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LG V10

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon
Manufacturer: LG

What's Hot: Fantastic rear camera, two front cameras, removable battery, microSD card slot.

What's Not: Price tag is a bit high.


Reviewed December 3, 2015 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

LG V10

Gimmick or great? The LG V10 is a little of both. Clearly LG is throwing features at their new flagship phablet to see what (if anything) succeeds, much as Samsung's done in the past with their Android phones and tablets. The big screen LG has a secondary front display--a narrow strip at the top that provides shortcuts, status and can act as a control area for apps like the camera. Speaking of the camera, this phone has two front facing cameras; one ultra-wide angle and the other with a more normal view. See--gimmicks. That said, I actually appreciate the two front cameras since phones with a single ultra-wide camera (for group shots and to capture background context) are lovely, but when you simply want to video chat or take a simple photo of just you, that super-wide lens' distortion of facial features is unwelcome.

On to the normal stuff! The LG V10 runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop (sorry, not 6.0 Marshmallow that's shipping on a few recent phones) on the high end (but not top dog) Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 6-core CPU. It has 4 gigs of RAM and 64 gigs of storage, putting it in the high end category, and there's a microSD card slot compatible with cards up to 2TB according to LG. The phone has a 5.7" Quantum IPS+ display (LG's marketing name for their better phone displays) and it runs at QHD 2560 x 1440, which equals 515 PPI-- even Superman won't see individual pixels. The display has good contrast, good blacks (not AMOLED deep, but good) and strong color saturation for IPS. Brightness is good but not stellar and off-angle viewing results in noticeable drops in brightness, which is typical of LG's recent phones. The color balance is cool (toward the blue), which is common in phones and laptops.

LG V10

As you might guess, it's a large and heavy phone that's as big as the iPhone 6s Plus and the Nexus 6. It weighs 6.77 ounces and as we've come to expect of LG, it has a removable battery. Two things we love about LG: the microSD card slot and removable battery so you can swap in a spare on the road.

Design and Ergonomics

This is a typical LG design with the curved back that's thicker at the middle and power/volume controls mounted on the back. LG went with a durable, rubbery back that's not what we'd call attractive, though if you like the ruggedized look, you might find it cool looking. The back is impact absorbing and grippy, so it wins points for practicality, and it's available in black, white and opal blue (color availability varies by carrier). The sides are metal and the phone doesn't feel cheap, even if it isn't all metal and glass like some competitors.

We've never minded LG's rear-mounted power and volume controls, but this time the power button is also the fingerprint scanner, and that's problematic. When it's on the front, you can see if you're placing your finger in the proper spot, but on the rear, it's hard to tell. The power button, as per usual on LG phones, sits between the volume up and down buttons, and the difference isn't tactile enough to tell if your finger is centered. As a result, we didn't have the greatest results with fingerprint unlocking. Not that unlike the fingerprint scanner on the Nexus 5X and iPhone 6s, you must press and click the power button to turn on the phone--simply resting your finger on the scanner won't let you both power up and unlock the phone.

Calling and Data

Thanks to standardized chipsets, carrier oversight and government regulations, data speeds and call volume are uniform among mainstream brand phones. Call quality can vary, though rarely hugely, and that said, the LG V10 units we tested on AT&T and T-Mobile had excellent voice quality. Incoming and outgoing voice was rich, full and very clear. Speakerphone audio is passable, and typical of smartphones, isn't rich with bass or dynamic range. The speaker is located on the phone's bottom edge.

Performance and Software

The LG V10 has Qualcomm's upper tier CPU, and it's the lower among the two current Snapdragon 800 series CPUs. The Snapdragon 808 is a capable hexa-core 1.8 GHz CPU that generates less heat than the top 810, and in theory requires less battery power. It's coupled with Adreno 418 graphics, a GPU that's powerful enough to handle demanding games nicely. The phone has 4 gigs of RAM, and that's the most you'll see in a current high end phone. It has 64 gigs of storage and you can store photos, videos and other files on an SD card. Benchmarks show a bit of improvement over the LG G4 running on the same CPU, and experientially, the phone feels fast and responsive despite the very heavy skin LG places over Android.

Oh, that LG UI. If you're accustomed to it, or Samsung's TouchWiz UI, to which it bears a sometimes striking resemblance, then you'll be fine with the LG V10. If you're coming from a Nexus, HTC or Motorola Android phone, then the heavy-handed UI and endless custom settings might seem a bit much. We'd love to see LG tone down their UI customizations, but after a few years of complaining, we're assuming LG isn't listening. That heavy customization makes it hard for LG to be nimble with major OS updates, and the phone ships with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop rather than 6.0 Marshmallow that released this fall. Will it get the update to 6.0? It's very likely, but there's no timetable yet. Happily, LG's UI doesn't slow down the phone, it always feels peppy.


