Camera

An advanced and sophisticated setup will have photography enthusiasts intrigued. Image quality is top-notch!


Dual camera smartphones have been around for a while, but they’ve never been as popular as they are today. Few people know, however, that not all dual cameras work the same way. In the case with the LG V20, we have a standard, 16MP camera complemented by an 8MP camera with an extremely wide-angle lens. While most of the time you’ll be using the former, the latter comes in handy in situations when your subject doesn’t fit in the frame – when taking group shots, for example, or when photographing large monuments. And to give you an idea of how wide this lens is, my colleague Victor, who is around 6 feet 2 inches (188cm) tall, fits in the photo from a distance of about 3 feet (91cm). Impressive!

Now, you might be wondering why one wouldn’t stick to using this wider camera every time. Unfortunately, its 135-degree wide-angle lens adds noticeable barrel distortion around the edges of the photo – much like an action camera would, albeit to a lesser extent. Also, its narrower aperture (F2.4) and lack of optical stabilization mean that it can’t perform as well as the main camera (F1.8) in low-light situations.

Camera interface



The camera app found on the LG V20 does not differ much from what we’ve seen in recent LG handsets. By default, you’re taken to Auto mode, which is simple enough for the great majority of users to handle. Yet if you want to take your photography up a notch, you may enable the object tracking feature from the Settings menu. I did and I found it quite useful in many cases, as it locks and keeps the focus at a certain object in your frame. That’s how I took the photo of Mr Cat (sample 6 in the gallery below) who just wouldn’t sit still. HDR is also nice to have on Auto – take a look at samples 1, 2, and 5 to get an idea of how that mode performs.

Advanced users may take advantage of the V20’s manual camera mode, which gives control over the focus, exposure time, ISO and white balance. While most of the time the phone gets these right automatically, experienced photographers can use these settings to achieve a certain effect or to better match the situation. For example, a high ISO fast shutter combo can be applied when photographing fast-moving objects, while low ISO can be combined with a slow shutter to get better low-light scenery photos. I used the latter approach to take image 45 below, as in Auto mode it came out totally dark.

Manual controls are also available when shooting video, but I see no good reason why an average Joe would ever need them. On the other hand, experienced content creators may find the option practical, as it lets them set the focus, white balance, and ISO as they wish. Higher quality video and audio modes are also available. While the difference they make is slight, they could be useful if the creator intends to edit the footage later.

Image quality


Just like the V10 and the G5, the LG V20 takes outstanding photos – both during the day and at nighttime. It isn’t quite perfect, but I can confidently say that it delivers great results in 9 out of 10 situations.

If I had to describe the V20’s camera in a single word, that would be “fidelity”. In automatic mode, it would not sugarcoat images as some other cameras tend to. It doesn’t add excessive amounts of contrast or saturation to the photo, and it keeps the sharpness at a reasonable level. As a result, photographs are natural, delivering a very close representation of reality. In scenes 5 and 8, for example, the camera has managed to capture the warm tone of the setting sun. In photo 19, the car’s red paint looks vivid, but not overblown, while photos 1, 2, and 3 have a gloomy look because, well, that’s how things look on a cloudy day.


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
LG V20 1.5
2.7
No data
No data
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 1.33
2.01
No data
No data
Google Pixel XL 1.9
No data
No data
No data
OnePlus 3 1.7
2.2
682
688

Video quality


Videos taken with the LG V20 look fine, although results may vary depending on the camera’s settings. The 1080p video mode is set by default as it is the most practical – it produces high-quality video without eating up too much storage space. What’s more, it takes advantage of both optical image stabilization and Steady Record 2.0, the latter being a software image stabilizing algorithm. As a result, the footage is smooth and steady, although it could come out slightly jittery if you’re walking while shooting. No less importantly, sound is captured loudly and clearly thanks to the V20’s advanced microphone setup.

In 4K resolution mode, SR2.0 is unavailable, which is probably why the video suffers from a slight jello effect caused by the OIS system. Still, the footage is noticeably sharper, which makes it great for both viewing and editing.

I must note that the wide-angle camera can also shoot video at up to 4K resolution. However, there’s noticeably more distortion in the footage, which is to be expected given the camera’s narrower aperture and lower resolution. At 8MP, the camera just doesn’t have enough megapixels to fill a 3860 x 2160-pixel frame without digitally “stretching” the image.


