LG Velvet 4G first-impressions and hands-on review

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LG Velvet 4G first-impressions and hands-on review

LG’s second generation of dual-screen devices – Wing and Velvet – are now available in India. Of these, the LG Velvet has a secondary screen within a detachable cover and this year users have the option to buy the standalone version for INR 36,990 or to buy the dual-screen cover combo for INR 49,990. 

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LG Velvet includes a cinematic HDR display, a fine set of stereo speakers, IP68 rated glass body, but it also banks upon the good old Snapdragon 845. We saw the merit in LG’s approach with dual-displays and multitasking on the G8x Thinq and were eager to test what refinements the Velvet brings to the table.

We have been using the phone for a while and before we get to full LG Velvet full review, here are our first impressions of the phone. 

LG Velvet India Price & Specifications

Specification LG Velvet
Display 6.8-inch POLED display with 20.5:9 aspect ratio & 2460×1080 FHD+ resolution
Processor Qualcomm 10nm Snapdragon 845 octa-core
Memory 6GB+ 128GB UFS 2.1; Expandable up to 1TB using microSD card slot
Battery 4,300mAh with 15W fast charging, 8W wireless charging
Rear Camera 48MP + 8MP Ultrawide + 5MP Depth Sensor
Front Camera 16MP, 1080p@30fps
Other Features 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, In-display fingerprint scanner, Voice-out Focus, ASMR Recording, IP68 water & dust resistance
Software Android 10 with LG’s custom UI on top
Price Without dual-screen: Rs. 36,990With dual-screen: Rs. 49,990

LG Velvet Box Content

The dual-screen cover is packaged separately and this year it’s easier to discover the magnetic charging connector that you’d need to charge the phone with the dual-screen cover attached. This year LG hasn’t bundled any TPU case in the Velvet box and there is no pre-installed screen protector either. Here’s what you do get: 

  • LG Velvet Handset
  • Dual screen cover
  • Magnetic charging pin connector
  • 18W Charging Adaptor 
  • USB A to C cable 
  • Documentation and Sim Ejector PIN

LG Velvet Design and Build

LG has reinvented its design language for the Velvet, and it’s now more in sync with what most other manufacturers practice these days for their high-end flagships (kinda reminiscent of Huawei P30 Pro).

The Velvet is suave, slim and light, and a delight to hold.

Of course, the individual design elements like curved-edge displays and curved glass back are very common on 2020 flagships, but not as much on phones that cost under 40K. The point being, that Velvet manages to retain some distinctness and surely looks and feels like a phone you’d pay top dollars for.

The glass back on our black color variant is prone to smudges, so you’d be better off with a case. The aluminum side frame adds to the premium appeal. Velvet also brandishes IP68 water and dust resistance and is MIL-STD-810G compliant.

Also Read: Revisiting LG G8x Thinq Dual Screen – Did LG get it right the first time?

LG is using a curved-edge P-OLED display with 20.5: 9 aspect ratio that is also used in theaters and consequently the screen doesn’t feel as broad as a 6.8-inch panel usually would. LG sticks to the drop notch and we like that the bezels at the top and bottom are uniformly thick.

Attaching the cover display, however, robs the phone of its charm. The combination understandably feels bloated and the weight shoots up dramatically. So, the attachment is worth it only if you can appreciate dual-screen productivity. I, for one, value two-screen multitasking and willing to take the trade-off.

The cover-hinge is sturdy and folds all the way back. It serves as an excellent stand and you can choose any orientation or angle to position the Velvet on any flat surface. The outer surface doesn’t have a mirror-like finish this year but retains the small ticker display to check notifications and incoming calls. Speaking of which, we had no trouble attending calls without flipping open the cover. 

LG is using an optical in-display sensor that uses green light for illumination (unlike the white light on the latest generation ones) but it’s a lot better than what we have on LG G8x Thinq. So far we haven’t had any issue with unlocking speed or reliability. 

The phone has dual SIM slots, a hybrid SD card slot, stereo speakers, and also retains the audio jack. 

LG Velvet Dual Display experience

LG is using an excellent panel on the Velvet and that’s one of its biggest strengths. The OLED screen has awesome contrast and is deft at reproducing near black levels. HDR videos look excellent and the screen gets bright enough for outdoor usage. The software has a thoughtfully designed black theme and also an Always-on mode.

This full-HD panel, however, doesn’t support a 90Hz or 120Hz high refresh rate. 

By default, the display is set to Natural (sRGB) color profile which has a color temperature toggle that you may use to adjust the white point. 

The good thing is that the white-point (in the default natural profile) is well matched to that of the cover display – which wasn’t the case on LG G8x ThinQ. The changes you make to display colors of the primary screen, however, won’t reflect on the secondary one, so you’d be better off sticking to default color settings while using the phone in dual-display mode.  

