LG announced a brand-new smartphone called Wing that allows users to twist and turn its dual display screens. It’s cutting edge and has an inbuilt gimbal – but what’s missing from all the recent LG smartphone launches is the clout that Samsung has when it releases an innovative new mobile device.
Recently, however, LG released the Velvet: a smartphone that has to be one of the best value for money mid-premium phones in the market. A 5G device with an OLED screen, it stands out from the pack and is a real competitor to what Samsung has to offer – the missing ingredient is marketing and a big dose of support for a device that is up there with the best of breed.
LG is known for its premium TVs and OLED display technology, which is found in Sony, Hisense, and TCL TVs. It’s also a market leader in the appliance market because of the quality built into its products, which are often backed by 10-year warranties.
I have to admit that in 10 years of reviewing LG smartphones I have yet to come across a dud – but despite my praises, LG smartphones don’t have the same success as an Apple or a Samsung device simply because LG expects them to sell themselves.
Its mobile devices are the hidden gem of the smartphone world and, if anything, LG should hand the range over to a distributor who can work with carriers and retailers such as JB Hi Fi, who are currently ranging the latest LG Velvet.
Selling for $899, the Velvet is an ultra-stylish, future-proofed handset that won’t break the bank. It’s light (180g) and super thin, at under 10 centimetres.
The first thing you notice is that the 6.8-inch curved OLED screen is crystal clear and beautifully sculptured into the device, which also has a pearl white glass back giving it that quality feel. The display is restricted to 60Hz, however, and if you want 120Hz for gaming you are going to have to pay more. There is also a teardrop camera in the centre-front, which is not really noticeable and is far from offensive.
There is also nothing shabby about the device’s performance, which is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G – not the top end processor normally found in a $1,500+ phone. One of the key elements is that the Snapdragon 765G did everything I wanted it to do when watching NRL football via v Foxtel app feed or when watching Netflix. In fact, I doubt that most people would notice the difference between Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 and the 765G. The 4,300mAh battery is also impressive, delivering a good day and a half of performance.
I also like the fact that it a 24-bit audio device that has a 3.5mm jack for headphones. Where this device really excelled was when you played music back from the likes of Tidal. Hooked up to a pair of Bowers and Wilkins headphones or the new JBL buds, the sound is exceptional, especially as it plays back 24bit lossless files – you can also toggle the Apt-X Lossless codec to trade between super-high-quality audio and 16-bit audio.
The phone has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage. Memory options are also covered with the option of being able to slot in next to the SIM a microSD card, which can handle up to 2TB. I see this as being redundant, though, especially as one can use a Google, Dropbox, or Microsoft cloud storage solution for all files as well as the storage of images.
The Velvet’s buttons are on the side and easy to access, and above all the device feels good in the hand and has rounded edges – unlike the new $1,900 Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra, which has sharp edges that can be an irritant after a while when holding it in your hand. It runs on the LG UX 9 skin of the Android 10 operating system, and I was able to easily customise the home page, setting up folders for both business and entertainment. I also liked the premium haptic feedback touches on the navigation bar.
Finally, the Velvet has three lenses on the rear: a 48MP wide, an 8MP ultra-wide, and a 5MP depth sensor. On the front is a 16MP selfie camera. Like past LG smartphones, the wide angle seriously delivered, and where it has a weakness is when you come to zoom – this is pretty average when compared to the more expensive Samsung devices.
This is a value for market device that is well worth the $899 JB Hi Fi asking price.
It delivers all the basics, is smart, and the networking and 5G speeds are good. The camera delivers good images, and for those who commute, you have one of the best inbuilt sound systems. The Velvet is waterproof, supports wireless charging and has fingerprint recognition on the screen, which is not the case with the new Motorola Edge device which is $100 more expensive.
- Processor that delivers
- Wireless Charging
- Needs a cover
- Needs better low-light shooting capability
- I miss the standard buttons on the bottom of the screen found on most Android devices