First impressions of LG’s new V20 smartphone - high-spec and not plasticky any more

Aluminium body replaces metallic-coated plastic of the G5 model, the screen is big and crystal clear and the phone looks elegant. However, it is not water resistant

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 11:03am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 11:03am

LG appears to have learned from the reception given its previous flagship smartphone, the G5, whose “metallic” housing was actually mostly plastic. Its new model, the V20, has a lightweight body made of actual aluminium – a form of the metal used in aircraft and mountain bikes, no less. So gone is that plasticky feel and the V20, weighing 174g, looks elegant and feels sturdy in the hand.

First impressions of LG’s new G5 smartphone - innovative, if a bit pricey

The 5.7-inch screen with 2560 x 1440 resolution looks crystal clear and is generously sized, with minimal bezels above and below the screen.

On the default home screen is a B&O (Bang & Olufsen) logo. The audio quality is supposed to be one of the selling points of the V20, with LG boasting it is “the world’s first smartphone to come with a professional-grade, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC chipset”.

I was unable to put that to the test, as the venue where I tried the handset was too noisy to get any reliable first impression. I did hold the speaker at the bottom of the phone close to my ear and the track I was playing had a soft and meaty bass sound. This is the second collaboration between the South Korean phone maker and the Danish audio manufacturer (after the G5).

The V20 runs on the latest Android 7.0 Nougat operating system and Snapdragon 820 processor so operation was fast and smooth. The phone warmed up just a little as I used Bluetooth to transfer a couple of images and a short 41MB video.

LG is gracious enough not to mention anything about exploding batteries, an issue which has been plaguing its competitor Samsung since its release of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone two months ago. However, it makes clear LG phones are still “Made in Korea” (and quality controlled there) and that the new phone’s 3,200 mAh battery is replaceable.

One minor let-down is that the V20 is not water resistant.

The phone will be available in Hong Kong from October 28 and its retail price is HK$5,998, which is almost standard for a flagship smartphone these days.