The LG G5 is a great phone, but not without its issues, so a second 2016 flagship could be just what the company needs to compete with the biggest and best of its rivals.
That flagship hope is coming in the form of the LG V20, the successor to the LG V10, a phone which launched in 2015 with little fanfare in Asia and the US, but tons of innovation.
Although news and rumors of the V20 are only just starting to emerge there won’t be long to wait for the phone at all, with a September launch already confirmed. So to get you up to speed on what to expect here’s all the information so far.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The successor to the LG V10
- When is it out? September 2016
- What will it cost? A lot
LG V20 release date
LG has confirmed that the LG V20 will be launching sometime in September, so with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus arriving too it could be a busy month for phones.
So far it hasn’t rounded down exactly when the launch will happen, but it would be wise to get out of Apple’s way to maximize its launch coverage.
Based on iPhone 7 launch rumors, that means an announcement either in the first few days of the September (which could mean an arrival at IFA 2016) or the second half of the month, sometime after Google officially launches Android 7 Nougat.
What we’re also not clear on is how global a rollout the LG V20 will have. The LG V10 launched in the US and a number of other markets, but the UK and Australia weren’t among them. However, given the acclaim it achieved and the lower than expected sales of the LG G5 there’s a good chance the company will give the V20 a wider launch.
TechRadar’s take: The most likely launch will be late September, allowing Google to officially release Android 7 on the world before LG jumps in with its Nought-toting V20.
LG V20 design
- A modular design
So far there’s no real word on the design of the LG V20, though a shaky Google translation of Sedaily.com suggests it might have a modular design like the LG G5.
That would be a change from the LG V10, but a change could be a good thing, as that phone, with its steel sides and silicone skin back, has a divisive design. If LG does roll out its modules again hopefully it will widen the available selection.
TechRadar’s take: The design is likely to differ from the V10’s and modules would make sense since LG’s already invested in them, especially if it can get its existing selection working with the phone.
LG V20 screen
- 5.5-inch display
- A drop in resolution?
Oddly the only screen rumors for the LG V20 suggest it might actually be a downgrade on the LG V10. According to Sedaily the V20 has a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 screen, where the LG V10 had a 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 one.
Presumably it will still have an always-on secondary screen above the main one, which on the LG V10 was a 2.1-inch 160 x 1040 display, used to show notifications and the time, as well as providing quick access to favorite apps.
There’s no information on whether it will be changing for the V20, but it was one of the key features of the V10, so it’s sure to stay in some form.
Combined with the 5.7-inch main display the LG V10 was actually arguably too big, so a size reduction to 5.5 inches could be for the best, but the drop in resolution is a disappointment if true.
TechRadar’s take: A 1080p resolution seems strange, especially for LG, which was one of the first companies to stick a QHD display on a phone, so we’d expect QHD again here, but a 5.5-inch size would make sense and there’s sure to be a secondary display.
LG V20 camera and battery
- A 20MP rear camera and 8MP front-facing one
- A huge battery
According to Sedaily the LG V20 will have a 20MP camera on the back and an 8MP one on the front, which would be an upgrade (at least in megapixel numbers) from the 16MP and 5MP pairing on the LG V10.
But there’s no mention of dual front-facing cameras, which along with the second screen was one of the V10’s key features.
This allows you to use both lenses together for wide-angle shots, or just one lens for a standard width one. We can’t imagine LG would drop such a defining feature from the V20.
The battery could get a boost, with a big 4000mAh juice pack rumored. That’s larger than the LG V10 or LG G5’s batteries or indeed most other smartphone units. According to Sedaily it will offer up to 320 hours of standby time and will charge via USB-C, with support for fast charging.
There’s a good chance it will be removable too, since the batteries in many of LG’s handsets are.
TechRadar’s take: An increase in megapixels to 20MP and 8MP would make sense and while there’s no mention of dual cameras on the front we’d be surprised if they weren’t included.
LG V20 OS and power
- A Snapdragon 820 processor
- 3GB or 4GB of RAM
- Android Nougat
The LG V20 is said to have a Snapdragon 820 processor and either 3GB or 4GB of RAM. That, like so many other rumors about the phone, comes from Sedaily.
