LG V10 Review


For the last couple of years, the G Pro line has been LG's answer to Samsung's Galaxy Note phablets. Unlike Samsung's Notes, however, LG's G Pro phones just didn't seem to strike a chord with consumers who were on the lookout for a super-sized smartphone. Perhaps, it was the lack of any major distinguishing features that prevented the G Pro from being noticed by the wider audience. Maybe, simply having an extra-large display was no longer enough to secure the win in the phablet category. Maybe, LG needed to come up with its own S-Pen-kind-of-feature that would make its device stand out from the hordes of Note-wannabes. You know what? It might have come up with just that.

While initially it might appear to be just another experimental device from LG, the new V10 jumbo smartphone might very well take the place of the uninspiring G Pro line for good. Here's the deal: the LG V10 may have just a marginally larger screen than that of the LG G4, but it comes with a unique trick of its own: a secondary display that's always on to show you the time and date, notifications, or next calendar event. Could this be the special ingredient to make phablets work for LG?

Note: We're reviewing the South Korean model of the LG V10. It's basically identical to the global one, though some minor aspects of the experience might vary from region to region.

In the box:

  • LG V10
  • Wall charger (5V or 9V, 1.8A)
  • USB cable
  • Quad Beat 3 earphones
  • Papers



Design

A bunch of good ideas, marred by materials that are too ordinary, and boring colors

The LG V10 feels like a very different smartphone from the G4. While LG's top device is gently curved, compact and soft (especially if it's outfitted with any of the leather back options), the V10 is flat, large and sturdy. This is, unmistakably, the phablet in LG's line-up. It bears some of the company's typical design characteristics, like the minimal top and bottom bezels, as well as the power and volume buttons situated on the rear, but it's by no means a larger version of the G4.

The V10's exterior design is a mixed bag. It's thoughtfully shaped, good-looking even, but the materials and colors that finish off the package are rather bland. Worst is the back side, which looks and feels surprisingly rough. After the delicate, sophisticated leather designs that LG introduced with the G4, it's strange to see it revert to a cheapo, rubbery plastic for the V10. The available color variants also fail to hit the right notes, not least because they are boring.

But the shape of the phone is appealing, while the unique stainless steel bars on the flanks add a much-needed element of elegance to the body. They are a really cool idea, because 1) they look good and different from what's out there, and 2) they aren't as slippery as the rest of the phone, due to their smooth, glossy finish. The V10 has a well-balanced appearance, but sadly, the same cannot be said about its weight, as this overly large phone ultimately comes off as a bit top-heavy. It's not the most comfortable handset to hold and work with, but it's tolerable.

LG is staying true to its 'rear keys' concept, and that's OK, because getting used to their offbeat positioning isn't so difficult. What we can't get used to, however, is the unpleasant wobbliness of the power/lock key, which doesn't feel particularly well crafted. The good news is that it now doubles as a fingerprint scanner, which works well. There's the odd failed reading attempt at times, but the success rate is still high enough.

LG V10

LG V10

Dimensions

6.28 x 3.12 x 0.34 inches

159.6 x 79.3 x 8.6 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

Google Nexus 6P

Google Nexus 6P

Dimensions

6.27 x 3.06 x 0.29 inches

159.3 x 77.8 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.28 oz (178 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

LG V10

LG V10

Dimensions

6.28 x 3.12 x 0.34 inches

159.6 x 79.3 x 8.6 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

Google Nexus 6P

Google Nexus 6P

Dimensions

6.27 x 3.06 x 0.29 inches

159.3 x 77.8 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.28 oz (178 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

The LG V10's secondary display is a neat idea that needs better execution.

Equipped with a 5.7” panel, the V10 is undoubtedly for the fans of extra-large screens. Resolution is extremely high, at 1440 x 2560 pixels, which tastes like an overkill even for this screen size, but we'd rather not take part in them specs wars. Bottom line is that legibility is great.

The IPS LCD screen LG has used looks good, but is too contrasty – it doesn't appear all that natural. The same goes for the color balance: it suffers from a desperate need of red, but this is a need we know will never be fulfilled, so the V10's screen will remain as it is for the remaining time of its lifespan: cold and blue. By itself, it doesn't necessarily come off as lifeless, but once you compare it against a quality screen that has even the faintest respect for colors, you'll immediately notice its disadvantage. Check out the measurements we've done in the chart below: the high color temperature, high gamma, and high delta E values all corroborate our observations.

