LG's smartphone division is currently in an interesting position. They continue to produce decent cell phones with innovative additions every year, but the company can't get much foothold in the market given the strong competition from other brands. The G6 was LG's best cell phone design in years and was one of the first to be launched with a small display. However, sales have not increased as expected.
The V30 is in a similar position. The V30 takes the flagship position of the large-screen phone in the LG product range and offers interesting functions, first-class hardware and enough good things to keep up with this year's competitors. But there are some massive new devices again, especially the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Google Pixel 2 XL, and LG has to struggle to make sure the V30 stays in the conversation.
The engineering team gave this phone every chance of success. The 6.0-inch p-OLED display dominates the front panel with slim bezels and a massive screen-to-body ratio of 81%. In contrast to the G6, all internals are of the current generation: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4 GB RAM, 64/128 GB internal memory, Gigabit LTE support, microSD expansion … I could go on. The G6's dual camera system is also back, with a slight specification bump for booting.
The V30 is a beautiful handset. The G6 was a big step forward in LG's premium smartphone design, but the V30 takes things to the next level with perhaps the most attractive handset on the market. Most of it is due to the expansive 6.0-inch 18: 9 display on the front, which takes up almost every square inch that is available to it. I've used a lot of small bezel phones this year, but it's the V30 that appears to have the largest display.
Despite the huge display on the front, LG packed the essentials into a tiny piece of bezel at the top. There you will find the front-facing camera, the speaker and several sensors. There is no notch for these items. This is the best result for displaying content. The downside here is that the V30 doesn't have any front-facing speakers found on the Pixel 2 XL. There is only a single bottom-firing speaker of average quality.
The rest of the phone is also premium. The edges are made of shiny metal, while the back is a clean, incredibly shiny sheet of glass. The use of these materials gives the V30 a top-end look that can compete with any flagship and complements the beautiful Gorilla Glass 5-protected display on the front. The contrast between the silver back and the jet black front is also fantastic.
Despite the metal frame and the glass on both sides, the V30 is slimmer (7.3 mm) and lighter (158 g) than other large-screen phones like the Galaxy Note 8 and Pixel 2 XL. It is also said to be very durable: the V30 is both IP68 waterproof – immersed in up to 1.5 m of fresh water for 30 minutes – and also MIL-STD-810G certified.
I still have some concerns about the durability of the V30 despite its solid ratings. Glass on both sides, especially glass curved along its long edges, has a much larger surface that is cracked than a phone without a glass back. It's Gorilla Glass 5, but also the extremely fragile Galaxy S8. The use of glossy metal sides and a glossy glass back of the V30 also makes the phone quite slippery compared to the similarly sized Pixel 2 XL. This is not ideal for clumsy users. With the beautiful body of this phone in a case, you may be best off.
As with most large-screen handsets, the V30 is less operable in one hand than the smaller G6. Although the 18: 9 6.0-inch display isn't as big as a conventional 16: 9 6.0-inch display, the display is still massive and the top corners can be a challenge to single-handedly to reach. Nevertheless, I found that the V30 is very comfortable to hold and use due to its size. The curved edges help a lot. However, users with smaller hands should probably control clearly.
LG is one of the few companies that refuse to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack on their smartphone. The V30 proudly has one at the top, so that there are no dongle life problems. On the bottom there is a standard USB-C port with support for USB 3.1 speeds and a microSD card slot on the right edge. However, you will not find a power switch on the edges, as the fingerprint reader on the back also functions as a clickable power switch in typical LG style.
A big gap that will bother some is the lack of a removable battery. LG's 2016 smartphone collection, consisting of the G5 and V20, included removable batteries to the delight of users who love this feature. The V30 completely dispenses with the replaceable battery, ending LG's reputation on the market as one of the last companies to offer hot-swappable batteries in flagship devices.
The advantage, however, is a larger battery in a smaller housing. The V30 is smaller in every dimension, which leads to a reduction of the total volume by 12 percent compared to the V20. Nevertheless, the V30 increases the battery capacity to 3,300 mAh without the entire removable battery housing, which corresponds to an increase of three percent. In combination with a more efficient SoC, the V30 offers better battery life.
You may also have noticed that the V30 has no secondary display. Although LG is a signature function of the V20 and V10, it has rightly decided that a more expansive display is the better option. Don't worry though, as the V30 still supports many of the features that are always active on the larger display if you want to enable them in Settings. You can view the time, notifications, quick settings, and media controls on the OLED screen with the always-on display enabled (disabled by default).