LG Velvet Review: Stylish 5G Phone Lacks Excitement, Brings Value

LG Velvet: Camera Performance And Image Samples

With a 48MP f/1.8 0.8-micron main shooter, 8MP f/2.2 120-degree 1.12-micron ultrawide lens, 5MP f/2.4 1.12-micron depth sensor, and no telephoto, the Velvet’s camera system falls squarely into mid-ranger territory. The main shooter uses Samsung’s GM2 48MP sensor, features phase detection AF, and “bins” (combines) 4 pixels into large 1.6-micron pixels for better low-light performance, resulting in 12MP images.

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LG didn’t include OIS (optical image stabilization) on the main camera -- presumably as a cost saving measure. That’s just disappointing for a $600 handset, especially when you consider that Apple’s $400 iPhone SE and Google’s $350 Pixel 4a both have this feature. It can make a huge difference, particularly in low light. Also, the ultrawide’s 8MP resolution feels like a miss when the competition is using 12MP (or better) sensors at this price point

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LG Velvet main camera (3x zoom)

In front, there’s a 16MP f/1.9 1.0-micron shooter for all your selfie needs. The Velvet captures video at up to 4k 30fps or 1080p 60fps stabilized with the main and selfie cameras, and up to 1080p 30 stabilized with the ultrawide. Slow motion maxes out at 1080p 120fps, and time lapse at 4k 30fps. There’s also a super steady mode that records video at 1080p 30fps, if you need to keep things even more stable.

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LG Velvet ultrawide

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LG Velvet main camera

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LG Velvet main camera (2x zoom)

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LG Velvet main camera (5x zoom)

The resulting images are pretty nice, but not spectacular. While the Velvet definitely takes better pictures than the Moto Edge, it’s no OnePlus Nord. Color balance and exposure are accurate, dynamic range is decent, and low-light performance is good -- especially without OIS. Like with the V60, LG’s night mode doesn’t make much of a difference. Zooming is OK up to about 2-3x, but things degrade rapidly beyond that.

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LG Velvet main camera (auto)

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LG Velvet main camera (night mode)

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LG Velvet ultrawide (auto)

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LG Velvet ultrawide (night mode)

As for video recording, the results are fine too. The Velvet captures audio in stereo, using one of three modes: standard, ASMR, and audio zoom. It lacks the V60’s portrait video and manual video modes, though. Overall, while this camera system is perfectly serviceable, it feels like LG is just cruising along. From past experience, we know the Korean giant can do better with unique and useful new camera features, and we expect more -- especially in this highly competitive segment.

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LG Velvet selfie camera (portrait mode)

Next up: audio, performance, and battery life...

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