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10 things the LG V60 does well, and 5 things it doesn't
I finally picked up an LG V60 from T-Mobile after months of waiting and I already love this thing. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the best phones LG has ever made, if not the best. It’s fairly clear to me that LG put a lot of effort into this one, even after only a few days of use.
We have a full review of the LG V60 here and it covers the broader topics of the phone. I also wanted to also share my experience with the phone after about a week of use. Here are ten things I think the V60 does extremely well and five more things I think it could improve.
Yes, the battery life is really that good
I was a bit skeptical when I saw some of the battery stats for the LG V60. There are people getting nearly ten hours of screen-on time on a two day charge. There’s no way that’s possible right? Think again, because I was able to recreate that exact experience without much effort. Everything you’ve heard about this battery is true. It’s a monster.
The Snapdragon 865 is the most powerful and most battery-efficient chip Qualcomm has made to date. Android is always trying to improve its battery life with stuff like Doze Mode and Adaptive Battery. Finally, LG took the kid gloves off and included a comedy-sized 5,000mAh battery while also sidestepping the 120hz screen fad and keeping the display resolution at 1080p.
All of these things combined create an experience where it’s actually difficult to kill the battery in just one day. Well done, LG.
Good: Samsung Pay finally has a real competitor
I’ve long been in the camp that Samsung Pay is the champion of contactless payments. The MST technology helps bridge the gap between physical cards and NFC payments. The LG V60 comes equipped with LG Pay, along with the same MST technology. It worked perfectly fine in my testing. Additionally, the setup process, app UI, and method of initialization (pulling a tab up from the home screen and using your fingerprint) is very similar to Samsung Pay. NFC is obviously the future, but the future isn’t here yet. Until then, LG Pay and Samsung Pay are the best contactless payment options on mobile.
Good: The quad DAC is still the best headphone jack
It’s true that the quad DAC isn’t a new feature and many tech pundits prefer the Bluetooth approach. However, no OEM has stepped up to the plate to consistently compete with the quad DAC. It’s still the best headphone jack in the smartphone industry for just about everybody, especially those with headphones with above 32 ohms of impedance and those with lossless music files. I really don’t feel the need to justify this further. The quad DAC is without peer.
Good: A surprisingly decent screen
I was originally a bit nervous about downgrading from a 1440p display to a 1080p display. I won’t lie to you and say that I didn’t notice a difference upon close inspection, but I was pleasantly shocked at how good LG’s 1080p panel was. Everything is nice and crisp, with good, punchy colors and you only see discoloration if you look at the phone at extreme angles.
Yes, LG bucks the 120Hz trend that people ignored two years ago, but now love for some reason. I’m cool with it because it helps contribute to the absurd battery life. Additionally, the screen in the dual screen case accessory is the exact same one on the phone itself so the two look identical and you can control things like the brightness and color settings on both simultaneously or independently.
Good: Flagship-level performance
This one is fairly obvious. The LG V60 comes with a Snapdragon 865 and an Adreno 650 GPU. That’s as good as it gets in an Android phone in 2020 at this time. The performance is stellar with no hiccups or slowdowns. We’re basically beyond the era of OEMs making software too heavy for the chipset it carries, so it’s not like this is really a problem anymore, but LG still deserves credit for not messing anything up here. The V60 runs like a champion.
Good: LG’s under-appreciated software overhaul
LG’s UI was up there in age last year. It used an ancient and ugly paginated settings page, with a bunch of weird and not-useful software features. In short, it looked old, felt old, and had many artifacts from years of trial and error. LG revamped the UI for 2020 and the change is a world of difference.
For starters, the whole thing is a bit closer to stock Android than before. The quick settings and settings menus, in particular, look basically stock. In addition, a lot of the old software features were either removed or revamped with a more modern approach. In short, it’s lighter and more streamlined than it was before. It’s not perfect, but LG definitely took some major steps in the right direction.
Good: It touches all the basics
This one is a bit obvious, but we’ll cover it anyway. The LG V60 covers all of the basics, including an IP68 water and dust resistance, the aforementioned headphone jack, a microSD card slot, HDMI-out support, and stereo speakers. We’re entering an era where some of these basics become less and less available, and, much like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, the V60 still hits all of them.
It doesn’t have an IR blaster, but it’s hard to blame LG for that because most OEMs don’t anymore. Otherwise, it comes with everything you would expect so there is very little compromises with the V60. For those interested, we tested the HDMI-out with this adapter with great results.
Good: Not all that difficult to hold
I won’t lie to you, this is chunky phone. It weighs over 200 grams and is nearly 9mm thick. However, it’s surprisingly easy to hold. This is due to a few things. For starters, the 20.5:9 aspect ratio keeps the phone a little taller than most and that helps with usability of the phone’s gargantuan 6.9-inch display.
