LG’s V series of phones have landed squarely in the middle of the pack for our best phones ranking – no bad devices, just housed in simple black rectangles with a few intriguing, but ultimately non-essential new perks. The LG V60 ThinQ 5G tries to break with that tradition with a more modern look, larger size, and higher picture quality. And, yes, its handful of intriguing features. Some of those surprising extras aren’t too surprising, like a Dual Screen second display and a quad-mic setup for ‘Voice Bokeh.’ This is our LG V60 ThinQ Review.
The real selling point might be better: size, photo possibilities, and 5G connectivity. Whether the phone can break out of the middle of the package is another question, especially in a year that started with the better than ever announced Samsung Galaxy S20 line.
LG V60 ThinQ Review: Design
The LG V60 ThinQ 5G looks a bit like an inflated version of its predecessor: with a 6.8-inch screen, it is strictly speaking larger and has some design features not to be unmanageable. First of all, the back is smaller than the final width of the phone, and it gets more extensive as it tapers to the sides. Those sides are a sleek silver-colored metal in contrast to the colored glass back (we saw a mother-of-pearl white, silver, and blue-trimmed display) and the glass on the front. Finally, LG goes for shiny shades other than black, and it looks more sophisticated – more modern flagship – than the phone series has felt.
The phone packs its two rear camera lenses, sensors, and flash in a thin camera bar that looks a lot like the block at the back of the Samsung Galaxy S20 line of phones (albeit with rounded edges here). The front camera is reduced to a single lens in a teardrop, just like in the LG G8X – which means that there is no longer a sensor array to detect ‘Air Motion’ gestures, like in the LG V50. The phone’s volume buttons are located on the left side of the phone, with a lock button underneath. The lower edge reveals the V60’s central USB-C port, a right-mounted loudspeaker grille, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the left.
LG went with the glass sandwich approach. The front and back panels are made of solid glass and are separated by a metal frame. On our blue review unit, the metal is bare and has a polished chamfer that catches the light. It’s a bit Phone Design 2016, but I find it elegant in its simplicity. The white glass is multi-hued and has a bluish winter look. I have no reservations about the quality of the materials or the way they are assembled. It is a high-quality piece of hardware.
If there’s one more thing I appreciate about the hardware, it’s the camera module. Instead of sticking a big ugly square on the back panel, LG has made its horizontal line of lenses run from side to side. Where the cameras were flat on the V40 and V50, the module on the V60 is slightly elevated. It looks much more tasteful and elegant than stains on the back of the S20, iPhone 11, P40, and Pixel 4. Finally, the phone has an IP68 rating for protection against water and dirt.
The LG V60 may not set the design world ablaze, but it doesn’t float it in cold water either.
LG V60 ThinQ Review: Display
The FHD+ (2460×1080) OLED display of the LG V60 has a lower resolution than the QHD+ (3120×1440) display of its predecessor. However, it is more significant at 6.8 inches (compared to 6.4 inches in the LG V50) and narrower at a 20.5:9 ratio, making it somewhat easier to handle despite its size. The display, and the phone itself, is still quite large – and although it’s not necessarily as sharp as other flagship displays, it’s still bright and vibrant, with HDR10+ support. As mentioned earlier, it has a moderate tear notch in the center of the display in front of the front camera.
Strangely enough, LG went with a tear notch to make room for the self-camera. Nicks have become an outdated design choice, and I would much rather have seen a punching hole for the camera. Besides, LG’s new Second Screen software, which allows you to adjust the background colors of the notification bar (and thus erase the notch), does not work when the phone is in Dark Mode. This choice means that the notch is always visible in Dark Mode.
The Dual Screen remains a strange peripheral that LG has doubled for his new phone. Of course, it is not weird to attract users with more screen real estate. However, to do so with a large gap between the two screens in an era in which cutting-edge foldable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X promise large but seamless screens is not quite having the appeal that maybe LG is hoping for. There are some neat use cases for the Dual Screen, such as loading an app on each screen to multitask.
As with the LG G8X, some of these applications are attractive, such as watching a show on one screen while playing a relaxing game on the other, or looking up Yelp on one side and the clues on the other. Of course, there are a handful of apps that extend over both in a mode called ‘Wide Display.’ But these apps are few and far between. But just like the peripheral of the LG G8X, the second display of the LG V60 also copies over the cut-out of the checker plate, even though there is no camera at the front – it’s just easier to replicate this way.
