LG V10 Review: Big, Bold And Beautiful
LG V10 Design And Build Quality
You can’t pick up the V10 without noticing how different it feels from other phones. More specifically, the rear Dura Skin cover that’s made from a unique patterned silicone is hard to miss when you first touch the phone. Not only does this cover look different, but it feels dramatically different from the smooth, plastic or metal covers we’ve seen on many smartphones. We really like this back cover—it adds a nice grip to the phone and doesn’t attract fingerprints. Better yet, it is removable and provides access to the V10’s microSD slot, nano SIM, and removable 3,000mAh battery. Although a user-replaceable battery is less common these days, we still very much prefer the option to swap batteries should the need arise.
Upon closer examination of the LG V10, you’ll also notice the overall construction of this phone is very solid thanks in large part to LG’s use of 316L stainless steel along the edges of the phone. LG calls this frame Dura Guard. Not only does the Dura Guard frame provide a luxurious look, but it also is the same material that’s used in luxury watches and surgical instruments for its corrosion resistance and hypoallergenic traits; soemthing is something that's sure to help with durability and longevity of the device.
You’ll also find Dura Skin around the LCD window. LG claims Dura Skin is twice as hard as plastic and 10 times stronger than aluminum. By combining Dura Skin with Dura Guard, LG has increased the overall durability of the V10 by better protecting the LCD.
Fingerprints and The Double-Tap
On the rear of the phone, you’ll find the V10’s 16-megapixel camera which protrudes slightly from the phone along with an LED flash. Below the camera, there’s a Power button located between the phone’s volume control buttons. A fingerprint reader is built into this Power button. During our tests, this fingerprint reader worked pretty well, though we did experience occasional false rejections. The Power and volume controls are slightly recessed, which helps you find them by touch.
Due to the fact that LG placed the Power and volume controls on the rear of the V10, the stainless steel sides of the phone are void of any button controls. This can be a good thing to avoid accidental inputs and waking up the device inadvertently, if you think about it. At the base of the phone, you’ll find a 3.5mm headset jack, microUSB port, microphone, and speaker grill. The top edge of the phone contains a microphone as well as an IR blaster.
If the phone’s main screen is off and it’s sitting on your desk, you can wake the phone by tapping the screen twice rather than picking up the V10 and finding the rear Power button. You can also double tap the screen to turn it off. Since the phone’s Power button is on the rear of the phone, we found ourselves using this feature more often than when the Power button is located on the side of a phone.
LG recognizes smartphones have become the primary music player for many people. As a result, the quality of sound that comes from a phone is increasingly important to users. LG paid attention to the actual audio quality as it is perceived by users in the case of the V10. To provide a high-quality sound experience, the V10 can utilize a 32 bit Hi-Fi DAC from ESS Technology. The Hi-Fi DAC can help with better fidelty for lossless audio formats such as FLAC, WAV, and ALAC. The V10 also has Auto Gain Control, Fine Control, and up-sampling technology to help deliver the best sound possible for lossy formats like MP3. In practice, though it's sometimes hard to find content that can demonstrate this, with the right set of buds or headphones and high quality source material, you can notice a difference in acoustic response with crisper highs and more prominent, tighter lows.
As is the case with most phones today, the vast majority of the front of the V10 is consumed by the 5.7-inch QHD IPS display that supports a resolution of 2560 x 1440 (513ppi). There is very little bezel on either side of this display. This display is solid and offers good brightness, contrast, and saturation that will be very attractive to most users. Still, the V10’s display doesn’t offer the same brightness, saturation, and pop that we’ve seen on a number of AMOLED devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy S6 line.
Above this primary display, you’ll find the two front-facing 5 megapixel cameras in the upper left corner of the phone. The V10’s Second Screen is located to the right of these cameras. The 2.1-inch IPS Second Screen supports a resolution of 160 x 1040 (513ppi).
LG’s Second Screen remains on even when the phone’s main display is turned off. In standby mode, the phone displays basic notification icons, a weather icon, the date, the current time, and a battery gauge. LG claims the inset Second Screen can be set to stay on 24 hours while having “minimal impact” on the phone’s battery life.
The V10 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor and has 4GB of DDR3 RAM. You’ll find 64GB of onboard storage along with a microSD expansion slot that supports up to 2TB. The V10 is currently running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.In terms of size, the V10 is almost as tall as the 6-inch Nexus 6. The phone measures about 6.28 x 3.12 x 0.34 inches and weighs approximately 6.77 ounces. It's definitely not a light phone, per se but in the 5.5-inch and larger weight class, you know what you're getting into. Our test model from AT&T had good sound quality during calls that was equivalent to other top-tier smartphones.