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LG V40 ThinQ Review: Is It Actually A Flagship Smartphone?

by posted in LG, Mobile Reviews

Introduction

With the Indian Smartphone market being penetrated by mid-range phones that are provided with some high-end features, it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand which Smartphone is truly high-end. The LG V40 ThinQ is a device that allows you to draw a line between the high-end and premium high-end Smartphones.

Now we get flagship hardware across all segments but there are little things that make a premium Smartphone stand out. The LG V40 ThinQ makes an identity for itself with not just sheer speed performance that is common these days but because of some premium features like classy design, superior audio, HDR10-certified qHD POLED display and five distinctive cameras. Priced much lower than its rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, let’s find out whether The LG V40 ThinQ offers the same experience at a better price.

 

LG V40 ThinQ Design

LG V40 ThinQ Design Front View
LG V40 ThinQ Front & Back Design

Now the glass-sandwich design is a norm among high-end Smartphones but most either offer a classy look or a sturdy build. The LGV40 ThinQ, however, delivers on both looks and solidity. When you first look at the phone you see a brittle and delicate device that needs to be carried with care. Interestingly, LGV40 ThinQ’s looks are deceiving and it has a MIL-STD-810G compliant body which means it is tested in conditions often army men find themselves in.
Despite the glass surface on both the sides, the V40 ThinQ shares the same durability as the LG G7+ ThinQ alongside being IP68-rated water and dust resistant. Although the glass body oozes class keeping a firm hold on the body is difficult to hold as it is extremely slippery. The polished frame also doesn’t help but the phone is provided with chip points for easy handling. You will find the LG V40 ThinQ showcased on the rear panel in a prominent panel below the fingerprint sensor. Unlike V20, the fingerprint sensor is not clickable which is honestly a disappointment. To compensate, the power button is provided on the right side of the frame but it is located so high to the top that is hard to reach. On the left side, a dedicated Google Assistant button finds its place alongside the volume keys. Now, the problem is our inherent nurturing for the power button beside the volume keys will force you to often reach Assistant button when you actually will want the power button. Fortunately, you can disable the Google Assistant button but you cannot remap it to perform some other task.

LG V40 ThinQ thankfully retains the 3.5mm headphone jack that is quickly disappearing in modern smartphones. The 3.5mm jack is situated at the bottom beside the speaker grill. There is a microphone at the top and bottom of the phone.
On the front side, you will find the biggest screen you have ever seen on an LG smartphone but it comes with the infamous notch. The presence is not bothering as much as the bezels at the top and bottom. LG already provided the V40 with a wide notch, why it has to keep such significant bezels on both sides when it is difficult to ignore.

Overall the design of the LG V40 ThinQ can be termed as premium, classy and solid. We thought excess cameras at the back will somehow mess with the design they are all so well aligned that they seem to belong to the overall design.

LG V40 ThinQ Display

LG V40 ThinQ Display Side View
LG V40 ThinQ Side View

With an expansive 6.4-inch POLED display, LG V40 has the largest panel with features that will excite any display nerd. The display in this device is similar to the one found in Google Pixel 3 manufactured by LG but is it better as it is a 10-bit panel with HDR10 certification. However, the V40 ThinQ display is not Dolby Vision certified but that should not bother anyone as LG has started skipping Dolby certification with its latest flagship devices.
Now the real deal, the HDR content on your V40 ThinQ screen will look nothing sort of majestic. No matter how carefree you are about the display quality, even then you will be able to make out the difference of how cool the real HDR content is. Although the HDR content availability is still rare, except a few videos on YouTube and some Netflix shows, still the LG V40 ThinQ is quite future proof with its HDR display. The internet was abuzz with the comments praising the sharpness and contrast the OLED panel of this Smartphone produces. There is a polarization film on the OLED panel that makes the screen usable when using under sunlight. Even on minimum brightness, the V40 ThinQ gave out 4 lux light which is higher than even Galaxy Note 9.

If you want even more customization, the LG V40 ThinQ comes with a full suite of display calibration and 5 presets like game, sports, and movie. If you want to tweak the display performance and experience you will be able to do so using auto and expert modes. Here you can experiment with RGB channels and colour temperature.

LG V40 ThinQ Performance

LG V40 ThinQ Display
LG V40 ThinQ Front Display

In India, LG made the V40 ThinQ available after almost a two months delay. The phone was launched in South Korea in December last year.

Why are we mentioning this?

