You don’t hear all that much about the LG phones anymore. At least, not like the way you hear of phones from its Korean counterpart Samsung. Or about the phones from OnePlus. And that is a pity, because LG actually makes some really cool and premium phones. Unlike the days of the LG G6 and all, the new LG premium phones are even priced sensibly. Take for example, the LG G7 ThinQ. It debuted at a price of around Rs 40,000 but then nowadays sells for under Rs 30,000. It is with this context that I picked up the LG V40 ThinQ for review. According to LG, currently this is the best from the company and I believe that more people need to know about this phone, which competes with the likes of OnePlus 6T and Honor View 20.
I used the V40 ThinQ for over 10 days for this review. And while the device does not surpass my expectations, or for that matter phones like the OnePlus 6T, what I have found is that LG has yet again come out with a phone that most people are going to like, that is if they end up buying it. The V40 is a phone that does a lot of things pretty well, if not extraordinarily well. But battery life and camera of the LG V40 ThinQ are the aspects that I don’t fancy much. Other than that there is enough in this phone to appeal to someone who is looking to spend around Rs 45,000-Rs 50,000 on a phone.
The LG V40 ThinQ is indeed the best from LG. It’s just that the best is not always enough to beat others in this competitive market, particularly at a time when phones like the OnePlus 6T, Honor View 20, as well as recently-launched Galaxy S10E, exist.
Premium design and oh-so-light!
Light. Classy. Sublime. These are some of the words that are likely to come to your mind when you see and hold the LG V40 ThinQ. At a time when we have some fantastic looking phones in the market, the V40 can hold its own in the design department. And it does it so on its own terms. Unlike some other phones there are no funky colours here, or the gradient design. Or a pop-up camera. Or even a fingerprint scanner. The V40 uses the classic design where two layers of glass — it’s Gorilla Glass 5 — is used with a shiny aluminium frame to make the phone. The glass cover on the back has frosted finish, which blends well with aluminium frame.
The V40 is a sleek phone, measuring around 7.6mm and is fairly light at 169 grams. It is around 10 grams lighter than some other phones that come with a similarly large 6.4-inch screen. The result is that you hold the phone in your hands comfortably, and carry it whole day without being bothered by its weight. You can’t say the same for a phone like the Pixel 3 XL or the iPhone XS Max, or for that matter the iPhone XR.
On the back the phone has a three-camera module. The rounded edges of this module go well with the rounded edges of the phone. The fingerprint sensor is placed under the camera module, it’s easy to reach and works very well.
I like the way the LG V40 has been built. The whole design is seamless, with the curved glass melding into the frame. There are no rough edges on the V40. It is also IP67 certified, so it is waterproof and you can take up a call on it even if you are under a shower. And yes, before I forget, the LG V40 ThinQ is one of the handful premium phones nowadays that come with 3.5mm headphone jack.
There is one grouse I have though. It’s slippery. The LG V40 ThinQ not only shows up smudges and oily fingerprints within 10 minutes of use, which is a surprise because it has that frosted glass finish, but it is also a phone that you have to hold carefully because otherwise it will slip out of your hands.
Using LG V40: Vibrant display, fun software
It’s important for a phone company to get the display right in its devices and while I can fault LG for several things that it does in its phones — or doesn’t do — the company usually gets the display right. There are no surprises with the V40 ThinQ. The large 6.4-inch screen of the V40 ThinQ shows crisp text because of its high 1440 x 3120 pixels resolution. And it shows brilliant colours because of its OLED panel. The red looks vibrant red, the blue has a sheen that LCD screens can’t show and the pink glows. I believe the screen of the LG V40 ThinQ also appeals to eyes because of its brightness. At full brightness, it is blindingly bright. In other words, the V40 is bright enough to let you enjoy reading a long article or two on the phone even when you are outside with Delhi sun blazing above.
I enjoyed watching Taylor Swift’s Red and the latest trailer of Avengers End Game on the V40 ThinQ. Even in the dark, shadowy footage of the trailer, the part where Tony Stark is floating in a spaceship and is barely a speck of red, I could discern the subtle and natural colours on the V40 screen.
