LG’s latest jab at the Phablet market is a knockout. Today most phones appear to be very very similar overall, similar shape, similar size, similar look, and mostly running an Android operating system. The LG V20 stands out from the crowd more for how it performs than its looks.

The LG V20 has some features that set it apart from all other phablets currently on the market; firstly it has a removable battery, it is the only high-end device that allows you to remove the back cover and replace the battery with a fresh one. Secondly, it features audio performance that no other device currently can match.

The hardware

Despite having a removable back, the LG V20 feels solid and well-built. The basic specs place this phablet in the top tier of competitive devices. LG have made a huge screen feel very compact in a smooth rounded and extremely premium feeling body.

A Qualcomm 820 processor with 4 GB main memory and 64 gigs of expandable RAM allows more than enough space for all your apps, games, music, and other features. The Quad HD screen needs special mention as it is bright and clear, in fact, one of the nicest most balanced displays that I have seen on a smartphone to date.

The front and rear cameras are also standout features. The wide angle front camera is a five-megapixel wide-angle selfie camera which has sufficient sensitivity to give you excellent quality selfies in virtually all lighting.
The LG V20 features dual 16 MP rear cameras. There are two lenses, one wide angle lens and one short distance lens. The LG V20 uses laser focus along with Phase detection focus. In effect instant, sharp pictures are very easy to take.

Overall the cameras are well integrated and very useful and take consistent top quality pictures in almost every situation. The competition from Apple and Samsung may offer slightly better overall pictures in some circumstances, the differences are small and may well not be noticeable for general use.
The audio performance is one of the key features of the LG V20. A combination of high-quality microphones along with a quad digital to analogue converter system allows both the recording and the playback of enormously high-quality audio.

LG V20

In practice, I found recordings made with the LG V20 were of exceptional clarity no matter what the situation. Also if a sufficiently good audio source is supplied the sound of the LG V20, through both small headphones, Bluetooth headphones and very high-quality high-end headphones such as the BO Play H6 was the very best that I have ever experienced on a mobile device to date.

The LG V20 allows lossless audio recordings space clarity and fidelity, along with timing and pace that I had not previously experienced from a smartphone. Even with headphones, there was a distinct feeling of acoustic space and no muddling of the performers and their instruments, no matter the volume. At lower levels, this was starkly apparent. All other playback devices created at best a mild warm fuzzy effect.

Not only does the LG V20 have quad digital to analogue converters it also has what they call the ESS Sabre headphone amp which gives you, even more power for the most demanding headphones. Yes the LG V20 does feature a headphone jack.

The LG V20 also features a dual screen. There is an always on notification screen that sits alongside the front camera on top of the main screen. This small secondary screen offers you the ability to play media, switch off certain functionality like Wi-Fi, the torch, and gives you notifications as and when they appear. This screen is always on and maybe a little bright in the night, but I found it extremely useful and extremely helpful. Touching a notification via that screen opens the required app, once of course, you have unlocked the phone via the highly accurate and fast fingerprint sensor.

The software.

The LG V20 also features the latest Android version 7 with a very light and easy to use overlay. I found that the LG V20 in use is clean and fluid. The LG V20 never stutters and is simply an absolute pleasure to use. Android version 7 has certainly improved dramatically on the older versions of Android and is slick smooth and mostly trouble-free. The ability to customise Android and make the device your own remains.

LG’s UX 5.0+ does offer some useful features some of which may be forgettable, but mostly I find them well integrated and easy to use. The LG V20 includes a new feature called app search from Google which allows you to find anything in any app; this took me a little time to get used to but found it fast and effective.
Included in the software is a comfort view mode which allows slightly less blue for night time viewing along with a quick memo plus app which allows you to take a few memos which is useful.

LG V20

Where the LG V20 stands out from the competition and does shine is in its multimedia playback. Both video and audio recordings are without question some of the finest that I have experienced on a smart device. The combination of high-resolution microphones along with quad audio converters and amplifiers coupled with that Quad HD screen, make this a premium audio and video device.The LG V20 features QUALCOMM’s quick charge 3 which can charge to 100% in just over an hour.

If you need a quick top up using a Quick Charge 3 charger, which LG supplies in the box, you can get between 30% and 40% with just 10 minutes worth of charge. I found that useful as the battery is not the longest lasting of all the Phablets on the market. The LG V20 easily gave me a full day with lots of music streaming WhatsApping and social media use.

The camera software was easy to use, straightforward and clear, and features an expert mode for those of you who want to control every aspect of your picture taking. The combination of short distance and long distance cameras on the rear and a high quality wide-angle on the front allows you to take some of the best pictures I have seen on a mobile device. The video is well stabilised and accurate, and the LG V20 reacted well to changing light.

Conclusion.

The LGV 20 is far more than the sum of its part. A super slick body, brilliant construction, removable battery, expandable memory, and some standout features in the audio and video side, make this an exceptional addition to the smartphone universe.

The question remains, is this the best Phablet that you can buy? That is a difficult question when you consider the competition, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Apple iPhone 7 Plus and upcoming Huawei Mate 9. The LG V20 has thoughtful features that you cannot find anywhere else. Some of the features raise the bar for what is possible for smartphones, notably the audio capabilities and the ability to remove the battery.

If you are looking for a top-notch large screen Android device that has an outstanding balance of features, performance, and build quality, the LG V20 may well be the one for you. If you are looking for the best Audio/Video performance smartphone currently available, then LG V20 with its lossless recording and playback just outshines all other options.

LG V20 is available from all the networks on competitive packages

http://www.lg.com/za/mobile-phones/lg-LGH990

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