The V20 has the chance to redeem LG this year and outshine the Note 7

I refuse to be on the bandwagon that labels the LG G5 as a crappy phone. It’s not. It may not be as refined as its top-end competition, but that doesn’t make it a bad phone. Poor performance, sub-par components, and buggy software make a phone crappy.

But be that as it may, the G5 was a miss rather than a hit. Fortunately, LG doesn’t get just one chance in a year to win our hearts anymore. The V10 newcomer last year was surprisingly good. It was actually a refuge for devoted Galaxy Note fans who felt betrayed by Samsung’s turn to fashion over function.

As the time approaches for another phablet battle, it’s my opinion that the supposed V10 successor, the V20, has a superb opportunity to majorly turn the tables. A big reason for this is because Samsung appears to be playing it safe with the Note 7. We’ve had plenty of leaks to know what to expect, and it essentially is more of the same. Sure, it will come with some new things, like the anticipated Iris scanner and USB Type-C port, but ultimately, it will be a bigger version of what we saw earlier in the year from Samsung. Will it be pretty? Yes. Will it have top-notch components? Yes. Will Android sites praise it like the second coming? Yes. But will it be exciting. Eh.

Excitement is exactly how LG can stand out. We don’t know what to expect from the V20, and that itself is a big plus in a now stagnant smartphone market. We know that LG isn’t afraid to try new things, like a secondary wide-angle camera, second screen, integrated Hi-Fi DAC, or a modular concept. The company also may have had some time to adjust its next flagship based on the failings of the G5. Here are some of things that I think the V20 needs to be a hit and leap over the Note 7:

  • 5.7-5.8” QHD display that finally uses AMOLED technology and is comparable to Samsung’s panel.
  • Snapdragon 821 chipset
  • At least 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB storage at minimum (like the V10 had) with microSD expansion
  • The same dual, rear camera setup as the G5 (standard + wide angle), but with larger aperture and larger pixel sensors, and faster auto-focus.
  • Around a 3,500 mAh battery that still removable
  • Durable/shockproof like the V10, but also waterproof
  • Upgraded internal Hi-Fi DAC
  • USB Type-C
  • Modularity, if there are a multitude of options
  • Toned-down UI with app drawer!
  • Price that significantly undercuts the Note 7

One last factor that I think the V10 nailed last year was handleability. Its grippy, textured backing was a far cry better in the hand than Samsung’s fragile glass cover. The V10 didn’t really need a case, but it’s pretty much a necessity on Samsung’s phones. Derrick Miyao (another AndroidGuys editor) and I both cracked our Galaxy S7 Edge’s despite being extra careful.

Long crack developed along the back glass of my S7 Edge, on its own
Long crack developed along the back glass of my S7 Edge, on its own
Derrick's S7 Edge after it slipped out of his pocket
Derrick’s S7 Edge after it slipped out of his pocket

Now, this article isn’t meant to bash the Note 7, nor is this LG fanboy speech (the V10 was my first LG phone). I just feel like the V10 did more right things than the Note 5 last year, and because Samsung is repeating the same formula once again, LG now has a stark opportunity to be on top. That is, if it plays the cards right.

Do you agree with my assessments? Was there a feature I missed that you think would give the V20 a big edge? Continue the discussion down in the comments!

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  1. After having the V10 for about six months I love its basics and it’s extras. A front facing or much improved external speaker would be nice. And battery-life continues to be an issue as internal tech improves but batteries remain stagnant. Keeping the ease of battery swapping is crucial but anything they can do to help improve battery longevity would be dope especially since I’m going through two batteries per day. (#pokemongo)

  2. I feel that Samsung just has many useful features that no one else has, everyone else stay within the android basic ui. Sure some of the features are useless to others but most root and customize it the way they want it. Another plus is that Samsung is easier then others to gain root as well. Iyou self rarely use the spen but when I need it and find use of it……well it helps and glad I have that feature. Another phone I did like was the nexus line simply because it was fast everything about it was fast updates and everything but there came a time when I felt that I needed another feature where as it took me longer to get to with substitute apps. Each person is different and have different life style and needs for me note line seems to do just what I want and what I need. (A was extremely disappointed with the note 5 hope they bring back some of its features with the next 7).

  3. The phone I’m on right now is the g3 and its been great. I was about to upgrade to the g5 because its practically the only phone with a removable battery. Until i heard the v20 is coming out in September. I do hope they do a great job and take advantage of being able to scoop Samsung. Can’t say I hate them because ghey do make quality products, but I like to be different. My wife just lost everything when her Samsung g6 just froze on her and then died. Lg should just make this phone sturdy and have 2 speakers on the front. No overheating battery and a app drawer as mentioned. Perfect. I’m waiting to upgrade, hope they deliver and stun the phone world.

  4. An suggested improvement is software feature like the Samsung’s ultra power saving mode. HTC has it as well. As bad as the battery life was in the V10 this is a much needed feature that’s easy to implement and will help slow the drain when needed.

  5. Looking forward to the V20. Love my V10. Only thing I’m curious about the Note 7 is how they improve their industry-leading camera this year and whether they’ll have a UFS-MicroSD port. I hope the V20 improves their camera(s) further, continue to have a removable battery, improve battery life, keep the buttons on the rear, and support wireless charging out of the box. Also, hoping they’ll continue to have a dual-SIM version with better global support.

