Camera

Both are excellent camera phones. Secondary cameras are also great, but different: the wide-angle secondary cam on the V20 captures stunning landscapes, while the telephoto secondary cam on the iPhone is great for portraits.


While processors and other technologies are rapidly improving, it seems that it is the camera department, where we see major improvements and changes in recent years. This year has been particularly fruitful: the iPhone 7 Plus and LG V20 both feature dual rear camera systems, something practically unheard of before. However, their systems also differ substantially: Apple adds a secondary rear camera with 2x zoom and a nice bokeh mode for portraits, while LG’s secondary rear cam goes in the other direction to a super wide viewing angle that allows for stunning landscape pictures.

Technically, here are the camera specs: the iPhone 7 has a 12MP 1/3" main sensor with an f/1.8 28mm (35mm equivalent) lens and a smaller, 12MP 1/3.6” sensor with an f/2.8 56mm lens, while the LG V20 features a larger-than-the iPhone 16MP 1/2.6” main sensor with an f/1.8 29mm lens and a secondary, 8MP 1/3.2” sensor with an f/2.4 12mm lens.

Both phones feature noticeable camera bumps: the iPhone has embraced the bump with a more streamlined design, but the V20 takes the bump to the next level with a huge visor-like design. Early tests show that the glass protecting the whole camera setup on the V20 is easy to shatter, so we recommend extra caution with it.


The camera app on the iPhone 7 Plus is delightfully simple: you can easily tweak exposure, but there are no further manual controls (but there are third-party apps for that). The LG V20 camera app comes with different modes: you can use the similarly simple auto mode, or go for full-on manual controls for maximum flexibility.

What you’ve come here for, however, is to learn not about just specs, but about the actual image quality.

Let’s do this differently this time around: we will comment on a few pictures one by one to point out the differences.

#1: Landscapes: the woods, creating space with a wide-angle camera


We captured a few pictures on our way back from lunch. The office is located just outside the city in an asphalt-laden industrial zone, but there is this small strip of trees that almost looks like you’re in the woods. Color on both pictures here look beautiful: the cold blue winter skies, the warm foliage, it’s a good-looking picture on both phones. However, you can really underline the scale of the place by capturing it all with the secondary camera on the LG V20. The 12mm super wide shooter allows you to capture something that is much more memorable than the regular cameras. Sure, that picture has a ton of distortion at the edges and is not technically as perfectly detailed, but it’s much more impactful.


#2: Portrait mode: one big difference


Let’s jump straight to the iPhone 7 Plus secondary rear camera now. Apple calls it a telephoto lens and bundles it with a Portrait mode that blurs the background to make your subject stand out. In reality, it’s not a telephoto lens in photographic terms, it’s a normal, 56mm lens, where normal in photog’s lingo means that it gives you a perspective close to what your eyes are seeing. While this lens is of little use in landscapes like the previous one, you can use it for people portraits and shots of flowers, pets, toys, and a ton more. It’s particularly good in those cases because a wider lens like the ones usually used on phones distort facial features and make for ugly, oversized noses in portraits (for example).

While you can use it in the regular photo mode, we strongly recommend you use the new Portrait mode. It gives beautiful, creamy backgrounds and makes a dramatic difference. Portraits look stunning. Pets looks stunning. Flowers looks stunning. Portrait mode is technically for portraits, but you can use it for much more. See what it can do in the samples, it really is something special.



#3: Dynamics


When you’re shooting against the sun (you should try to avoid that, but people do it all the time), it’s usually extra hard to get a good image. The reason is that the sun is too bright and it makes all other objects look way too dark. Being able to capture a balanced image where the phone sees that and adjusts accordingly, means that it has a good dynamic range, the ability to capture a lot of subtlety between the very brightest and darkest of an image.

The iPhone is a clear winner here: notice how the V20 makes the building indistinguishable, which turns the image to be almost unusable, while the iPhone judges the situation correctly and produces a good-looking image.


#4: Challenging color: getting the white balance right


While we got good colors on most pictures with both phones, we saw a few pictures, where the LG V20 got confused. The Porsche badge in particular is bad: the V20 made it overly cold, with unappealing and unrealistic colors, while the iPhone was able to get much more pleasing colors. In a few other cases, the LG went for unrealistic, way too cold colors.


#5: Selfie


The LG supports a wide capture for group selfies, as well as a regular view and it captures fairly good-looking images with pleasing colors. The iPhone lacks a group selfie view, but the regular selfie looks better than what you get on the V20: detail is much sharper, you can actually see the skin detail (while it is almost completely blurred on the V20) color is a bit better balanced, and there is a lot more background blur that is crucial to a good selfie.

The iPhone also has the Live Photos option that captures a moment before and after the image, and animates your otherwise still photograph memories. The V20 lacks such a cool feature.





Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 1.33
2.01
No data
No data
LG V20 1.5
2.7
No data
No data

In terms of video quality, both phones record 4K video at 30 frames per second. The bit-rate on both is around 45 Mbps, but the iPhone has the much better looking footage. Its big advantage is in the faster and more consistent auto-focus that does not hunt for focus, but locks on your subject quickly and changes fast when the situation requires it. Video stabilization is also superior on the iPhone, and overall it does a bit better in terms of detail and has slightly punchier colors. The LG V20 is definitely not far behind, though: it has one of the most pleasant and realistic colors on a smartphone, and unlike many other devices, it does not go for a ton of artificial oversaturation.


