LG V40 ThinQ Review


This week, LG finally announced a proper successor to the V30 – the LG V40 ThinQ. As one would expect, it is better in many ways: with a bigger screen, a better loudspeaker, and the most powerful processing hardware an Android phone can get right now.

But without a doubt, the most exciting aspect of this shiny new handset is its heavy camera arsenal. With three cameras at the back and two more at the front, the LG V40 aims to be the ultimate instrument for media creation.

Selling for between $900 and $980, depending on the carrier, the V40 ThinQ is again competing with the best in the smartphone market. So, can this triple-camera phone execute well enough to push LG over the hump and solidify the V40 ThinQ as one of the best smartphones money can buy? We used it for a week to find out.

In the box:

  • LG V40 ThinQ
  • USB-C Charging Cable and Wall Adapter
  • Earbuds with mic and 3.5mm jack
  • Warranty and Quick Start Booklets

Design


Looking back at its origins, it's clear that the LG V series has come a long way aesthetically. Last year's V30 was simple, practical, and sleek, not to mention that its display didn't have a notch. This notch-less design is no longer employed on the V40 ThinQ which now has an elongated screen (6 inches on the V30 to 6.4 on the V40) and two cameras and an earpiece housed within the medium-sized notch.


The V40 is still quite the looker, though, and turning it around to reveal its beefy three-camera setup creates a particularly futuristic aesthetic. Of course, more on that later. Other differences to note are the addition of a dedicated Google Assistant button on the left side and a power/lock button on the right side. The former is well-placed and stays out of the way of errant presses, while the latter is also ergonomically sound, nixing the power button functionality from the fingerprint scanner as was previously the setup on the V30. IP68 water and dust resistance round out the V40’s design elements nicely.


LG V40 ThinQ

LG V40 ThinQ

Dimensions

6.25 x 2.98 x 0.3 inches

158.8 x 75.7 x 7.6 mm

Weight

5.96 oz (169 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Dimensions

6.37 x 3.01 x 0.35 inches

161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm

Weight

7.09 oz (201 g)

Apple iPhone XS Max

Apple iPhone XS Max

Dimensions

6.2 x 3.05 x 0.3 inches

157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm

Weight

7.34 oz (208 g)

LG V35 ThinQ

LG V35 ThinQ

Dimensions

5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches

151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.57 oz (158 g)

LG V40 ThinQ

LG V40 ThinQ

Dimensions

6.25 x 2.98 x 0.3 inches

158.8 x 75.7 x 7.6 mm

Weight

5.96 oz (169 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Dimensions

6.37 x 3.01 x 0.35 inches

161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm

Weight

7.09 oz (201 g)

Apple iPhone XS Max

Apple iPhone XS Max

Dimensions

6.2 x 3.05 x 0.3 inches

157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm

Weight

7.34 oz (208 g)

LG V35 ThinQ

LG V35 ThinQ

Dimensions

5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches

151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.57 oz (158 g)

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



Display


Utilizing the same P-OLED technology as the V30, the LG V40 ThinQ totes a 6.4-inch, Quad HD+ (1440 x 3120 px) screen. Colors are reasonably accurate, but a blue hue is evident upon closer examination of whites. Looking at this phone in direct sunlight proved a little tougher than expected, even though auto-brightness can reach as high as 504 nits. Minimum brightness was quite low, as anticipated, registering at 3 nits.

LG gives you some options on how to view, or not view, the notch. These include a setting where the notch is prominent and not hidden in any app, and two settings to hide the notch – one with rounded corners and the other without.


Interface and Functionality


Loaded on the V40 ThinQ is LG’s proprietary flavor of Android 8.1, LG UX. As always, this affords users a clean and straightforward interface with a few extra goodies. There’s nothing new to report here, but we do have familiar extras like the Floating Bar, a floating icon which gives access to a carousel of customizable app shortcuts and actions; KnockON, which serves as an option to wake up or lock the phone via two quick taps on the screen; and Context Awareness, which adds a degree of automation to your phone experience by letting you create various automated functions like opening a specific music app when you plug in headphones or turning off Wi-Fi when you leave the house, for example.

