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LG Velvet is here: A mid-range phone with a flagship price (Updated June 15)
Update: June 15, 2020 (12:45 PM ET): We now have direct confirmation from LG on when various places around the world will see the LG Velvet. Head to the “Price and availability” section below to read all about it!
Original article, April 28, 2020 (3:43 AM ET): LG just up and launched the LG Velvet after first announcing May 7 as its official launch date. The first phone to take advantage of LG’s rebranding initiative, Velvet was announced inconspicuously through an official Korean blog post.
So what’s the phone all about? Well, we already knew a bunch about the Velvet thanks to official teasers, but we now have most of the specs and availability information at hand.
Let’s take a quick look at LG’s new high-end 5G phone in the specs table below.
|LG Velvet specs|
6.8-inch Cinema FullVision display
20.5: 9 aspect ratio
LG Dual Screen functionality
Snapdragon 765 5G
Triple rear cameras:
4G and 5G
So what should you expect in terms of design, features, and price? We’ve got you covered.
A refreshed design
The first thing you’ll notice about the LG Velvet is that it has a very minimalistic design. It’s got a 6.8-inch OLED FHD+ display with a 20.5:9 aspect ratio. LG calls this the Cinema FullVision display.
Its new “Waterdrop” triple camera design refers to the rear camera module, which takes inspiration from a falling droplet of rain. The three rear sensors are vertically stacked in descending order of size, with the flash at the bottom of the pile.
Elsewhere, we see a slim chassis with metallic accents. The notched display curves to the edges, which are rounded off to give the impression of more screen real estate. LG calls this the “3D Arc” design, which in our opinion, looks a lot like the other curved screens we’ve been seeing lately. LG says when the phone is viewed from the bottom, it looks to have a long oval shape or what it refers to as a “Symmetrical Ellipse.”
The phone also has a water-resistant IP68 design, which is in line with LG’s recent flagships. Additionally, it carries MIL-STD 810G certification to endure extreme environments, shocks, and drops.
A familiar camera setup
The triple rear camera setup on the LG Velvet is not something out of the ordinary, and it’s definitely not a flagship-grade arrangement.
The phone has a pretty standard primary, ultra-wide, and depth sensor combo. In fact, the 8MP ultra-wide lens has a lower resolution than any of LG’s recent flagship ultra-wide cameras, like the 13MP sensor on the LG V60 or the 16MP shooter on the LG G7. A 16MP selfie shooter rests within the front notch.
We’re not sure if the phone is using a Samsung or Sony 48MP sensor, but LG’s high-end smartphone cameras have mostly been based on Sony’s image sensors, so there’s likely a Sony IMX586 offered here. LG applies the familiar quad-binning tech on the main sensor to combine four pixels to form one large pixel.
For video shooting, the LG Velvet includes a “Voice Out Focus” feature that can separate background noises and ambient voices from videos.
Dual display and stylus support
The Snapdragon 765 phone also supports LG’s noteworthy Dual Screen accessory, alongside a stylus pen. The accessories will not be bundled with the phone though and will be sold separately.
We previously heard that the phone will feature an app called Nebo, to convert handwritten notes into digital documents. This has now been confirmed by LG.
The LG Velvet comes with a 4,300mAh battery and LG says its low-power software algorithm will minimize any unnecessary power consumption. We’ve been seeing intelligent battery management algorithms for some time now so this isn’t something new. The phone will probably terminate unnecessary background functions and apps in order to save battery life.
That said the phone also supports wireless charging as well as fast charging, but we don’t have the exact charging specifications as of now.
The phone comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The storage on the phone is expandable up to 2TB using a microSD card.
Price and availability
The LG Velvet launched in its home market of South Korea on May 15. It launched with four colorways: Aurora White, Aurora Gray, Aurora Green, and Illusion Sunset.
In June, LG confirmed that the Velvet would land in Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary, and Poland by the end of the month. Eventually, the device will hit North America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, but LG wouldn’t confirm a set timeline for those launches.
LG’s previous claim of the Velvet being a “mass market flagship” doesn’t seem to have translated to the actual pricing of the phone, though. The LG Velvet costs 899,800 Korean won. That’s slightly higher than the Korean launch price of the LG G8 which was unveiled at 897,600 Korean won.
When converted to US dollars, the price comes out to be ~$733, making it pricier than the basic variant of the OnePlus 8 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage.
We’re not sure if LG will reduce the Velvet’s price if and when it launches the phone outside of its home country, but for now, the pricing is about $200 more than we were expecting. LG told Android Authority that it’ll announce local Velvet pricing near the launch time for each market.
For the sake of comparison, the realme X50 5G and Redmi K30 5G, both with the Snapdragon 765 chipset, cost under $300 for their most basic variants in China. LG’s phone will also face tough competition from the likes of the iPhone SE 2020 and possibly the upcoming OnePlus Z when it launches in global markets.