First Impressions: LG V10 Smartphone

A little bit of backstory to how I came to own a LG V10 smartphone; many months ago my wife’s Galaxy S4 started rejecting her SIM card, so we bought her an Asus Zenfone 2. On Friday, my Galaxy S4 developed the same issue, so I went to my local T-Mobile store to get a new phone as I was overdue for an upgrade. Of the available phones in store, LG stood out to me, it came down to a choice between the G4 or V10.

The reason I went with LG over other flagship phones is because of the lack of expandable storage and replaceable battery in those devices. LG in both their G4 and V10 phones offer a MicroSD card slot and replaceable battery and until December 20, 2015, LG has an offer of a free 64GB microSD card, spare 3000mAh battery and charging cradle through their website, see…

The first thing I noticed about the LG V10 is it’s size and weight, the overall size is 6.2 x 3.1 inches and weighs in at almost 6.8 oz. Most of this weight is due to it’s stainless steel frame with silicone bumpers which helps protect against impacts, e.g. dropping the phone, something I didn’t test, obviously.

The screen is a 5.7 inch IPS QHD “Quantum” multi-touch display, which translates into 1440 x 2560 with a 515 PPI pixel density, a PPI so high that you’ll never be able to see a single pixel with the naked eye. The LG V10 has a higher resolution screen than the 24 inch monitor I am using to write this article. I have had zero issues with the touchscreen; every touch has been registered and feels nice under my finger.

There is an secondary 160 x 1040 display above the main screen that can show notifications, allows for quick access to applications of your choice, allows for answering of calls with the LG Quickcover for V10 closed as well as basic control of music players. It’s cool right now, but also kinda gimmicky in my view.

Performance wise, it’s snappy, zero lag in the several days I have been playing with the LG V10. But you’d expect that with it’s Snapdragon 808 chipset, Adreno 418 graphics and 4GB of RAM. I can’t tell you about game performance as I don’t play games on my phone. I tend to use it more for productivity, boring work related stuff, Google Sheets, Docs and Slides, Gmail and general web browsing in Chrome, all these tasks we performed flawlessly. And given it’s power bump over the GS4, I would say it can handle games.

Battery performance is adequate for most people, it manages to get about 20 – 24 hours of usage on a full charge with it’s 3000mAh battery. This includes watching 30 minutes of YouTube video, 25 – 30 minutes of phone calls , sending text messages, taking a few photos, checking Email and general browser usage with the V10 set to 50% screen brightness. I am not the most demanding of smartphone user, but I think the LG V10 should be able to get most people through an average day between 7am – 11pm.

Moving onto the camera(s), which was a big bugbear of mine with the Galaxy S4, the Samsung camera was truly terrible, so much so that I rarely used it. The V10 however is a different beast, image quality is much improved, images are much better due to it’s F1.8 lens with optical image stabilization, 16MP sensor and laser focus. The front facing cameras, yes I did mean to write cameras, it has two, one for wide angle group selfies and another for close up selfies, both work very well offering upto 5MP snaps.

The V10 can record video upto 4K at 30fps with 1080p at 30fps and 720p at upto 120fps options. The quality of video is clear if a little grainy when indoors, which is to be expected, after-all this is a phone camera, not a DSLR or professional video camera, that said it’s certainly better than most smartphones.

The LG V10 features B/G/N/AC Wi-Fi, bluetooth v4.1, NFC, Infrared and USB2 connectivity, 0-50% quick charge in 40 minutes using the supplied charger, a loudspeaker that is clear if not the loudest out there, 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom with Hi-Fi DAC sound and finally a fingerprint scanner on the back which works very well in my testing, unlocking the phone with one touch 9 out of 10 times.

Everything above has been positive, of course like everything, there are downsides, at least for me, you may feel differently. I do not like the headphone jack being on the bottom, I much prefer the headphone output to be on the top so I don’t have my phone upside down in my pocket. I really dislike the stock LG customized launcher, I really wish that phone makers would keep the stock Android experience. I immediately replaced it with the Google Now Launcher and used Icon Changer Free with KitKat HD Apex Theme to replace the stock icons in the dock, it now looks close to the stock Android experience of v4.4.4.

The next issue is more of a preference than a negative, but I do not like the buttons on the back, I prefer them on the side and top. I think the finger print scanner would be easier to use on the front like the iPhone using a thumbprint. Obviously these are not deal breaking issues because I bought the phone knowing this personal drawback. I will just have to get used to using my phone in that manner.

I am however a little annoyed that the T-Mobile variant LG V10 didn’t come with the $25 LG QuadBeat3 earbuds or any earbuds, not even a cheapo pair to get you started. I was really hoping that the V10 being a flagship phone would come with earbuds as my wife destroyed both hers and my S4 earbuds.

That’s really it for the complaints about the LG V10; I really like the phone, it is a good size for my hand, I can near enough reach to the other side of the phone once handed, I really like the grippy back on both the phone and the Quickcover. Best of all, I put zero down and it’s only $25 per month over 24 months through T-Mobile. I really do like the ability to have the best phones without being locked into contracts

Update [Dec, 8 2015, 21:06]: Today I noticed a cool feature of the LG V10. When using the phone to do smartphone type things, Internet browsing, social media etc and someone calls, it uses the second screen for call information, leaving the main display as is to continue with whatever you were doing. This to me is amazing as every other phone I have used take over the whole screen when a call comes in. This feature makes the second screen less gimmicky and actually useful in my view, top marks LG!

2 thoughts on “First Impressions: LG V10 Smartphone

  • Tomas, you know: That Icelandic loonie friend you have in Norway ;) commented on December 7, 2015 at 15:00

    I was wondering about the LG phones when I finally bit the bullet and got a smartphone. Eventually I settled for the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active, around one year ago, as the shock resistance is really important to me, with me being a clumsy oaf that often times drops things without warning :)

  • I personally wouldn’t put any smartphone to the drop test without an Otterbox case. You can literally throw your phone around and it’ll be fine. After my negative experiences with the Galaxy S range of phones, I won’t buy Samsung again, plus they are now sealed units with no replaceable batter or microSD card slot, that’s a deal breaker right there for me.

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