But it's not all bad: outside visibility is good enough, while reading in the dark won't destroy your vision, thanks to the satisfying minimum brightness level.

These days, everyone's looking to have some sort of gimmick – something to produce hype and draw interest towards the product. Samsung's Galaxy Note has the S Pen, Apple's iPhone 6s Plus has Live Photos, HTC used to put two rear cameras in its phones...

Now, LG has one in the V10 as well: a secondary screen! It's a short LCD panel strip that's fitted right above the main display. Yeah, right next to the duo of selfie cameras... If this is getting a bit weird, don't worry – there's nothing too complex to wrap your head around here. It's all fairly simple, actually.


Apparently, the 5.7” display of the V10 does not provide enough screen space for LG's software designers to fit everything they want, so a second panel is in order. Users who aren't into the idea of it can turn it off, because it provides only auxiliary functions, but why would you buy a V10 if you're going to avoid its standout feature? Anyway, the small, second display is always-on. When the phone is sleeping, the second display continues to work, displaying the time and date, as well as any notifications that may arrive. It's a fun, useful concept, but also one that feels severely compromised.

The second display is LCD, meaning there's a back-light that's always working to make it visible. This tends to consume more power than an OLED display used in the same manner, because OLED displays can light up only certain pixels, leaving the rest completely off, saving power. Because of this, LG is keeping the back-light of the second LCD screen relatively low, because it's not supposed to waste too much battery power. The end-result is this: when the phone is in sleep, the secondary display is so dim, it's hardly visible with the phone lying on a table, not least because LCD screens lose brightness and contrast when looked from an angle, unlike OLEDs, which experience color shifts, but stay bright and easily visible. So, LG's decision to use an LCD panel for the secondary screen is perplexing, to say the least. It also makes for an awkward appearance in the dark, when the dedicated and not so even back-light becomes evident. It's not a big issue, but one that takes away from the V10's already limited stock of “elegance” points.


User experience and secondary screen

LG's software lets you tweak almost everything, but its default state isn't particularly smart.

The LG-made Android 5.1 software running on the V10 is incredibly flexible, customizable, versatile, powerful even. In short, it's a mess.

It looks like LG wants to let you tweak each and every single aspect of the user interface and its behavior. At first, this may be a fun game to play, but it quickly gets tiring and tedious. Giving the user access to such overwhelming levels of customization has become LG's way of escaping responsibility for its design decisions. You don't like the size of the on-screen keyboard? Well, simply change it! Not a fan of the default sounds for calls and notifications? Choose others then! The Email app isn't formatted clearly? There's got to be a few options in there that will let you tweak things a bit...

Our point is, the default state of a big chunk of the LG V10's software isn't particularly smart, or tasteful. The portrait keyboard is tolerable, but the landscape keyboard's design and positioning are terrible. The list of keyboard settings is like an endless labyrinth – they never end! Sooner or later, you'll want to just hit the home button and escape from the horror of it. At least it has a Swype-type input built in, which works well.

Once you set your email account up in the Email application, it defaults to manual refresh. After a few missed messages, we felt something wasn't right, thus finding out this weird default setting. And don't get us started on the design of the Email app itself – it's mind-bogglingly amateurish, lacking simply formatting touches to make browsing through the list of messages easier, let alone pleasant. What's even worse is that you can't adjust server directories – something that you DO want to have a setting for. For people who's work duties involve regular email usage, this client is no good.

There are other nuisances we can talk about, like the extremely poor choice of wallpapers the LG V10 offers, but we'd rather not. The main takeaway, as far as LG's software experience goes, is that more often than not, you can get it to act well enough, but it'll take time and effort on the user's side, which isn't a price we're looking to pay.


This doesn't necessarily apply to the way the secondary screen functions. Most of the time, it gets its job done pretty well without requiring too much input from the user. It is designed to complement whatever is on screen with extra functionality or quick shortcuts to various other features, which is cool. You can hold a bunch of things there, like some of your favorite contacts, or favorite apps, or next calendar event, but our favorite function is the recent apps pane. With it, it's like you constantly have an app switcher on hand – it'll be very practical for heavy users.

