LG V30+ - Solid contender for best flagship of the year (review)
4.8Overall Score
Price (RRP): $1199 Manufacturer: LG

LG’s new V30+ is its uber flagship where it gets to show off all it can do. To that end, it ticks all the flagship boxes, and then some making it a solid contender for the best flagship of the year.

Of course, the best flagship statement is reliant on whatever smartphones are released after the V30+. At first look, its P-OLED, 6”, HDR10, 18:9, VR ready screen, married to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, and 71/120°, f/1.6 dual rear camera makes this a strong choice.

Add a 32-bit Quad DAC, MIL-STD-810G construction and IP68 water resistance, a 3,300mAh battery and a lot of close collaboration with Google on Android reinforce that this is one very desirable smartphone.

I like LG flagships – I have used the G5, G6 and V20 and now V30+ and they are all phones I could be happy with. That is not to take away from Samsung’s excellent Galaxy S8 series, HTC’s U11, Nokia’s 8, Huawei Mate 10 (Pro), or Google’s Pixel 2 XL – but this phone does everything very well in a very nice package, and you would be proud to own it.

Review model LG-H930DS http://www.lg.com/au/smartphones/lg-LGH930DS-v30-smartphone

Out of the box

  • V30+ with a black front and a steel blue (called Moroccan Blue) Gorilla Glass 5 back
  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 charger
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • B&O tuned earbuds and mic with small, medium and large silicon tips and a headphone jack!

The first impression is small and light with softer curved edges belying the big 6” screen. I like the steel blue (think polished rifle barrel) finish, but the Glass front and back are fingerprint magnets.

It is 151 x 75.4 x 7.4 mm thin and 158g making it one of the more svelte flagships. It is a wonderful fit in my pocket and perfect in my hands. Gone is the home button – a double tap on the screen wakes it up, or you can use the round fingerprint sensor on the back.

Screen

LG uses its own 2880 x 1440, 18:9 ratio, FullVision, P-OLED (Plastic OLED) which means the base layer is plastic, not glass. It makes no difference to performance, and it should be more durable. It is covered in Gorilla Glass 5 (front and back). This screen is also used on the Google Pixel 2 XL.

It uses an Active Matrix, diamond pentile (2 green to each red and blue pixel) which gives it a maximum of 600 nits brightness and infinite contrast. It is a good screen with accurate colour. Being P-OLED, it is VR capable with Google’s Daydream View and many other VR headsets.

In normal mode, the screen has a slight bluish tint but is highly customisable with pre-sets for movies, photos, web browsing and custom where you can set colour temperature, and RGB that eliminates that.

Comparison with the Samsung Galaxy S8 series screens is inevitable. The latter appear slightly brighter and more colour saturated, but LG’s P-OLED is a strong performer and better than any IPS LCD screens. It also supports an always-on display.

Sound

In telephone mode it is loud, hands-free is clear, and the two mics (one at the top and one at the bottom) are excellent. It is better than the S8 series in that regard.

In music mode, the earpiece speaker is clear and loud, and this is complemented by a down-firing speaker on the base. It is not really stereo despite the B&O heritage and a high-end, 32-bit Quad DAC.

The B&O buds have QuadBeat setting to adjust bass, treble and vocal boost. They are impressive with clear and loud output. It is hard to measure dB output (as these are in-ear) but it verged into ‘painfully loud’ territory.

The LG Music player has pre-sets that make the best use of the V30’s quad DAC. I particularly like the pre-sets – normal is flat from 20Hz-20kHz, enhanced brings up the mid-range, detailed brings up the high-range, live reinforces mid and treble, and Bass is all bass.