All of these additions are easy to use and easy to find through the settings or search functionalities within the V40; LG does a fine job of offering extras without overcomplicating these features or the menus through which you’ll find them.

Processor, Memory, and Performance


The V40 ThinQ is LG’s most potent device, and as most other high-end Android phones around, it packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 flagship SoC. The chip is paired with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage (expandable with a microSD card). As can be expected, this setup produces great results in day-to-day use. Whatever your workflow might be, multitasking and jumping from app to app goes off without a hitch or stutter to speak of. You’ll be hard-pressed to make the V40 break a sweat in regular usage, but gaming performance was a little disappointing as performance showed more dropped frames than we’d like to see at this level.


AnTuTu Higher is better
LG V40 ThinQ 246715
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 244787
Apple iPhone XS Max 336882
LG V35 ThinQ 195293
JetStream Higher is better
LG V40 ThinQ 65.759
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 63.24
Apple iPhone XS Max 265.74
LG V35 ThinQ 85
GFXBench Car Chase on-screen Higher is better
LG V40 ThinQ 16
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 26
LG V35 ThinQ 17
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
LG V40 ThinQ 23
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 56
Apple iPhone XS Max 59.3
LG V35 ThinQ 24
Geekbench 4 single-core Higher is better
LG V40 ThinQ 2007
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 3612
Apple iPhone XS Max 4821
LG V35 ThinQ 2406
Geekbench 4 multi-core Higher is better
LG V40 ThinQ 8310
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 8927
Apple iPhone XS Max 11299
LG V35 ThinQ 9001

Connectivity


Dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth 5.0 are requisites we expected to find on the V40 ThinQ. Once it is released, the phone will be available on all major U.S. Networks: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular.

Camera


The camera setup is the most significant stand-out feature of the LG V40 ThinQ. At the back we see a triple-camera arrangement that's unique in the industry right now and promises plenty of creative freedom. And two more cameras are found in the front! Here's what all this hardware breaks down to:


  • A 12 MP main camera with a standard lens for every-day photography. It has an F1.5 aperture, OIS, and dual phase -detection autofocus. Of note is that the sensor has less megapixels than the camera on the LG V30 or the LG G7, but it uses larger, 1.4-micron pixels, which should result in better image quality.
  • A 16 MP camera with a wide-angle lens with F1.9 aperture and 107-degree field of view. This cam appears to be similar, if not identical to what we had on the LG G7. In other words, this camera will come in to save the day when you just have too much you’re trying to fit into the frame.
  • A 12 MP telephoto camera with F2.4 aperture for 2 times optical zoom, bringing your subject closer without you having to step forward.
  • 8MP standard front-facing camera for fabulous self-portraits and a 5MP wide-angle selfie snapper for those epic group photos.

AI is also employed in the background and helps to decrease motion blur via multi-frame HDR on all three sensors, for example. AI CAM mode is still here with its ability to recognize what you're taking a photo of and applying the camera settings it sees fit – with the results still being a mixed bag.

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 V40 ThinQ 1.7
1.8
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 1.1
1.4
No data
No data
Apple iPhone XS Max 0.9
1.4
No data
No data
LG V35 ThinQ 1.34
1.4
312
No data


Image Quality


Image quality on the V40’s 12 MP main sensor is very good, holding its own well against top performers on the market. In ideal scenarios, the differences between the V40 and the best in class are negligible, if not entirely a matter of preference. Exposure is adept, colors are vibrant and accurate, and pictures, overall, are a pleasure to look at. However, details are notably softer than we expected, and we wonder if that's due to the wider, F1.5 aperture LG is using.

While exposure appears to have improved over last year’s V30, LG could still do a bit more fine-tuning. In challenging, more dynamic sceneries, the V40 doesn’t capture lighting quite as evenly as some of the best in the biz do – highlights can still become bright and blown out, and shadows can creep in and obscure finer details. At its worst, these maladies in exposure can sometimes create harsher, less realistic shots.

