The IFA 2017 tech expo is underway in Berlin and LG has kicked off with the launch of its LG V30 flagship smartphone, the successor to last year's LG V20. With high-end audio, a top-spec camera, and a huge screen, it has the quality to take on the best phones on the market – on paper at least.
In recent years LG has begun releasing what you might call a conventional flagship (that's the LG G6 for 2017) followed by a more experimental and ambitious model – hence the LG V30 we have here. While the V-series may lack the mass appeal of LG's standard flagships, these phones pack in a whole host of interesting extras and tweaks.
In the case of the LG V30 that means upgraded Hi-Fi 32-bit Quad DAC audio capabilities courtesy of Bang & Olufsen, a giant 6-inch OLED screen with a 1,440 x 2,880 resolution, and a more rounded and curved design than the LG G6 that preceded it. That screen supports Dolby Vision and HDR10, too, so movies, TV shows, and photos should look their best.
During its launch event LG spent a lot of time extolling the virtues of the V30's camera, and around the back the dual-lens snapper marries a 16 MP lens with a 13 MP wide-angle one. As we'd already heard from LG, the 16 MP lens features a large F1.6 aperture, a new benchmark for a smartphone, which should allow in more light than ever and lead to some decent low-light shots.
LG says those photos will look even better because the V30 camera makes use of a glass, rather than a plastic, lens in front of its 16 MP sensor – though as ever, a phone camera can't really be judged by its specs alone.
Meanwhile, moviemakers are catered for with the new CineShot mode, which includes features like color presets for overlaying on top of your footage, and Point Zoom, which makes locking focus and zooming in and out easier. Optical Image Stabilization is included, as is a hybrid laser-focusing system.
The second screen featured on the LG V20 – a small bar atop the phone's main display – has been ditched and replaced by a floating bar that you can enable or disable in the software. LG's skinned version of Android 7.1.2 Nougat is on board, so we would hope an Oreo update will be on the way soon.
The phone features the same bezel-busting, 18:9 Full Vision display that LG used on the LG G6, so the screen is taller (or wider) than normal. Inside you've got the Snapdragon 835 processor and 4 GB of RAM, pretty much the standard for a flagship phone this year.
On top of that it boasts an IP68 rating for full dust and water resistance, packs in 64 GB of storage (expandable via a microSD card), and is fitted with a 3,300 mAh battery that can be charged wirelessly. The phone uses a USB-C port for charging and data transfer, and there's still a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the top.
If you need even more space, the LG V30+ comes with 128 GB of it, and will be available in selected markets. Both varieties of the phone are Daydream-ready, so you can use them with Google's mobile VR platform and the Daydream View headset, and Google Assistant is on board too.
We're still waiting for a confirmed price for the LG V30 and LG V30+ – which will ultimately determine just how compelling these phones are – but it goes on sale in South Korea on September 21 and will launch in North America, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East after that. Your choice of oddly named colors is Aurora Black, Cloud Silver, Moroccan Blue and Lavender Violet.