: 4 GB
- storage: 64 GB internal
- battery: 3200 mAh (removable)
- rear camera: 16 MP, f/1.8 lens (primary), 8 MP, f/2.4 wide-angle (secondary), 4K video
- front camera: 5 MP, f/1.9 wide-angle lens
- charging port: USB Type-C (Micro USB adapter included)
- colors: titan (black) and silver
To top off those internals, the V20 sports a premium aluminum body with polycarbonate antenna windows at the top and bottom, reminiscent of the LG G5 from earlier this year. But this time, LG opted for a removable backplate instead of the slide-out battery from its modular design in the G5, which gives the phone a more traditional look and feel.
The V2o isn't available just yet, but it's expected to hit shelves in the coming weeks. All major US carriers will be selling the new flagship, though LG didn't announce a price at their press event. They did note that for a limited time the handset will come with a free set of B&O Play H3 headphones (which usually cost typically cost upwards of $149.99). But if last year's LG V10's pricing is any indication, you can expect the V20 to start at roughly $700—a flagship price point for a true flagship phone.