LG V60 ThinQ Review: Software
A floating widget controls the Dual Screen on the home screen. Tap it to access the various Dual Screen functions. You can also turn on the second screen through Quick Settings. By default, the Dual Screen acts as a separate home screen with its app dock at the bottom. You can open any app on the second screen, no matter what you do with the main screen. You can also: choose a default app to launch when the Dual Screen is turned on, slide the home screen to the Dual Screen, put the main screen to sleep, or switch screens.
There are still a few options available within the applications. For example, you can open the wide-angle view, which allows an app to extend across both screens. Keep in mind that the hinge separates the screens a half-centimeter apart and that it’s rather ugly to walk through the middle of your app. Also, not all apps support this view. Fortunately, LG has improved the list since last year and supports essential Google apps (Chrome, Gmail, Maps, Photos, YouTube). Most other apps do not support widescreen, which is a big disappointment.
This is the worst. There is only one app running at a time on the Dual Screen. And you can’t drag and drop an app (or content from an app) on one screen to another app. The Galaxy Fold can run up to three apps at a time and allows you to move content back and forth. LG has installed a Game Launcher app that serves as a home for your games. Here you can use the LG GamePad when playing supported games. The main screen turns into a controller to manage the action on the second screen. Besides, you can fully customize the gamepad and even create your gamepad.
Hardware and Performance
The LG V60 ThinQ runs the latest chipset for Android phones, the Snapdragon 865, in combination with 8GB RAM. Customers can get either 128GB or 256GB of storage, although they can always increase it up to 2TB via a microSD card. Combined with Android 10 out of the box, this is respectable if a not too exciting set of specs. That 8GB is enough to power the Dual Screen, which means it’s enough for gaming, according to LG.
Considering the LG G8X packs 6GB of RAM, but that was still enough for that phone and its Dual Screen to get the stamp of approval in ESL and other mobile esports competitions. The phone has a different card in the case: 5G compatibility for both mmWave and sub-6, at least in the model available for Verizon customers. Other carriers will have a version that only connects to sub-6 frequencies; it is unclear which version will go to global markets.
LG V60 ThinQ Review: Camera
The V60 reduced its rear camera package from the LG V50’s triple-camera array, dropping a telephoto lens and remaining stable with a primary and ultra-wide-operating lens. The 64MP f/1.98 primary lens follows this year’s trend of higher and higher megapixel lenses, although it also incorporates ‘pixel-binning’ technology to combine four pixels into one. This reduces the lens to taking 16MP photos, but these should be much better suited for use in low light conditions.
The 13MP f/1.9 ultra-wideband worked fine in our first tests. However, the lack of a telephoto lens was partially compensated by ‘Crop Zoom’ of up to 10x digital – in other words, the phone takes a 64MP regular shot (or 16MP pixel-binding, although you have to switch this manually) and zooms in on the desired area. While the LG V60’s camera suite is missing compared to the Samsung Galaxy S20’s flagship, the phone shoots in one area: the 1.6-micron sensor for the primary lens in 64MP mode is much higher than the 0.8-micron size sensor in the primary camera of the new Samsung handset.
That shrinks to 0.8 microns on the V60’s primary shooter when you switch on the 16MP mode, but we are curious whether this improves the photo game of the LG handset. The 10MP f/1.9 front-facing camera has a lot the same, with a 1.22-micron sensor that is larger than the one on the LG V50, albeit hardly. The other significant advantage of the LG V60: it can record in 8K video at 24 frames per second. It also has four microphones around the phone to capture what LG calls ‘Voice Bokeh’ – seemingly a kind of depth awareness of sound sources, something LG has introduced to appeal to content creators.
The pictures I took with the LG V60 look good, but not exceptional. The white balance was almost always accurate, but the exposure was inconsistent. The phone had trouble using HDR. In the photographs, you can see that the tree is overexposed, while much of the detail in the cubby is lost to darkness. I was hoping for a better result. I also noticed that a lot of sharpening had been applied to the images, leading to a slightly noisy look. Photos of people look solid, for the most part. Bokeh in portraits is decent, with sharp relief between the subject and the background.
