The LG V10 comes with a Snapdragon 808 processor w/ 4gigs of RAM, 5.7-inch 1440P screen with a secondary screen, 16MP back camera w/ laser focus, two 5MP front cameras, 3000mAh removable battery, microSD card slot, and nano-SIM card slot.
The new LG V10’s design is more or less rugged, features stainless steel rails on the sides with textured hard plastic back cover, which helps you hold the phone and does not get any fingerprints. While the LG V10 design doesn’t look pretty as the Note 5, it is more practical and functional in my opinion and I rather have practical design than a pretty lookin’ glass back that I would need to use a case anyways.
As for size, the LG V10 is slightly taller and wider than the Note 5 and much narrower, shorter than the Nexus 6. While the Nexus 6 is a huge phone and a bit over the edge, the LG V10 feels great in the hands just like the Note 5. If you are worried about the size, trust me, LG V10 is a tad bigger than the Note 5 and you won’t feel a difference if coming from Note 4 or 5. While I felt the size would be too big before I got the phone, I am glad that it doesn’t feel too big at all in real life testing.
Compared to the LG G4, the LG V10 is slightly bigger phablet device in the same class as the 5.7-inch Note 5. If you like the size of Note 5, you will love the LG V10 also.
So, the LG V10 is the bigger, badder brother of the LG G4, what are some of the new features?
First, LG V10 comes with a fingerprint sensor located on the back of the phone on the power button itself. I was able to register both of my index fingers and the fingerprint sensor works very well. To use it, simply press on the power button and you will be able to unlock the phone easily and this worked flawless for me as the fingerprint sensor worked every time, no hit-and-misses. I really like how this is the natural position you hold the phone and the fingerprint sensor location is just perfect for people who don’t like using the extra muscles of their thumb. I mean, it is bit annoying and you can drop your phone more easily with home button fingerprint sensors while the natural position of LG V10 allows unlocking without losing control of the phone. I have been fond of the power button location on LG’s smartphones ever since I got my LG G3 couple years back and with LG V10, you will be able to experience the same great location except now it will also read your fingerprint and unlock your phone.
Second, the LG V10 comes with a secondary screen that’s always on and allows you to read your notifications or access your recent apps. I find this actually very handy over the S6 Edge and Edge+ as you can read your notifications in landscape. With S6 Edge I felt the notifications were a bit hard to read but with LG V10, your notifications can be read easily and stay out of your main screen. This becomes really useful when you receive notifications when you are playing a game, you don’t have to interrupt what you are doing and still be able to read your messages.
The secondary screen also gives you access to your recent apps all the time. For example, if you want to switch to another app while using Twitter, you can do it in one tap instead of hitting the recent apps button then launching that app. You can even customize the secondary screen with your custom app shortcuts, music player controls, contacts, and even your calendar.
Android OS gives you notifications on top of the screen by default which can be annoying at times. By having a dedicated screen separate from main screen, the LG V10’s secondary screen becomes much more useful. Also when using the video camera, you can use the secondary screen for zoom, which makes zoom 10 times more useful as you get super accurate control of your zooming.
Overall, the secondary screen seems very useful and I am certainly a fan of it as you can still see your notifications and the clock when the screen if off. When the screen is off, the secondary screen remains on so you can easily read your notifications without turning the whole screen on, saving you a ton of battery life and time. And the shortcuts are very useful as you can quickly swipe to mute your phone, toggle WiFi, turn on flashlight, or access your camera.
Third, probably the biggest improvement over the LG G4 is in the camera department. The camera is same as the one on the G4 but software features have dramatically improved. The 16MP rear camera now is able to record in full manual mode at 4K UHD 64Mbps on its highest bitrate setting. Unlike LG G4’s 4K recording at 30Mbps, the V10 records at more than double 64Mbps. This is the highest bitrate for 4K video recording on a smartphone so far, much higher than Note 5’s 48Mbps. You can also change the bittrate to 30 or 48Mbps for longer recording times. The manual mode now comes with full controls for ISO from 50 to 2700, shutter speed control, manual focus, and even microphones with directional control. There’s even an audio meter, followed by resolution setting, white balance, exposure meter, ISO, shutter speed, all the pro videographers want in a smartphone 4K camera. For people who are serious about using a smartphone as a full-fledged 4K camcorder, the LG V10 kills everything else out on the market.
