LG V20 review: Twice as bright

GSMArena team, 23 September 2016.

Display

The LG V20 has an IPS screen, well, two of them - we're sure you should see the trend by now.

The main screen has a 5.7" diagonal and QHD resolution and 513ppi. The second screen is a single line (2.1" in diagonal, but it's very wide) - its resolution is 160 x 1,040px (it's not the full 1,440px wide since a part is cut off for the selfie cam and sensors).

LG V20 review

Only the second screen is always on, unlike the LG G5 which uses the main screen for that. Its touch input still works, though, so you can access shortcuts even when the phone is locked (unlike the G5).

Back to the main screen, it's sharp and bright. We measured a maximum of 475nits in manual mode, much higher than the G5's screen (even at full blast). LG V20's display is brighter, though, on Auto mode it reached a peak of 628nits while keeping the contrast.

Contrast is good - about 1,000:1, but below G5's and even V10's readings. The black levels are comparable to the iPhone 6s Plus, though not as low as LG's previous premium displays.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
LG V20 0.43 475 1097
LG V20 Max auto 0.59 628 1064
LG V10 0.29 432 1490
LG G5 0.17 306 1855
LG G5 max auto 0.20 378 1881
Samsung Galaxy Note7 0.00 428
Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Max auto) 0.00 647
Apple iPhone 6s Plus 0.43 590 1382

LG does not provide color modes for the screen aside from a blue light filter, which has become a popular feature lately. It reduces blue light emitted from the screen so that using your phone in the evening will not mess up your body's internal clock and thus disrupt your sleep.

Regarding color accuracy, the LG V20 is a slight improvement over the G5, reigning in the max deltaE (9.5) while the average deltaE is similar (5.1). These results are better than average - better than most LCDs in fact - though there are phones that do better (the iPhone 7, for instance, comes perfectly calibrated off the factory floor).

Sunlight legibility has also improved noticeably since the LG G5, which itself was slightly better than the V10.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    2.378
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

The LG V20 has a setting called "Display size." Obviously, the hardware screen stays at 5.7" big, this is a DPI slider. It has three settings ranging from tiny icons and menu options to big ones. Your choice here would depend on the keenness of your eyesight and the precision of your fingers.

Connectivity

The LG V20 has fast connectivity thanks to Qualcomm's modem. It offers LTE Cat. 12 - that's up to 600Mbps down and up to 150Mbps up. The V20 is the first phone to support AWS-3 - a newly sold LTE band that will roll out in metropolitan areas in the US, Canada and elsewhere starting next year. That's a nice piece of future-proofing right there but hardly of importance now.

Locally, the phone supports Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 (with aptX for audio) and NFC. There's an IR blaster with LG's capable remote control app to boot.

Wired connections are USB Type-C and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

That one is hooked up to an ESS ES9218 "32-bit stereo quad-DAC." The phone supports lossless formats (FLAC, ALAC and a couple of rarer ones). You can also output audio over the Type-C port if you have the right headset, but that bypasses the phone's DAC and uses the one in the headset.

In the notification area you'll find two buttons - Screen sharing and File sharing. The first does wireless Miracast (though wired MirrorLink is available if your car supports it). The second makes your LG V20 permanently visible over Bluetooth Low Energy so people can easily send you files.

LG V20 battery life

The LG V20 comes with a 3,200mAh battery and it is removable - just pop off the back! And all that with V20's shockproofing - impressive stuff indeed.

The battery capacity isn't huge by any standard, especially considering it has to feed a very bright 5.7" screen, not to mention the secondary screen. Speaking of the latter, it's worth mentioning that it operates as an Always-On Display for various status information or notifications. The best part is that it changes brightness depending on the ambient light, and it even completely turns off when the phone is in your pocket (proximity).

Update (Dec 16, 2016): We've received the final firmware for our V20 review units and we're updating what needed updating. We've duly retested the battery life, and for the most part the numbers turned out similar.

At 7:35h the V20's web browsing endurance matches the G5's to the minute. That's not great by any stretch - the Pixel XL can do about two hours more in this discipline, while the Galaxy S7 edge lasts 13 and a half hours and the Huawei Mate 9 is even better at more than 14h.

With just 8 hours in video playback, the V20 is bested by all, again. More than 11 hours for the Mate 9 and Pixel XL and a whopping 20 hours for the S7 edge mean the V20 isn't terribly well suited to video playback on the go. Even the G5 outlasts it by more than 2 hours.

On a 3G voice call, on the other hand, the V20 exceeds the manufacturer’s specs by about an hour and at close to 20 hours its voice call longevity is half an hour longer than the Mate 9's. The S7 edge, and especially the Pixel XL will last substantially longer, though.

We also test the standby battery draw, and in the V20's case we did it with the always on display set to on, and out of pockets (so no proximity switch off). It turned out remarkably efficient as it is, so we figured there's not much point in testing with the feature off.

Even so, the V20's overall endurance rating of 68h is noticeably shorter than the majority of the competition.

LG V20 review

The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Reader comments

The second display is just so nice to have, feels like I have an S6 or S7 edge, instead made by LG, so good, only affects about 5% of battery life whilst the phone is sleeping, really cool!

  • Hoffmann

That camera is a killer

  • Lol

Lol like always LG and it's mediocre battery life.