LG Velvet review
Quick verdict: LG's redefined mission to provide a near-premium phone experience at a more affordable price is off to a good start, but there's room for improvement, especially in the camera arena.
- Slick design
- 5G capable
- Water resistance
- Underpowered camera
- LG launcher adds little
- Where's the dual-screen gone?
Power, storage and battery
|Launch price (RRP)||$0|
LG certainly hasn't been afraid to reinvent itself in the smartphone space over the years, especially when it comes to its premium phone lines. We've seen phones with leather backs, phones with modular accessories, phones with dual split screens and more over the years.
However, LG has never enjoyed massive success in the premium space, with the majority of the buyers in that market tending towards phones from the likes of Apple or Samsung instead.
In 2020, LG is trying for a clean slate once again. Out goes any letter suffixes, out goes the ThinQ branding that was meant to signify AI in everything, and in comes a simpler naming scheme meant to invoke luxury. Pedantically, it's almost a return to a simpler form that LG used more than a decade ago, back when it used to sell phones under the "Chocolate" moniker.
No, really, that's a thing that LG did. Here's my review of one of them from 2007 to prove it!
The LG Velvet also sees LG returning to an older form, in that it used to frequently sell itself as a more affordable take on premium experiences. At $899 outright, the LG Velvet is one of the cheapest 5G phones you can buy right now. It doesn't skimp on design features and it's nicely powerful, although, once again, LG is lagging behind the market when it comes to true camera quality.
- 6.8-inch curved display is pleasant
- A premium phone with a headphone jack!
- Button layout is confusing
- In-display fingerprint reader isn't fast
- There is a dual-screen… but not in Australia
- Triple rear cameras are a little ordinary at this price
- Good but not great photo results
- Snapdragon 765G delivers good performance
- Lots of pre-installed apps
- LG's launcher isn't great
- 4,300mAh battery lasts well
- Wireless charging included
Should you buy the LG Velvet?
- Buy it if you want a 5G phone with wireless charging and water resistance.
- Don't buy it if you want a really good camera as well.
I started this review noting how LG has tended to reinvent itself with most of its flagship phone generations.
That observation still holds true for the LG Velvet, a phone with nicely refined style and a mostly compelling feature set. The weaker than expected camera array is really the sticking point for this particular phone, and that's not to say that it has a bad camera. It's just that it's an ordinary camera up against some real powerhouse cameras at this kind of price. It's certainly a more compelling option than the Motorola Edge, a phone that costs $100 more and lacks water resistance or wireless charging, but we're seeing a lot of Snapdragon 765G phones right now. That makes the LG Velvet a good phone, but not quite a great one.
That's an unusual strategic position for LG to assume because this is effectively LG's 2020 flagship phone. In a year where everyone's budgets are constricted, maybe that's a smart move.
Pricing and availability
Where to buy
Power, storage and battery
Images: Alex Kidman
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