LG V60 Dual Screen review: V for versatility

LG is planning a serious refresh for its subsequent mainstream smartphone, however earlier than getting there, the corporate determined to launch one other entry in its spec-heavy V-series, the V60 ThinQ. With superior handbook digital camera controls, a hi-fi headphone jack, and top-end specs, these telephones have all the time been geared towards tech fans.

This 12 months, LG is undercutting Samsung’s Galaxy S20 — the Android standard-bearer for 2020 — in worth, whereas nonetheless making an attempt to cram loads of upgrades into the V60. It’s received a Snapdragon 865 processor with 5G connectivity and is able to taking pictures 8K video. You can outfit the V60 with a second show (with the non-obligatory Dual Screen case) for unmatched multitasking. Microsoft’s Surface Duo is ready to reach later this 12 months, and it’ll push the dual-display telephone idea ahead, however LG is already on its third attempt with the V60.

But the V60 lacks among the options which can be more and more frequent on “flagship” Android units in 2020. There’s no fluid 90Hz or 120Hz show; LG as an alternative sticks with a standard, no-frills 60Hz panel. Its bezels are plain to see and thicker than what you’d discover on a Samsung or OnePlus. As different high-end units transfer as much as 12GB of RAM (and past), LG is being barely conservative with 8GB of reminiscence. And regardless of continued refinement, the Dual Screen accent by no means actually unlocks its full potential: the large promoting level continues to be that primary, core capability to run totally different apps facet by facet on the similar time. But LG’s hallmarks — a great digital camera, blissful headphone audio, and top-notch efficiency — are nonetheless represented within the V60. Pricing is just a little scattered, with the telephone itself costing $800 (T-Mobile) or round $900 with the Dual Screen on Verizon and AT&T. Either approach, you are available in below the S20’s $999 sticker worth.

The V60 simply does a lot (doubly so should you get it with the Dual Screen) that, in a vacuum, it’s onerous to not be impressed. The battery life is astounding, and it’s a superb selection for the kind of one that will use each trick this telephone has in its arsenal. If that’s not you, there’s ample cause to have a look at Samsung or OnePlus as an alternative.

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Fair warning, although: even individuals acquainted with LG’s previous efforts shall be bowled over by the V60’s dimension. This is a giant, honking telephone. At 6.67 inches tall and three.06 inches extensive, it’s someway even bigger than the Galaxy S20 Ultra and pays completely no thoughts to ergonomics. It’s doable to make use of the V60 with one hand, however doing so is an ill-advised train in finger gymnastics and grip changes. The chamfered aluminum rails provide a safe grasp on the telephone, which has a flat 6.Eight-inch display and sloped glass again. Volume toggles and a non-remappable Google Assistant shortcut button take up the left facet, with the facility button on the proper. The V60 comes with 128GB of storage, however it helps microSD growth.

At the underside, you’ll discover a speaker (which doubles up with the earpiece for stereo output), USB-C port, and a headphone jack, which nonetheless consists of LG’s wonderful 32-bit DAC for audiophile-grade music playback — should you’ve received the proper headphones to get essentially the most from it. LG will get my reward each for maintaining the jack round and delivering a listening expertise that may rival devoted hi-fi audio gamers. Listening to hi-res tracks in Amazon Music HD with my Sennheiser headphones made me respect LG’s quest to protect the headphone jack even when everybody else has moved on.

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The V60 is available in both white (with silver edges) or navy blue, which has a gold body. To me, there’s no debate available: the blue V60 is a stunner of a telephone. The white one, in the meantime, is forgettable. LG makes use of an in-display optical fingerprint scanner on the V60, and my success charge was blended, inconsistent, and worse than the readers I’ve used on Samsung and OnePlus telephones. This is a kind of circumstances the place I miss the outdated, extra dependable rear fingerprint sensors. (The V60 doesn’t have an equal to Face ID just like the G8 ThinQ did.)

