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LG Velvet review

Last updated:  

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?

6.8 inches

Display size

2460 x 1080px

128GB

Internal storage

48MP + 8MP + 5MP

Rear camera

4,300 mAh

Battery size

Finder rated as Good vs similar phones

Details

Display

Display Size
6.8 inches
Resolution
2460 x 1080px
Pixels per inch (PPI)
395 ppi

Camera

Rear camera megapixels
48MP + 8MP + 5MP
Rear camera aperture size
f/1.8 + f/2.2
Video recording
4K
Front camera megapixels
16MP

Physical Dimensions


Connectivity

NFC
Yes
Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Network category speed
Category 21

Power, storage and battery

RAM
6GB
Operating system
iOS 8
Internal storage
128GB
External storage support
Up to 2TB
Battery capacity
4,300mAh

Device features

Headphone jack
Yes
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Water resistance rating
IP68
Launch price (RRP)$0
LG Velvet

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.


Design

Design

  • 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
LG Velvet

Camera

Camera

  • Triple rear cameras are a little ordinary at this price
  • Good but not great photo results
LG Velvet

Performance

Performance

  • Snapdragon 765G delivers good performance
  • Lots of pre-installed apps
  • LG's launcher isn't great
LG Velvet

Battery life

Battery life

  • 4,300mAh battery lasts well
  • Lacks wireless charging
LG Velvet

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.
Finder score: 3.5
How we score our reviews

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

Price

RRP: $899

Where to buy


Specifications

Display

Display Size
6.8 inches
Resolution
2460 x 1080px
Pixels per inch (PPI)
395 ppi

Camera

Rear camera megapixels
48MP + 8MP + 5MP
Rear camera aperture size
f/1.8 + f/2.2
Video recording
4K
Front camera megapixels
16MP

Physical Dimensions


Connectivity

NFC
Yes
Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Network category speed
Category 21

Power, storage and battery

RAM
6GB
Operating system
iOS 8
Internal storage
128GB
External storage support
Up to 2TB
Battery capacity
4,300mAh

Device features

Headphone jack
Yes
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Water resistance rating
IP68

Images: Alex Kidman


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