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This year, LG buried the G Pro phablet brand in favor of the new moniker, the V series. First on the line is the LG V10, a flagship phablet offering new features on the table: two displays, dual front-facing camera, manual video controls, and new and durable design. Are these features enough to convince phablet consumers especially the ones coming from Galaxy Note and iPhone 6 Plus? Or will this make a great option for the new Sony phablet, Xperia Z5 Premium? Let’s find out in our in-depth review of LG V10.

What’s in the box?

Unboxing the retail box of the LG V10, you’ll find the V10 (our unit came in white with a copper accent), 3000mAh battery, stereo headset, data cable and 1.8A wall charger.

  • LG V10 with user-replaceable 3000mAh battery
  • Quad Beat 3 stereo headset
  • 1.8A power adapter
  • USB data cable (microUSB 2.0 / SlimPort 4K)
  • Manuals and starters

Design and build

The LG V10 features old and new design elements. Some of these include the rear keys, removable back cover, curved top and bottom, and thin bezels — all are also present on LG G4. The additions of stainless bars, dual front-facing cameras, and secondary display are new and add unique and distinctive design cues to the LG V10.

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Gone are the leather and metallic finish back covers, LG V10 makes a new room for the DuraSkin, which produces rubbery feel and great grip on the hands. The removable back cover gives access to the user-replaceable 3000mAh battery, microSD card slot and dual-SIM slots (NanoSIM). On the back, the fingerprint sensor is integrated at the power button and positioned along the camera ring and volume rocker. Both sides are left bare while all ports are positioned at the bottom with IR blaster situated on top of the side.

The fingerprint sensor works well when my fingers were not sweaty. However, it is not fast and accurate when compared to the LG Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P.

See also: Nexus 5X Review – One of the Androids I Wanna Buy

Meanwhile, the front area now accommodates two displays: the 5.7-inch and 2.1-inch on top. Alongside the secondary screen is dual front-facing cameras. It is quite confusing why LG didn’t occupy the entire side-to-side area for the secondary display resulting to uneven symmetry. Completing the tour, the light sensor and earpiece are found on top.

At 192 grams, the V10 feels big and heavy in the hand. But it is one of the most sturdy and solidly built devices I have reviewed and used. Its large profile is not ideal for one-handed use and that is true to all phablets.

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Build-wise, the LG V10 is undoubtedly a tank, however, its design is not a standout. Despite having those camera ring accent, rear keys, and metal bars at the sides, I still think the LG V10 lacks the premium touch compared to glass-and-metal made Galaxy Note5 or Xperia Z5 Premium. It was like LG put too many ingredients in a pot and didn’t cook it well, and that’s in the case of LG V10.

Display and viewing experience

The main display of LG V10 is measured at 5.7-inch diagonally and is coupled with 1440 x 2560 pixels QHD resolution (515ppi). Colors are accurate while pictures look clear and crisp with very good level of brightness, sharpness, and contrast. Sunlight legibility and viewing angles are on par with top-class LCD IPS displays in the market.

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However, it is on the vibrancy and vividness where the LG V10 fall short. The Quantum IPS display of V10 looks bland and dull especially when placed side-by-side to the Super AMOLED of Note5 or the 4K Bravia screen of Xperia Z5 Premium. We still prefer the punchy colors of Super AMOLED on Note5 and the 4K IPS LCD on Z5 Premium.

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The secondary display occupies the top portion at almost 3/4 of space with the two selfie cameras sitting beside it. The 2.1-inch LCD IPS screen comes with 160 x 1040 pixels. It is always-on and surely eats a portion of the battery life while providing shortcuts to most used apps and controls to the media player. It’s when the phone on sleep where the secondary display is dimmer while showing the time and notifications. Sometimes it is hard to read the time as the screen is too dim and the viewing angle of LCD is that great.

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There are times that we noticed the uneven back-lighting, which is quite a downgrade in design and style. But functionality-wise, it is very handy and quite useful for most of the time. It prevents you to switch windows when receiving calls or texts while watching videos and a lot more.

Camera in still and video shooting

Undoubtedly, the LG G4 is one of the best Android shooters we encountered that’s why we were excited when the V10 arrived. The latter packs the same 16MP sensor with wide f/1.8 aperture. Bundling the main sensor is an LED flash, color spectrum sensor, laser autofocus and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization). There is also 4K UHD video recording, and new to the V10 is the added manual controls in video mode where you can control shutter speed, ISO, audio microphone gain, positioning and many more.

As far as the quality is concerned, both daylight and low light shooting proved that LG V10 takes sharp and clear images. The level of detail preservation is top-notch, one that we hardly find in other phones. It is on the white balance and toning where the V10 is struggling. Most of the shots have off white balance making the images look warm.

On night shooting, images appear bright and with good noise level control. Flash lighting reproduction is quite yellow, which is again off from being natural and accurate.

There are two selfie cameras on the V10, one is a 5MP with a normal angle and the other is a 5MP with a wider angle intended for group selfies. Selfie images we’ve taken possess bright lighting and aggressive whitening and smoothening, thus, destroying the natural color images. The dual front-facing cameras is a good option for users, but I personally think LG should have focused on one selfie camera alone while making the quality more natural with mild modification on skin tone and texture (even when the beautify effect is off).

