LG V30S +, review: welcome to the era of mid-year flagship update
LG decided this year to start a trend that we may see more often than we think: update a franchise phone mid-way with improvements that do not deserve a number jump and that only apply to the interior. Just a few months after putting the LG V30 on the storefront, the LG V30S is expected to hit the market, a model with internal improvements that we have tested in our analysis in Xataka.
LG V30S +: without changing what works
In the past MWC 2018, instead of the logical LG G7 that would have followed the routine of launching the Korean flagship, we attended the improvement of the LG V30, terminal of the V series and that as we saw in our analysis, it outperformed the series G in everything. The move, despite the rumors, was quite a surprise as a priori it seems to spell the end of LG's double franchise franchise in one year, unless the arrival of the LG G7 in the summer is confirmed or not.
Meanwhile, the LG V30S does full justice to its name. The terminal leads to the design and interior of the best LG of the year two minor modifications. The one of hardware applies to the amount of RAM and internal memory (now 6 GB and the entry model of 128 GB of internal memory) while the one of software focuses on what is fashionable: AI. It is time to check how it has been and if, somewhat by accident, this idea of not taking a completely new terminal on the big stage of mobile telephony can work for LG.
LG V30S +: technical sheet
With the same basic design of the LG V30 that we liked so much, the LG V30S tightens the nuts to its rivals, improving in practically the two aspects of its interior that they could: the internal memory and the RAM.The LG V30S maintains the design of last year but now it comes with 6 GB of RAM and up to 256 GB of internal memory
At the pure hardware level, it is surprising that the LG V30S does not change its processor. It maintains the Snapdragon 835, which gives it a little more push with the increase in the amount of RAM memory to 6 GB. Recall that the RAM of the LG V30 last year remains at 4 GB. Another very important step forward can be seen in the internal memory, which can now be 128 GB in the LG V30S and up to 256 GB in the hypervitamin version and which they have called LG V30S +, which is what we have tested in Xataka. In both cases we can still have more storage space with the help of 2 TB microSD cards.
Otherwise, the LG V30S does not change anything. We continue to have a 6-inch OLED screen, with 18: 9 format, HDR10 and a resolution of 2880 x 1440 pixels (538 dpi), in a very light body for its size (158 grams) and one of the least elongated (151 mm). We also have IP68 resistance, 32-bit DAC for improved sound, and fingerprint, voice and face recognition.
The 3300 mAh battery has Qualcomm 3.0 fast charge and the Android version with which it reaches the market is Android 8.0 with the LG layer on it.
Performance of the new configuration of the LG V30S
As we have mentioned, it is surprising from the LG V30S that it does not adopt the processor that all the premium high-end Android that does not have its own chips is scheduled to debut this year: the Snapdragon 845. If from LG they had in mind to update with more power and To update his franchise, it was the opportunity.
I already tell you that the rise in RAM can hardly be seen at the consumer level, but I would have liked to know what it would have been able to do with the 845 and where it would have been in the gross power comparison. Not having the 845 could mean a devaluation of its real value.With maximum equality in the high-end in so many sections, missing the opportunity to put the new Snapdragon in addition to more RAM and internal memory can be a mistake
The reality is that, with what the LG V30S offers us, and according to our recent experience with the LG V30, the difference in performance on a daily basis can hardly be seen. It would be necessary to check if the improvements from the software side, when they do it to the LG V30 without finally happening, can affect the performance of the model from last year.
We also think that in the long term, especially this year, that extra 2 GB of RAM will allow you to keep on the pulse with other high-end, but right now the experience is fluid to the maximum and without jerks, problems or the need for more power in no section. Let's look at these performance conclusions with data and charts.
Regarding the LG V30 itself, the new model, thanks to that RAM and the arrival of Android 8.0, outperforms it in all tests. But the differences are small. It is with respect to other models, especially with the Galaxy S9 + that already includes the new Qualcomm processor, when that non-renewal of the chip is noticeable. In all tests except PCmark Work 2.0.
Android 8.0 to the rescue
The direct novelty in terms of software of this LG V30S is on the side of the Android version and the customization of LG. The LG V30S comes to the market with Android 8.0, it could not be otherwise. Our experience with it has been fully satisfactory, and the doubts about the optimization of the layer that we had in the LG V30, which we associated on the LG side, have been resolved in this new model. Now we have no doubt that fluency is what it should be, that is, absolute.
That better optimization is also appreciated in autonomy. The figures are not to celebrate, and we are above the day of use with solvency but without fanfare. These days we have used to carry with 25-30% at the end of the day, and finally we have been able to overcome the 4.5 hours of screen use. As for the charge, it is still quite fast: in just 30 minutes we reach 50% and for the full charge we measure 93 minutes.
