The LG V40 ThinQ went official today, and reviews have already started hitting the web. It’s easy to say that thoughts are mixed for the most part, with some saying that it’s a great phone, and others having a tough time recommending it. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what a few outlets are saying in their LG V40 ThinQ review and see what’s up with LG’s latest flagship.
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LG’s hardware has been steadily improving over the past few years, and the V40 is no exception. The device is an evolution of the hardware rather than a redesign, and it pulls from both the LG V30 and the LG G7 ThinQ. Droid-Life details what it’s like to use in person:
In-hand, I really quite like the V40. Thanks to the fingerprint reader being a nice big circle in the middle of the backside, my index fingers tends to rest naturally in that spot for easy unlocking. LG also seems to have rounded out the sides a bit more, minimizing any feelings of sharpness or jaggedness around the edges…
To give you a few comparisons for in-hand size and usability, the phone is only a tad bit larger than the Pixel 2 XL and not much bigger than the G7. Next to Galaxy Note 9, the phone almost feels small and lightweight. For having a 6.4″ display, the usability is surprisingly good and when you get used to having such a large display, it’s somewhat hard to give that up and go back to something more compact. The V40 seems like the best of both worlds here. It’s large, but entirely manageable.
On a disappointing note, LG hasn’t opted to use its “silky” matte coating across the board on this device. Most reviewers have been using the Aurora Black color variant even though the Moroccan Blue is the one that will have people talking as Android Central notes in its LG V40 ThinQ review.
The V40 is still awkwardly tall and a little slippery when it comes to adjusting your hand to reach the top third of the display, but the lower weight helps with usability regardless.
The slippery finish is actually exclusive to this Aurora Black V40 that I’ve been using, because LG has an altogether different finish for its other colors. Moroccan Blue, which is the only non-black option in the U.S., and other international options have a softer matte finish to the glass that is amazing to hold. The frosted glass finish is easier to grip, collects fewer fingerprints and offers a neat color-shifting look that makes the black version even more boring by comparison. It’s a shame LG didn’t apply this “soft” finish to all of the colors — a big missed opportunity to differentiate entirely from Samsung’s glossy backs.
As for the cameras, LG has opted for three cameras on the rear of the phone. There’s a standard lens which has been improved with a 12MP f/1.5 sensor, a super-wide-angle shooter which is ripped straight from the LG G7 ThinQ, and a telephoto lens as well. The cameras sit somewhere between good and great, but reviewers haven’t had anything great to say about the telephoto lens with its 2x optical zoom. Marques Brownlee explains it as feeling like “a different camera entirely” rather than just a zoomed in version of the standard sensor.
The Verge focuses the majority of its review on the cameras as well, ending on the note that they’re just fun to use.
Even though the camera system isn’t without fault, it’s still a ton of fun to compose with, and gives me more options than any other phone. So often, what makes a camera special or useful is how much enjoyment you get out of using it. And the V40’s camera is fun as hell, even if it isn’t perfect.
In the software department, the LG V40 ThinQ still runs Android 8.1 Oreo instead of the newer Android 9 Pie. That’s… disappointing. It will get an update later on, but it’s a shame that it’s not included out of the box. Thankfully, though, LG has streamlined its bloatware to offer a slightly better, less frustrating experience. Droid-Life gives LG credit for going all-in on Google’s service, despite not having the most pleasing UI design.
I’ve had issues with past LG device software, but on the V40, it’s not bad at all. I don’t feel overwhelmed but tons of proprietary software, and unlike Samsung who essentially copies all of Google’s software and rebrands it, LG is all-in on Google’s AI effort and services. For example, we don’t have a Bixby button on this phone, we have a Google Assistant button. When opening apps for the first time or logging into things, we don’t have Samsung Pass, we have Google’s Smart Lock. And because Google’s features are automatically tied in with the Google account we use our phones to begin with, it makes for such a more convenient process instead of signing up for separate things from Samsung.
Personally, I think Android Authority sums up the LG V40 ThinQ quite nicely with its review subtitle: “Undeveloped innovation.” There’s a whole lot of good in this phone, but none of it feels finished. Even more so, it doesn’t really do anything better than the competition. Despite being cheaper than Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9, it’s really hard to recommend the V40 when that killer flagship exists.
The LG V40 ThinQ is a solid phone on paper. It’s a device that can do pretty much anything, but unfortunately, it doesn’t do many things better than the competition.
If this phone was $700, it might be worth a look. Sure, there are cheaper options out there, but most of them won’t have all the bells and whistles LG has managed to jam into this thing. Unfortunately, with so many other wonderful options on the market for less than $1,000, the V40 ThinQ is incredibly hard to recommend.
In short, the V40 ThinQ is a true multi-tool, but very few of its components are quite as sharp as the competitors. When you’re playing with the big dogs, second best just doesn’t cut it.
More on LG:
- LG V40 ThinQ goes official w/ 6.4-inch notched display, thinner bezels, five cameras
- LG V40 ThinQ tidbits: Less bloatware, Android Pie, headphone jack, matte glass coating
- LG Watch W7 is the first hybrid Wear OS watch w/ mechanical hands, 100-day battery, $450