LG just announced the V20, a successor to last year’s V10 smartphone. In 2015, the V10 stood out for its unique, sturdy design, a great camera, and audiophile-grade music playback. LG has retained two of those strengths and introduced others for the sequel.
As we already know, this is the first smartphone to run Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. Both Google and LG have been making a big deal about the fact that the V20 runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. If you don’t have a Nexus and are too impatient to wait for the next Google phones and whatever else is to come this year, this is your ticket in. LG boasts that it’s the first phone anywhere to feature Google’s new In Apps feature, which is supposed to help you “find content not only from built-in apps including contacts, emails, text messages and photos, but also from user-installed apps.” You can read more about it here.
As we saw with the V10, the LG V20 flaunts a second screen on top of the primary display, that shows app shortcuts, notifications, time, date, battery life at a glance and gimmicks like a personal signature when the main display is active. The second screen is useful in that it frees up the primary display for content and gives notifications their own dedicated space.
Just like last time, you’re free to turn it off completely if you so desire. But some other software tricks are tied to the second screen. If you’ve got the signature feature turned on, for example, LG uses the first letter you’ve chosen for custom wallpapers. It’s a weird, silly feature that most people won’t even realize exists. Swiping the signature to the side reveals a tray of icons that you can use to create app shortcuts or toggle things like the flashlight.
LG has their in-house UI running over the top, and they haven’t changed too much here. On the plus side, if you’re a long-time LG fan, you’ll feel right at home.
Just like the LG G5, the V20 does not have an app drawer by default but it can be enabled in the settings. Furthermore, even if it wasn’t available, it shouldn’t really matter because I think those are aware enough to want an app drawer are also aware enough to know where to get one. This is an android device, you’re never restricted by the software choices of the companies. The home screen is a standard affair with a long press bringing up options to add widgets, change wallpapers etc. What has changed is the notification shade in a very nougaty update. The quick settings can be added or removed and rearranged.
It’s very well known if you’ve been following us, that the V20 ships with a 32 bit Quad DAC improving the audio from the V10 which had already set a benchmark in smartphone audio output. Bang & Olufsen helped fine tune playback performance, and audio nerds will also appreciate the improved sound quality, reduced distortion and white noise by a scale of 50%, 75-stage volume and L/R Balance controls and support for all the popular lossless music formatslike AIFF, ALAC, DSD, and FLAC. This Hi-Fi Quad DAC can be toggled on or off because of course it will drain your battery if you use it all the time. The Quad DAC can however be only used with headphones.
In addition to playback, there’s an HD audio recorder built-in, capable of capturing 24-bit/192KHz FLAC. There’s also a Music Studio mode that lets you make your own songs.
The V20 also takes some inspiration from Samsung’s Note, or its Screen Memo feature to be exact. A Capture+ feature lets you scribble on a screenshot and this is something that’s even coming in Windows 10 devices. It makes annotating screenshots a breeze and its surprising why everyone else hasn’t already included it in their softwares. Such small handy feature additions is what improves the android experience not heavily modded skins.
The rear camera on the LG V20 features 135 degree wide angle shots while the fornt camera supports 120 degrees.
LG actually focused on the V20’s video recording more heavily than still shooting. Video stabilization is handled by Qualcomm’s Steady Record 2.0, which uses data from the phone’s gyroscope to minimize shake by cropping into the frame a bit. The company also claims that the V20 all but eliminates common video distortion like rolling shutter. The camera app provides deep manual controls for both stills and video, as you’d expect from LG. You’ve got nearly every option you could want, from the usual shutter speed and ISO settings all the way to setting your preferred video bitrate. For video, the V20’s mic is capable of recording up to 132 decibels, rather than the 120 decibels most phones manage. Video audio is also recorded in a lossless format. It’s impossible to judge the camera right now but it looks very promising.
This is all that stands out on the LG V20 software but there should be more information as and how the device is tested. Oh and did I mention Nougat’s easter egg works on the V20 too? Well it does, the vague virtual pet game of some sort that has you setting up treats for an imaginary cat. Stay tuned for more.
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