This is the LG V10, the smartphone with very little sacrifices. I've been using the LG V10 as my daily driver for well over a month now. I've been using it to update social media sites, connect to my Smart Home appliances, control my TV, give me turn-by-turn directions and much more. There's a lot to talk about so let's start with the pros.
The LG V10 is a very well-built device that could definitely take a beating. It features stainless steel bars on the left and right hand side of the device that give it a very unusual feel in the hand. Unusual in a good way. I don't know why but it makes me want to flip this smartphone up in the air. Don't ask me why. I just do it all the time.
While a vast majority of flagship smartphones have done away with removable batteries, microSD card slots and IR blasters, the V10 has all three of these things. I especially like how LG didn't remove the IR blaster. It's these little bells and whistles that make the V10 a very well-rounded device.
The display is absolutely a pro. It's a 5.7-inch IPS LCD panel with a 1440x2560 resolution and very thin bezels. While I would much rather prefer an AMOLED display, the LG V10 does feature (I would say) one of the best LCD panels on the market. It's very bright outdoors and the display's a very rich color palette; not very vibrant colors but rich and bold colors.
The Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of on-board flash storage are also pros. It features some of the most powerful internal specs for a smartphone of 2015, which basically translates to a very snappy performance overall. I think the biggest issue it has is running the software, which we'll talk more about later.
The LG V10 also does feature a 16MP rear-facing camera sensor with an f1.8 aperture, a laser autofocus sensor, Optical Image Stabilization and an LED flash. It is identical to the sensor found in the LG G4 but that's absolutely a good thing. It's one of the best camera sensors on the market. It's on par with the sensor found in the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, Note 5 or S6 edge+ in terms of image quality. I think one could easily make the case and crown it the best smartphone camera sensor on the market as it features full manual controls on the photo side of things as well as the video side of things. So what this means is that you can control the White Balance, the manual focus, ISO, shutter speed and even the direction of the microphones. LG has thought of everything here. If you're shooting outdoors and there's a lot of wind, add the Wind Noise Filter or turn down the decibels. You just cannot really find manual settings to this degree on any other smartphone. If you're a beginning YouTuber, you'll definitely like these features.
The front-facing camera sensors are also unique in that there are two of them-- one for a narrow field of view to capture selfies of yourself and one for a wide field of view to capture selfies of you and your friends or group of friends. I honestly think we could have done with just one wide angle sensor but I guess it is nice to have options.
Battery life is solid. You can expect to get around 3.5 hours of on-screen time with the 3000mAh battery. The reaoson why the battery life is a pro is because you can easily swap it out for a new battery or you use fast charging to charge the V10 to 50% in about 40 minutes. LG even has a promotion running that allows you to receive a fresh, 3000mAh battery with a charging cradle and a microSD card for expandable storage. That's pretty awesome.
Now it's very rare that I like a speaker that is not front-facing but the LG V10 bottom-facing speaker is surprisingly loud and clear. It's not great but it's one of the better bottom-facing speakers I've heard.
Okay now we get to talk about the not so great things about the LG V10. The things that I have not really enjoyed so much. First, we have the software. Fun fact, I switched to the LG V10 from the Huawei Nexus 6P, which runs stock Android. The LG V10 does not run stock Android. It runs nothing like stock Android. It's a very heavy skin on top of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and it's horribly clunky. I mean for a smartphone with 4GB of RAM and a hexa-core processor, it should run flawlessly. It's a bit hard to explain coming from stock Android but the LG V10 is certainly not buttery smooth unfortunately. Thankfully, I haven't adjusted to the OS a little more after a couple of weeks of using it but the software could use some work. If the V10 ran a near stock Android OS, it would easily be a contender for probably the best smartphone of 2015. But since the OS is so unoptimized and reminiscent of an early build of TouchWiz, it has moved down the list.
The second display has really defined the LG V10 in the marketing department. However, it's really not that practical. I mean, it's hard to reach being on top of the main display. And because of this it's unintuitive and it quite simply doesn't offer many unique features. The ability to free up space by displaying notifications on a second display is nice. The shortcut apps are kind of nice. The best feature is the self-deprecating branding that I can display at all times when reviewing this device, just kidding. After a month of using the V10, I primarily used the second display for accessing quick settings when the main display is asleep. LG did, however, equip the second display with an AMOLED panel, which ultimately saves some battery life since it is always on. You can always turn it off in the settings if you like. But it only affects battery life by about 5 percent of charge.
The LG V10 features a fingerprint scanner on the back of the device on the power button. It's the worst fingerprint scanner I've ever used on a smartphone. It's so bad I almost wish it were removed altogether to avoid all the frustration I get trying to unlock my phone with it. I would say it works like 50% of the time, if you're lucky. It's that bad. I mean, granted when it does work, it's pretty fast to unlock your phone. But it doesn't work very often. That's really the gist of the LG V10.
Overall, it's a very good choice if you're in the market for a smartphone, I would personally consider it over the competition for the camera, the removable battery, expandable storage and IR blaster. It's the most well-rounded smartphone on the market even if its software does need work and the second display isn't very practical or intuitive. You'll be hard pressed to find a flagship smartphone with as many features as the LG V10, whether those features perform as well as the competition, that's the question in a lot of areas they do not. But it's a matter of quantity of features versus quality of features and that's for you to decide.