LG’s V-series of phones have landed squarely in the middle of the pack for our best phones rankings - not bad devices, just housed in simple black rectangles with a few intriguing but ultimately non-essential new perks. The LG V60 ThinQ 5G seeks to break with that tradition in some ways with a more modern look, a larger size, and higher photo quality. And, yes, its own handful of intriguing features.
Some of those surprising extras aren’t too surprising, like a Dual Screen second display and a quad-mic setup for 'Voice Bokeh'. But the real selling point might be just better everything: size, photo capabilities, and 5G connectivity.
Whether that allows the phone to break out of the middle-of-the-pack is another question, especially in a year that kicked off with the better-than-ever Samsung Galaxy S20 line.
LG has doggedly gone forward with the Dual Screen functionality, and it does add more screen real estate without driving up costs or much weight, which differentiates it from the competition.
As the Dual Screen feature hasn’t quite moved the needle in the past - it debuted as a post-launch accessory for the LG V50 ThinQ 5G and came bundled with the LG G8X - it’s hard to tell whether this will finally be the handset that finally sells consumers on its utility.
Without the Dual Screen, the V60 comes up a bit short compared to other flagship phones in a couple categories - which is typical of LG’s top-tier handsets. Without a final price tag, it’s tough to weigh whether having a lower-resolution display or no telephoto lens, for example, are worthwhile corners to cut in the quest for better value.
At the end of the day, it's a 5G phone - and one of the few around that can hook up to sub-6 5G networks.
LG V60 ThinQ 5G price and release date
The LG V60 ThinQ 5G launched on February 26, 2020. It’s safe to assume that this announcement was planned for MWC 2020, which was cancelled due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.
LG hasn’t provided a specific release date for the LG V60, but noted it will be available "in the coming weeks" after the February 26 announcement - but at this point, only in the US. LG hasn’t announced when the LG V60 is coming to other markets outside the US.
Crucially, the phone's US release is split in two versions, identical, but for their 5G capabilities: AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular will get a model of LG V60 ThinQ 5G that can only connect to sub-6 5G networks, while Verizon will get a particular version - the LG V60 ThinQ 5G UW - that works with both its mmWave and as-yet launched (and unannounced) sub-6 5G network.
We don’t know how much the V60 will cost – as it has done before, LG is insisting that carriers will set the final price. The company did reveal that it will retail for less than the Samsung Galaxy S20, which is $999 / £899 / AU$1,499.
As in previous devices, the Dual Screen is included with the LG V60’s sticker price, so consumers won’t have to pay extra to try out the extra real estate. While the Dual Screen only comes in a matte black color and design with a ribbed back and smooth glass front, the V60 will come in two hues: 'Classy White' and 'Classy Blue'.
LG V60 ThinQ 5G Design
The LG V60 ThinQ 5G seems a bit like an inflated version of its predecessor: with a 6.8-inch screen, it’s strictly larger, and has some design quirks to keep it from being unmanageable to hold. For one, the very back is smaller than the ultimate width of the phone, and it widens as it tapers up to meet the sides.
Those sides are a sleek silver metal to contrast with the colored glass back (we saw a pearlescent white trimmed with silver and blue trimmed with gold) and front glass display. Finally, LG is going for glossy hues other than black, and it looks more refined - more modernly flagship - than the phone series has felt.
The phone packs its two rear camera lenses, sensors, and flash in a thin camera bar that looks much like the block on the back of the Samsung Galaxy S20 line of phones (albeit with rounded edges here). The front-facing camera has been reduced to a single lens in a teardrop notch, much as it is in the LG G8X - meaning no more sensor array to detect 'Air Motion' gestures, as in the LG V50.
The phone’s volume buttons are on the left side of the phone, and below them, a lock button. The bottom edge reveals the V60’s central USB-C port, a right-mounted speaker grille, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left.
LG V60 ThinQ 5G Display
The LG V60’s FHD+ (2460x1080) OLED display has receded in resolution from the QHD+ (3120x1440) display on its predecessor. But it’s larger at 6.8 inches (compared to 6.4 inches in the LG V50) and narrower with a 20.5:9 ratio, making it a bit easier to handle despite its size.
The display, and the phone itself, is still fairly big - and despite not being necessarily as sharp as other flagship screens, it’s still bright and vibrant, with HDR10+ support. As previously mentioned, it has a moderate teardrop notch in the top-center of the display for the front-facing camera.
LG V60 ThinQ 5G Dual Screen
The Dual Screen continues to be a strange peripheral that LG has doubled down on for its new phone. It's not strange, of course, to entice users with more screen real estate - but to do so with a wide gap between both displays in an era when cutting-edge foldable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X promise large yet seamless screens is doesn't quite have the appeal that perhaps LG is hoping for.
