The V30 is Verizon’s latest offering from LG and LG’s third phone in its V-series. It’s a large phone with great cameras, high quality audio features and a screen with slightly curved edges. I’ve been excited about the V-series since the V10 and currently carry the V20 as my primary phone. When my friends at Verizon offered to let me spend a few weeks carrying the V30, I jumped at the chance. I found the V30 to be really fast and well built, while at the same time missing a couple of the features that made the V20 such a compelling purchase.
LG V30 review
Just as LG’s G6 gave up some of the features of previous iterations of the G-series, the V30 gives up the expandable battery and second screen found on the V20 while featuring the return of wireless charging and adding a curved OLED screen and glass back. It’s a phone that feels geared for wider adoption from the general public rather than the smaller set of enthusiasts that appreciated the larger feature sets of the V10 and V20.
With 4 GB of memory and the same processor found in other current flagship phones such as the Google Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8, the V30 is really fast. I never noticed any lag or stuttering during normal use. It comes with 64GB of storage and features an SD card slot so you never have to worry about running out of space. It’s water resistant and durable, rated at IP68 for water and dirt. LG is the only manufacturer to place the power button on the back of the phone, which is a much better place for it in my opinion. The V30’s power button doubles as the fingerprint sensor which is perfectly placed, unlike the sensor on the Galaxy S8.
The screen is a large, 6″ OLED panel that, like other recent phones, is taller than phones of the past. This 18:9 aspect ratio makes it possible to fit a larger screen on a smaller phone. Indeed, the V30 is noticeably smaller than the V20 with a screen that’s significantly bigger. The screen is curved on the edges. I don’t like curved screens, personally, but they’re quite popular and the V30’s makes it feel much thinner than the G6 even though it’s actually slightly thicker.
One of the selling points of the V-series is an attention to audio quality. In addition to a real headphone jack, the V30 boasts what LG calls a “32-bit QuadDAC” which creates a much better signal to wired headphones or speakers. While it’s a noticeable improvement for streaming music, I found the experience listening to flac music with studio reference headphones to be absolutely wonderful.
Not only can the V30 reproduce music better than any other phone I’ve heard, it also records sound extremely well. The HD Audio Recorder captures sound in extremely high quality and saves it as a flac file. We recently had our third son by cesarean and were prohibited from recording video in the operating room. With the V30, I was able to capture my son’s first sounds in high resolution.
Like other recent LG phones, the V30 has a wide-angle front-facing camera and dual rear-facing cameras, a 16 MP standard-angle lens and a 13 MP wide-angle lens. I’m a huge proponent of the wide-angle lens and I still don’t know why other manufacturers don’t follow LG’s lead.
The cameras themselves are significant upgrades from the V20, as you can see in these comparison shots. The V30 standard angle lens seems much more vivid.
The wide-angle lens on the V30 is higher resolution and also seems more vivid.
As always, I’ll have a selection of example pictures I took with the V30 at the end of this post.
The V30 captures great video and, unlike the V20, doesn’t have a problem recording long UHD clips. My V20 gets hot and stops recording after 5 or 10 minutes. In my tests, the V30 captures full 3840×2160 video at 30FPS in 4 GB files until it fills the available space on the phone.
Battery life is really good. I got just over 7 hours in the Geekbench 4 full-discharge battery test, scoring a 4260, and my real-world testing yielded about 12 hours of usable battery. I’d still prefer the upgradeable battery found on the V20, but the fast charging makes the battery on the V30 definitely usable for all but the most demanding users.
While I’ve never been a huge fan of LG’s software, it’s comparable to what you’ll find on Samsung and HTC phones. The Android experience isn’t clean like a Pixel or pure like a Nexus, but it’s quite usable. You’ll want to replace the home screen with Action Launcher and the keyboard with Gboard. The hotspot doesn’t time out like some other phones and the preinstalled apps from Verizon and LG are unobtrusive and easy to disable.
Knowing that I was in the middle of fall harvest, Verizon sent me their Shell Holster Combo case for the V30. It’s a shell that snaps on the back of the phone that slides into the belt clip. The case is a tight fit and has a kickstand on the back. Unfortunately, even though the phone was in the case the entire time I was testing it, I ended up with a small crack along the top of the screen. If you’re in an industrial environment, you may want to opt for something more durable. If all you’re after is a case that makes the V30 easier to hold on to, the Shell Holster Combo should do the trick.
LG V30 review summary
The LG V30 is one of the best phones on Verizon. It’s fast and the cameras are excellent. It’s hands-down the best phone for anyone who loves to listen to or capture high quality audio. Great battery life and wireless charging mitigate the lack of a removable battery. If you’re looking for a beautiful phone with a curved screen, Verizon’s LG V30 makes an excellent choice.
LG G30 camera examples
These images are unedited and from a variety of lighting conditions and subject types.
As with all my #vzreview reviews for Verizon, I wasn’t paid or otherwise compensated and my views are my own.