LG has been championing the idea of dual-display phones for most of 2019, and a new 5G flavor was just announced today: the LG V60 smartphone. Just like its predecessors, the LG G8x and LG V50, the secondary screen is a case accessory that could be bundled, depending on the carrier.
The LG V60 industrial design is an evolution of the LG V50 chassis with a few tweaks such as the metal frame color, the lack of pogo connector, or moving the fingerprint sensor from the back to the screen.
The V60 has a small camera bump, which we think is totally okay if that means higher camera performance. Last year, the LG V50 kept the camera module flush with the rest of the body. While it is aesthetically pleasing, every study shows that camera performance is much more important than design details.
Although there was a 5G version of the LG V50 in 2019 along with an LTE-only model, all LG V60 phones support 5G as it is a requirement from Qualcomm to access the Snapdragon 865 hardware platform.
We have reviewed Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 in detail, talked about its top-notch performance, and described how its camera features could significantly alter the 2020 smartphone landscape.
Clearly, LG V60 is going to be a high-performance phone, but so are many others in an extremely competitive smartphone market. The dual-screen functionality is a crucial differentiator for LG, as its offering can drastically improve specific use cases such as gaming or YouTube, without impacting the overall form-factor, and even price, of the phone.
If you have followed our coverage of LG V50 and LG G8x, you probably have a good idea of what to expect. The new V60 handset’s secondary screen follows the model introduced in G8x by using the exact same panel (notch included) for both displays and the USB-C connector.
Having the same panel ensures color consistency and is probably better for pricing, testing, and logistics. We don’t mind the notch at all as the trade-off is worth it.
LG’s dual-screen phones are different from foldable-display phones in the sense that they are multi-screen phones, and don’t have a monolithic visual experience. Each display is generally dedicated to a specific visual function.
LG has done a lot of work to optimize the dual-screen experience, and perhaps the best example of this is their virtual gamepad application that can emulate any gamepad and is totally configurable. That alone should be an excellent reason to consider getting the phone if you are a heavy gamer.
Other applications have been optimized too: V60 ships with a browser that supports dual-screen browsing and critical apps such as Google Maps or YouTube now work in dual-display mode.
In “laptop mode” (dual-screen landscape), you can use the secondary screen as a large keyboard, giving you ample room to type faster and more accurately. That’s probably the single most common use case for the dual-screen in the real world, but everyone can find a different setting that fits their needs.
When I’m in trade shows, I like having my email and calendar widgets on the secondary screen as I go from meeting to meeting. I also love the laptop mode for watching videos on the couch, as I don’t need to hold the phone at that point.
The camera performance is something that is dear to any user, and LG is using a new 64 Megapixel sensor for its primary camera, and a 13 Megapixel ultrawide camera module. There’s also a ToF (time of flight camera) depth sensor to assist when taking photos with Bokeh.
There is no telephoto lens at all, and LG will rely on the higher resolution of the primary sensor (from 12-16MP in the past) to zoom using “sensor cropping,” a commonly used technique in the digital photo industry.
8K video recording is something that sets the LG V60 apart from many competitors as well as most will top at 4K/60FPS, if not 30FPs.
You might have to keep an eye on how fast the storage fills up, but being able to capture 8K videos can be attractive for users who enjoy the highest resolution. HDR10+ recording is also supported, but perhaps not in all resolutions.
Additionally, if you zoom on a subject, the audio recording will also focus on that subject. LG calls it “Audio Bokeh,” others call it Audio Zoom, and it is an intuitive way of recording video, in my opinion.
When playing audio, LG has once again featured a Quad-DAC, a high-end audio feature introduced all the way to the LG V20, a first at the time and perpetuated in all LG high-end phones since. And by the way, Kudos to LG for keeping the 3.5mm audio connector!
LG Pay is supported and it is using MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) which is the technology that can wirelessly simulate a plastic credit card swipe, and therefore works with most old ATMs and points of purchases. Samsung has used a similar technology with success, and this ensures much broader support than Apple Pay for example.
We have yet to see the retail prices from wireless carriers (like Verizon) who buy the phones from LG. However, we already know that LG wants to undercut Samsung’s S20 entry model ($999).
Is 2020 a banner year for dual-display phones? It’s too early to tell, but Microsoft has also been looking in that direction, and Google is working with different OEMs on multi-screen support. We’ll keep you posted, and now might be a good time to subscribe to our notifications by clicking on the orange button below.