In the software section, Google Assistant is especially relevant. Here the novelty is on the LG side and its AI is the construction of some searches that for example allow that when we want to use the secondary camera, not only open it but also start the countdown and take the photo. It works just as LG promises. Voice recognition is very good even whispering to the terminal if there is no excessive ambient noise, it is able to correct erroneous words by analyzing the final context of the sentence, but there is not much progress in being able to indicate anything to you and that does not end with a search in Google a keyword.
Despite the AI, the moment of the practical voice assistant is far away, although in the case of this LG V30S, it has a lot of focus placed on the home automation control of elements of a connected house and where LG devices under the name ThinQ a priori they will integrate better for that expected comprehensive and useful voice control.
Design, sound and screen: the best on the market
In the rest of the sections, the LG V30S is identical to the V30, which we have very recent and fresh in our heads. Its strengths are the same, standing out especially in design. Here ** LG is surely at the highest level of the year ** beyond what you like more or less (in design there is a good deal of personal appreciation). In finish, taste in the choice of colors / tones (this LG V30S debuts two) and especially in dimensions such as height, weight or thickness. It is a delight to hold it in your hands.
The other two pillars of the LG V30, display and sound, also repeat identical performance. With the fashionable 18: 9 aspect ratio, the AMOLED panel of the LG V30S is among the best on the market. That means very good visibility outdoors (although it still can be improved in terms of total brightness), amazing but well-controlled contrast (including various modes and customization), and a loss of fidelity that, although present, is not alarming except at the extremes, situation that is not the usual when enjoying a terminal. The 6-inch diagonal is very much enjoyed without penalizing neither width nor much less height. We are facing a reference in taking advantage of the dimensions, which logically reaches the fingerprint sensor at the rear but in a very well resolved way.
As for the sound, no surprise. Lovers of good audio, as we verified in our comparison, have in this LG V30S a reference that is the best on the market today.
What AI really brings to the LG V30S
Already analyzed how the small hardware modifications of this terminal affect the day to day and in numbers, as well as the strengths that it maintains of the LG V30, we turn to look with a magnifying glass at the touch of the AI that, on the other hand, should reach the LG V30 and even the LG G6 sometime this year.
Although the voice has prominence in the LG V30S, it is really the camera that takes the most relevant at the level of novelties. We start with the three new modes of use that we have when we activate the camera of the LG V30S.
Bright On mode
Of the contributions that the AI could incorporate into the camera of the LG V30S, the Bright On mode is the most relevant. At least in theory, because in night scenes is where the LG V30 lagged slightly behind its high-end rivals, basically because it was able to capture less light.Bright On mode can be activated on demand, but we can only apply it when the system thinks it makes sense
This mode promises precisely to solve that: more light capture is scenes where the system detects that it could improve the final result. The way to do it has to do with the virtual grouping of pixels to make those photoreceptors larger and with a greater capacity to collect light, which entails a decrease in the effective number that are part of the image and therefore the resolution is reduced by up to three quarters (goes from 16 to only 4 MP)
It should be noted the nuance that it is the system that decides when it makes sense for this mode to act. We limit ourselves to activating it or not (it only works with the camera that is not wide-angle and the 1080p video mode at 30 fps) but then it is the AI that, if you think the scene deserves it, gives us the option of use it or not.
The behavior of the AI with Bright On has surprised us as long as we don't have a night scene the system will propose it to us. Logical if we consider that that's what AI is for. In general scenarios with streetlights that illuminate enough, like the one we see above, the LG V30S did not give us the option to improve it.
It is also important to make clear that the Bright On mode, even activated by us and accepted by the camera as recommended, is not applied automatically. The system advises us to use it but we are the ones who, with a virtual button on the shooting screen, can activate it or not.
Image without Bright On mode (left) // Image with Bright On mode (right)
The differences between scenes with Bright On mode activated or not can hardly be seen. It depends on each situation, but the image with Bright On effectively captures more light, although at this point I would almost say that, due to the loss of resolution that it entails (in maximum resolution we drop from 4656x3492 pixels to 2328x1744 pixels), we can play with manual controls to get that extra (but very limited) information that we gain in the darkest areas with Bright On mode.
Crop 100% of the same area in the two images (the small one is the one that corresponds to the image with Bright On working)
AI Cam mode
Here we are talking about a series of predefined modes associated with scenes or objects that the AI system (on the machine learning side) of the LG V30S is in charge of recognizing for itself when we aim at the scene with this camera mode activated. It is not really just another way, but there is a direct access at all times in the main interface of the camera, which, once activated, is maintained even if we leave the camera application, so always check if we want to use it or not if we are in a hurry and the previous time we left it activated.AI Cam is a kind of automatic selector of the most suitable predefined mode for the scene we want to take a photo of
Once activated, the AI Cam system is in charge of recognizing elements and situations that we can see as a word cloud flying over the image in real time. In general, it is usually right with those keywords, unless you challenge it with a complex image of many elements where not even the user himself would know which way to choose.