Low-light photography is quite good, maintaining well-represented colors. Detail capture takes a bigger downturn in such situations, though, and this could be due to some more aggressive noise filtering. Otherwise, the V40 ThinQ does well balancing exposure and finding enough light to illuminate shots, but as is the case with extremely bright dynamic scenes, very low-light pictures will not blow you away.


Triple Shot, Telephoto, and Wide-angle photos


One trick LG packs in this three-camera array is a feature called Triple Shot which, as you might’ve already guessed, takes three photos at once. The process does take a few seconds – a couple to snap the pics and another couple to save them – but it is a convenient shortcut when you want to capture more than one perspective on a shot. Unfortunately, results are significantly worse than taking the three shots on your own. For one, HDR can’t be employed when snapping pics through Triple Shot which, especially in more dynamic scenes, is a particularly important consideration to take. Another common issue we found was that telephoto shots taken in these triple-shot bursts were often more susceptible to blurriness. The theoretical convenience of Triple Shot sounds nice, but in practice, swapping the lenses via the toggle buttons produces much better results.


Portrait Mode


Portrait mode on the LG V40 is quite adept and also now allows the user to adjust the strength of the bokeh effect during and after the picture is taken, helping to further hone the blur application. On top of that, you may apply various light effects to spice up the image even further.


Cine Shot


Lastly, LG’s added one other shooting mode called Cine Shot which creates live photo GIFs by enabling the user to draw over portions of the photo they’d like to animate after the shot is taken. This works well and adds a bit more fun and artistic expression to the media capturing experience.

Selfies


The front facing camera setup is the V40’s last party trick. Selfies look good on both of these snappers as they both take after their rear counterparts in clarity and color capture but also are more susceptible to the same ills of over/under exposure. Portrait mode is also available here, producing similarly pleasing results as what the rear cameras produce.


Video


Video shot on the V40 ThinQ can be captured in 4K up to 60 fps, or the more common 30 fps – both with HDR10 capability in ideal situations. Either selection will produce well-detailed, steady video with accurate color representation and pretty good exposure. Though the 60 fps option disables software stabilization, the results are still quite pleasing, but 4K at 30 fps, and all resolutions below this, will have a slight but noticeable edge in steadiness.

We’re happy to see that we’re able to switch between the regular lens and telephoto lens during filming – either through the zoom function or a toggle button between both – but only when there is sufficient lighting. Unfortunately, due to physical hardware limitations, only two of the cameras can be linked to work together, leaving the wide-angle camera out of this zooming party.

Cine Video is still on-board with the LG V40 ThinQ, offering a variety of film genre-inspired filters and the unique and cinematic Point Zoom feature, which zooms the camera in on a specific point of the screen.



Call Quality


Calls come through very well on the V40 be it for the caller or the receiver. Both the earpiece and microphone deliver enviable clarity, while the speakerphone gets plenty loud.

Media


Speaking of the loud speakerphone, the V40 ThinQ unfortunately still uses only one speaker to produce sound, but it does have the Boombox Speaker trick up its sleeve. This makes the phone sound louder when rested on a flat surface but has negligible, if any, effect when holding the phone.


Plug in a set of high-impedance headphones into the V40’s 3.5mm headphone jack and you’ll be treated to an audiophile’s dream thanks to the 32-bit Quad DAC. This allows the playback of higher-fidelity music files and comes with LG’s usual manual controls to tweak the sound just to your liking, and tweak we did – the experience is straightforward and effective.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
LG V40 ThinQ 1.07
Apple iPhone XS Max 0.42
LG V35 ThinQ 0.775
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
LG V40 ThinQ 78
Apple iPhone XS Max 78
LG V35 ThinQ 76.2
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 74.6


