LG’s newest smartphone, the mid-range LG Velvet, comes loaded with stylish hardware and sleek fingerprint-reading technology, and comes as the Korean tech giant adopts a new design language and device naming scheme. Could the new flagship phone convert an Apple addict? I’ve been #TeamiPhone for 10 years, trapped in the iOS ecosystem and pretty satisfied with every other smartphone release, including the latest iPhone 11 Pro Max . Still, I spent a week testing out the LG Velvet, and it had me captivated almost as soon as I unboxed it. LG says the phone is meant to “usher in an era of elegance”. Here are some of my main takeaways. Design and hardware The LG Velvet represents a departure from the company’s old G-series names like LG G8, and it also takes on a new exterior aesthetic. Earlier this year, LG teased with futuristic renderings of the phone online, showcasing a polished, reinvented device with a new camera layout. LG V60 ThinQ 5G Dual Screen review: it looks outdated, but it delivers Visually, the silver version of the Velvet lives up to the hype. The pearlescent back, narrow build and easy grip had me at “hello”. On the front, a large 6.8-inch curved OLED touch screen dominates. The curved glass has a “3D arc design” with a bezel that’s not too distracting. There’s also a quirky animation that appears at the bottom of the screen, showing you where to place your thumbprint to unlock it. Turn the device around, and the mirrored back glimmers with rainbow streaks, depending on how the light hits. It’s glossy and fingerprint prone, but still luxe. The camera arrangement was designed to mimic a falling drop of water, LG says. It’s a much more minimalist approach than the bulky camera design on my iPhone. Software and features The LG Velvet runs on the Android 10.0 operating system. And for this long-time iOS user, navigating the Google Play Store was relatively easy. Switching between social networking apps was no problem on the new phone. And most of go-tos, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, function the same way they do on my Apple devices. Huawei Matebook X Pro 2020 review: light, bright and ready for remote work During side-by-side tests, the apps launched at the same speed on both phones. And in some instances, the Velvet launched quicker, although not by much. One striking difference was the notifications panel on the Android phone, which is a bit more engaging to interact with. Setting it up to control my Chromecast was pretty easy, too. The process took under a minute, though I only used it to turn my TV on and off via voice commands. Camera performance The LG Velvet has three vertically placed cameras on the back: a 48-megapixel primary camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens and a 5-megapixel camera for depth. However, the photo quality wasn’t comparable to the dynamic shots taken with my iPhone. Black sometimes appeared almost grey, and some of the photos appeared washed out or lacked contrast when compared to those taken with my iPhone. Selfies were a bit too soft, blown out and matt for my liking. Portrait Mode was a bit aggressive, too. But if I didn’t directly compare them to my iPhone photos, the picture quality was OK. Conclusion My experience was mixed, but I still like the new phone. LG gets 10s across the board for designing a US$599 device that looks and feels premium. The style competes easily with the US$1,000 smartphones I’m more accustomed to. Because the phone is thin with a unique camera layout, the LG Velvet feels like a smartphone from a year or two in the future, while still maintaining approachable elements, such as a headphone jack. The performance was fine. Apps load almost instantly. Nothing really lagged, and it’s 5G compatible. But the phone isn’t perfect. The photo quality has room for improvement. That’s one of the main reasons I’ll be sticking to my iPhone.