LG’s V30 is another solid, camera-focused flagship

LG gets a fraction of the love of heavier hitters like Samsung and Apple, but it’s not for lack of trying. The company makes good — and in many cases envelope-pushing — phones. Recall the company’s recent forays into dual-lenses and new aspect ratios. Heck, the company even released a modular phone before it was cool — sure, it kind of stunk, but it was definitely interesting.

Maybe the company will have a little more luck this time out with the release of the V30. After all, it’s probably going to prove the biggest announcement out of IFA this year — a distinction that’s been up for grabs since Samsung decided to go its own way with the Galaxy Note a few years back. And the V30 definitely goes a way to push smartphone imagery even beyond what many of its competitors have done in the past.

The V30 has a pretty compelling audio-visual one-two punch. The company added a quad-HD six-inch screen in the 18:9 aspect ratio it began pushing so heavily last time around. The color replication is great, and yes, the black is very black. That’s paired with a solid on-board audio experience, as far as on-board smartphone speakers go.

The company has added the big screen while still keeping the phone’s size under control. The overall design is really quiet nice, as well. I did some blind testing with TC staff members, and all were pretty taken with what is a quite sleek build. The phone is IP68 water-resistant and covered in Gorilla Glass on both sides for added drop protection.

That said, photography’s really the thing here. The phone’s got a great lens and does a bang-up job processing HDR images. LG’s also tossed a bunch of solid filter options into its camera skin. Those software enhancements apply to the video side, as well, with highly customizable settings and on-board editing.

Of course, it’s getting getting harder and harder to distinguish yourself on the photography front. Flagship smartphone cameras are pretty good, almost across the board. Aside from a few different configurations of the dual-camera setup and a push toward better depth sensing (see: augmented reality), most of the differences between manufacturers come down to software. And those sorts of subtle tweaks are often lost on mainstream phone buyers. That said, I did enjoy fiddling around with the V30’s settings — the phone has a wide range of different video recording options that take a couple of taps to access.

The V30 is another well-rounded phone from LG. The company hasn’t really sacrificed any features for the sake of forcing in others. From the time I’ve spent with it, the handset seems poised to run with flagships from the competition — whether the company finds a compelling way to sell it is another question entirely.