LG Velvet Evaluate: LG’s greatest smartphone in years

LG Velvet Review: LG's best smartphone in years

Trying on the smartphone market, there aren’t many tales as unlucky as LG’s. Effectively, apart from HTC. Anyway, LG as soon as pushed the Android market ahead in additional methods than one, however just some years later it felt just like the firm simply couldn’t sustain or provide you with something by itself. The LG Velvet is a tender reset of the corporate’s mainstream smartphone, and it will get loads proper.

{Hardware}

Not precisely groundbreaking, however distinctive

The largest-selling level LG has made up to now with its newest system is design. The Velvet doesn’t appear like the remainder of LG’s smartphones. That’s, it doesn’t appear like everybody else’s telephone. LG Velvet makes use of the little issues to set itself aside, regardless of nonetheless being only a metallic and glass slab. 

Beginning with the entrance, LG Velvet has a curved show — very similar to Samsung lately — that has a “3D Arc” design that wraps round to the again of the telephone. It feels very nice within the hand in consequence, although it additionally resulted in me pulling the telephone out of my pocket backward numerous occasions. That shouldn’t matter, although, since most individuals can be utilizing a case anyway.

The show’s bezels aren’t something particularly spectacular, both. They’re skinny, however thicker than a Galaxy S20 or OnePlus system. Personally, I couldn’t care much less about that, although. The show nonetheless appears nice in consequence. 

What actually stands out on the Velvet is the design on the again, particularly relying on the colour you choose up. LG despatched me the white model of Velvet, however there are a number of different colours that each one share the identical reflective design. I feel “Aurora Sundown” is the very best colour, however within the US, the “Aurora Pink” is the very best one. Nonetheless, this white exhibits the just about 3D-looking depth to the glass that appears very nice. I additionally love the “raindrop” design for the rear cameras and flash — it’s much more enticing than the massive rectangles we see on most trendy flagships.

The construct high quality on LG Velvet can also be actually stable general. The metallic chassis isn’t overly slippery and the principally clean glass is enticing as effectively. I additionally like how the chassis flattens out on the highest and backside of the system. The buttons don’t journey very a lot, however they do really feel fairly tactile.

Show

Ok, and there are two!

LG Velvet brings a 6.8-inch AMOLED show to the desk, and effectively, it’s good! I’m not precisely blown away by this AMOLED panel, but it surely’s sharp regardless of being FHD and has good viewing angles. The standard degrades a bit in very darkish settings, however for essentially the most half I’ve been happy. 

One space I do want LG had given a bit extra consideration is the refresh fee. Velvet nonetheless has a 60Hz panel. That’s nice, but it surely feels outdated in comparison with different gadgets, particularly when ones as low-cost as OnePlus Nord nonetheless handle to pack 90Hz in a good cheaper price level.

What’s distinctive for LG is the optionally available DualScreen accent. 

For its newest model, the show stays similar proper all the way down to the pretend notch. The case itself has been up to date, although. It’s slimmer, however nonetheless cumbersome when flipped all the way in which round. LG’s software program add-ons for the DualScreen are additionally stable. Is the accent value shopping for? If yow will discover the utility, completely! Personally, although, I barely touched it throughout my overview interval.

lg velvet dualscreen accessory

Software program

Nonetheless LG, nonetheless yikes

The largest stumbling block for LG smartphones for… effectively years now has been the software program. Out of the field, LG Velvet runs on prime of Android 10 with an up to date pores and skin known as “Velvet UI.” For essentially the most half, this is identical software program LG has been transport for the previous few years, full with all the similar head-scratching selections. It nonetheless warns you to not take out the battery regardless that it’s already sealed it. It nonetheless has a ridiculous app drawer that apparently hates alphabetical sorting. The screenshot UI nonetheless makes cropping unnecessarily tough. It nonetheless makes some weird design decisions. It nonetheless copies the competitors.

I want LG would take an extended, laborious have a look at their software program and make some precise selections. Proper now, if looks like they employed a software program designer, let him work for a few months, after which fired him. Then, they employed another person and advised them to complete that job. Then, they did your entire cycle once more. All of the whereas, executives are simply demanding that options from different telephones be obtainable on their gadgets. It’s a multitude, and never one I feel LG can absolutely salvage.

Velvet feels a bit cleaner than different LG telephones I’ve used previously couple of years. It does really feel like somebody truly listened to critiques and person complaints and tried to repair some qualms — like including a swipe gesture for accessing notifications! Nonetheless, the corporate simply must spend a while over the following yr rewriting the guide.

Efficiency

The Snapdragon 765 is succesful, however LG’s software program isn’t

Another excuse LG actually must take a tough have a look at its software program is efficiency, as a result of this telephone is just not doing its processor any favors. The LG Velvet is actually the primary actual showcase we’ve had of the Snapdragon 765G chipset in the US and, effectively, it’s not a really nice one.