Multimedia and sound quality

Hi-res audio will please music professionals, but for the regular users, the difference is almost imperceptible. Then again, the iPhone does not have a 3.5mm jack. #donglelife


The big story about the LG V20 is that it has not one, but four DACs (digital-to-analog converters), a key component for good audio quality, with low noise and less distortion. The audio amplifier inside the V20 is also capable of driving professional-grade headphones, which require a lot of power. This is a nice thing to have, but it will affect mostly audio professionals and enthusiasts that listen to lossless or very high quality audio files on expensive headphones. With regular phones and regular music services, the difference with the iPhone 7 Plus is very hard to notice for the regular user.

It’s also nice that the V20 has three high-performance microphones that are fine-tuned to be able to record loud music without clipping. This makes the V20 a great tool for capturing not just videos, but also the audio at a concert, club or other loud venues.

Apple has a new speaker system in the iPhone 7 Plus: along with the traditional bottom-firing speaker, there is now a secondary, forward-facing speaker built right in the earpiece. This helps make sound louder and more impactful. The LG V20, on the other hand, has a single bottom-firing speaker that provides decent quality, but is a bit less loud and clear than on the iPhone.

Then again, we go back to the lack of a 3.5mm headset jack on the iPhone 7 Plus. It’s an omission that will affect many: those who already have a set of good 3.5mm headphones, those who plug in their phone to the AUX port on their car, or those who play to their home sound system directly via a phone.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 0.992
LG V20 0.99
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 77.4
LG V20 72


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16 Comments

16. Jessie24

Posts: 1; Member since: May 17, 2017

I think whoever wrote this had their own opinion that the iPhone 7 is better. I used to own a lg v20 then switched to the iPhone 7. I personally think that the lg v20 was better.

14. DwysWysd

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 23, 2017

No difference in call Quality what in the world are you guys talking about? I live in a frenzy area my girlfriend iPhone 7 plus gets about 10 to 20% better Fringe Zone antenna gain in addition to the same topic the speakerphone on the LG is horrendous just as bad as the earpiece at any volumes above 50% you will know it is crackling in the audio which is so hypocritical as the LG boasts fancy high definition recording and Playback for audiophiles, of course using headphones. The iPhone 7S Nuttall Lane has increased their speaker output by 50% but they also use the earpiece in conjunction to provide a phenomenal speaker phone and audio playback for both phone calls and all other audio. You guys really need to get with it go online and read about all the horrendous reviews regarding the built-in speakers of the LG v20 which I'm on the cusp of returning.

11. shnibz

Posts: 523; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

Love the V20! Best phone LG has made since the amazing G2.

9. aljololzz

Posts: 85; Member since: Nov 07, 2016

both phones are great

3. Takeharu

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

A plus for the iPhone is: "Rich app and game ecosystem". Please tell how this doesn't apply to the V20?!

5. Bankz

Posts: 2555; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

You know this is true why even denying it. For a start, does android have the state of the art infinity blade? Which platform recieves game titles or updates first? Which platform are games more optimized for? Let's be honest here. But of course the android fans will come out in droves to give you a thumbs up because they're always against anything against android whether good or bad.

6. Takeharu

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

I prefer the app store over the Play Store for the reasons you listed (as they are true). However the Android ecosystem is just as rich as iOS, hell Android has more apps in their store than Apple so I think it's a bulls**t pro.

8. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

"But of course the android fans will come out in droves to give you a thumbs up because they're always against anything against android whether good or bad" You mean like apple fans do for Apple. Also who was just listed as the worst phone for app crashes.

10. sgodsell

Posts: 7676; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

They don't need to come and comment on how vast and robust Android's ecosystem is. A number of iPhone users would always talk about iOS having more apps in general. Now Android beats iOS and it's done this for a while now. They would always say that apps would arrive first and Android users would have to wait a long time before they arrive if ever. However the same is also true for Android apps. Especially in the utilities and tools area. Many of those types of apps NEVER came to iOS. Now when it comes to games, there was no mention of VR type games or apps in general. Oh, wait that's right VR apps suck on iPhones, because Apples retina display means jack when it comes to VR. Not to mention you can get emulators and other types of games that iPhone users can only obtain if they jailbreak their iPhones.

7. xchatter

Posts: 44; Member since: Mar 25, 2013

Like the statement about voice quality - "we did not find any problems, but the iphone seemed a bit clearer". But get used to reviews like this. Unprepared people doing subjective reviews. Smart guys can do the research and comparison to get a realistic picture. Don't mind this stuff.

15. DwysWysd

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 23, 2017

Absolutely horrendous audio reproduction for speakerphone or audio use and any volumes about 50% it's all crackling both in the earpiece and speakerphone.

13. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

On the number of apps, they are fairly similar. Quality however unfortunately App Store is the winner.

2. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Im currently a v20 user that came from the note 7. Its an amazing phone and i was surprised by how good of a job they did on the lcd panel this time. I changed the theme to high contrast and boom it looms amazing.

12. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Its quite rare to see praises from ex Samsung users.

1. XDAdam

Posts: 276; Member since: Feb 03, 2016

You mean... the iPhone won the battle?!? *GASP* However, all iPhoneareana jokes aside... LG has been second rate as of late and I really wish they would step it up to force more competition from all the major players.

4. Bankz

Posts: 2555; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Don't know if its just me but LG has actually been retrogressing since the G2. Yet, somehow PA decided that this was a battle we were looking for. They also did well with the V10 tho, let me admit.

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