During the time we spent with the V10, found the secondary display to be a handy little tool. However, we aren't sure if the added functionality warrants the need for an additional display. 5.7 inches are a lot of screen space, maybe LG should have worked on utilizing it in a smarter way with its software, rather than put a second screen. At the very least, apps like QMemo+ (that's the notes app, by the way), don't need to use such gigantic font sizes, especially on a 5.7” QHD display. Seriously, with the on-screen keyboard drawn out, you can see just a few lines of text – considerably less than what you see in the iPhone's Notes app, where the screen is smaller, and the resolution is lower. And don't even think about working with notes in landscape – you'll be left with 2-3 lines of gigantic text on the screen. It's pretty bad design.

System performance

LG's fastest smartphone to date.

The LG V10 is a high-end smartphone, but the chipset powering it is not the strongest one around. Same as on the G4, it's the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 – a six-core CPU configuration that strikes a good balance between performance and efficiency. The weak element here is the Adreno 418 GPU, which has traditionally provided decent, but not great results.

First, before most, though, we're concerned with the system interface performance, and here, we want to congratulate LG for the huge improvement over the G4. Granted that the hardware is the same on both, it has to be the software that LG has worked to optimize, and the result is commendable. The LG V10 impresses with very fast response times and minimal lag, which makes it one of the fastest Android phones around. There's the occasional delay, but those seem to be few and far between, so they don't hamper the experience at all. In that sense, using the V10 is a pleasure.

Had LG been more level-headed and gone with 1080 x 1920, we can imagine that 3D games would have performed pretty well too, but at 1440 x 2560, the Adreno 418 GPU is starting to show its limitations. Not that anything's unplayable, it's just that frame rates could have been considerably better in more demanding titles like the new Order & Chaos 2, or Angry Birds 2. When it comes to popular apps, such as Facebook, YouTube, or Viber, the V10 doesn't leave you wanting for performance.

AnTuTu is a multi-layered, comprehensive mobile benchmark app that assesses various aspects of a device, including CPU, GPU, RAM, I/O, and UX performance. A higher score means an overall faster device.

Higher is better
LG V10
46905.33
Google Nexus 6P
60007
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
67207
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
58664
Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)
51822


FEATURED VIDEO

166 Comments

1. eN16HTMAR3

Posts: 253; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

Damn. Ouch to LG for sure on this one. The G3 was nice. G4 was basically the same phone and then they just dropped the ball altogether with this model it sounds like.

2. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

The most appealing thing about their phones are body to screen ratios. They make a 5.5" phone feel like a 5.0" They just need a slightly better design and better specs for more recognition.

116. belialh

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 03, 2015

As an LG G3 & G2 user I completely agree with what you've just said.

124. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

You mean they used to have good screen to body ratio :( sadly the G4 is bigger than G3 even though they have same screen size. And V10 is bigger than Note5 even though they have same size screen. LG don't seem to be focusing on slim bezels like they used to.

132. utazdevl

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 04, 2014

You are mistaken. The Note 5 does have a 5.7 inch screen, like the V10, but the V10 also has a second screen that measures 2.1 inches. When you account for the extra screen the V10 is more efficient with its screen space than the Note 5. The bezels on the V10 are minuscule and as small as I have seen on a phone with the V10's high end specs.

156. iushnt

Posts: 3127; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

If that secondary display was integrated to the main display then it would make sense. But since you can only view 5.7 inch as the main display, its not on par with its predecessors or Note 5. Its like HTC has a great screen to body ratio if you consider the boom sound speakers

192. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 926; Member since: May 07, 2014

Speakers are not display. The second screen is still a screen.

12. BORIS070

Posts: 67; Member since: Aug 13, 2015

Numbers on paper mean nothing, can have 100,000 AnTuTu score ...it is known that Samsung railroading the results of the AnTuTu test , when notes 5 and every other samsung when touchfiz bags and lags after a short time, note5 is cluttered with bloatware, plus you have to use the cloud to note 5 because it does not support memory expansion, samsung you looking and spying data and files in the cloud. The truth is very painful

43. xdza1979

Posts: 296; Member since: Aug 08, 2015

The truth is that you are an idiot who doesnt have a note 5, I have a note 5 and its the fastest phone i have ever used, TW is pretty much slimmed down severely, and you can disabled or uninstall most of the apps, even after countless apps and downloads the performamce still the same, recent update made tge device even smoother, I have over 6gigs of my music which is gigantic and i use cloud for the rest of my docs, and files,and still have over 60% of storage and that is the 32 gig version. Cloud is safe too, no one is telling you to upload your private data!, private data shouldn't be in yoyr phone from the first place.. Stop the bulls**t.

