Cameras, Cameras Everywhere

LG V40 ThinQ.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Despite being announced back in October last year, LG’s V40 ThinQ has only just become available in Singapore. The phone’s selling point is that it’s the first phone to sport five cameras – three on the rear, and two in front – but is it a case of too little, too late?

Design-wise, the V40 doesn’t look that different from the G7 ThinQ, or any other number of flagship smartphones from last year. It has a 6.4-inch P-OLED screen with a notch in it, a glass back with curved edges and a fingerprint scanner, and an aluminum frame. The glass back has a matte finish that is smooth and resistant to fingerprints, but it’s also a little slippery. Despite its large screen, the phone is surprisingly light, weighing in at just 169g, and it’s also quite thin at 7.6mm. Like all of LG’s V series phones, it is MIL-STD-810G compliant and has an IP68 rating.

Like its predecessors, the V40 retains the 3.5mm headphone jack, and it also as a 32-bit Quad DAC for superior audio quality.

LG has been criticized for the quality of some of its P-OLED displays in the past, but the V40’s display is actually quite good. It has vivid colors and good brightness, and doesn’t suff er from the hazy effect that plagued previous LG displays. At 3,120 x 1,440 pixels resolution (~537ppi) it off ers great clarity, and it’s also HDR10 and Dolby Vision compatible so you can watch your favorite HDR videos on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

The standout feature of the V40 is its five cameras. The triple-lens setup on the rear consists of a primary 12-megapixel f/1.5 camera, a 12-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens camera and a 16-megapixel f/1.9 ultrawideangle lens. The camera app lets you easily switch between each focal length by tapping an icon. There’s also a Triple Shot mode that shoots the same scene using all three focal lengths, one after the other, then stitches the three images together to create a short slideshow. LG’s default camera app has a few other tricks too, there’s a Cine Shot mode that lets you create a cinemagraph, i.e. a still photo with a small part of the image animated, and a Super Bright Camera mode that lets you take better pictures in the dark. Image quality from the rear camera is pretty good, with clean details and good dynamic range. There’s a bit of over-processing evident if you zoom into the shot but it’s generally acceptable. Low-light performance is decent, with well-controlled noise and fairly sharp details. The auto-focus in low-light is fairly fast and accurate too.

As for the front camera, you get two of them: an 8-megapixel f/1.9 lens and a 5-megapixel f/2.2 wideangle lens for group selfies. Image quality from the main lens is much better, and the wideangle is a little too wide, with some slight but noticeable distortion at the edges.

Despite being released in 2019, the V40 is still running on Android 8.1, and there’s no word yet on an update to Android 9.0. The V40 is also skinned with LG’s UX 7.1 skin, which removes the app drawer and places all apps on the home screen, iOS style.

The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB RAM. While the 845 is still a powerful processor, it’s about to be replaced by Qualcomm’s new 855 processor.

Battery life on the V40 could be better too. The phone has a fairly modest 3,300mAh battery, and lasted just 9 hours and 12 minutes, much shorter than most of its rivals (for comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Note9 lasted over 13 hours). On the plus side, the V40 does support wireless charging, and fast charging via through Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 4.0 standard.

My Reading Room

There’s a dedicated Google Assistant button on the left  side of the phone

Versatile cameras and a lightweight build, but you’re better off  waiting for 2019’s flagship phones.
My Reading Room
The V40 ThinQ is one of the last flagship phones left with a 3.5mm headphone port
My Reading Room