The LG V40 ThinQ (starting at $920) is more than just a larger, more expensive LG G7. In addition to a sharp 6.4-inch OLED screen and the latest hardware, the V40 has a total of five cameras—three sensors on the back and two on the front—allowing it to take pictures from multiple angles. You can take close-ups, standard shots, and the super-wide-angle shots LG phones are known for. It can even snap all of them simultaneously and stitch together a GIF afterward. Along with strong audio capabilities and excellent overall performance, the V40 is a worthy competitor to the Google Pixel 3 XL and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
Pricing, Design, and Features
The V40’s price varies depending on
From a design perspective, the V40 keeps most of the things we like about the G7, like a sleek glass front and back, polished metal sides, and a thin, lightweight body. Measuring 6.25 by 2.98 by 0.30 inches (HWD) and 5.96 ounces, it weighs considerably less than similarly sized phablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (6.37 by 3.01 by 0.35 inches, 7.09 ounces) and the iPhone XS Max (6.20 by 3.05 by 0.30 inches, 7.34 ounces).
The phone has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, but it’s wider than the G7 to accommodate the 6.4-inch panel. That makes it a little bit harder to reach across with your thumb, though you can use Split Screen mode to run two apps on the top and bottom of the screen at once, or One Handed mode to shrink the screen and make things easier to reach.
Like the iPhone XS and XS Max, the V40 has an OLED display. With 3,120 by 1,440 pixels, it has a super-crisp 537 pixels per inch, matching the Note 9 in density. Colors look rich and saturated, particularly blacks, as is common to OLED panels. Viewing angles are great and visibility is good in direct sunlight. Generally speaking, it looks just as good as the Note 9, though colors are a bit on the colder side. In Display Settings, you can tweak white balance and screen temperature to better suit your preferences.
Shifting to an OLED panel means that always-on notifications look better when the rest of the screen is off, and the notch at the top blends in more with the rest of the phone. That’s particularly handy when you use “second screen” mode to turn the notch area into a dedicated status bar, as you won’t see a distracting seam between the screen and bezel.
Like the V35, the fingerprint sensor is on the back, under the camera sensors and easy to reach with your index finger. The SIM/microSD card slot has been moved from the top to the right side, under the power button. The volume buttons and the Google Assistant button are both on the left. You can’t remap the Google Assistant button, but at least it’s more useful than Samsung’s Bixby button.
As with previous generations, the V40 is IP68 waterproof, letting it withstand complete immersion in up to six feet of water for 30 minutes. It handled a thorough rinsing under the sink without any issue. It’s also
Network Performance and Audio
The V40 supports LTE bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/14/17/20/25/26/28/29/30/38/39/40/41/46/66/71. It’s a comprehensive set of bands that should give you great network performance on all major US carriers. We tested the phone on T-Mobile in midtown Manhattan and saw standard connectivity and speeds for the area.
Call quality is sold. Transmissions are quite clear, with natural voice tones and noise cancellation is great at blotting out background sounds. Earpiece volume is also loud enough to carry on a conversation in a noisy environment.
On the bottom, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack with a Quad DAC that really comes alive with audiophile-quality headphones like the Meze 99 Classics I listened on. There’s also support for 32-bit hi-res audio and the ability to customize equalizer settings, sound profiles, and enable software-based surround sound. The surround is a little forced, but
The bottom-ported speaker seems to have the same internal resonance chamber as the G7, giving it the “boombox” effect, which ramps up
Processor and Battery
Under the hood, the V40 has everything you expect from a flagship phone in late 2018. There’s a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor clocked at 2.7GHz, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. Performance is strong across the board.
In PCMark’s Work 2.0 test, which measures a variety of tasks like web browsing and video and photo editing, the V40 scored 7,947, a solid result that puts it above the Note 9 (7,662), but short of the highly optimized Pixel 3 XL (9,191). Regardless of the difference in scores, the V40 handled everyday multitasking and demanding games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds without a hitch.
From left: Samsung Galaxy Note 9, LG V40 ThinQ
The phone has a 3,300mAh battery, which is slightly more capacious than the 3,000mAh cell in the G7. It tested accordingly, with 9 hours, 22 minutes of power when streaming video over Wi-Fi at maximum brightness. That’s higher than the G7 (6 hours, 28 minutes over LTE), but no match for the 4,000mAh Note 9, which lasted 14 hours. The V40 supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging with the included adapter, as well as wireless charging.
LG’s V series has always pushed the limit of phone cameras and the V40 is no exception. It has five camera sensors—three on the back, two on the front—all of which are AI-powered and with different fields of view.
Let’s start with the back. Of the three sensors, one is the 12MP primary sensor for standard photos. It has a 78-degree field of view and a 40-percent larger pixel sensor than the G7, which should allow for better low-light photos. For wide-angle shots, you get a 16MP sensor with a 107-degree field of view. This is the same wide lens we’ve seen (and enjoyed using) on the G7. It lets you snap more scenery and background, albeit at the cost of some minor barrel distortion.
The third sensor is where things get interesting. It’s a 12MP telephoto lens with
One of the coolest new features is Triple Shot. With it enabled you can snap a picture using all three of the rear cameras, one after the other. Once the photos have been captured, the phone can process them into a six-second video—it can even automatically add music.
With all this hardware, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the V40 is more than a match for other top camera phones. It held its own in testing against the Pixel 3, the Note 9, and the iPhone XS Max, capturing bright, vibrant shots outdoors with minimal noise or blur. On the negative side, it has a habit of smoothing out textures and crevices, to the point that some surfaces can almost look airbrushed.
Super Bright Camera mode automatically kicks in to combine four pixels into one “super” pixel for clearer shots. These images are noticeably clearer than ones taken with the iPhone XS Max, however, this technique comes at the cost of detail. The Pixel 3, meanwhile, doesn’t get as bright, but boasts richer details and color.
The front of the phone has a dual-sensor setup. There’s a standard 8MP lens with an 80-degree field of view and a 5MP wide-angle lens with a 90-degree field of view. The difference between the two is fairly marginal. Switching between them lets you capture a little bit more of what’s around you when snapping selfies, but it’s not a significantly larger amount and you get a lower-resolution shot.
All the other camera features from the G7 have been ported over. The V40 has AI scene recognition capabilities for all of its sensors. It can recognize objects and scenery, and make appropriate adjustments to take the best photos. I noticed the V40’s AI adjustments kick in a bit faster than the G7.
The V40 can also record 4K video at 60fps, has Google Lens built into the camera app, and can shoot in Portrait mode on both front and rear sensors.
In terms of software, the V40 is running Android 8.1 Oreo, which puts it behind some other new phones that are already shipping with Android 9.0 Pie. LG has assured us the V40 will receive an
The V40 has the same custom UI as the G7. The appearance of app icons and settings menus are different from stock Android, apps are splashed across the home screen by default (which is easy to change), and there are some extras features here and there. Out of 64GB of internal storage, you have 48GB available for use. If you need more room, you can pop a card into the microSD slot.
The LG V40 ThinQ is a big, powerful phone that takes innovations introduced with the G7 and improves upon them. The addition of a third telephoto lens, the ability to take shots from every camera angle, and the richer OLED display all help justify its $920+ price. That said, it’s in direct competition with the Galaxy Note 9, which has significantly longer battery life and powerful productivity features aided in part by the included S Pen stylus. There’s also the Pixel 3 XL, which has some of the best low-light camera capabilities we’ve seen, along with a pure Google software experience. If you’re looking to save money, meanwhile, the OnePlus 6T offers many of the same specs and features of the above phones for roughly $400 less.