Shooting up to 4K UHD at 30fps, the V10 records very decent video. The colors are spot-on and the white balance is quite accurate compared to still shots. The level of detail preservation is really good with very crisp picture quality. We noticed some slight jello effect when panning and moving which to blame on the OIS. Also, the focusing speed is slow, but the transition to subjects is smooth.

See video comparison with FHD camera sample below

The options for manual shooting in video and still are a great offering. You could tweak audio level gain and positioning as well as other parameters in the video. This is really great for people that know photography a lot and those who want to experiment.

Both LG G4 and V10 offer the same quality in video and still imaging. Perhaps, the only big change in camera department is the manual video control. So if you’re up for great camera phone, we still recommend the LG G4.

Performance and benchmarks

Running on Android 5.1.1, performance and speed on LG V10 are on par with the LG G4. This is expected as both phablets are powered by the Snapdragon 808 hexacore chipset. The upgrade, internally, is the 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage, up from 3GB and 32GB of G4, respectively.

Benchmark rating

  • GeekBench 3: 769 single core, 2959 multi-core
  • AnTuTu: 41761
  • Basemark OS II: 1223

The LG V10 handles everything well from browsing to multitasking. It stutters very rarely and that only happened when switching to apps. The overall performance of LG V10 is smooth, fast and fluid.

Software and experience

The LG V10 comes with the same LG skinned-UI we saw from LG G4 few months back–home screens look flat and metro-ish with system settings and app launcher being quite cluttered. Although the overall design is still presentable, I still think that Optimus UX is dated and needs to be futuristic and minimal, and we’d wish that for LG to at least go close as to providing stock Android experience on the future.

Battery and charging speed

One of the cons of LG G4 back then was the battery life, and that is still true to the LG V10. We found that LG V10 would only last a day and a half, and sometimes just the entire day only and not reaching the second day in a full charge. Our standard video battery test produced around 8 hours and 30 minutes battery rating. Meanwhile, charging speed is one of the fastest in 2015 phones with an 80 minutes recorded time from 0 to 100%.

Battery and charging rate

  • Video Battery Test: 8 hours and 30 minutes
  • Moderate Battery Use: 1.5 days
  • Charging Speed: 80 minutes (0 to 100% using 1.8A charger)

Speaker and audio

The single or mono speaker positioned at the bottom produced loud and crisp audio output. Bass and treble are well-balanced and the overall sound level is loud. The V10 has one of the loudest speakers we’ve tested.

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The 32-bit DAC is first on LG series. I didn’t try the 32bit DAC audio feature of the V10 as it was hard finding my favorite songs running this bit depth. And yes, you can’t even find 32bit songs from Spotify, Google Music nor in iTunes. The new feature is mostly intended for audiophiles and recording artists.

Value and Verdict

The LG V10 is currently priced at around $650 USD outside in the Philippines while local price is estimated at sub Php 38,000 pesos. The official SRP is quite expensive considering that few months from now, a lot of new smartphones are going to enter the market.

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While Samsung and Sony stay focused on few features found on their phones, LG, on the other hand, was busy adding new stuff and finding the right mix on its devices. We found that LG V10 is a mixed bag because of the too much options, and some, not being 100% implemented well. One great example is the secondary display with not so even back-light and not perfect symmetry on top.

On the bright side, LG maintained some great functionality on V10: solid and shockproof body, user-replaceable battery, bright and clear display, and above all, the always-reliable 16MP shooter. All these makeup to the areas that felt short and put good value for your money.

LG V10 vs Xperia Z5 Premium Video Comparison down below

Pros of LG V10

  • Solid, sturdy build
  • Shock Resistance
  • Replaceable battery
  • Secondary display provides handy shortcuts and controls
  • 16MP camera is fast and takes sharp images
  • Manual controls in video and still shooting
  • Quick charging

Cons of LG V10

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Inaccurate flash color rendering
  • Fingerprint sensor doesn’t work well with sweaty hands
  • Design doesn’t stand out
  • LCD back-light on secondary screen is uneven and noticeable
  • Steep pricing
DisplayMain: 5.7-inch 1440p QHD Quantum IPS LCD, 515ppi Secondary: 2.1-inch LCD 160 x 1040
Size6.3mm-9.8mm thick, 155g weight
DesignGorilla Glass 4, Stainless Steel bars, Removable back cover, shock resistance
ColorsWhite, Beige, Blue, Black
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexacore
ProcessorDual-core 1.82GHz Cortex A57, Quad-core 1.44GHz Cortex 153
GraphicsAdreno 418 GPU
Memory4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, microSD card slot up to 200GB
Main Camera16MP f/1.8 laser autofocus, color spectrum sensor, auto HDR, 2160p video, OIS
Multimedia4K UHD video
Front camera8MP selfie camera, 1080p video
ConnectivityDual SIM, 4G LTE cat 6, WiFi ac, Bt 4.1, FM Radio, GPS, Wireless charging, Infrared for remote
OSAndroid 5.1.1 Lollipop
SoftwareOptimus UX 4.0
Battery3000mAh, Quick Charging
PortsmicroUSB 2.0/SlimPort
Official PriceP37,990 official price from LG Philippines
Availability date2015 November
Where to buyLG Philippines

LG V10 vs Sony Xperia Z5 Ultimate Comparison Video

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