LG V20 Review: Phone with Removable Battery

The demand for water-resistance and more premium-feeling materials has forced manufacturers to essentially stop producing high-end smartphones with a removable battery, creating a massive void in the market. Fortunately, there are still smartphones like the LG V20, which still holds up great and offers excellent value for money.

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Pros:

  • Removable battery
  • Dual-camera setup
  • Wide-angle lens
  • Second display that’s actually useful
  • Hi-Fi audio recording

Cons:

  • Limited battery life
  • Average performance

Design and Build

Most smartphones with a removable battery have a plastic construction not suitable for the premium segment, but not the LG V20. The entire rear panel of this 6.24 oz (177 g) heavy smartphone is made of military-grade aluminum, while the areas above and below the display are made of silicon polycarbonate to help the smartphone survive drops on hard surfaces.

Unlike current-generation smartphones, the LG V20 has a 3.5 mm audio port for wired headphones. The V20’s Quad DAC is tuned by B&O PLAY for a beautiful sound experience, making it a great choice for audiophiles who would rather not carry a dedicated DAC.

In addition to high-quality audio output, the LG V20 has three Hi-Fi microphones that allow you to record lossless audio and faithfully capture faint and loud sounds alike, elevating your video recording to a professional level.

The top of the LG V20 is where you can find the IR blaster and one of the three microphones. The bottom side is home for the 3.5 mm audio port, a USB-C port (the LG V20 was ahead of its time when it comes to connectivity, another microphone, and a bottom-firing speaker.

What you won’t find anywhere on the LG V20 is a power button. Instead, the fingerprint sensor functions as a power button, delivering precise tactile feedback when it registers your fingerprint.

Display

The LG V20 isn’t an ordinary flagship smartphone because it has two displays. The primary display measures 5.7 inches and has a 2,560 x 1,400 (QHD) resolution with 513 pixels per inch (PPI)—nothing unusual so far. The secondary display sits above it and measures just 2.1 inches.

Because the secondary display has a resolution of just 160 x 1,040 pixels, it can’t really display traditional multimedia content. Instead, it’s used to display notifications, shortcuts to commonly used apps, time and date, and other useful bits of information. Whatever you decide to put on the display remains accessible all the time, even when the primary display is turned off.

While the secondary display isn’t an essential feature, it’s easy to get used to not having to turn on the main display just to see what time it is. LG made it very easy to customize the secondary display so that you can enjoy it to its fullest potential without complicated tweaking.

Camera

The LG V20 is a very generous smartphone because it gives you not only two displays but also two rear cameras: a 16-megapixel standard lens and an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens with a field of view of up to 135 degrees.

When taking pictures, the secondary display is used for switching between different modes. We especially like that you can gradually zoom in and out to effortlessly find the most ideal focal range. Both rear cameras produce sharp, vibrant, and color-accurate pictures even under less-than-ideal lighting conditions.

The front-facing 5 MP sensor with an f1.9 aperture is equally impressive, but its wide-angle lens (120 degrees) can result in distorted selfies, large noses, and ballooning faces.

If you enjoy shooting video more than taking pictures, you’ll appreciate the support for 4K and 1080p video recording, as well as LG’s Steady Record 2.0 technology, which is supposed to reduce shaking.

Performance

With its Snapdragon 820 chipset, the LG V20 can no longer keep up with current-generation flagship smartphones, but it still performs well enough even for heavier multitasking and 3D gaming. Because it has 4 GB of RAM, you won’t find yourself closing background apps, hoping to gain at least some performance improvement.

Thanks to its support for the latest Wi-Fi AC protocol, websites load fast (provided you’re connected to a fast Wi-Fi network, of course), and you won’t encounter any prolonged buffering during high-resolution streaming.

Overall, the LG V20 still holds up great for a smartphone released in 2016, and it will definitely be able to last you for a few years before you start wishing for something more powerful.

Battery Life

With its 3,200 mAh battery, the LG V20 doesn’t last as long as some of its rivals that were released around 2016, but it has one huge trick up its sleeve: a removable battery.

These days, it’s virtually impossible to find another smartphone with similarly impressive specifications and a removable battery, making the LG V20 the only option for people who want the convenience of a spare battery without sacrificing performance.

That said, swapping out the battery isn’t your only option how to quickly go from zero to 100% because the LG V20 also employs Qualcomm’s Quick Charge Technology 3.0, allowing you to get approximately 40% of charge in just 30 minutes or 75 percent in an hour. A full charge takes roughly an hour and a half.

LG V20: Verdict

The LG V20 is without a doubt the best smartphone with a removable battery you can buy at the moment. It has a capable chipset, high-quality audio input and output, versatile dual-camera setup, and secondary display that’s more than just a gimmick. It’s biggest flaw—somewhat limited battery life—doesn’t really matter because you can simply remove the battery when you run out of power and swap it for a new one.

Specifications

AnnouncedJune 2019
Size6.29 x 3.01 x 0.3 inches (159.7 x 78.1 x 7.7 mm)
Weight 6.24 oz (177 g)
Display 5.7-inch; 2,560×1,440 pixels (515 ppi)
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (Adreno 530)
Memory 4 GB
Storage 64 GB
Camera (rear)Dual 16MP (f/1.8) and 8MP (f/2.4) camera setup
Camera (front)5MP (f/1.9)
Connectivity USB Type-C, 3.5mm microphone
Battery 3200 mAh (removable)
Operating system Android 7.0 Nougat
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