108. driveme

Posts: 26; Member since: May 16, 2012

Speaking of idiots, I had the Note 5 and filled the memory in 4 hours. It felt horrible in the hand and the battery life was poor. I took it back and got the LG V10. What a phone. Hands down better than the Note 5. LG gave me an extra battery and charger and 200 gigs of memory. That's a no brainer. The review couldn't be more wrong. Don't judge a phone by a bench test judge it by how it works. So for the BS I agree it's stopped.

121. budd650

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 29, 2015

I had to go online and submit a form, haven't heard anything back yet about the extra stuff

158. iushnt

Posts: 3127; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

If storage matters to you a lot then enjoy your purchase. However, I doubt you got Note 5 coz you mentioned that the battery life was poor compared to LG v10. Anyways, if you like your purchase, thats great.

166. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 969; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

I use my Note 5 all day, and it lasts 2 days without breaking a sweat. If you filled your phone that fast, that's because you got the 32GB instead of the 64GB, and you aren't managing your storage. That's your fault, not the fault of the device. Enjoy that extra battery they gave you, you'll need it.

178. molosar

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 06, 2015

xdza the issue I have is I play my music all day. I have 26GB of music I carry on an SD card. The Note 5 gave me nowhere to put it. Plus I had no replaceable battery which I always keep one charging because my phone is playing my music all day.

56. Andrewtst

Posts: 696; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

If don't own Note5 then don't talk nonsense. Your comment proof you didn't own or not even have chances to touch it. No single lag is happen in Note5. It is extremely smooth performance and can be said the smoothness and faster android phone. I am ex owner of G4 which also running S808, it is fast but not and can't as fast as Note5.

67. WakaFlakaD

Posts: 576; Member since: Apr 30, 2011

Yeah, it's really sad that you said all that without any backup. Honesty, it's 2015. Upload your stuffs online. Google Photo is such a great app to upload photo and will stick with us forever. For music, there's Spotify/Pandora and other mp3 services? Unless you are an audiophile and must have the FLAC and other formats of mp3, then sure you might need extra storage. I got the Note 5 32GB myself, and it's easily one of the fastest phone I have. The extra blotwares does not bother me at all. There's a free 100GB OneDrive from Microsoft. I got 50GB from Box.com. Got my 17GB from Google Drive. Why is memory expansion a problem? Just get that over with. Saying Samsung is spying my data? Well, I think Google, Box.com and Microsoft are

75. BORIS070

Posts: 67; Member since: Aug 13, 2015

it does not mean much if you're not near you wi fi signal, and in places where there is no signal. Many people do not like the cloud because you have no privacy and you are dependent on the Internet

78. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Again another ignorant comment.. You can wait until you get to wife areas to upload your the cloud.. Its not going to instantly be full. Just as the poster above said about security.. One drive is very secure and if you use it for pics you will be fine. Now what we're you saying about the note 5 being laggy? Yeah it's not existent bud

105. sportsmc3

Posts: 21; Member since: May 25, 2015

I own a Galaxy S4 on Verizon, after that experience I will never buy another samsung phone product. And I KNOW their tv's are overrated, LG is far better, and I think if u look past some of the ignorance of him not owning the Note 5, you will see what he is getting at. Verizon and Samsung are just bottlenecking/putting up hurdles on a stock experience, and I do not want to support that as best I can. Go with a moto x pure edition, nexus 6P, something along those lines and get off the consumer mainstream. Please, otherwise progress slams on the brakes.

115. WPX00

Posts: 511; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

I've owned both an S4 and a Note 5, and I'll have you know the experience is worlds apart on the two phones. The S4, especially on JB and to an extent KK, was a nightmare. Everything crashed and lagged all the time, and even the camera, which was advertised as fast, took 5-10 seconds to launch after a while of regular usage. Lollipop improved the situation greatly, but even then, the Note 5 is not that phone. It's not the same Samsung, not the same experience. It is incredibly fast and efficient, and Samsung seems to be on its way to maintain a good update record. Regarding going with the consumer mainstream, I don't really care. I'm not here to support the underdog if it's an inferior product. I'm here to use a phone that actually works, and does its job well. Motorola has good specs on paper, but it has some of the s**ttiest QC around. I've owned two Motorola products, most recently a 2014 X, and that had issues with QC (namely broken power button, software reliability issues on 5.1, and poor customer support regarding the issues).

