I first saw this device in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress and it’s a headline grabber. Because in a world where Folding phones are coming, this is a bit from column a and a bit from column b.
But to be clear, the Dual Screen part is an option. Out of the box this is a normal smartphone – you just have the option of clipping on the accessory which is a cover with a built-in second screen.
More on that later.
On it’s own, the V50 is thin, 8.3mm thick, weighing just 183 grams.
What’s perfect about this design is the camera module. Despite being quite advanced with a triple lens setup, it’s completely flush with the back of the phone. No other flagship can boast that. And this matters.
Once you add the Dual-Screen cover, it gets super bulky and hard to pocket carry. I’m not sure it’s a great look with the cover on all the time – that’s an occasional thing in my book.
Ok, it’s got 5G on board. Will work on the Telstra 5G network.
Have I tested that – no. It will be fast, great downloads, and on a device that with the Dual Screen setup is a ready-to-go streaming movie device – that’s a good thing for when you’re at the airport and have forgotten to download some content.
Fast downloads mean you’re ready to watch much faster.
But 5G coverage is limited, and will be for some time – so, don’t buy this for the 5G, buy this for it’s features and get the upside of 5G where it’s available.
As is standard fare these days, the camera is king on the V50. It’s a triple lens rear camera array with 1x, 2x and Wide Angle lenses.
I put it to the test in San Francisco.
Here’s a shot of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco on the V50:
Here’s that shot on an iPhone Xs:
When it comes to zoom, the V50 has a Telephoto Zoom lens built in – so here’s it’s Zoom of that same scene above:
And here’s the same shot on iPhone Xs:
While the colours on the LG photos seem brighter and I’d even say “better” – the iPhone is actually a better reflection of the scene to the naked eye.
Where the V50 steps it up a gear is it’s hybrid zoom and Wide Angle lens.
The digital Zoom capabilities go up to 10x zoom using the 2x Telephoto lens. Here’s a look at a 10x shot:
Not bloody bad.
Wide Angle is something LG has been doing longer than most smartphone companies, and the V50 continues that with a 107 degree wide shot:
The camera features some nice features, like tap to shoot, manual video recording options for pro like videos, and the video record button is always on screen it’s not a separate mode.
Once you snap a shot, you instantly get a social and other sharing option – so once I take a photo, I simply click Facebook and I’m right in the Facebook App ready to caption the photo – nice one.
This allows you to take full advantage of the different lenses and options in the camera app which wouldn’t be available if you launch the camera from the social app.
Overall it’s an excellent camera – you aren’t going to be complaining to anyone about it’s features.
One thing I noticed when shooting a bit of video on the same location as the photos was the Video stabilisation – it was quite remarkable just to the naked eye.
I assume it’s using a combination of the lenses to give you a super stable shot.
Watching it back it was evident I was shaking the video, but no where near was the video shaking as much as I was shaking the phone – that’s a great sign.
Another thing LG has been doing for as long as I can remember is partnering with high-end Audio companies to enhance their smartphone audio.
On the V50 that’s no different. Qualcomm aptX, aptXHDaudio, their Boombox speaker feature for when placed on a solid surface and DTS:X 3D surround sound.
I watched an episode of Catch 22 on Stan using the V50 and the audio was excellent. No headphones, just straight speakers and I got a great stereo sound and a touch more depth and overall volume from the same content on an iPhone.
This is where I start to ponder – why?
I get the point of difference thing, I see how it “could” be useful, but out of the box and without any app improvements it’s a bit of a stretch.
When it’s good:
- When watching Facebook Watch videos one after the other on the left screen I can browse my emails, Instagram or any other app on the right screen when holding it upright.
- When scrolling through a social feed and emails or other messages come up, easy to check them without really losing your place.
When it’s just strange:
- YouTube doesn’t look great in the upright configuration, so you really need to go full-screen and landscape)
- When watching a video, full-screen, sideways, and your second screen is text messages, email or social – check out most apps in landscape mode – they are just ok – and if you bring up a keyboard you lose a good half the screen or more.
LG’s Angus Jones says “The LG V50 ThinQ™ 5G is an exciting Smartphone design, crafted to change the way consumers interact with their apps and one another. From gamers live-streaming their friends and using social media to business users reading documents while video-conferencing, the Dual Screen option offers a streamlined approach to multi-tasking,”
Those options like Video Conferencing really start to make sense.
The dual screens operating completely independently of one another. This means no interference app to app, but it also limits the functionality like drag and drop app to app.
Copy/Paste works side to side/screen to screen which is great, but I didn’t find a great use for the Dual-Screen in my limited testing – except for one thing.
Sitting it on a desk next to my computer while I work, it’s a great stand for the video screen!
The dual screen case requires no charging, as it gets its power direct from the smartphone via a small connector on the back.
You’ll find the LG V50 5G with Dual Screen at Telstra from Monday June 11.
Outright it’s $1,728 and that includes the Dual-Screen accessory, and of course Telstra will stock it on a range of 5G plans.
So – what do I think?
The V50 5G is a bloody nice smartphone. I’m just left wondering how much cheaper it could be without the Dual-Screen accessory.
I get that it’s the “First 5G Dual Screen” – but I’d prefer it was just a great 5G smartphone at a great price – $1499 anyone? Even $1599 would look great next to Samsung’s S10 5G offering at $1,999.
Great phone, great camera, good speed, very interesting accessory.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.