Once the scene is recognized, the terminal vibrates to indicate that there has been a "matchIn our tests with this functionality, if AI Cam is going to be able to determine the scene we are facing, it usually does it in a matter of a couple of seconds. If it takes longer, what usually happens is that it will not be able to find that most suitable mode, and so we can spend many seconds. My recommendation is that when you use it, wait a couple of seconds, never more than 5, and if there is no result, leave this camera aid for the LG V30S aside because the scene is not in the system database.
If the AI Cam is right, the symbol associated with the predefined mode that the system has given to the scene appears fixed and pressing it we can check in real time how the different filters of that predefined mode affect the image in addition to the improvements it makes by default to the photo, that without filters are hardly noticeable and that tend to be to reinforce color saturation and contrast. The available modes are the usual ones: face, buildings, flowers, food, nature or sunsets.
The results with this mode are generally correct, and tend to highlight and sometimes exaggerate the most powerful of a scene, such as contrast when there is a lot of detail to show or some background blur in the face or close-ups of food for example.
On the left the resulting image when applying one of the filters proposed by the AI Cam mode to improve the image
Unlike the Bright On mode, the AI Cam does keep working when we change the main camera and put the wide-angle camera.
This mode, which we have become used to, seems useful to us on the main screen. The same does not happen with the Qlens, which we wanted to be able to remove the main role in that screen and camera interface.
The third addition of LG for the camera of your V30S seems to us the most lazy and expendable, one of those tricks that one stops using within a few minutes of exploring it. QLens is divided into three elements: QR code reader, visual search (on Pinterest) and shopping search (with Amazon). The service associated with Pinterest, taken an image with the camera and that function activated, collects related images. With clothes it works, it is curious for example to combine clothes, but it is not an element that even remotely sells phones.
As for the search for purchases, the idea is not new: shoot an object that we want to buy on Amazon and have the phone look for it. In our tests, Qlens' role with Amazon has only worked with branded products and not in all cases. With products in their box or clearly differentiated, the search on Amazon works very well, and gives us a link to buy directly.
We take the photo, Amazon starts searching and then the purchase link
If we tried, for example, with a Logitech brand mouse, the system detected the brand, proposed a subsequent search by brand, but was not able to recognize that it was a mouse. It is true that it was a model without buttons or wheel that can be somewhat complicated.
In the case of other types of products, the results have been quite poor, and only in some very specific cases (books, very clear kitchen elements ...) is it correct. Overall, it is not something that contributes much more than doing a search in the Amazon application itself.
The camera (s) of the LG V30S
In general terms and with our second battery of tests (the first one we did in the in-depth analysis of the LG V30), we continue to see the LG V30S camera as a solvent camera in many situations, very generous in video mode, and again, the most creative and of possibilities for its wide angle.
It is also true that we miss a portrait mode as such (something compensated by a very good bokeh effect in close-ups by the camera's f1.7) and that the dynamic range does not suffer as much. Here are very feasible solutions such as pulling its completely manual mode to get a better image, but it is not something that every user wants to venture into. But the truth is that, in this manual mode, with very little we can improve images in both high and low light.
If in full night scenes we resort to manual mode, with very little we can manage to control the situation very correctly
In summary, LG has improved its camera by providing it not with more quality at a glance, but with more possibilities and aids that complement quite solid arguments focused on experience, creativity and video.
See complete gallery »LG V30S samples (11 photos)
LG V30S, the opinion and note of Xataka
The LG V30 was the high-end that took the longest to arrive last year and yet here we are facing a renovation that could mislead users. Perhaps for this reason, and also for being a very small update at the hardware level, LG has practically kept the name in this LG V30S.
Of the improvements that we have been able to test (and compare), the increase in internal memory and RAM is appreciated, but thinking more about providing it with arguments in figures compared to the high-end renovations that come these months. There not having the latest Snapdragon we see it as a black point for those who are a lot to compare gross figures. In the end, in the experience, nothing to send surely to the most powerful that we see this year and that will have very difficult to compete in the two great achievements of the LG V30S: the design, for me the best today, and the quality sound, which as we check, also leaves it in the first place in the market.
Of the improvements associated with the software, nothing really makes a difference. Despite the attempt to raise its level in low-light scenes, where effectively the AI works, in the global, it does not improve the already solid arguments that we found to the camera of the LG V30S, which have to do with the only double camera on the market , a manual control that allows us to get the best out of the sensor and of course, what we already saw in the LG V30: a powerful and creative video mode.
9,1Design9.75 screen Performance9.5 Camera9.25 Software8.75 Autonomy8,5
- For finish, details and dimensions, the best in design
- Creativity that we can achieve with the camera in both photo and video
- The best sound on a mobile phone
- Just battery for a phablet
- Still upgradeable camera in low light and dynamic range
- AI for now makes no difference