LG’s New Phone Has Two Screens, Plenty of Other Crazy Features
LG launched its latest phone, the V10, today. I have a lot of questions about the V10. Among them: Where were the other nine V models? What does V stand for? Why in the world is there a huge “Be You” logo in the top-right corner of the screen on every one of these phones, like a glittery sticker in a teenager’s bedroom in an ABC Family show from 2002? Why is there a screen above the other screen? (Yes, two screens.)
I think I can answer at least one. V probably stands for video, because the V10 is all about taking incredible footage on a smartphone. The 16-megapixel rear camera shoots 4K video, in either 16:9 or 21:9 aspect ratios, so you can shoot the next theatrical blockbuster without ever putting your phone away. The phone supports SD cards up to 2TB, and has a removable battery so that you can keep shooting effectively forever. Most importantly, the V10 offers fully manual photo and video shooting—you can control shutter speed, ISO, focus, and more while you’re rolling.
Even the camera app is all about video capture. There’s an audio monitor built in, along with lots of editing tools and nifty ways to filter and tweak your movie before sharing it with the world. And there are two front-facing 5-megapixel cameras on the phone, which can combine their views into a single super-wide shot—it’s the solution to all the giant-group-of-famous-people Oscars selfies. Finally.
Despite its very clear primary advantage, this phone is an enigma. LG clearly intends the V10 as a sort of ultra-personalized fashion statement. It comes in sexy-sounding colors like Luxe White and Ocean Blue. It has nice accent colors, a nice-looking textured back, and the same rear-mounted power and volume buttons LG’s been championing for a while. And again, my god, the Be You logo. At the same time, though, it has a beast of a spec sheet: Snapdragon 808 processor, 5.7-inch display with a 2560×1440 resolution, 4GB of RAM, 3,000mAh battery, even cutting-edge Wi-Fi and cellular tech. It’s made of stainless steel, and passed four-foot drop tests. This thing’s a monster.
Oh, and lest LG not have enough wacky new features, there’s even a second screen on the damn thing. It’s a small, 160×1040 panel above the normal display; where there would usually be a bezel or a front-facing speaker, you get another screen. It’s made to be on all the time, like a ticker, showing weather, time, battery, or app shortcuts even when the screen’s off. Most usefully, it can show you notifications without dropping a card over top of whatever you’re doing—having everything separated might actually be nice. In most ways, though, it’s like the Galaxy Note Edge’s side-mounted screen, only moved; or it’s like the Moto X’s ambient display, only more hamfisted.
LG’s trying a lot of things here—even its press release touts the phone’s “many firsts.” It’s being launched globally over the next few months, and it feels very much like LG packing everything it can think of into a single device. It’s had good cameras for a while now, particularly in the recent G4, but that hasn’t been enough to unseat Apple and Samsung. So maybe, this phone seems to say, we can do it with cool design and cool video and two screens and the widest damn selfies you’ve ever seen in your life. Maybe.