Battery Life



The V40 ThinQ comes with a 3,300 mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and fast wireless charging. Battery life didn’t blow us away, though. In fact, compared to last year’s V30, the V40 ThinQ lasted a full three hours less in our custom battery drain test, clocking an underwhelming six and a half hours. This should be about good enough to get a day’s use in most cases, but not much more. Recharge times were pleasing, though, juicing up from 0 to 100 in 109 minutes.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
LG V40 ThinQ 6h 21 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 8h 56 min (Excellent)
Apple iPhone XS Max 9h 34 min (Excellent)
LG V35 ThinQ 7h 10 min (Good)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
LG V40 ThinQ 109
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 109
Apple iPhone XS Max 209
LG V35 ThinQ 100


Conclusion


LG seems to have its heart in the right place with the LG V40 ThinQ, but even the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Three capable cameras with lenses designed to capture three of the most fun and useful perspectives (wide-angle, regular, and 2X zoom) sounds like a dream, and in many respects, it is – we love the versatility. What we, and most consumers spending nearly $1000 on a phone might appreciate more, though, is a regular camera that is always up to the task, and unfortunately, we can’t say that about the V40 ThinQ.

Day-to-day performance won’t leave you wanting for much, but battery efficiency has taken a sharp downturn from the V30 of last year. All in all, it’s hard to say that the V40 ThinQ is a much better buy than the 2017 V30 was, and the V30 didn’t even best the competition then. One year later, the competition has improved, while the V40’s added a camera.

Pros

  • A camera for every occasion and solid performance to match
  • Capable of recording HDR10 4K video
  • Solid build, sleek looks

Cons

  • Camera performance lags behind top-tier competition
  • Triple Shot can’t utilize HDR and often lets motion into the shot(s)
  • Battery life could have been better
  • Expensive

PhoneArena Rating:

7.7

User Rating:

10.0
1 Reviews

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61 Comments

1. Sparkxster

Posts: 1247; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

LG it just needed a bigger battery :(

26. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

And lower pricetag. It's just almost exact copy of V35 and G7, aside of taller screen and telephoto, they have exact same specs and features. Better get V35 or G70 for (up to) $200 cheaper, those 2 phones isn't even 6 months old anyway.

41. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

Post in wrong place.

50. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Well I bought a mint condition LG G7 off of Swappa for $450. I kinda wanted a V35 because it had a marginally bigger screen but I didn't want to mess with their OLED panels. Then I thought about getting a V40 but at twice the price of the G7 I couldn't bring myself to do it. Now I'm the happy owner of a Moroccan Blue G7.

60. Jc1980

Posts: 27; Member since: May 16, 2018

Not really the main 12mp camera with 1.4um pixels is a far better lense than the 16mp 1.0 um pixel on the G7. It's not close.

2. redmd

Posts: 1948; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

7.7 is a bit low.

8. Venom

Posts: 3824; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Or a bit too high. LG has dropped the ball. Again.

18. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 654; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Agreed, I love my V35 - but the V40 in it's final form shouldn't exist at all. It would've made more sense to call it the V35S or + because it's far too similar (or rather identical) in spec when you disregard the minor updates to it's screen and cameras that set them apart.

36. ravs89

Posts: 8; Member since: Feb 19, 2016

Except US, other parts of the world didnt get the v35, so the for those people a v40 would be a substantial upgrade.. Frankly speaking i would upgrade to a v40 as i am currently using lg g5..

43. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

May I ask then, how the Samsung S9 exists? And it's supposed to be a yearly update.... Or I can go further and compare the Iphone X and XS.

9. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

OMG, what is this review and what are those cons? The only con which is acceptable is the average battery life, but the others??? - Expensive......others phones dont get lower scores for this - Triple shot is not working properly? Really??? A software bonus (feature) which needs some fine tuning through an update is a con? - Camera is not as good as the Note 9 or the Ip XS Max....but the only one with the three camera option and nevertheless its still pretty solid. This is like the G7's review, when PA editors dont like LG phones and downgrade them with ridiculous explanations. Bravo Phonearena, just bravo.