It does provide more screen space, and works simply: just slide the V60 into the Dual Screen’s right side and snap it into place. The peripheral runs off the V60’s battery, and assuming it doesn’t sip more power than the LG G8X’s Dual Screen did, the owner shouldn’t have to worry about their capacity draining too much faster when the second screen is running, though that’s something we’ll certainly test.
There are some neat use cases for the Dual Screen, like loading up an app on each screen to multitask. As in the LG G8X, some of these applications are appealing, like watching a show on one display while playing a relaxing game on the other, or simultaneously looking up Yelp on one side and directions on the other.
There are, of course, a handful of apps that sprawl across both in a mode called 'Wide Display'. But these apps are few and far between.
Even though LG maintains there are more than before, they’re limited to mostly Google Suite apps: it’s impressive to spread Google Maps across both screens, but with so few applications, it would likely be easy to forget the feature is available. While it’s not terribly pretty spread over the visible gap in the center, it’s admittedly handy when it works.
Lastly, logistics: while LG didn’t comment on the resolution of the second screen, we can presume that it is an identical 6.8-inch OLED FHD+ as on the main display. That’s what they did for the LG G8X’s Dual Display: it’s apparently far easier to instantly swap apps from one display to another if they’re the same dimensions and resolution.
But like the LG G8X’s peripheral, the LG V60’s second display also copies over the teardrop notch cutout despite not having a front-facing camera - it's just easier to replicate this way. While that's a bit irksome, we honestly didn't notice. Don't believe us? Check the photos in this early look and you'll see that cutout subtly tucked behind black bars when playing games or watching media.
But it is, in fact, a brand-new Dual Display built to fit the V60 - which goes against LG’s previously-stated plan to design future phones such that they’d be able to use the G8X’s Dual Display.
While that’s no great loss, it does indicate a shift in strategy as future LG phones will presumably also come with their own proprietary Dual Screens. Thankfully, a new model means new developments, and the V60’s add-on has a much stronger magnetic charging dongle nub that more firmly sticks to the bottom of the case.
And, yes, the LG V60’s Dual Screen supports game pads - dedicated screen space on one display for button presses to keep your fingers from getting in the way of the action on the top display.
We’ll have to see if this has been improved from the LG G8X Dual Screen, where the game pads were intriguing but a bit tedious to customize.
LG V60 ThinQ 5G Cameras
The V60 has dialed down its rear camera suite from the triple-camera array on the LG V50, dropping a telephoto lens and sticking strong with a main and ultrawide pair of lenses.
The 64MP f/1.98 main lens follows this year’s trend of higher- and higher-megapixel lenses, though it also packs a 'pixel-binning' tech to combine four pixels into one. This drops the lens down to taking 16MP photos, but they should have much better low-light capabilities.
The 13MP f/1.9 ultrawide worked fine in our initial tests, though the lack of a telephoto lens was partially made up by 'Crop Zoom' of up to 10x digitally - in other words, the phone takes a 64MP regular shot (or 16MP pixel-binned, though you’ll have to manually switch this) and zooms into the desired area.
While the LG V60’s camera suite is lacking compared to flagship titans like the Samsung Galaxy S20, the phone surges ahead in one area: its 1.6-micron sensor for the main lens in 64MP mode is much higher than the 0.8-micron size sensor in the main camera of Samsung’s new handset.
That shrinks to 0.8 microns on the V60’s main shooter if you engage 16MP mode, but we’re curious to see if this improves the LG handset’s photo game.
The 10MP f/1.9 front-facing camera has much the same, with a 1.22-micron sensor that’s larger than that on the LG V50, albeit barely.
The LG V60’s other big advantage: it can shoot in 8K video at 24 frames per second. It also has four microphones positioned around the phone to capture what LG calls 'Voice Bokeh' - ostensibly some sort of depth awareness relative to sound sources, something LG’s introduced to appeal to content creators. This is one we’ll really have to play with in testing.
LG V60 ThinQ 5G Performance and battery
The LG V60 ThinQ runs the latest chipset for Android phones, the Snapdragon 865, paired with 8GB of RAM. Customers can get either 128GB or 256GB of storage, though they can always boost that up to 2TB via microSD card. Paired with Android 10 out of the box, this is a respectable if not too exciting set of specs.
That 8GB is enough to power the Dual Screen, which means it’s enough for gaming, LG reckons. Given the LG G8X packed 6GB of RAM, but that was still enough for that phone and its Dual Screen to get the stamp of approval in ESL and other mobile esports competitions.
The phone has another card up its sleeve: 5G compatibility for both mmWave and sub-6, at least in the model available to Verizon customers. Other carriers will get a version that only hooks up to sub-6 frequencies; it's unclear which version will head to global markets.
With expanded 5G compatibility comes an even bigger battery, and the LG V60's packs a 5,000mAh capacity. While LG was coy with the details for its charger (the V50 maxed out at 18W), the company noted its new phone is Quick Charge 4.0 compliant, recharging from 0% to 50%, or an alleged 18 hours, in 30 minutes.