LG V50 ThinQ Review Rating
Originally published June 13, 4:30 a.m. PT.Update, 10:41 a.m.: This review was originally published with an incorrect rating because of an editing error. It has been corrected to 8.0 out of 10.Update, June 18: Adds Verizon availability.
LG V50 ThinQ Review Rating
In addition to strengthened glass, the V50 also has an IP68 rating for water and dust protection. And it's MIL-STD-810G tested, meaning it should withstand shock from accidental drops. It's still an all-glass phone, however, so you'll want to invest in a good protective case.
Call quality on the V50 is excellent. Test calls were crystal clear on Sprint's network and noise cancellation worked perfectly. In downtown Manhattan, upload speeds were superb at 94Mbps, but download speeds lagged behind at 15Mbps. We were unable to test 5G on the phone as it had not launched in New York during our tests, but we plan to update this review when it does. For an early look at Sprint's 5G network, check out our test results in Dallas.
We may be a bit late with our LG V50 review, but the holiday season is upon us, and the LG V50 ThinQ 5G with its Dual Screen accessory is shaping to be a deal worth looking forward to. It's one jam-packed flagship with everything that's cool right now, it comes with a unique take on multi-tasking, and it also opens the 5G world to you on the cheap.
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But like when I reviewed the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, my general impression is that it's a service that's faster than it was last year, and not as fast as it will be next year. And to be honest, that's almost always true.
For benchmarks, I used Geekbench 4, Geekbench 5, AnTuTu, and GFXBench. For now, I'm using both Geekbench 4 and 5 just to compare to previous devices. Eventually, I'll phase out the older version in my reviews. First up is Geekbench 4, which tests the CPU.
We weren't terribly impressed with the V40's camera when we reviewed the phone last year, but LG has assured us that the V50's hardware, recycled though it is, is still backed by the company's latest image-enhancing software. That includes AI scene recognition and a new Night View mode that intelligently combines 10 frames for one evenly exposed image.
Still, the V50 misses out on the LG G8 ThinQ's real party piece: its 3D-sensing, time-of-flight-enabled front-facing Z Camera, that enables Air Motion gesture controls and Hand ID authentication. While the V50's selfie camera array is still dual-lens, the secondary camera is of the conventional, wide-angle type, unlike the G8's sophisticated 3D depth sensor. Still, the G8's sensor and the features it enables didn't wow us when we reviewed it earlier this year.
In further good news there's also a larger 4,000mAh battery inside the LG V50 ThinQ, which should address the disappointing battery life of the LG V40 ThinQ. Nothing is certain, however, and I can say no more on that until I get a review sample.
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The V50 is largely identical to the V40 externally, albeit with a flush rear camera similarly to the LG G8 and a 5G logo above which lights up in different colors depending on the carrier. As with the V40 and V30, an anodized aluminum frame is used, with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and Gorilla Glass 6 on the back. In a departure from past V-series phones, the V50 is only available in one color, New Aurora Black. The V50 uses the Snapdragon 855 processor with the Adreno 640 GPU, and supports 5G. It is available with 6 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128 GB of UFS storage. MicroSD card expansion is supported up to 1 TB with a single-SIM or dual-SIM setup. The display is the same as the V40's, a 6.4-inch (162.6mm) 1440p P-OLED panel with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The device has stereo speakers with active noise cancellation and a 3.5mm audio jack. The battery is larger at 4000mAh, and can be recharged at 18W wired over USB-C or 10W wirelessly (Qi). Biometric options include a capacitive (rear-mounted) fingerprint sensor and facial recognition. An IP68 rating is also present. To compete with folding smartphones, the device offers a case accessory known as "LG DualScreen", which contains a second, 6.2-inch 1080p display panel. It is powered using pogo pin connectors on the phone, but communicates wirelessly. The camera layout is retained from the V40 as well, with a 12 MP primary lens, a 12 MP telephoto lens and a 16 MP ultrawide lens. Optical image stabilization and phase-detection autofocus are present on the primary and telephoto sensors. The V50 can record 4K video at 30 or 60 fps, and 1080p video at 30, 60 or 240 fps. On the front of the device, dual cameras are located within the notch, an 8 MP primary lens and a 5 MP wide lens.
At launch, the V50 received mixed reviews from critics. Digital Trends was unimpressed by the V50, concluding that "the promise of 5G may not be enough to stir interest in the uninspired LG V50 ThinQ. Chokkattu stated that "we found the image quality to be lacking when compared to competitors" and criticized the user interface as being "clunky and cluttered", but praised the second screen for having a "polished experience". Several reviewers thought the phone was too expensive, with CNET stating that "unless you have a big budget and want to be on the absolute bleeding edge of network technology, investing in such a pricey 5G phone now is just not worth it". TechRadar praised the display and camera versatility, but criticized the design, calling it dated. PC Magazine was positive of the audio quality and performance, while noting that battery life was average despite the increase in capacity. Tom's Guide had similar views, stating that having faster 5G speeds "[isn't] enough to justify its steep price, especially when you consider its poor battery life and dated design".
The battery life shown for a device is the median of all benchmark results for that model. Battery life is very sensitive to changes in screen brightness. While we recommending calibrating the screen brightness to 200 cd/m2 (nits) when testing battery life, this setting cannot be enforced by the benchmark app. As a result, the range of battery life scores submitted by the public is much wider than that seen when testing under controlled conditions.