The V60’s show is a pleasant 2460 x 1080 OLED panel with a tiny teardrop notch that homes the front-facing digital camera. As I discussed earlier, LG hasn’t managed to shave away bezels to the identical extent as different firms. Some will discover the black borders ugly; others shall be grateful to keep away from unintentional presses — an occasional frustration that impacts curved screens with barely there bezels. Brightness, colour vibrancy, distinction, and viewing angles are all completely passable, if a rung or two beneath Samsung’s greatest telephone shows.

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But the dearth of a buttery-smooth 90Hz or 120Hz refresh charge is noticeable and made all of the extra apparent if you swap between the V60 and one thing just like the Galaxy S20 or Pixel four XL. Not everybody will care, and I feel LG made this trade-off partially as a result of driving two shows at 90Hz or 1440p would have posed a problem. Still, I want the choice existed a minimum of for the principle telephone. To me, that is the V60’s most obvious draw back when put next towards its 2020 competitors. It affords a ton of energy, however it feels held again — prefer it didn’t fairly get the entire improve guidelines — by the same-as-ever scrolling.

So the display is a little bit of a letdown, however there’s some good in all of this. Limiting the show to 60Hz and a modest decision, mixed with an enormous 5,000mAh battery, helps the V60 obtain unbelievable battery life. I’ve been capable of maintain the V60 working properly into and thru a second day of frequent use. This stamina solely applies when utilizing the telephone by itself, nonetheless, since enabling the Dual Screen case will curtail battery longevity by 20 to 30 %.

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Throughout my overview interval, the Snapdragon 865 chipset has carried out flawlessly, with the V60 chewing via any job I threw at it. Wi-Fi 6 is supported, and the V60 can pull down 5G information on T-Mobile and AT&T, although solely Verizon is promoting a model that works with ultra-fast (however very restricted) millimeter-wave 5G.

Like the G8x, the V60’s Dual Screen connects over USB-C. There’s just a little magnetic adapter that attaches to the underside of the case if you wish to plug in for charging whereas it’s on, although quick wi-fi charging is the extra handy choice in that state of affairs. The secondary display is an actual match for the first show, with the identical decision and even the notch cutout. (It’s actually the identical panel half, which LG says helps lower prices and protect colour uniformity.)

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The most typical use case for the Dual Screen is the best: two apps directly. This factor is the final word Zoom telephone, let me let you know. You can chat along with your colleagues over Zoom on one display and have a look at cute pets on Instagram with the opposite. Want to browse Twitter whereas watching Netflix, YouTube, or Prime Video? Have at it. Once we’re all allowed exterior once more, I do know the V60 will make it simple to control my Uber or Lyft whereas writing an e mail on the similar time. And this makes for a straightforward approach of listening to music on YouTube whereas doing one thing else on the first show. It’s all admittedly superfluous, however I nonetheless discovered myself actually liking the pliability at occasions.

LG optimizes a few of its personal apps for Dual Screen. When you are taking a shot with the digital camera and faucet to see the photograph, it pops up on the secondary show, so the digital camera app stays open and prepared for extra snaps. You can use the V60 like a mini laptop computer or transportable sport console with your entire backside show serving as a keyboard or gamepad. You can even stretch a small variety of apps (together with some from Google like Maps, Gmail, and Chrome) throughout each screens directly, however I by no means discovered this very helpful. The hole within the center is just too onerous to disregard. LG, now on its third Dual Screen launch, hasn’t made a lot progress and is leaving Microsoft a giant opening to return in and present everybody what an Android system with two shows can actually be. But keep in mind that you would be able to all the time simply detach the chunky, heavy Dual Screen case if you don’t want these multitasking powers. Points for versatility, I suppose.