13. BLUEBLASTER

Posts: 946; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

Can't even say the battery life is a con because phonearena have s**t battery life tests. Other phones which score bad on this site do better on others.

32. PryvateiDz

Posts: 445; Member since: Jul 31, 2011

I agree. I didn't really see anything bad, except the battery life is average. The last is it should get an 8.0. I would give it a 8.5-8.7 honestly.

42. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

But at least they should be consistent with their own scoring system. The G7 got an 8 (which is still low for it, but ok, let's move on). The V40 brings improvements in many aspects of the phone and it gets lower scores? I mean how is that possible? So in conclusion the V40 is worse than the G7? Am I right Phonearena?

46. Kaostheory

Posts: 18; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

I wish all sites would do a value for money completely separate as price fluctuates with demand and country.

49. Mrmark

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 26, 2013

They didnt even put the headphone jacks superior quality over the competition as a pro

53. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

Maybe its beacuse more and more phones dont utilize the headphone jack anymore…..who knows, maybe in 2019 it will be a con too. (sarcastic laugh)

57. AliBashir

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 18, 2017

Just put an apple logo and boom, 9.3 points XD

3. OneLove123

Posts: 1262; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Reviews already? Lol

4. limporgyuk

Posts: 376; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

Phone arena reviews of android phones are to be taken with a pinch of salt.

5. threeline

Posts: 321; Member since: Sep 11, 2011

The V30 sucks and the V40 will too.

6. panrt321

Posts: 100; Member since: Aug 23, 2018

LG V40 only 7.7? Rly? f**k!!

7. KingSam

Posts: 1505; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Battery alone make this a no go. Mate 20pro let's show them how triple camera and battery life is done.

10. hazard1

Posts: 239; Member since: Feb 11, 2017

I often complain about PhoneArena's scoring. However, I have nothing to say this time. Overlooking the numerical score, their criticisms are valid. Yes, I ignore their battery testing. But these SD845 phones do worse than the SD835. I would go with the v30 over the v40. I wish that weren't the case.

11. panrt321

Posts: 100; Member since: Aug 23, 2018

This is no reviews but previews!!

12. TechGirl90 unregistered

"Triple Shot can’t utilize HDR" That isn't a con , this is more of a reviewer's overexpectation of a feature that is not available to a product. Example: PhoneArena's con of the iPhone XS and XS Max was the camera bump and notch, as nitpick as it seems, it is meritable to the assessment of that device. The other con was that it is very expensive. Although relative, it's a fact. My point is you're creating an issue that wasn't advertised as a feature to begin with, but simply a lack of a feature from your point of view. Origin of the word con is to swindle someone. LG didn't swindle (con) you into thinking that triple shot is HDR capable. Alot of Reviewers do this, and it's not only duplicitous to potential buyers, but it's slanderous towards OEMs. The LG V40 ThinQ was just annouced today, I don't care how long you guys had it prior to the event, you should've gave this device a few more running cycles, and THEN write your review, you guys been called out on this before, it's way past due for y'all to better your platform. For future reference, when doing a review, make sure that the cons are actually about it's downsides, and not about it lacking something you expected.

14. Knownhost

Posts: 113; Member since: Nov 13, 2017

I bought the G4 just for its camera. Bought the V20 the next year, expecting an upgrade, and its camera was not as good as the G4. Not terrible, but also not great. I liked a lot about that phone, even the second screen, but I gave up the V20 because of poor battery life. Even with a spare battery, I had less screen time than my gf did on her older iPhone 5s. I'm a Samsung user now, but I'd love for LG to finally give me a reason to buy another one of their phones.

15. WAusJackBauer

Posts: 456; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

"A camera for every occasion and solid performance to match" "Camera performance lags behind top-tier competition" derp?

20. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Solid =/= top tier

16. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

God, I wish Apple would work on audio quality like LG has these past few years. I mean, they're average (Apple) but I REALLY want to see something like a Quad DAC in the iPhone. Decent phone overall.

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

V40 ThinQ
  • Display 6.4" 1440 x 3120 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh(22h talk time)

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