Another peeve point we have is that the dual-screen menu bubble now lies on the curved edge where it isn’t as responsive. The trick is to hit the flat portion of the display right next to the bubble instead of the curved side edge.

Things that you can do with the extra screen remain similar. The idea is to use two screens as two separate screens for effective multitasking – and that makes sense. We had to force ourselves to use dual screens at the start (on the G8x Thinq), but the experience grew on us in no time. Thankfully, we didn’t have start afresh with the Velvet.

Many of the default LG apps and its Whale Browser can make use of both screens. There is also LG Gamepad that transforms one screen into a console controller, and this is surprisingly effective.

Then there is a wide-view mode that spreads an app across both of the screens, but with the substantial gap between the two screens one of which is flat, the other curved – we don’t see why you’d want to.

We are glad that LG has added an option for app pairs which shows up as multi-apps under display settings. We will continue exploring the dual-screen experience on the Velvet and will be back with more in our full review soon. 

Also Read: QD-OLED vs OLED – What’s the difference?

LG Velvet Performance expectations and software

LG employs Snapdragon 845 for the 4G variant, which is a little long in the tooth for 2020. It’s still a powerful chipset with raw performance comparable to Snapdragon 765G, but of course, we’d pick the latter given a choice.

In our initial usage, we haven’t noticed any signs of aging when it comes to performance power, but this is something we’ be watching out for in the coming days.

In India, the Velvet is available in a single configuration with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. Users may add up to 128GB of expandable storage using the hybrid card slot. 

LG software is quite exciting. The skin is intuitive and has a tasteful design. It’s still based on Android 10, but there are useful add-ons sprinkled through the interface that makes the Velvet fun and convenient. So far we haven’t had any issues with call quality or connectivity.

LG Velvet camera expectations

The primary camera is a 48MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture and it’s paired with a basic 8mp wide-angle shooter and a 5MP depth sensor. The primary camera can shoot 1080p videos up to 30fps. On the front, there is a 16MP camera for selfies that can record up to 1080p videos@30fps. 

The camera app is well designed, integrates an effective Night mode, and lets you directly share photos to social media or on WhatsApp or even directly live stream videos on YouTube. 

Unfortunately, we are not yet done exploring the LG Velvet camera and we will talk more about camera performance in our detailed review soon. 

LG Velvet Battery and Audio

The 4300mAh battery on ou phone lasts for a day of moderate to heavy usage. We have managed to consistently clock 7 hours of screen-on time over the last few cycles.  

It must be noted that the 10nm process-based chip is less power-efficient than the current generation option and that’s probably why the battery mileage doesn’t see any improvement over the LG G8x ThinQ that had a relatively smaller 4000mAh battery. 

The overall battery mileage is not at par with the best available options, but it’s very manageable and we don’t think you’d have to skip Velvet over battery longevity concerns. The 15W charging, however, feels painfully slow. It takes around 1 hour 45 minutes to fully charge the battery.

LG has always given due consideration to audiophiles and the Velvet doesn’t seem any different. The stereo speakers are quite loud and clear, and the audio via headphones is great too. 

Also Read: Oppo Find X3 phones will have system-wide 10-bit colors

LG Velvet First Impressions

LG isn’t hitting really hard with specs, but there are things that Velvet does really well. The HDR display is awesome, the design is thoroughly premium, and the stereo speakers are loud and clear. Also, LG has eliminated many small and big peeve points we had with the LG G8x Thinq’s dual-screen experience while adding some enhancements.

On the downside, the lack of proper fast charging, high-refresh-rate screen, and Snapdragon 845 is bound the rub the wrong way.

The dual-screen variant feels a tad overpriced, but it must also be considered that it’s the only decent option if you value dual-screens for multitasking and the fact that Foldables and Surface Duo still cost more than twice as much. 

At INR 36,990, it’s easier to appreciate the standalone version despite its flaws. It gives the impression of a competent last-year flagship now available at a mid-range price. This could be an even more appealing option after the first few price cuts. We will reserve our verdict for our full review till we are done with our performance and camera testing. Stay tuned!

LG Velvet FAQ

Q) What is the SAR value of LG Velvet?

A) Head SAR is 1.09W/Kg and Body-worn SAR is o.429 W/kg

Q) Does LG Velvet has call recording?

A) No, it does not.

Q) Does LG Velvet support Dual VoLTE and Career aggregation?

A) Yes it does

Q) How effective are live captions on LG Velvet?

Live captions work as effectively as they do on Pixel 4a. No reason to complain here. 

Q) How is the haptic feedback on LG Velvet?

Haptic feedback is good but not stand-out good. 

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