To be honest, I’m listing this one because I heard a lot of stories of how big and unwieldy the phone is. It’s definitely thick to be sure, but it’s also less wide than my Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and it actually feels better in the hand. Of course, all of that goes out the window if you put the dual-screen case on it, but you can always take the phone out if you’re having that much trouble. You have options.
Good: Not the worst camera, believe it or not
It’s difficult buying a phone when you also buy into the mindset that the camera quality is the most important thing. Samsung, Huawei, and Google all buy into this mindset and do all sorts of crazy stuff with their cameras for which they are almost universally praised. LG doesn’t have a lot of those crazy things. You won’t find an optical periscope zoom camera or a software night mode that lights up dark rooms like the middle of the day.
However, what you will find is a camera setup that is actually not half bad. It flat out beat my Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus in a standard indoor shot. The low-light photos are fairly decent, if unimpressive and LG’s Night View actually aims for realism instead of Google Night Sight’s wow factor. I am not going to sit here and try to run some false narrative that this a top-two or three camera. It isn’t. However, the photos it takes are definitely better than average, even without the newer, flashier camera tech.
Good: That price
Finally, let’s talk for a moment about this beast phone’s hilariously low price tag. It omits a few modern features, including a punch-hole display, optical zoom, 1440p resolution on the display, 120Hz on the display, and a few other small things. The advantage is a phone that is well under $1,000 on every carrier, except Verizon, and you get a free dual screen case with it.
Two years ago, the price wouldn’t have been a big deal. The LG V30 went for $900 also, so it’s not like LG hasn’t sold a phone at this price before. The difference is how much more other OEMs now charge for devices. The Galaxy S20 Ultra (with its 5,000mAh battery) goes for a hilarious $1,400. That’s a price gap of around $500 for most people and quite a leap.
As many other OEM raises prices on top-tier phone tech, LG managed to keep theirs at the same old $900 (give or take) price tag, while still managing to add modern stuff like 5G and a huge battery. That’s impressive.
Bad: The fingerprint scanner could be better
I’ve always hated under-display fingerprint readers. They’re still nowhere close to the reliability of rear-mounted fingerprint scanners. The LG V60 uses one similar to the Samsung Galaxy lineup and it works about as well. This isn’t a comparison of phones, though, but more of a condemnation of the tech itself. We’re in year three of the in-display fingerprint reader and the tech has only marginally improved. LG had a great thing going with its physical button and fingerprint scanner combo on the back of the phone, and I miss that setup a lot.
Bad: We’re kind of starting over with a lot of stuff
This one is difficult to explain. I talked earlier about how LG Pay is here and how LG revamped a lot of its software, including its theme store. However, there is a con to all of those great things. LG Pay supports only a small number of banks at this time, so LG V60 owners are back to waiting for their local credit unions to jump on board.
This is the unspoken, unfortunate side to throwing away bad stuff that didn’t work and introducing new stuff that does. LG V60 owners are essentially early adopters again as LG starts to build out its new phone experience. It’ll take a while for everything to settle in, but at least you have an excellent phone to play with while you do.
Bad: Accessory market isn’t great
This will probably change over time, but the accessory market for the LG V60 isn’t great right now. Amazon is full of off-brand cases with no showings from big companies like Spigen, OtterBox, Caseology, or others. In fact, there are only like five or six cases available for the V60 on Amazon at all and you have about two or three options for screen protectors.
We know there is an OtterBox case coming soon, along with a few others. However, it still pales in comparison to more mainstream devices. There are no phone skins available as of the time of this writing and it’s honestly all a little depressing.
Bad: Software update uncertainty
If I don’t mention this here, someone will in the comments, so let’s get this out of the way. LG sucks at software updates. It takes the company way too long to ship out the latest version of Android to older devices and security updates are non-existent.
There is no evidence to suggest that software updates help sales, otherwise Google Pixel phones would move way more units. I get where people are coming from, though. It’s nice to have software updates from time to time and it’s nice to not have to wait for the latest Android version for months and months after release. The V60 update schedule is uncertain, but there is hope. The new software looks and feels a lot lighter, so here’s hoping this translates to faster or more frequent updates.
Bad: Dual screen needs a bit of work
Finally, let’s talk about the dual screen accessory a little bit. In theory and in practice, I support the existence of this thing. It’s a folding display without the fragile plastic screen and it’s definitely unlike any other included accessory on a smartphone. It’s simple to use, works well, and you can turn it off and just use it as a case to avoid excess battery drain. You can also remove it from the V60 and use it without the case if you want to. There are options.
However, there are some complaints here. You need an extra third-party app to make most apps work with the dual screen’s Wide Mode. LG has an API for developers, but like most niche accessories, we don’t expect many developers to jump at the opportunity. There is a lot of room for improvement here because you don’t get as much freedom as you would expect. It’s a great accessory, it just needs a little work.
LG obviously put a lot of work into the V60. Most of this effort paid out dividends, though, and this is one of those phones people are going to sleep on in 2020 even though they really shouldn’t.
Was there anything you liked or didn’t like in particular? Tell us about it in the comments!