Like the LG G4, you can also access the camera by double-pressing on the volume down button. Still photos haven’t changed much from the LG G4 but they are one of the best out there and you can surely expect some high-quality action shots using its laser focus along with great low-lights shots with its F1.8, the fastest lens still out there for a smartphone.
For front camera, the LG V10 has TWO 5MP cameras that can act as a stitched-up wide-angle camera for both photos and videos. There’s also even multiple-view camera mode that allows you to take photos and videos with all 3 cameras. I don’t find this feature as useful and seems gimmicky but the wide-angle front camera I like. The wide-angle view is actually about the same as the one found on the Note 5, I think it may have been better to just implement one front camera, the two cameras honestly a bit gimmicky but it does serve its purpose, I guess.
Fourth, the LG V10 comes with a 3000mAh battery along with a microSD card slot. Battery life is plenty for all day use and I would say it’s not as good as the Note 5, perhaps an hour or two of less screen-on-time. I would highly recommend picking an extra battery and charger on Amazon for 20-30 bucks for power users. While battery isn’t all that great for 5.7-inch device, having removable battery option certainly makes up for it.
In my opinion, having removable battery and microSD card is an absolute must for a phablet device and LG V10 kills Note 5. If you want to record hours of 4K videos, the LG V10 will be able to do it while the Note 5 will require you to use a USB power bank and you will have to offload your videos when it fills up. The LG V10 also has 64GB of internal storage, which is plenty for most people, nevermind the microSD card slot. If you want to use your smartphone as portable storage, you can also grab a 2TB microSD card, a giant leap ahead of SamWhore Note 5 and Nexus 6P.
Fifth, the LG V10 comes with an IR blaster, controlling your TV with your smartphone is certainly a feature all of you couch potatoes will appreciate. I use this all of the time to control my livingroom and bedroom TV so I am glad LG left the option unlike ShameSung Note 5.
Sixth, the LG V10 doesn’t have wireless charging but it does support Quick Charge 2.0 so you can recharge your phone from 0 to 100 in just an hour. LG is obviously working on a Quick Cover case so you can add wireless charging later down the road.
Seventh, the LG V10 comes with latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. While it isn’t the most versatile UI out there, it’s pretty zippy and you won’t see much lag with its 4GB memory. LG G4 has been pretty good with RAM management and with 4GB of memory instead of 3GB found on the G4, the V10 should be a pleasant, fast experience for you.
Eight, the 1440P screen on LG V10 isn’t as bright as the Note 5, getting 400 nits on my light meter at its brightest setting but it shouldn’t affect normal usage unless you like getting a tan outdoors all the time.
What’s missing with the LG V10?
Like the OnePlus Two, the speakers aren’t loud at all, I recorded about 98 decibels on my sound meter and if you want to enjoy loud sound on your phone or use as speaker phone, the LG V10 may be one of the worst choices this year. Of course, if you don’t mind using earbuds or wireless headsets, this shouldn’t pose a big problem as then you will be able to make use of 32-bit DAC for high quality sound plus the QuadBeat3 earbud it comes with is really nice with great sound and bass.
Overall, LG V10 is a great alternative to the Note 5 if you don’t need to have an S-Pen and absolutely need removable battery or microSD card option. The performance isn’t as good as the Note 5 in benchmarks but you won’t notice huge difference unless you are playing games all day long. And if I had one definite reason to buy the LG V10 over other smartphones, it is its 4K camera along with full manual mode. The LG V10 simply has better 4K video recording than any other smartphone in my opinion especially if you want to fiddle with the shutter speed and ISO to get those perfect cinematic shots. If I had to choose one smartphone for 4K video recording, this would definitely be the one.
And that’s my review of the LG V10 but I will have an updated review after I use it for another few weeks, perhaps highlighting problems that may happen over time. But for now, this is a great phablet device, I would say it’s just as good as a Note 5 and better in some ways.