LG V30 – PROVED Hi-Fi DAC Works! – REVIEW

With a thorough camera app and a phenomenal quad hi-fi DAC, LG’s V30 is an impressive smartphone.

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The two phones I feel are always a good head to head, it’s not Samsung and Apple… but it’s Samsung and LG.  I don’t hear too many average consumers talking about this phone, but every time I test LG, I feel as though they’re very much underrated.   Folks, what I have here today is the LG V30. The retail prices are on your screen direct from the manufacturer’s website.  As always, I’ll place my affiliate links up above  Click on those links and they’ll give you the most updated prices in real-time.


PHYSICAL FEATURES
Going over the physical features, the measurements and weight are pictured above. The biggest difference, the V30 is the lightest and the thinnest flagship phone, while retaining a full six-inch display.  Not only that, but the V30 also has the second thinnest amount of bezels of all the mainstream and most popular phones out there.  81.2% for those who are technical.  

When I’m gripping the V30, it’s a premium feeling of pure glass and metal in the palm of my hand.  It’s not too slippery – if anything it’s identical to Samsung S8+.  As I mentioned earlier, the weight is where you’ll feel the biggest difference between the V30 and most other flagships out there.   It’s surprisingly light.  

Key features to point out physically, the V30 still retains the 3.5mm audio input.  More on that later.  Buttons are clicky and tactile despite how small they are these days.  And last on the bottom is the speakerphone which performed as good as the Samsung with no raspiness or distortion at maximum volume.  The iPhone has at least one front facing speaker which sounded more direct.  The best speaker so far this year that I’ve personally tested has been the Pixel 2 XL with dual front-facing speakers.  No tests on the Razer phone just yet.  Next to the speaker is the USB-Type C port for charging and transfers.

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BATTERY LIFE
With my testing, I’m getting on average 5.5 hours of screen-on time and average battery use of a little over a day.  LG comes with Quick Charging 3.0.  With my tests, 15 minutes gave me 21% back, and 30 minutes of charging gave me 39% back.

HI DAC
Touching base on audio, this is one of the biggest reasons why anyone would go for the V30.  It’s the onboard Digital-to-Analog converter – most abbreviate it as DAC.  
The benefit of having a good DAC or a third party DAC is that they tend to enhance your audio experience.  They may squeeze out a bit more soundstage, maybe bass frequencies that you haven’t heard before. Comparing to the V20, new and improved is the availability to tune the audio to your liking and the fact LG is the first ever smartphone to offer Master Quality Audio file formats.  Master Quality Audio files are better than go to FLAC files. If you have been following me for awhile, I am huge on audio… and with the V30, I tested this with my Sennheiser 598se Open Backs that has a 50ohm impedance, my RHA T20’s which are currently my best in-ear wired earphones at the moment, and I threw in my Sennheiser PXC 550 and Sony WH1000x for the hell of it.  I want to dispel some of the rumors or at least clarify how well the V30 DAC works, and if it works at all.

 

First up and I want you to pay attention…  without high impedance headphones or earphones, the High-Dac barely has an effect.  My $250 RHA T20’s has 16ohms of impedance, and my $300 JBL Everest Elite 750NC with also 16 ohms didn’t sound any different when toggling Hi-Dac on or off.  So most average consumers, your headphones might not work, be sure to check it.  With that being said, with hi-DAC off, although you’re not getting the full effect, headphones or earphones were always louder than my Samsung S8+, iPhone, and Pixel 2 XL.    

Now, when I plugged in my remaining headsets, like the PXC550 which has 46ohms and the 598’s with 50ohms, toggling the Hi-Dac in the menu – wow, that’s when I can tell a true difference.  Audio is so much airier, spacious, louder, more frequencies, nuance, detail, fidelity, you name it…  it can all be heard.  The audio seems to be more in the forefront than off to the side.  

And one last thing to avoid rumors or to clarify.  You don’t need the best of the best FLAC files for this to work.  That’s what I thought too in the beginning and reading forums.  Yes, uncompressed files will be the best and you will hear the most from those, but testing this on YouTube and Netflix for both movies and music, the High-DAC still performed perfectly fine enhancing my audio experience.  I know this was long-winded, but I hope it helped you.

