LG has not exactly been a smartphone brand on buyers’ lips when it comes time to upgrade their devices, it’s not that they make bad phones, on the contrary, they are quite good but they never really amounted to more than ‘just good’. They are the everyman/woman phone, making reliable devices that will not break the bank. While there is nothing wrong with this strategy, at some point last year LG decided enough was enough and they were going to set out to make 2020 a year of innovation instead of iteration and they have done exactly that with their new Velvet smartphone.
Their newest 5G enabled smartphone has been completely redesigned from the ground up and that is where we begin this review – the design. The Velvet is simply a beautiful looking smartphone. It has a crisp 6.8” FHD+ POLED Endless Edge gorilla glass display that seemingly flows into the frame. You also get an equally elegant shimmery glass back complete with its unique teardrop camera design language plus wireless charging, IP68 dust and water resistance, and even mil-STD-810G certification for its toughness, which is rare in this space. The sleek front and back make for a comfortable in-hand experience and viewing any content on that amazing screen quite the joy. Also, of note is the inclusion of a headphone jack as LG remains one of the few hold outs on eliminating it from their devices and we love that!
Powering the device is the very popular Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 which has been used in similar devices like the Pixel 5 and OnePlus Nord. It is also paired with 6GB RAM, 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage, and MicroSD expandability (another rarity in 2020). The very capable 4300 mAh battery with Quick Charge 4.0 should net you a full day of usage and maybe a little more thanks to the power-efficient mid-range processor. Connectivity-wise, the Velvet is one of the more affordable 5G enabled phones available in Canada today as well as par for the course – 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1, and NFC capability thrown into the mix. While there are a few omissions here like the latest Wi-Fi 6 protocol, we never experienced any dropped connections, we had speedy downloads on the Telus network and stable Bluetooth signal to our Bose wireless earphones. The LG Velvet runs on the Android 10 OS with the typical love it or hate it LG skin over the top. While this could be jarring to Android purists it does bring some additional features to the Android system but sadly a ton of bloatware that seemingly weighs down the OS, a little. We cannot help but think what the gains might be with a stock version of Android installed on the Velvet could achieve. However, if you are familiar with devices from the likes of Samsung, this is not a deal-breaker.
The Velvet is also loaded with a powerful camera array comprised of a 48 megapixel (MP) primary sensor with pixel-binning to produce some sharp, vibrant photos in most lighting conditions. As well as an 8MP ultrawide sensor which is capable but not spectacular and a 5MP depth camera on the back to assist with autofocus and bokeh shots. Of note, is the 16MP punch-hole selfie camera that manages to take some very nice and detailed images for your socials. You also get a little of LG’S own camera magic mixed in with their unique 3D AR Sticker and 3D Photo Effects that make taking portraits of friends and family a whole new experience. Video wise, the Velvet is capable of 4K 30 HDR video recording with some nifty tricks like audio zoom, which focuses on the audio in a conversation when you zoom your camera in. Speaking of sound, the Velvet is equipped with powerful stereo speakers and the LG AI 3D Sound Engine – the same technology found in LG OLED TVs – to deliver every sound with precise clarity, for a fully immersive audio experience. Ideal for audiophiles.
To sum up, there is a lot to like about the LG Velvet with its beautiful design, dual-screen capable, 5G connectivity, all-day battery, and above grade camera system. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that it is now our device of choice here at One Cut Reviews and will be used in much of the photography for our Instagram page. We are excited to see what else LG can muster up before this year ends but they are genuinely stepping up to the plate looking for that next home run!