CAMERA & VIDEO: DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
OK, here’s where things are going to get geeky. Apologies in advance, non-camera fans.
The V30 takes the dual camera setup from the G6 and upgrades it, boosting the main sensor’s resolution to 16MP and giving it an extra-wide f/1.6 aperture. Only Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro comes close to matching it.
The lens is actually made from glass, too, or at least the final lens element is - something you won’t find in any other smartphone. This helps more light hit the sensor with every snap: two whole light stops more, according to LG.
Rather than follow the rest of the dual camera crowd with a depth-blurring Portrait mode, the V30’s second snapper is instead dedicated to squeezing a whole lot more into every photo. It’s a 13MP wide-angle lens, with a 120° view and f/1.9 aperture.
That sounds impressive, but it misses out on the optical image stabilisation you get on the main sensor, meaning things are a bit more hit-and-miss in low light.
You do get combined laser and phase detection autofocus, though, so the cameras feel snappy in use.
Sharpness is this phone’s strong point, but only because your shots are so heavily processed - something LG just doesn’t seem to be able to let go of. HDR works well enough, but can’t cope with complex scenes as well as Google’s algorithm-assisted Pixel 2, and it tended towards over-exposure in many of our test shots.
Colours are fairly natural, though, and image noise is rarely an issue until the lights get really low. It’s a competent performer, but Samsung, Apple and Google take better photos overall. Stills are only half the story, of course. It’s video where the V30 really carves out its own niche, with Cine Video presets. These use wider colour gamuts and dynamic range to jazz up your videos - but aren’t just simple filters. The V30 actually uses LOG profiles, so you can colour-grade your footage like a pro video editor, with just a few taps.
There’s also a neat target-based zoom, which lets you smoothly zoom into a focus-locked target instead of just zooming into the centre of the frame. Sure, it’s still using digital zoom, but the effect is a lot more cinematic now.
Add in the two microphones (AOP, for recording with a lot of background noise) and 24-bit lossless audio, and videos sound as good as they look. If only LG had managed 4K recording at 60fps, then it really would be the full package.
PERFORMANCE: BACK IN THE GAME
The G6 was the last major phone to arrive with a Snapdragon 821, and while it was hardly a slouch, as soon as the rest of the world stepped up to the Snapdragon 835, it felt out of date.
That’s not a problem for the V30 - it’s got Qualcomm’s latest and greatest silicon under the skin, with eight cores ticking along at a healthy pace to keep your apps running smoothly, game frame rates high and Android stutter-free. 4GB of RAM is onboard for multitasking, too.
Everything feels snappy and responsive, with even demanding 3D games like XCOM: Enemy Within playing smoothly at the native QHD+ resolution. You won’t be missing out on power if you opt for LG this time around.
Storage is more complicated. In the UK we get the standard V30, which has 64GB of on-board storage and a microSD slot for adding more later, should you run out. There’s also the V30+, which doubles that capacity to 128GB, but a microSD card will cost you significantly less cash.