Update: The LG V20 release date has been announced at LG's San Francisco launch event. Its dual-camera phone has been a big open secret. Here's everything you need to know…
You can put that selfie stick away, because the LG V20 brings a sophisticated design and better specs to its inventive, dual-camera Android phone.
It'll arrive in the US in a few weeks, and launches in the far-more-vague window of 'globally in Q3 2016'. In the US it'll be on all major carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. It'll also be sold at B&H Photo and US Cellular, and be available in Titan and Silver.
The LG V20 is designed to be beautiful but tough, according to the South Korean company. It's made of aircraft-grade aluminum with a silicon-based material at the top and bottom for extra protection.
You're getting a much more grown-up design with this new phone. The LG V20 has some stats to back up how strong it is, too, with the company saying the phone has passed the military-level MIL-STD 810G Drop Test.
This is the first non-Nexus phone that won't have to wait for the Android Nougat update – it comes with the latest version of the Android operating system right out of the box.
The LG V20's specs resemble those of the LG G5, down to the Snapdragon 820 processor. It rocks EIS 3.0 for more stable, less shaky video recording and removal of shutter distortion.
This System-on-a-Chip also supports Hi-Fi DAC audio up to up to 192kHz/24bit and the Snapdragon X12 LTE modem, which can reach up to 600Mbps, enough to stream 360-degree VR video; of course your carrier has to support such radical speeds on mobile devices.
The smoother photo and video capture is put to use in a great way. The LG V20 combines what we liked about the LG G5 and LG V10 cameras with a dual-camera setup on both the front and the back.
The two cameras on the back enable you to take photos with either a 135-degree wide-angle lens – so you won't have to keep backing up to get everything in the frame when snapping the Eiffel Tower – or the 75-degree standard lens.
The 5MP front camera has the same benefits, with a lens that can shoot 120-degree wide photos and video. Gone is the need for a selfie stick, and your friends' faces won't be cut off in group shots.
LG's camera benefits from its video manual mode, which lets pros tinker with the white balance, shutter speed and ISO. The phone can also take pictures while recording video, in what LG calls picture-in-video.
Surprisingly, LG didn't take an open shot at the exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 battery and subsequent recall during its launch event – the LG V20 is all classy in both look and message.
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.
News and rumors surrounding the LG V20 are starting to build and 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? A few weeks in the US, and Q3 globally
- What will it cost? Expect phablet-sized prices
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LG V20 release date
Of course it may not land in shops until weeks later and probably won't until 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. Given the San Francisco announcement a US launch seems almost guaranteed.
TechRadar's take: September 6 is confirmed for the announcement, but the V20 may not touchdown in stores until late September, allowing Google to officially release Android 7 on the world before LG jumps in with its Nougat-toting V20.
LG V20 design
- Similar design to the LG G5
- May support modules
A source speaking to phonesspot claims the LG V20 will have a similar build to the LG V10, which had steel sides and a silicone skin back. It wasn't a bad design but it was a bit rugged and divisive.
The source also claims that unlike the LG G5 it won't support modules, though a shaky Google translation of Sedaily.com suggests otherwise. If LG does roll out its modules again hopefully it will widen the available selection.
Since those initial leaks a live image, supposedly showing the V20, has been shared by @TechMan72 on Twitter. The shot doesn't reveal much, but it's clearly an LG handset.
However some renders have landed too, giving us a closer look at the phone and showing a design that has more in common with the LG G5 than the LG V10, so perhaps the V20 will have a metal shell rather than a silicone skin.
These renders show the dual screens we were expecting to see, but oddly only feature one front-facing camera, where the LG V10 had two. There's also what looks like the G5's module release button on the right edge, along with a lip at the bottom, which could be removable - allowing you to slot modules in.
A second set of renders have also leaked, this time showing the LG V20 in a case. The details are much the same, but this time dual front-facing cameras are clearly visible.
But further confusing things, Twitter tipster @evleaks has also revealed a render, in which what was believed to be a second lens on the front looks like it might actually be a flash.
TechRadar's take: The design may not stray far from the G5's, and modular support 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 or 5.7-inch display
- Either a 1080p or QHD resolution
- Two screens
Oddly the earliest 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.
But a more recent leak suggests it will actually have a 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 screen, just like its predecessor.
That leak also mentions that it will have a secondary screen above the main one, which on the LG V10 was a 2.1-inch 160 x 1040 always-on 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's now been confirmed by Google that a second screen of some kind will be present on the phone
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 a 5.7-inch QHD screen again here.
LG V20 camera and battery
- A 20MP or 21MP dual-lens rear camera
- Dual 8MP front-facing cameras
- 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.
A leak from phonesspot largely agrees, though states it will actually have a 21MP rear camera and dual 8MP front-facing ones. We're fully expecting dual cameras on the front, as this was one of the LG V10's defining features, although some leaked images suggest there may only be one front-facing camera - possibly with a flash module.
On the V10 the dual lenses allow you to use both lenses together for wide-angle shots, or just one lens for a standard width one and it would likely work the same way here assuming we get a dual-lens camera.
Dual cameras on the back are also a distinct possibility, as leaked renders show a dual-lens snapper.
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 or 21MP and 8MP would make sense and we're fully expecting to see dual cameras on the front. If LG also puts dual cameras on the back then the V20 could be a strong combination of G5 and V10.
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, with another source now agreeing that it will have a Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM pairing - though no mention of 3GB this time.
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. In fact it's looking like it will land before the new Nexus handsets, making it the first 'new' phone to land with Nougat.
It's also been revealed that the LG V20 will be the first phone with a dedicated shortcut to Google's new In Apps search feature, allowing you to search for content within your apps. On most phones this feature is limited to a handful of apps, but the selection is set to be wider on the V20.
A distinct lack of apps in leaked renders also suggests LG might be keeping bloat to a minimum, which would be good news.
TechRadar's take: A Snapdragon 820 chip and 4GB of RAM, just like the LG G5, seems likely.
LG V20 other features
- Superior audio skills
- 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.
The invite to the LG V20 South Korean event says the phone will feature "the best video and audio experience" suggesting the phone will be set to focus on how you watch and listen to media.
We have an idea of what that will mean, as the company has also confirmed that the V20 will have a Quad DAC (digital to analogue converter), which should significantly improve the quality of audio on the phone.
On top of that, the LG V20 will also come with a pair of B&O PLAY headphones in the box, so you can make the most of its audio prowess.
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.
- Check out our full LG V10 review
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 has arrived with a 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 screen, a stylish waterproof build, an iris scanner and a stylus.
- Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
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.
- Here's everything we know about the iPhone 7 Plus
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.