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LG V10 review - hands on with the dual-display, dura-skinned, monster phablet

Katharine Byrne
23 Feb 2016
LG V10
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LG has thrown the kitchen sink at the gigantic V10, this phablet is bursting with features

The LG G5 might be the star of LG’s MWC stand this year, but the V10, which was first announced last year, is arguably just as interesting as LG’s new modular wonderphone. It’s clear from the off that this phone is a little different to everything else I’ve seen over the last few days, as LG’s new ‘dura-skin’ casing gives it an almost rubber-like textured finish, which is a world away from all the glossy glass and smooth metal unibodies that seem to be populating the vast majority of phones on this year’s MWC stands.

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It’s surprisingly soft on your palm, though, and it probably delivers the highest level of grip I’ve ever seen on a recent smartphone. It’s also been specifically designed to protect against scratches and improve the phone’s overall longevity, and it’s helped in no small part by its sturdy metal frame. It’s brilliant to hold, and you can be sure that you’ll never drop it even when using the phone one-handed.

LG V10 rear

This is important, as its huge 5.7in, 2560x,1440 resolution display puts it firmly in phablet territory. Measuring 160x80x8.6mm, it’s a fraction taller and fatter than the similarly-sized LG Stylus 2, so it’s perhaps not best suited to those with smaller, daintier hands. It’s also reasonably heavy at 192g, but there’s no denying that this feels like a very well-made phone that’s built to last. Even better, you can still remove its 3,000mAh battery and take advantage of its microSD card slot by removing the ‘dura-skin’ panel. the phone comes with 64GB of storage by default, though, so you should have plenty of space for all your files regardless.

Of course, the rear is just one part of what makes the V10 so special, as it’s also LG’s first smartphone to have a dual display. This small always-on strip is located above the main display and houses app shortcuts, music playback controls and calendar notifications when the screen is turned on, allowing you to seamless jump between your favourite apps without returning to the home screen each time, but it then shows time, date, weather, the phone’s battery status and any notification icons you might have when the screen is turned off. It’s incredibly handy, and is in fact arguably more useful than the always-on widget that appears on the G5, as you have a far greater number of shortcuts available to you when the screen’s on.

LG V10 second screen

The screen itself looks stunning, and it uses the same Quantum IPS display as the G4 and G5. The G4 had one of the best IPS displays I tested last year, so I’m hoping that the V10 (and the G5) will be able to match it in quality when review samples eventually become available.

Another key feature on the V10 is its dual front-facing selfie cameras. One has a wide-angle 120 degree lens for larger ‘groufie’ shots, while the other has a standard 80 degree lens. It’s almost like the G5 in reverse, which does exactly the same thing on the phone’s rear cameras, but the V10’s dual cameras only have a 5-megapixel resolution, so each photo won’t be nearly as detailed.

On the back, meanwhile, there’s a single 16-megapixel sensor, and LG’s brilliant Manual mode makes a very welcome return. This gives you control over the camera’s shutter speed, white balance, focus and ISO levels. In video, you can also switch the aspect ratio from 16:9 to 21:9, and its Steady Record feature should help minimise the amount of hand shake present thanks to its electronic image stabilisation. There’s even a 15-second auto edit function which lets you cut longer videos into short 15-second clips for uploading to social media, and you can do this directly from inside the camera app.

LG V10 bottom

The V10 isn’t likely to be as fast as the G5, though, as it only has one of Qualcomm’s hexacore Snapdraogn 808 chips inside it rather than the Snapdragon 820. This is the same chip that was inside the G4, which was a bit sluggish compared to other flagships last year, but as long as LG gets the price right, then its performance may still have a chance of being good value for money.

LG has yet to announce whether the V10 will be coming to the UK, or indeed how much it will cost, but it may face stiff competition from LG’s other newly-announced smartphone, the X Screen. This also has a dual-display, but lacks the V10’s brilliant ‘dura-skin’ design and high-resolution screen. Still, it’s certainly a great addition to LG’s MWC line-up and I hope it makes the jump to the UK alongside the G5 and its X series cousins.

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