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The rear dual-camera system delivers good outcomes, with the principle 64MP sensor (pixel binned right down to 16MP) is ready to seize loads of dynamic vary and element. LG kicked off the ultra-wide development, in order that’s what the second 13MP digital camera is for. As is the norm, it’s a bit softer than the first one. The third “lens” is only a time-of-flight sensor for depth information, so the V60 doesn’t have any type of portrait or optical zoom lens in its repertoire. But I used to be very happy with the colour processing, nice depth-of-field, and general output from LG’s digital camera. The firm is utilizing a bigger sensor this 12 months, which explains a few of these enhancements. If the V60 has one weak spot, it’s evening mode, which doesn’t meet the bar that Apple, Google, and Huawei have set. Video recording can also be stable — LG provides you extra handbook management over settings and bit charge than most Android telephones — although 8K is simply foolish overkill in the meanwhile. You can’t even edit 8K footage on-device, so what does that let you know? Stick with 4K or 1080p and the V60 nonetheless excels, second solely to Apple in video high quality.

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You can all the time depend on LG to toss in a single very unusual digital camera characteristic, and this time, it’s 3D pictures. If you’ve ever seen one in every of these on Facebook, what to anticipate. You snap a shot, and the V60 makes use of depth data to create the phantasm that the focused-on object is shifting round as you progress your telephone. I took like two of those after which ignored 3D pictures altogether. A nicer, extra vital contact in regards to the digital camera is that, in most lighting circumstances, the viewfinder is displayed at 60fps. It doesn’t actually add any profit, however now that I’ve had a style, I need that smoothness from the digital camera on each different telephone.

LG’s software program stays a messy blended bag. Some of it’s good, like the wonderful digital camera app, which has the entire handbook controls you might need and useful instruments like focus peaking. The audio recorder app can also be greatest at school. I even had a great expertise with LG Pay (I simply occurred to have one of many few playing cards that’s at present supported), which might trick cost terminals into pondering you swiped an actual bank card with a magnetic stripe — similar to Samsung Pay.

Other corners of the software program expertise really feel like they’ve been deserted. The icons and normal look really feel dated (even after a current refresh). And someway, nonetheless, within the 12 months 2020, LG’s app launcher can not maintain apps organized alphabetically. Every time you put in a brand new app or sport, you’ve received to type the listing once more. Come on. Switching to a third-party launcher means shedding out on Android 10’s gesture navigation, and none of them are optimized for the secondary show. The awkward software program selections prolong to the Dual Screen, which is handled like its own residence display, which makes whole sense, however it additionally will get its personal app drawer as an alternative of simply mirroring the principle telephone’s, which is not sensible in any respect.

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And then there’s the bloatware. LG is just not promoting an unlocked model of the V60 within the US, so that you’re on the mercy of Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile — and it’s not fairly. After organising the telephone, you’ll discover a minimum of 5 – 6 video games you don’t need and a handful of service apps that you would be able to’t totally uninstall. The Verizon V60 continually offered me with a “helpful” system well being notification that inspired me to restart the telephone and clear its reminiscence cache. These are pointless, annoying distractions that folks actually don’t want to fret about.

One of essentially the most under-the-radar perks of the V60 is correct stylus help. If you purchase a Wacom pen, you’ll get Galaxy Note-like stress sensitivity for drawing. There’s an non-obligatory slide-in shortcuts bar the place you possibly can rapidly begin writing a brand new memo, annotate no matter’s in your display, and entry different methods. LG doesn’t have its personal stylus like Samsung’s S-Pen or a slot to hold one in, however what’s right here is fairly helpful and, once more, speaks to the V60’s versatility.

It ought to say every little thing in regards to the V60 being a jack-of-all-trades that I’m ending on stylus help. This telephone provides you a ton for $800 — even should you go with out the Dual Screen. It’s a blazing performer, battery life may be the most effective for any telephone in 2020 thus far, and it’s received terrific headphone audio. But I actually want LG had completed extra with the large show. I can put up with the bezels simply fantastic, however high-refresh screens are already turning into desk stakes at this worth within the Android world. If I’m sacrificing consolation and ergonomics, the show had higher be unbelievable. And I’m prepared to pay a pair further hundred bucks for it.

Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge

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