Both the LG V10 and the LG G5 have 4GB of RAM, so logically we’d expect at least that much here, but given that the screen might be a downgrade it’s possible that the RAM will be too.
A Snapdragon 820 chip would be an improvement on the V10’s processor though and a match for the G5’s. In fact, it’s the 2016 flagship standard, so no surprise that it’s rumored for inclusion.
LG itself has confirmed that the V20 will run Android 7.0 Nougat, which given its September launch should make it one of the first phones with the software.
TechRadar’s take: A Snapdragon 820 chip and 4GB of RAM, just like the LG G5, seems likely.
LG V20 other features
- Up to 64GB of built-in storage
- A microSD card slot
LG is nothing if not innovative, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the V20 packs in some fancy extra features, but what they’ll be remains a mystery for now.
We have heard, again from Sedaily, that it will supposedly come with either 32GB or 64GB of storage and a microSD card slot, which is no real surprise, since that’s broadly in line with other LG flagships.
The LG V20 is also likely to have a fingerprint scanner, given that the V10 and most other high-end handsets do.
TechRadar’s take: LG won’t ditch its fingerprint scanner and there’s almost certainly going to be a microSD card slot. Hopefully we’ll get some exciting new features too.
LG V20 rivals
Assuming it maintains the unique dual-screen and dual-front cameras of the LG V10, the LG V20 won’t have any direct rivals, as no other handsets can quite offer everything it does, other than the aging and not widely available V10.
But it will face competition from other flagships and especially other phablets. That puts it in the path of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which is expected to launch with a 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 screen, a stylish waterproof build, an iris scanner and a stylus.
It also means the V20 will have to face off against the iPhone 7 Plus, which could have a dual-lens rear camera and bundles of power. The V20 isn’t likely to sell in the same numbers as either of those phones, but may offer an attractive alternative for anyone who wants something a bit different.
LG V20 cost
There’s no word on the LG V20’s price yet, but the V10 was anything but cheap, coming in at US$700 without a contract. It didn’t launch in the UK or Australia, but had it done the price would probably have been around £600/AU$1,100.
It’s possible that the LG V20 will be less expensive however, as early rumors suggest the screen might not quite be cutting edge and as LG will want to make up for the lacklustre sales of the LG G5, still, it’s definitely not going to be cheap.
TechRadar’s take: A lower price than the V10 would make sense, but don’t expect to find the V20 for much less than £500/US$600/AU$900.
The LG V10 impressed us with its innovative features, but it also disappointed in a few ways, leaving it with a score of four stars. If the LG V20 has the following improvements it could be a true five-star phone.
1. A great design
LG often struggles a bit with smartphone design and while it’s getting better the V10 is a bit too rugged, while the LG G5 doesn’t come across as quite as premium or stylish as the Samsung Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6S.
So we’d like to see LG really focus on the aesthetics of the V20, delivering a handset that wows at first glance and continues to impress once you get your hands on it.
2. A lower price
The LG V10 was a monstrous phone and it had a monstrous price to match. While the cost wasn’t entirely unjustified it did make the handset less appealing than it might have been and with competition from the Samsung Galaxy Note 7and iPhone 7 Plus the LG V20 can’t afford to price itself out of the market.
3. LG’s friends
One of the most interesting but under-utilized aspects of the LG G5 was its vaguely modular design. There aren’t many modules for the phone and what there is hardly feels essential, but the Moto Z has shown that it’s possible to make interesting modules, like its Insta-Share projector, so we’d like to see LG offer them for the V20, but get more creative with them.
4. A smaller screen
The 5.7-inch screen on the LG V10 would be fine if it wasn’t paired with a secondary 2.1-inch one, but the combination is just a bit too much to comfortably operate, especially if you’ve got smaller hands.
We’d like to see a slight downsize for the LG V20 and that’s rumored to be happening, with talk of a 5.5-inch screen. Hopefully the rumor of a drop in resolution won’t be right though.
5. Dual rear cameras
The LG V20 is likely to have two screens and two front-facing cameras, so why not add two rear cameras into the mix as well? Especially as the LG G5 sports both 16MP and 8MP rear cameras, allowing for ‘normal’ or wide-angle shots.
It makes sense for the LG V20 to both stand out from its predecessor and the G5 by having two of everything. Well, maybe not two fingerprint scanners, but two of everything that makes sense.