160. iushnt

Posts: 3127; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Because one product turned u down, the entire range is overrated. Hmm smart boy

188. marcolorenzo

Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 19, 2016

I'm sorry but cloud is nowhere near being capable of replacing physical storage yet. Internet speed and availability are just not there. Sure you can just "wait until you are near wifi" to upload stuff but what if you need to download some stuff and run out of your monthly quota? Or are not near a cell tower or wifi? And what about music? What, I need to freaking download every track I want to listen to and then delete them again straight afterwards? Sure, I can also stream but once you go FLAC, you won't go back (another benefit of having the DAC in the V10). Not to mention, you can get a 64GB+ microSD card for pretty cheap these days. Why not do this rather than paying a ridiculous premium just to get a minuscule "upgrade" in internal storage? I'll tell you why. Because it makes Samsung more money. Stop your fanboy BS and wake up.

162. molosar

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 06, 2015

Memory is an issue because when streaming music I can blow through my 10 GB plan in a week.

157. iushnt

Posts: 3127; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

I am sad that the truth of Note 5 is so painful to you. Anyways, those who are using are enjoying. Feel sorry for you though

36. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Imo I think compared to the G4, this maybe should have gotten a lesser score. This as a 7? A little too harsh IMO, you gotta give it to them for optimization on the software and the extra security they added. Good review nonetheless.

48. .8800.

Posts: 18; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

The 4gb Ram, is a big deal.

110. Dinged

Posts: 37; Member since: Jan 12, 2012

This phone rocks. The fully manual camera with compatibility with Snapseed's RAW is so unbelievably good. The 2nd screen is a lot more convenient than Samsung's edge and more practical, especially when docking the phone in the car and needing quick access to contact/apps/last used contacts/media control. I prefer this screen to any amoled technologies for color especially whites and the nexus lines aren't bright enough. The G4 was washed out but the screen is really great this time around. IR added bonus is also good when at bars or meetings and no one knows where remote is. The phone could be snappier, but considering that qualcomm screwed all phonemakers for the 2015 year and maybe even 2016, I truly believe the 808 was the right choice as I would rather have slower than even slower over long periods/overheating (810 chipset). Unless you have to have a stylus of the note 5, this is the phone to own right now. I was debating and tried out the note 5 (hate amoled whites, touchwiz too bloated, no external sd card to take advantage of 4k recording, hardware root trip invalidates warranty), moto x pure (no tmobile band 12 support yet, no tmobile wifi calling, no camera2 api support), sony z5 (expensive, not available in usa, prob no band 12 since tombile not offering, sony might die and no OS upgrades) and nexus 6p (no external SD, no OIS especially for video) before choosing the V10. All the phones had cons, but the v10 had the least and most acceptable.

127. FunVA

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 05, 2015

Exactly right. Best choice considering all things is LV 10 taking the fanboy out of the equation. Infrared both the camera and on the phone blaster, removable battery for replacing the battery when the battery runs out of power – when you need a replaceable battery when it dies - when you need extendable battery doubling yourbattery life, and that nano SDcard that goes up to 2TB - that's as much many of your PCs have - try purchasing that w/ internal of memory that only can't you do it obviously but if will run you more money than anybody would ever spend and this is a great source of security oblivion and the need for the cloud especially when you're out of range and you're trying to save a large video. Saving 4K videos eats up memory very quick .. something internal memory and the cloud would not be able to handle e.g. during a wedding. YOU absolutely would have to have expandable memory or pony up and carry your camera with you as well. What's the point of that when you have a 16x high-resolution camera right in your phone? the decision of the camera makers are making other than LG are just piss poor.

161. iushnt

Posts: 3127; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Nice post, but this year's Samsung's Amoled are the most accurate colors that has been said by every reviewers. anyways, nice to see your take on this

144. ECPirate37

Posts: 339; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

This phone is definitely a dropped ball, but that ball has been dropped by spiking it in the end zone. This phone is awesome. Everyone that I have showed it to has liked it, and 3 of my friends bought it after playing with mine. My girlfriend is even considering giving up her iPhone 6s Plus for it. There are so many features, and the "gimmick" screen turned out to be awesome. I love being able to keep music controls there while playing a game full screen. I greatly dislike LG phones, and said I would never buy another one, but this one is definitely worth owning.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

V10
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(12h 3G talk time)

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