WATERPROOFING
Getting back to the phone, and before I forget to mention, this phone is IP68 Certified, meaning it can be submerged underwater for up to 30minutes and up to 1 meter.  Looking at the rear, wireless charging is offered which is slowly gaining more attention with the average consumer.  Moving up, the fingerprint scanner is also used as the home button.  Fingerprint reading works zippy and fast with no issues from my experience.  The button itself though does feel a little squishy and not as clicky or premium like the Pixel 2 phone I had just uploaded the other day.  


CAMERA QUALITY
Moving up, after talking about the High-Fi Quad DAC, this is the second reason why the V30 might be the phone for you.  Dual cameras on the back that my Samsung S8+ doesn’t offer, nor did the Pixel 2 XL.  Only on the Samsung Note 8 or the iPhone 8+ had this extra lens but…  both phones are more expensive.  Both photographers and videographers will benefit from the following.  Manual mode gives you features like a DSLR camera and although Samsung and other select phones offer their own Pro Mode or manual mode, LG has done it the best.  They have the most intuitive menu and information right at the forefront.  Just look at how I’m zooming in and out with the V30, and it switches between the wide angle lens and the normal one.  Quick and easy. 

The V30 performs very similarly to the Samsung S8+.  There are some minor differences, and I’ll let you be the judge in the comment section below.  The V30 comes with a 16-megapixel camera while Samsung, iPhone, and the Pixel come with 12.  In the defense of the latter three, since the pixels are less cramped and bigger, they in-turn should offer better low light performance.  Testing the V30 in low-light, the V30 still did amazing, if not better than some of the competition.

Getting back to regular lighting, the V30 captures a good bit of detail, but comparing to my Samsung and Pixel, the LG tends to not be as sharp, although there’s more Megapixels to work with. But where it’s lacking in detail and sharpness, LG shines by offering one of the brightest and most vibrant photos out there.  Darker backgrounds tend to lighten up, making photos easily identifiable.  LG tends to shoot quite colorful or some would consider saturated.  This is clearly a matter of preference, but comparing to the iPhone and if you haven’t seen, the Pixel review, the LG, and Samsung are not as accurate, but they make for some attention-grabbing photos.  They’re good looking photos right out the box.  Now comparing the Samsung and LG phones, they are always neck and neck.  Sometimes the LG gives better results, sometimes the other.  Either or, no camera has been perfect…  but these two have been my favorite this time around.  

Last, let me show you the difference between manual mode.  Quite a dull photo here.  And simply bumping up color temp and lowering the shutter speed a bit, this image looks much better.  All of these photos you have seen have been unedited.

PERFORMANCE
Looking at the display and performance, I’ll throw some specs down below for you.  

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Because of how small the bezels are, the screen looks to have its own infinity display.  I did notice the LG does show a slightly cooler tone overall on whites, which I do like for web surfing and reading.  For images on screen, the V30 performed the complete opposite on how it takes photos.  And it’s possibly due to the new OLED display LG is using. Colors are vibrant indeed, but at times, a little too vibrant – especially red objects like cars and such, it’s quite jarring and even the average person might be able to take notice.  It wasn’t a deal breaker for me, but something I surely would think others would notice.  Then oddly as vibrant as the screen is, for movies, the S8+ had the most detail due to the screen illuminating the entire video, letting me be able to see the dark backgrounds and textures for those dark movies.  The iPhone 8+ came in second.  Third darkest was the LG V30…  Although the Samsung S8+ was brighter, skin tones tended to be more orange and red and not true to the original footage but it was within tolerance and simply having a brighter screen was much more engaging and enjoyable.  

CONCLUSION
The wrap things up, I personally didn’t encounter any issues with the V30.  It’s zippier than my Samsung, but not as fluid as the stock Android found on the Pixel.  As a side note, from the factory, the V30 at the time of this review comes with Android 7 and not Android 8.  I don’t think that’s a deal-breaker either but something to be aware of.  Overall, once you factor in the price, the fact LG offers a two-year warranty on the V30, the extra features you get that is equivalent to the more popular Samsung, despite its shortcomings, I=” still think the V30 has tons of value.  Folks, in the comment section below, let me know what you think of the LG V30.  Worth it or not?  I’m Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom, and I’m here to help you make that purchase decision.  You guys take care.  I’ll see you on the next one.

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Specs from manufacturer. If  incorrect, please contact us.