The recently concluded Mobile World Congress introduced the world to latest innovations like the Snapdragon 855 powered phones and the Samsung Galaxy S10 series. Reviewing LG V40 ThinQ that boasts of Snapdragon 845 will naturally feel underwhelming but you have to give this device a chance. When comparing it to high-end smartphones released in 2018 like the Asus ROG phone, the V40 ThinQ has every flagship hardware there is to include- 6GB RAM LPDDR4X, 128GB UFS 2.1 internal storage and Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. The storage can be expanded to 512GB via microSD cards but if you are a dual SIM user, you have to choose between the SD card or second SIM. Speaking of data transfer rates, the V40 does not support USB 3.1 which is a bummer given it’s a flagship phone for LG.
As far as performance is concerned, there has been no complaints of any lag or hitch even though LG has used a processor-intensive UI in the V40 ThinQ. During routine use throughout the day, there’s hardly any activity that will hang your phone. Now, if you plan to use this Smartphone for gaming then the situation takes a turn and not for the best. The LG V40 ThinQ is not the best gaming Smartphone, especially for multiplayer games like PUBG and Asphalt 9. The performance took a sharp decline when playing Asphalt 9 and PUBG. On the GameBench benchmark, V40 ThinQ gave 39 FPS for PUBG with poor stability of 91% while for Asphalt 9 the FPS was limited to 28 and stability dropped to 88%. Other than gaming there is not even a flinch while performing any other task.
If gaming is the shortcoming of the LG V40 ThinQ, its audio is arguably its USP. Whether you use wireless headphones, loudspeakers or wired earphones, this device offers superior audio experience. Even with the most budget headphones, V40 is able to offer a distinctive improvement to the audio quality. For audio nerds, it will be exciting to know that the LG V40 ThinQ uses the 32-bit HiFi DAC to amplify the audio. To stimulate the surround sound feel there is DTS: X 3D surround sound that offers Wide, Front and Side-to-side surround sound options. As for the loudspeaker, the V40 ThinQ has one of the loudest speakers in any of the latest smartphones. The audio clarity is unaffected even at peak volume.

LG V40 ThinQ Software

LG V40 ThinQ Software
LG V40 ThinQ Software

If you have had any experience with the LG G7+ ThinQ, then there is nothing new in terms of UI in V40 ThinQ for you. Based on Android 8.1 Oreo, the UI must have been updated for the Android Pie as it is already out. Also, there is no particular indication when the LG devices will receive the update. However, the inside of the LG V40 ThinQ looks well published.

Although on the first start you will end spending some time customizing the features as the V40 ThinQ has a lot to offer. For instance, you can use the dedicated theme engine on V40 to customize the area around the notch. One of the highlights of this LG device is that it allows you to create folders in the app drawer, a feature that even after being handy is not available on most devices. The UI on this device is fast and responsive even after being processor-intensive. As of now, LG V40 ThinQ does not support gesture-based navigation, but the company will likely introduce them in the Android Pie update.

For security, the V40 is provided with fingerprint as well as face recognition. However, the face recognition on this device is nowhere as efficient as it should be on a premium device.

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LG V40 ThinQ Camera

LG V40 ThinQ Camera
LG V40 ThinQ Camera

Guess what, the LG V40 ThinQ flaunts a total of 5 cameras on its body. While camera setup on the back and dual camera module on the front is not anything new, no Smartphone in the market has both to offer except the V40 ThinQ.

If the camera is a feature that you base your smartphone choice on, then this LG Smartphone will knock your socks off.
On the rear side, there is a triple camera setup comprising of a telephoto lens, a wide-angle lens and a standard lens. Housed in a single module horizontally, the flashlight sits beside the camera module. For the first time, LG has introduced a telephoto lens in its device. The V40 ThinQ has a 12MP telephoto lens with 1/3.4” sensor with a 45-degree field of view and 2X zoom. The 1/3.1” 16MP super-wide angle sensor has the widest aperture of f/1.9 aperture in any phone and offers a 107-degree field of view. At the third base, there is a 12MP 1/2.6” sensor with f/1.5 aperture. The triple camera setup on this device is similar to that of Huawei Mate 20 Pro and newly introduced Samsung Galaxy S10. On the front, you have dual sensor setup, an 8MP standard sensor with f/1.9 aperture and 80-degree field of view while the second sensor is a wide-angle lens with just 10 degrees field of view and less than 5MP resolution.

Here are some sample images captured using LG V40 ThinQ:

LG V40 ThinQ Camera-captured-image1

LG V40 ThinQ Camera Captured Day Time

LG V40 ThinQ Camera Captured Building

LG V40 ThinQ Camera-selfi

Camera Sample Images Credit: GSMArena

As far as video recording is concerned, the LG V40 ThinQ offers you the capability to shoot true HDR videos. This is one of the features that make this LG Smartphone truly different from other devices. There is a feature called ‘point-zoom’ that allows users to zoom on any object while shooting without having to keep it in the centre. However, the real show stealer is the video stabilization that LG has introduced in V40 ThinQ. The phone offers 3-axis OIS stabilization for standard lenses and EIS for other lenses.

 

LG V40 ThinQ Battery

The battery is the Achilles heel for the LG V40 ThinQ that taints the flagship glory of the hardware of this device. LG tried its best to make the V40 ThinQ an affordable premium phone with QHD POLED display, 5 cameras and HiFi DAC among others, but all these features take up a lot of power and the manufacturer bailed out on that. With a 3300mAh battery, the V40 ThinQ never felt adequate on the power backup front. On an average day, one can expect this phone to last for around 6 hours on a single charge.

The poor battery life is a serious deal-breaker but Qi Wireless Charging support and an 18W fast charge offer some relief. The phone can be fully charged with the fast charger it comes within 1 hour and 45 minutes.

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What We Think

LG has created a pure-bred flagship phone in V40 ThinQ that actually utilizes the flagship hardware to set itself apart. Although not suitable for everyone, if you are primarily driven by multimedia features in a Smartphone, then LG V40 ThinQ has a lot to offer with its HDR10-certified qHD POLED display, triple camera setup and HiFi audio.

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