  6. I Still Love My V10 , Will Upgrade To V20 When Final Specs Are Known . Would Like Feature Also For Killing Draining Power On Battery Life , Like Other Phone Company’s Do . Front Speaker’s Also . Port C . Waterproof , Non – Breakable Screen Glass .

  7. How about actually making a version for the UK market this time LG!
    I hope they have learned a lesson from the will they /won’t they debacle of the V10.

  8. Dwash, I’m right there with you! Also, sorry your wife died when her phone broke (that is what you said, was it?)…

  9. As far as I know Ive never read one of your articles before Josh, and this one was suggested by Google Now because of my searching for info on the V20. But you could have practically pulled this one straight from my brain. Im still mad at “Samsung’s turn to fashion over function”. I had the Note 2 and really liked it, but they got so caught up in fighting Apple that the lost the things I liked about the phone. I have had the LG G3 since then and have really liked it. Is it starting to get kind of old, and a bit weird in its old age. I was a big let down when the G5 was made so small. Ive been sitting here for months, crossing my fingers for what ever the V10 successor is, and Im really hoping for a 6 inch plus device.

  10. Small built in battery and removable battery so that when you swap batteries the device remains on….

  11. I don’t want a snapdragon. I want the nuclun2 processor. I don’t really have proof that it’s better but I think I’d like to go with that.

  12. Lol , No she didn’t die, she had a lot of stuff on her phone because she uses it for work.Takes pics and business calls. Lost a lot of important info because she didn’t let me back it up. Kept putting it off and that phone died on her and she was crying and mad.

  13. I’ve owned the V10 since early last November. Some logically thoughtful tweaking gets this phone to where it needs to be in an evolutionary sense . My V10 seems a little ‘power hungry’ and better battery life would be appreciated. However, it’s no big deal to swap batteries in under two minutes from power-off to boot-up; keep the removable battery. In 16+ years having some 30+ phones I have yet to ever lose one to ‘drowning’. The camera and video recording capabilities on the V10 are fine; all that the V20 needs is an evolutionary upgrade.

    Storage: To get notice in the marketplace the V20 needs a minimum of 128 gigabytes (256 gigs would be better!) of built-in storage while hanging on to that wonderful micro SDXC memory expansion slot; may as well make that slot UFS capable while they’re at it.

    • Agreed, the removable battery, IR blaster, expandable memory and screen size were the reason I dumped Samsung…the article hits it right, I was a avid Samsung user then all the sudden they went iPhoneish with their designs….went to the V10 from a S5….I’m hopeful LG builds off the V10’s design even further, wouldn’t mind a little more screen size, but the phone has been fantastic just wish ATT would have offered more colors than just black and the powder blue so lame…

      • Agreed, AT&T could have sold far more if they had opted for the white or the dark blue. This time around I’m hoping the dark blue makes it way into the lineup, along with 4K display, 3500 mAh battery (at the very least), 823 Snapdragon or Nuclun 2 processor, and upgraded Hi-DAC audio (maybe front facing speakers). If they have decided to move it to modular design like the G5, just keep if relatively the same weight.

  14. Josh, I think you hit the nail right on the head. The primary thing I’d like to see on the successor to the V10 is better battery life. I’m delighted with everything else on my (dual-SIM) V10. However, if LG want to really give Samsung a run for their money, a stylus would do it.

  15. Better GPS than G5
    Wireless charging
    Iris scanner
    In addition to all you mentioned
    I don’t care about mods unless they do it similar to Moto

  16. looking forward to the release of the v20. my previous phones were note 4 (liked it but had isues), the lg g3 (16gb version, 2gb ram was not enough), the lg g flex (absolutely loved this phone). At the moment i’m loving my V10, i think one of the best phones i ever owned. the second screen for me is super useful expacialy for multitasking and quickly accessing calc, clock and other much used apps. right now i’m awaiting the reviews of the following: the lg v20, the galaxy note 7 and the motorola moto z (force)…

  17. Definitely want to see some front facing speakers. Better front facing camera maybe with OIS. A 3300mah battery. Slimmed down OS.

  18. I hoping there will be a built in stylus. AMOLED screens might look better to some users but let’s face it they are more battery draining. I am hoping that the next LG V model will stand out more than the Note 7. Regardless I will be paying off my LG Vista Contract early just to get the next LG V model no matter what it is called. I can’t wait to early Fall.

  19. Here’s where LG will not learn from past mistakes:

    1. There will be no Amoled screen
    2. The build quality will still be questionable. Lack of finesse in this day and age where we have Oneplus and ZTE coming out with amazing build quality leaves no excuse for a major player like LG
    3. Lack of Waterproof/resistance
    4. Not upgrade the RAM and processor from the G5 line up
    5. LG will never improve its UI.
    6. Reduce Bezels.

    Samsung did all of the above and today it competes with Apple.

    What it will do:

    1. Put dual front and back cameras
    2. Improved DAC
    3. Improved Battery which is still removable
    4. Maybe have multiple screens this time rather than just 2 for the Always on feature.

  20. It’s only chance of redeeming LG now that they released the specs on the puny battery is to include a spare battery and a charger for the battery that doesn’t require the phone. If they included a wireless charging backplate it might help with disappointed would be buyers.

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