Efficiency on the LG Velvet is solely not superb, simply not in the way in which you’d suppose. Usually when efficiency is unhealthy, it’s unhealthy in every single place, however that’s not true on Velvet. Relatively, it’s solely at sure occasions.

If I’m scrolling by way of Twitter and even enjoying a sport, efficiency is mostly stable. With 6GB of RAM alongside that processor, it ought to be. The place I discover the system actually struggles is for certain system animations, like accessing the multitasking view. Typically, the system primarily locks up once I make that transfer. It occurs method too usually and is a very irritating side of an in any other case glorious smartphone.

A part of the rationale I can chalk this as much as LG and never the Snapdragon 765G is the LG V60. Many of those similar points have been current on that system, although they do appear a bit extra exaggerated on this system. With that in thoughts, I don’t count on the identical points on the Pixel 5 or different gadgets that can be utilizing the identical chipset.

Cameras

Might be significantly better

One other space LG has struggled over time has been the digicam division. Unhappy to say, issues aren’t any higher on Velvet. The 48MP main digicam on this telephone is unimpressive, and its secondary sensors are even worse. Even in vivid lighting open air, I’m usually let down by this shooter. It’s gradual to focus and actually struggles with correct HDR. Typically it takes a superb shot, but it surely’s not dependable sufficient to name it a “good” digicam, in my view.

The ultra-wide digicam that goes together with that main is an 8MP sensor, and it’s simply not superb. Particulars are rapidly misplaced, particularly if mild begins to fade. 

This all comes as a disgrace, particularly contemplating the LG V60 was so significantly better! That 64MP digicam had higher element and was far more dependable. I want LG had simply used the identical sensor and software program right here, however alas.

Battery life

Onerous to argue

With a much less intensive processor also needs to come higher battery life, and that rule is unquestionably true on Velvet. The 4,300 mAh battery on this telephone powers the bundle with none points in anyway. 

I might constantly get by way of a day with 30-50% of my battery remaining. That’s particularly spectacular contemplating I’ve been utilizing a European mannequin on US networks (Google Fi). On common, my display time throughout that utilization was a mixture of cell community and Wi-Fi.

Additionally, there’s a quick charger within the field, which is at all times good to see, however I gravitated to Qi wi-fi charging personally.

Little issues

Audio system

Audio is probably LG’s best energy, and the audio system on this telephone show it. They’re loud, crisp, have a stunning quantity of depth, and simply sound actually good general. Regardless that it’s not a front-facing speaker, I feel LG has top-of-the-line audio system on a present smartphone right here, on the very least maintaining with all the competitors.

Headphone jack

Yep, it’s received one! There’s no particular DAC, although.

Google Assistant button

Alongside the facet of the Velvet, there’s a devoted button for Google Assistant entry. A fast press brings up Assistant, a long-press places it into walkie-talkie mode, and a double-press launches Lens. It’s tremendous handy, and actually, I form of want each telephone had a button like this. It could be good if I might remap a number of the presses, although.

Wi-Fi points

One of many largest points I’ve had with the LG Velvet is a matter I additionally had with LG V60 ThinQ — this factor gained’t keep linked to Wi-Fi. Velvet is the one telephone in my arsenal that may’t keep linked to my Wi-Fi community, and diving into settings for a reconnect usually isn’t sufficient. Whereas utilizing this telephone, I’ve had days the place I’ve needed to reboot the telephone three occasions or extra!

Fortunately, LG tells me {that a} repair is coming for this subject.

Ultimate ideas

Price $599?

The LG Velvet is kind of probably the very best telephone LG has put out in years. That’s not simply because it has a pleasant design. That’s not as a result of it does anyone factor notably effectively. It’s as a result of for as soon as, LG nailed the pricing. Velvet prices simply $599.

In a world the place some other trendy flagship goes to price round $1,000, this can be a very nice compromise. You’re giving up a little bit of efficiency, a little bit of display high quality, a little bit of digicam high quality, and… effectively that’s actually it to save lots of tons of of {dollars}. In the meantime, you continue to get a whole lot of the “premium” options you’d need from a flagship — wi-fi charging, water resistance, a handsome design, and extra. It even has 5G!

Personally, I need to wait and see what the Pixel 5 brings to the desk later this yr, as a result of with this similar chipset, I do know it’ll ship higher efficiency and digicam high quality, simply because Google is a lot higher at software program. Nonetheless, in the event you want a telephone proper right here, proper now, I feel Velvet is a fairly stable alternative, and at $599, it’s a superb worth. 

Within the US, Velvet is at present solely obtainable at AT&T, however will probably be offered at Verizon and T-Cell later this yr. It gained’t be offered unlocked, however at the very least carriers are already giving massive reductions on the telephone.

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