LG V10 benchmarks

Deals and Shopping:


LG V10 Video Review


3 Cameras, 1 Phone

So how many cameras do you need? We've seen Intel and HTC experiment with dual rear cameras for depth effects, but this is the first time we've seem two independent front cameras. Both are 5MP and one is typical field of view for a front camera while the other is ultra-wide for those times you want to capture what's behind you or a group of friends. If you hate how your features are distorted by very wide angle lenses, then you'll appreciate having the choice between the standard and wide view lens. If you're not prone to capturing group selfies, then you could just look for a phone with a standard front camera lens (only a handful have particularly wide lenses).

LG V10

LG did great things with the rear camera on the LG G4, and it's still one of the best camera phones on the market. They promise even better results with the V10, and they're telling the truth. While neither can even approach what a dSLR can offer in terms of detail, depth of field and image detail, the LG V10 manages to take shots that look as good as a decent quality point and shoot camera. That's impressive given the tiny lens on the back. Images look very natural and three dimensional compared to the usual flat looking camera phone shots. Colors and tonal gradations are likewise very natural and nuanced with actual detail rather than interpolated JPEG data. Exposure is pleasing and color balance is neutral and accurate. Photos are a little cooler (more toward the blue) compared to Samsung and the iPhone. As to whether you prefer warm tones (great for people shots) or cool tones (good for landscapes) is up to you.

The 16MP camera has a fast f/1.8 lens and on manual mode you can adjust everything except aperture. Shutter speed, ISO, EV and more are at your command if you're an advanced shooter. The auto mode worked well for us in a variety of settings including bright outdoors, mixed sun and shade and indoor shots. The camera captures a good deal of color in dark interior shots, which is a refreshing change from the near monochromatic images some phones deliver in bad lighting. The camera has OIS (optical image stabilization) and digital stabilization, and it can shoot very good 4K video, 1080p video @ 60 fps, slow motion video and time lapse. Is it better than the LG G4? Yes, photos are more pleasing and natural, while video is even sharper and less artifacted. Is it so much better that it's worth upgrading from your LG G4? Probably not, especially given the G4's low price tag these days vs. the high price of the V10.

LG V10

Battery Life

The LG V10 and Snapdragon 808 chipset support Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, and a quick charger is included in the box. It can charge a nearly depleted 3,000 mAh battery in an hour. The 3,000 mAh battery is removal--just pull off the back cover and you can swap in a spare. LG sells spare batteries and battery charging docks, and they're bundling them with the phone in a mail-in offer for December 2015 in the US (the bundle includes a 64 gig microSD card).

Given the large display and fairly powerful chipset, the LG V10 has acceptable but not stellar battery life. With light to moderate real world use that includes web, email, social networking and streaming a few YouTube videos, it lasted from 8am to 10pm (4.5 hours actual screen on time). If you're a heavy user, you'll want a spare battery or you can make use of quick charging midday to quickly charge the battery.

LG V10


The LG V10 is a neat phone. That's a simplistic statement, but it captures the heart of the V10; it has lots of gimmicks (some of which you may actually find useful), a big screen and a great camera. It's fun and it's a lot of screen with which to enjoy content. It doesn't bring anything to the smartphone market that's a breathtaking advancement, and the screen isn't that much bigger than the incumbent LG G4. It's also larger and considerably more expensive than the G4, and the $699 ($249 with contract) price pits it against some very strong phones like the Galaxy S6 and Note family and the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. That said, the camera is really excellent, and though it's a close race with the LG G4 and the Samsung Galaxy S6/Note 5 family, it comes out on top.


Price: varies by carrier, typically $699 full retail and $249 with a 2 year contract

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Display: 5.7" Quantum IPS+ display. Resolution: QHD, 2560 x 1440. Has secondary LCD, 1024 x 160 pixels. Has ambient light sensor, accelerometer and proximity sensor.

Battery: 3,000 mAh Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable.

Performance: 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core CPU with Adreno 418 graphics. 4 gigs RAM, 64 gigs storage.

Size: 6.28 x 3.13 x 0.34 inches. Weight: 6.77 ounces.

Phone: GSM quad band world phone with EDGE 2G. 3G and 4G LTE for AT&T and T-Mobile. CDMA dual band digital with EV-DO and 4G LTE for Verizon.

Camera: Two 5MP front cameras. Rear 16MP camera with f/1.8 lens, OIS, laser autofocus and 4K video recording.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac, NFC and Bluetooth 4.1.

Software: Android OS 5.1.1 Lollipop.

Expansion: 1 microSD card slot.


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