As much as I love ultra-wide cameras, I’m a bit let down with the results of the V60. The 117 degrees FoV leads to highly visible optical distortion. I expected to see something, but it is too strong an effect on some photos. The zoom works quite well. Don’t forget that there is no optical zoom here; it’s all managed via software-based digital cropping. The high-resolution sensor helps to keep photos relatively detailed and sharp as you zoom in, but you can see some noise in the zoomed photos.
The selfie camera takes 10MP photos at f/1.9. The field of view is quite narrow at 72.5 degrees. This means that there are no wide-angle egos. However, the images appear clean, sharp, and well-focused. Portrait photos are a bit noisy, but still perfectly acceptable. On the video front, the V60 is capable of recording 8K video at 24 fps. LG says the frames per second can run 25 or 26, but this is to make sure the average is 24. Without an 8K TV or monitor, we can’t judge how good the quality is. The 4K 60fps images I have recorded, on the other hand, look excellent.
LG V60 ThinQ Review: Battery Life
LG gave priority to battery life, and you can see that. The 5,000mAh power cell inside provides excellent battery life. The daily display time is easily more than 5 hours a week and is even 8 hours for two full days. Our Speed Test G battery torture test, which simulates how the phone handles maximum processor output with the display set to 200nits, also demonstrated 5 hours of battery life. That’s about 10 minutes longer than the S20 Ultra. In my time with the phone, I have never had battery life problems. The battery is perhaps the best feature of the V60.
As far as charging is concerned, it supports fast wired and wireless charging. The included 25W charger quickly fills the phone with juice. From zero, it reaches 27% after 15 minutes, 52% after 30 minutes, and 100% after 92 minutes. It’s not the fastest rechargeable phone ever, but it doesn’t need to be plugged in too often.
Price and Availability
The LG V60 ThinQ 5G was launched on 26 February 2020. It is safe to assume that this announcement was scheduled for MWC 2020, which was canceled due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. LG did not specify a specific release date for the LG V60, but noted that it would be available “in the coming weeks” after the 26 February announcement – but currently only in the US. LG has not announced when the LG V60 will come to other markets outside the US.
Crucially, the US version of the phone has been split into two versions, identical. Still, for their 5G capabilities: AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular will get a model of LG V60 ThinQ 5G that can only connect to sub-6 5G networks, while Verizon will get a particular version. The LG V60 ThinQ 5G UW – that works with both its mmWave and as-yet launched (and unannounced) sub-6 5G network. We don’t know how much the V60 will cost – as it has done before, LG insists that the carriers will determine the final price. The company did reveal that it will sell less than the Samsung Galaxy S20, which is $999/£899/AU$1,499.
As with the previous devices, the Dual Screen is included in the sticker price of the LG V60, so the consumer doesn’t have to pay extra to try out the additional property. While the Dual Screen only comes in a matte black color and design with a ribbed back and smooth glass front, the V60 will come in two shades: ‘Classy White’ and ‘Classy Blue.’
LG V60 ThinQ Review: Conclusion
Ah yes, the most important question of all. Here’s the deal: The LG V60 ThinQ 5G is a steal. The phone goes for $800 without the Dual Screen or $999 with the Dual Screen. (Some American carriers even offer the phone with the screen for $899). That’s hundreds less than what Apple, Huawei, and Samsung charge for their flagship, and significantly increases the V60’s price-quality comparison.
If you appreciate LG’s typical strengths, the V60 could work for you. LG did a banging job with the hardware, audio, and battery life in particular. The V60 is currently the battery master to beat. Moreover, the optional Dual Screen does add a certain amount of functionality, but perhaps not as much as real foldable, such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
On the other hand, some aspects of the phone are disappointing. The camera is pretty good but still fails to meet the demands of competing phones. Perhaps even more crushing is that the camera does not offer any striking features or functionality. Then there is the display. Although it’s an excellent Full HD+ panel, it doesn’t provide the resolution or refresh rate available on competing models that some consumers might be waiting for. Finally, the software sometimes feels childish and can use a boost in sophistication.
For the not too picky buyer, the low price and battery life may be reason enough to jump on the V60. For those looking for that little extra, the LG V60 ThinQ might leave you sitting.
The LG V60 is perhaps the best V-series phone to reach the market in years. This oversized phone has an unsurpassed battery life, a refreshed design, a flexible camera setup, and a headphone jack.
- Best battery life
- Good screen
- Affordable price
- Speedy performance
- Headphone jack
- High-quality audio
- Not so good camera
- Dual Screen functionality limited
- No 90Hz/120Hz options