| New Delhi |
Updated: November 30, 2020 6:30:57 pm
We don’t give LG the respect it deserves as one of the most innovative smartphone companies. Over the years it has brought in lots of features that gave good value to the users, from the curved screen to the double-tap to wake feature. So it is no big deal that LG is thinking out of the box when it comes to extending the screen size of smartphones. So while others try to bend and fold larger screens into smaller chassis, LG seems sold on the idea of a second screen, to be used in tandem with the primary one. In fact, the LG Velvet is the second dual-screen device from the company I am reviewing this year, having checked out the LG G8X ThinQ in January.
LG Velvet price in India: Rs 36,990 + Rs 13,000 for second screen
LG Velvet specs: 6.8-inch FHD+ P-OLED Cinematic FullVision (2,460×1,080p, ~395ppi) x2 | Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with 6GB RAM / 128GB ROM / microSD (up to 2TB) | 48MP 2 Standard (F1.8 / 0.8μm / 79˚) + 8MP Wide (F2.2 / 1.12μm / 120˚) + 5MP Depth (F2.4 / 1. 12μm / 81˚) + 16MP Standard (F1.9 / 1.0μm / 73˚) front camera | 4,300mAh | Android 10.0 (Q OS) | 4G
LG Velvet: What is new?
Frankly, the LG Velvet does look a lot like the LG G8X ThinQ except for some subtle changes, mostly to do with the cover that enables the second screen. The cover now looks like an actual smartphone flap cover and the small LED outside that shows time and notifications is more akin to the windows we are used to on these flap covers. The rear part of the cover, is also now more compact and shows just the camera.
While globally this phone has a 5G version, the LG Velvet in India is a 4G phone and powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. This tweak could be the reason why the phone has taken a few months to be released in India — not that LG is known to bring its phones here in a hurry.
LG Velvet: What is good?
The best thing about the LG Velvet is the fact that the second screen is an add on. You can buy just the phone without the second screen and not pay for something you might not end up using. Alternatively, you have the option to invest in this screen if you really find the need for some extra screen.
While the dual-screen brings in more use cases, the lack of it in no way hampers the phone itself. With the cover and the second screen attached, you actually get three screens, including the small LED notification screen outside the flap.
For a dual-screen phone, the best thing has to be the screen. And LG does a wonderful job with the screen, in fact, both of them. The P-OLED screen is sharp, vibrant and stunning. It makes the Velvet a great phone for those who love to watch shows on a smaller screen. The second screen has the same specifications as the primary screen and this means the content flow is seamless. Even when you are on the home screen of the phone, you don’t notice any difference between the two screens.
While the phone runs Android 10, there are some tweaks to enable the dual-screen functionality. On the side of the screen a small icon lets you access a small menu that lets you configure the two screens — you can do everything from using just the second screen to swap both screens in the middle of something. Then there is the wide mode that lets you use the two screens for the same app. For instance, while watching a YouTube video on the second screen, you can read comments on the main screen below.
Place the phone like a laptop and you can use the primary screen as a keyboard while using apps like Gmail. However, this functionality is not compatible with most apps. And even where it is possible, there could be issues. However, for Gmail and YouTube, I did not face any issues.
The dual-screen becomes a really useful tool when you are using the camera of this phone because there is the option to get the previews of photos you are taking on the second screen. This works well with selfies too and saves you a lot of time in the process. For people who need a phone camera for professional use, this can be a feature worth paying for. You can even set it up in such a way that the camera app mirrors on both screens, though I could not really find a use case for the same.
The LG Velvet has a processor that is powerful enough to power both the screens, let you run games that use the two surfaces at the same time, and not complain. For gaming, LG has enabled a gamepad feature that lets you control using the second screen. While this takes some getting used to for those who have a lot of muscle memory attached to playing games a certain way, this is a great feature to have in the long run.
The camera of the LG Velvet is good and offers pretty good results in all sorts of conditions. The phone has three lenses — a 48MP main lens, an 8MP ultra-wide and a 5MP depth camera. I took the phone on a recent road trip to Agra and got some photos of the Taj Mahal that were good. It is also good that the phone comes with the ability to shoot in RAW if needed.
The video quality is good, though the 4K recording is limited to 30 frames per second. But there is a unique feature in the phone when it comes to recording audio. The ASMR recording along with the video captures some amazing details, even going to the extend of amplifying sounds which did you capture your attention in the natural world. With the dual-screen and video qualities, this can become a decent option for video bloggers to record and produce content.
LG Velvet: What is not that good?
The phone works well with or without the dual-screen. But there are some things to keep in mind. For instance, when yoked to the cover for the second screen you need to use a tiny magnetic adapter to charge the rig. During the two weeks I used the phone, I was paranoid about losing it.
It takes time to figure what all you can do with the dual-screen, and what all you can’t. This can lead to some frustrating moments. So if buying this phone, go ahead with an open mind. Not everything will be the way you thought it will be.
This is actually a mid-range phone, especially in markets where it will sell with a Snapdragon 7 series chipset. And this shows in some of the specs like video lacking 60fps. Live with it as you are not paying flagship rates for this phone.
LG Velvet: Should you buy?
The Velvet on its own is a good phone, but one that will have to compete with the likes of the OnePlus 8 and Samsung mid-range phones. So buy this primarily because you want to explore a second screen at some point. The phone will not disappoint you and will certainly make you the center of attention anywhere you go. And that could be another reason to buy this one.
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