Selfie camera



I’ve decided to dedicate a couple of paragraphs to the LG V20’s front-facing cam, as it is quite unusual. And I mean it in a good way. Its wide-angle optics give it a 120-degree viewing angle, meaning that you can fit yourself and a whole bunch of people in the shot. But the distortion associated with wide-angle cameras is also present here, so do have that in mind while snapping selfies. When the wide-angle view is not necessary, I’d advise you to switch to normal mode, which zooms in on the user for a more natural shot. On a related note, I noticed that during video chats (via Viber, Facebook, etc.), my only option was to use the wide-angle mode of the camera, meaning that I didn’t look quite natural on the other side.

The quality of the V20’s selfies is not outstanding, but it is decent overall. With 5MP of resolution and an aperture of F1.9, the camera captures enough detail and accurate colors under optimal conditions. HDR is available for those tricky scenes and it works pretty well. In low light, the selfie camera is also usable, although being still becomes an important requirement if you want your picture to turn out clear. In these cases, you may enable a “flash” – basically, the whole screen lights up to provide illumination.


Multimedia

Excels at both audio reproduction and recording.

There’s a single loudspeaker placed at the LG V20’s bottom edge. All in all, it gets the job done – audio coming out of it is sufficiently loud and clear, and while I don’t see myself listening to music through it, YouTube videos sound just fine.

What sounds a lot more exciting is the so-called “Quad DAC” inside the V20, based on an ESS SABRE ES9218 chip. For those not familiar with the matter, a DAC is a module converting digital audio into an audible analog signal, the latter being what’s sent to a pair of headphones via the 3.5mm jack. And the audio chip inside the LG V20 has four DACs working in parallel, which results in extremely low noise and distortion levels. Furthermore, the built-in audio amplifier has the power to drive high impedance headphones.

Theory aside, the LG V20 is a very capable music player, but one should not expect any auditory miracles out of it. Its main advantage over other handsets is that it can drive professional and high-end earphones with ease, so if you have a pair of high-impedance studio monitors, these will work with the phone just fine. Sound will be loud, clear, and dynamic. However, the great majority of earphones are of low impedance, so they’ll perform just as well in the V20 as they would in most other high-end handsets. In other words, while the phone delivers excellent sound, it is not necessarily better at it than its high-end competitors, or at least not to an extent that the ear can detect.

In addition to being a powerful audio player, the LG V20 excels at audio recording. The phone packs a set of three high acoustic overload point microphones, meaning that it can record sounds of up to 132dB without clipping. That’s why there’s no crackling in videos recorded in a club or at a concert. Overall, sound recordings are clear, realistic, and free of noise. Whether you want to capture the ambiance of a noisy street, the sound of crickets at night, or a lecture at school, the V20 is going to do a really good job at it.

On the software side, a professional-grade sound-recording app comes pre-loaded. While the default interface is clean and simple, advanced controls give the user control over the microphone gain, a limiter, and a high-pass filter. Audio can be recorded in a lossless format and studio-level quality for excellent results.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
LG V20 0.99
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 0.992
Google Pixel XL 0.45
OnePlus 3 0.82
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
LG V20 72
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 77.4
Google Pixel XL 76.7
OnePlus 3 74


FEATURED VIDEO

91 Comments

3. jessy90

Posts: 162; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

O i forgot this is not an iphone. 8? I would give this phone a 9. LG ux is one of the best. You can make the phone feel unique to your style,personalize almost every thing,plus fast,smooth, and feature packed. Iphone has no headphone jack,limited customization,no sd card,only 1080p screen and it was rated 9.

5. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

They gave 9 to Pixel. Butthurt much? LG cant make a top of the top phone. They stopped making top phones since legendary G2.

30. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

You sound like a butthurt user who happen to get a raw deal with some LG phone in the past. Let it go. I know many girls who have told me they miss their LG phones, after having to get Samsung and HTC replacements. Everyone has their own preferences. Deal with it and so trying to bomb on LG.

48. BobbyDigital

Posts: 2125; Member since: May 29, 2014

That last part should read, "In My Opinion". There... I fixed it for you.

84. rsiders

Posts: 1953; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Here's an in depth look at the top cameras.https://youtu.be/pBEQEKlgXNU

6. manojmcn

Posts: 633; Member since: Jul 16, 2015

Hello PhoneArena- you dont have to reduce the ratings because V20 may not sell like Apple or Samsung flagships. Just rate based on what it's worth.

7. thegeneral7010

Posts: 437; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

Wat do u expect from a site that gave note 5 (which didn't bring anythimg new from note 4 beside design) 9 phonearena is saving 9 and above for apple and samsung.

25. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 914; Member since: May 07, 2014

They have to post a review which most of the readers here will like. Samsung and Apple has a huge following compared to other brands. There are more Apple and Samsung fans, now if they give the iPhone 7 a seven score, more people will be pissed.

74. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 966; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

What? Check the specs. Better camera, processor, UI, faster charge time, better stylus, wireless charging integrated instead of having to get a Qi sticker, and the design of having a flat screen is far superior to the Note 7. So, how is it the same device as a Note 4?

8. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

When was the last time an LG phone had THE BEST of more than 1 main feature of a phone? Best camera? Almost never. Best screen? Never. Best battery life? LOL, not since G2. Water resistance? Nope. Best speakers? Never. The only "BEST" feature this thing has its probably best audio quality output through headphones. Thats just one "BEST" feature. And you expect this thing to get a 9? Oh yes it has removable battery, yep and nowadays that's only a feature a tech geek will want.No Android phone will beat S7 edge and Pixel for 2016. Simple as that.

15. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

While I would not own a LG since I've had the boot loop with a G5, LG has been a top two in the camera department since the g4

33. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Maybe they solved the boot loop problem this time.

38. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Maybe but I'm not gambling with my money.

9. Joms_US

Posts: 200; Member since: Oct 02, 2016

So a worthless iCrap 6s got 9.3 while this phone just 8? Surprised? iPhoneArena does that on purpose. Put the st*pid Cr@pple logo on this LG phone and iTards will be drooling all over it.

26. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 914; Member since: May 07, 2014

I come here just for the news, while most of the news are not worthy of reading, they still have updated news. The reviews, on the other hand, are s**tty, those who review stuff don't know their stuff. I have to look for a review, I will go to PocketNow, Michael Fisher, and Android Authority (Android Authority does not review Apple but their reviews of Android phones are the most sensible.)

85. lnhrts

Posts: 28; Member since: Apr 27, 2015

you are ignorant!!

86. lnhrts

Posts: 28; Member since: Apr 27, 2015

Joms-US...

10. sintruder

Posts: 162; Member since: Aug 30, 2012

This is complete BS! Unacceptable! PA gives their useless ratings based on brands and not on what the phone actually deserves. Just because samsung and apple has has a huge fanbase and their fans would speak out, they get 9

83. bucky

Posts: 3783; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Let's be honest, this was never gonna be a great phone.

12. jellmoo

Posts: 2583; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

The score seems fair if the software issues experienced are a common theme. The basic user experience of the device should be one of the big things a company nails right off. A device with this price tag needs to offer a stellar user experience. All the specs in the world won't matter if your experience is crappy.

16. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Best audio dac in the market and got an 8.0. IPhone 7 does not have an audio jack and got a 9.3 with?!

17. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

*with?!

18. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Stupid autocorrect *wtf

19. elimartinez7

Posts: 23; Member since: Apr 16, 2015

woooooooow.... 1st, the battery life thing is bullsh*t.. i received the phone tuesday and have since then been testing "real life" useage. this battery kicks ass. idle over night (6hr) only lost 2%. heavy usage lasted me a full day (4am-10pm) with 7% left. the next with normal usage and auto brightness left me with 0ver 60%.. unless i got super lucky, this battery kicks a** in the last 6 mo. i tried s6/s7/s7E/N7/G5/V10.. V20 is beast

65. grbrao

Posts: 294; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

This is what i am looking for. The real use review. People do all sort of idiotic test which we dont even use it in real life and brainwash fans with these battery test. I was thinging of getting V20 for myself, was looking for a user review and you nailed it. Thanks

20. elimartinez7

Posts: 23; Member since: Apr 16, 2015

i was a huge PA fan until i saw this douchebag's biased rating.

21. BROWN_KNIGHT

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 15, 2015

Iphone arena does it again...apple bias much?? Overkill for giving the public a very sophisticated phone?

27. cdm283813

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

If you love the phone so much why do you need a website to justify your purchase? Would a 10 out 10 make you feel better?

31. rsiders

Posts: 1953; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Trust me I'm getting mine regardless. They pulled this same crap with the V10 and that was such a great device.

71. cthunder

Posts: 126; Member since: Nov 02, 2010

CDM, it's not about being in love with this phone or any other phone. It's about giving the readers a bias opinion about a phone regardless of who makes it. PA is know for grading Samsung and Apple phones over their true values. Remember the S4 and S5 reviews? Both also got over a 9 rating but the S5 was a huge disappointment for Samsung and resulting in mass changes in the mobile department. Now LG V10 gets a 7 and LG V20 gets an 8.But when you read reviews from users and other sites on both you can easily see the bias.

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

V20
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3200 mAh(14.17h talk time)

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