Welcome to my review of the LG V10 smartphone. This is the H960 version, which means its the official European/UK model which includes all the LTE bands. My thanks go to Clove Technology for their speedy service in sending the LG V10.
The Key Specifications
– Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 Processor, Adreno 418 GPU
– Main display 5.7-inch QHD IPS Quantum Display 513ppi
– Secondary display 2.1-inch IPS Quantum Display, 160 x 1040, 513ppi
– MIL-STD-810G certified – shock resistant
– Infra Red Blaster
– Memory4GB LPDDR3 RAM / 32GB storage plus microSD
– Rear camera 16MP with F1.8 Aperture/OIS v2.0
– Front camera 5MP Dual Lens 80-degree Standard Angle/120-degree Wide Angle
– Battery 3,000mAh removable
– Operating system Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
– Size 159.6 x 79.3 x 8.6mm
– Weight 192g
– Network LTE-A Cat. 6
– Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, USB 2.0
– Quick Charge 2 – 50% charge in 40 mins
– Manual mode for video – ISO, Shutter, White Balance, Frame rate, Focus, new 21:9 cinematic mode
– Electronic video stablisation
– Audio extras – 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC electronic processor
– Qualcomm’s QFE2550 closed-loop antenna tuning – first phone to deploy for better voice and network reception
The LG V10 improves upon the LG G4 from the moment you insert your sim, as its takes a nano sim. The G4 used a micro sim. As a phone it is versatile with a user removable battery, micro SD card support up to 2TB and is MIL-STD-810G certified – shock resistant. The V10 is designed to withstand drops. The back cover is grippy which is needed for a phone of this size. In terms of its overall size it is the same size as an iPhone 6S Plus.
The H960 version is made for the European and UK markets and includes all the LTE bands for the UK. For some unknown reason, LG also took it amongst themselves to reduce the internal storage down to 32gb from 64gb. However, you can still add a micro SD card slot. My 200gb Sandisk card works perfectly.
Viewing angles are excellent. Call reception is very good too and callers had no trouble hearing me at the other end of a call. WiFi, NFC and bluetooth all performed admirably. AnTuTu scored 59,106. Performance is smooth across all apps. The V10 has Qualcomm’s QFE2550 closed-loop antenna tuning and is the first phone to deploy this tech for better voice and network reception.
The V10 has a fingerprint sensor on the rear. To activate this you need to press it and hold it at the same time. It isn’t as reliable as the fingerprint sensor on other phones like the iPhone 6S or Huawei Nexus 6P but it is reliable enough to leave it on. 2/10 failed at first attempt to unlock the phone.
In the box are the Quadbeat 3 in ear headphones/headset tuned by AKG. These are better than average headphones.
One of the unique aspects of this phone is the secondary display. When the screen is off, the secondary display is always on. With the display off you can scroll 3 times as shown below.
And when screen is on you get a choice of what options you would like to show.
Now at first some of you might be thinking this is surely a gimmick. Actually it isn’t and becomes very useful in practise. For example, you are in an app, a notification appears on the secondary display. You can read it without having to leave the app you are in. Using the camera pushes extra options on to this section. If you are listening to music, you have the music controls always accessible.
The V10 continues to include a wealth of other features. More than you can ever imagine. Quick Slide apps are mini apps that can be left floating on the screen, resized along with the transparency. Miracast, Dual Screen mode, NFC, Infra Red Remote Control Blaster (for TV, DVD etc) and a Sabre 32 bit HiFi DAC and Amp are all included.
The loudspeaker is located at the rear of the phone. It goes louder than the G4 and is a lot clearer too. I will cover off the headphone quality later on, but needless to say this phone rocks an awesome DAC and headphone amp.
Battery. The battery will last a day with an average of 4-4.5 hours screen on time. Quick charge 2 is available and this works as expected.
The V10 camera is phenomenonal. Firstly the secondary display becomes handy for changing main camera modes. The main camera modes are simple (tap screen to take picture), auto, manual photo, manual video and snap mode. Snap mode assembles short video clips into a 60 second short film. From the photos, you will also notice the V10 has 2 front facing 5mp cameras. One is a 80-degree Standard Angle and the 120-degree Wide Angle. If you are using the front facing camera, you decide which one you would prefer to use.
Within Auto mode you gain access to a few shooting modes as shown all of which work really well. Panoramic shots are excellent too.
In terms of photo and video sizes, the options are limited.
If you are in manual photo mode, other options appear in the setting dialogue include a histogram option.
In manual mode you have the option of shooting in RAW format.
Manual video mode introduces even more options in the settings.
And more options.
And more again. Even the bitrate can be changed from High, Medium or Low.
The manual video mode then provides granular controls of all aspects of taking photos. The shutter can stay open for 30 seconds. In all honesty the V10 provides one of the best camera experiences I have ever seen on a smartphone. But even if you just leave it in auto, you will still end up with incredible photos. HDR can be left in Auto and therefore turns on as required.
Below are just a few samples from the V10 camera. I have taken hundreds of shots and the results are incredible. The photos of my dogs have been the best ever in terms of quality. The below shots were all taken in auto, except for the salt crystals which was snapped in manual mode.
Buildings or large panoramic shots are a breeze for the V10.
As you can see the dogs motion is frozen really well.
Even fog and heavy rain was not too much of an issue for the V10. I use the shot below as my screen saver.
And finally, a macro shot. White on white for the salt crystals. Very good.
I have tested the video too, and it is significantly better than anything else at the moment. Stabilisation has been improved too. Plus there is the ability to use manual controls for video which is such fun.
Audio and Sound Quality
The V10 was not just about everything else mentioned above, but also the sound quality. The loudspeaker is on the bottom of the phone and is above average in quality. Where the V10 shines is with headphones. It has a Sabre 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC electronic processor and regardless to whether I listened to FLAC or MP3 tracks, the quality blew away all other smartphones I have used when it came to headphone quality and volume output. If you like listening via bluetooth, the V10 includes APT-X and produces stunning sound via this method.
The V10 goes one step further. It is compatible with headphones from 50 ohms to 600 ohms. When a headphone is connected in this range, it switches to high impedance mode. So plugging in my Sennheiser HD598 headphones, the V10 switches to high impedance mode and adjusts the volume output to enable the V10 to power these headphones effortlessly and to a very high volume.
At first you may have some belief that this is just a small upgrade to the LG G4 or Flex 2. In fact, the total sum of all its parts ensures it is significantly better in its user experience, camera, audio and so much more. With improvements in durability (drop proof), design, the second screen, the best camera on a smartphone currently for video and photos, fingerprint sensor, Sabre HiFi DAC, Quick Charging 2 and overall feel in the hand, it is my top phone of the year. Now in case you’re thinking that the new flagships from Samsung, LG and others are that coming out next month will surely surpass the LG V10, well that is a possibility. However, I believe that the features and lower cost of the V10 will still keep it at the top of pile.
Extremely recommended by myself.
Once again thanks to Clove Technology for their speedy service. Currently, if you order via Clove you get a pair of bluetooth gloves for free.