If the screen is one part that I love about the V40, my experience with the software of the V40 is decidedly mixed. I like the customisation options that LG has provided in the V40. For example, if you want to conserve battery, you can lower the resolution of the screen. Or you can customise the notch, to hide it. Or you can have floating menu or an additional dropdown menu. Not everyone will love or use this kind of customisation, but some will. What I don’t like about the software though is that the V40 ThinQ ships with Android 8.1 and not Android 9 Pie. This is somewhat ridiculous in 2019, at a time when we already have Android 10 Q beta build coming out.
The V40 ThinQ is a high-end phone and it comes with high-end hardware. This means Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage and this and that and all the bells and whistles too. It shows up in the performance of the V40 ThinQ. It’s a fast phone, irrespective of what you are doing on it. Fast scrolling through Facebook or Twitter feed. Apps switch quickly, without any lag, when you want. You can open multiple tabs in Chrome and there is no lag. Games run fine, and videos too, without heating up the phone in any alarming way.
Speakers? There is only one speaker on the V40 ThinQ. To get stereo setup, you need to spend more and probably get something like the Pixel 3 XL. But when it comes single speaker setup, the V40 is among the absolute best. It uses LG’s BoomBox technology and produces balanced, yet deep, sound.
It’s a fast phone, irrespective of what you are doing on it. Fast scrolling through Facebook or Twitter feed. Apps switch quickly, without any lag, when you want.
The battery life is I believe the Achilles’ heel of the V40 ThinQ. The 3300 mAh battery charges fast, but not as fast as how some other phones like the OnePlus 6T charge. The problem, though, is how long this battery lasts. It is unpredictable. One some days, for me the V40 ThinQ lasted over a day but some days its battery ran out by late evening.
LG V40 ThinQ camera performance
Hardware first: On the front, the V40 ThinQ has two cameras. The standard camera uses an 8-megapixel camera. The second camera uses a 5-megapixel sensor, paired with a wide angle lens that is good if you want to fit whole of your LARGE office team into one single selfie photo. On the back, there are three cameras. The standard camera that uses 12-megapixel sensor, a 12-megapixel camera with a telephoto lens (around 52mm effective focal length or in other words 2X optical zoom) and a wide-angle lens with focal length of around 16mm.
What good is the hardware if it can’t click photos that you can share on Instagram? On this account, the V40 camera is a sort of mixed bag. It can take some good photos, particularly with its main camera, and the wide-angle lens is fun to use because of the sort of view can capture, but for the V40 ThinQ camera to really shine well you need to get a lot of things right. In particular, you need to get right the light. If the light is good (for example, see the image of flowers), the V40 main camera clicks the photos that show brilliant colours. In these images, colours really pop out. But if the light is low, the camera performance of the V40 cameras (front, back, all of them) is strictly average.
Colours in photos come out well even in low light images. But the problem is with the kind of details that the V40 ThinQ cameras capture. Photos are mostly soft if the light is not right, and details are mushy. Dynamic range — or in other words the contrast between the bright and shadowed areas — too is average. See for example the image of the housing colony, or check my selfie. In both photos contrast and details are missing just because some areas of the images are brightly lit.
I believe that the V40 ThinQ cameras — considering the competition from the OnePlus 6T, Honor View 10, or for that matter the Pixel 2 XL that sells for under Rs 40,000, should have been better.
The V40 ThinQ camera app is fast and comes loaded with some cool features. For example you can opt to use all three rear cameras — regular, wide-angle and zoom — at the same time. As noted earlier, the wide-angle lens is fun. Check the photo of the road and the India Today office building. The unique view you get is only possible with a wide-angle lens. For video shooting, a feature worth mentioning is Cine Shot mode, which records the footage where only one subject is moving and rest of the frame is stationary. Cool!
It can take some good photos, particularly with its main camera, and the wide-angle lens is fun to use because of the sort of view can capture.
The front cameras are also average, and that I say again because of the lack of details in the photos that these selfie cameras click.