LG’s V30S ThinQ is a V30 with more RAM and AI

LG is usually one of the big hitters of Mobile World Congress. In 2016, the company used this show to debut its radical LG G5 modular flagship. In 2017, we saw the LG G6, which was among the first phones with an almost bezel-free display. But in 2018, LG is giving us a rehash: the LG V30S ThinQ.

Yes, I agree, that name is awful.

The Android Oreo-powered V30S retains the exact same design as the V30, the same dual-camera system, the same 18:9 display, same 3,300mAh battery, and same Snapdragon 835 processor. The only upgrades are to memory, with the V30S stepping up from 4GB of RAM to 6GB, and from a choice between 64GB or 128GB of storage to a 128GB or 256GB selection. The colors on offer are called New Platinum Grey and New Moroccan Blue, in case they’re accidentally confused for being unchanged like the rest of the phone.

New Platinum Grey
Photo: LG
New Moroccan Blue
Photo: LG

The immediate question that surfaces when you look at the V30S is, why did this need to exist? LG gave a media presentation here at MWC where it explained its thinking about AI integration into mobile devices and how that found expression in the company’s new AI Cam, the V30S’ headline novelty. But here’s the issue: the AI Cam and every other software improvement in the V30S are promised to be delivered as an update to V30 phones. So there’s no hardware reason for new hardware. Unless you were really lusting for a slightly darker gray on the back of your phone.

Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

LG’s biggest launch at this year’s MWC is essentially a software update. As software patches go, though, it’s not too bad. The AI Cam facility is licensed by LG from EyeEm — a tool called EyeEm Vision, which other phone makers are free to license too — and I’m told its machine-learning system has been trained on 100 million images. It surfaces keywords related to things it recognizes as you point the camera at various objects or scenes, which is a really nice and immediate way to tell that the camera’s judging the scenes correctly. In a quick test, I found the AI Cam produced better, more accurate color than the unassisted LG camera, so it’s an encouraging start.

Another tweak LG’s made with the V30S camera is a new Bright Mode, which combines four pixels into one to produce brighter pictures in extreme low light. The trade-off there is you lose resolution for improved exposure. This is another change that’s also coming to the existing V30.

Finally, LG’s added a QLens image detection tool to the camera. QLens plugs into Amazon’s online store and is supposed to let you shop just by taking a photo of a thing you want. It’s woefully inaccurate. Taking a photo of the V30 led it to suggest that I buy an iPhone X. That’s the kind of self-own that immature AI will keep delivering for companies that insist on shipping stuff before it’s ready.

LG V30S next to LG V30
Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

It’s abundantly evident that LG’s 2018 flagship wasn’t ready in time for the grand MWC event, but LG wasn’t willing to turn up to Barcelona empty-handed. What the company has done is rebrand, rather cynically, what remains its most recent (and best) phone. That’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s a definite letdown for anyone looking to see one of the global leaders in consumer electronics living up to its vast potential.

The LG V30S ThinQ will be on sale first in Korea within a couple of weeks. After that, it will be made more widely available later in March, with pricing to be determined locally.

Comments

Smartphones don’t get much more repetitive than this

#SASSY

… and so truthful.

Really makes you ThinQ WTF LG is thinking with this.

After reading this article, I had this same question. I mean, how in the hell could LG think this phone will be a success? I really root for LG and other smaller brands, but when they release half baked crap like this…maybe they don’t deserve to survive after all.

It’s fine if there were refinements, LG in particular seems to always need iteration to fix hardware issues, but even Apple tweaks SOMETHING with every identical piece of hardware and minor OS update. And the storage and ram bumps, as welcome as they are, don’t really qualify, right?

It’s a sign of a mature industry, at least. Car companies do concept cars and special editions so much because you can’t really redesign everything every year. Look at Lexus with their old platforms under absurd designs, always selling well to golfers and trophy wives. So a concept phone might have helped, imo, look at the under-screen fingerprint reader that’s come! Look at the folding screen that’s coming! Look at the donut phone!

They might want to consider Moto’s old customization idea. Give us some snazzy colors at least? Yellow tartan, chartreuse, carbon fiber, leopard print? Or fabric backs again, leather, corduroy, velvet?

I wonder if it will ship with Oreo and, if so, whether it would include Project Treble to meet Google’s requirements. The current Oreo builds for the v30 omit Treble, but it would be nice to have for custom ROMs and faster updates. Of course, knowing LG, the US unlocked version of the v30s won’t be out until the summer and won’t be unlockable until the fall.

8.0 Oreo is indeed the OS.

Can you test the visual shopping with something other than a phone I only heard of today? That doesn’t seem like a good test at all…

The V30 was released in fall 2017.

Taking a photo of the V30 led it to suggest that I buy an iPhone X.

Sounds like the AI has surpassed LG’s intelligence already.

I don’t get this.

I like the idea of an "S" upgrade cycle for the chassis which allows accessory manufacturers to keep their items on the shelf longer (it encourages variety), but I would expect more on the internals and features than this. That being said, the V30 is a worthy mid-tier phone if it’s priced around the $500-600 range.

mid-tier? lol.

$500-600? For flagship specs? Ain’t gonna happen (bar Chinese brands)

Bright Mode, which combines four pixels into one to produce brighter pictures in extreme low light.

Why not just have a 1/4 resolution sensor with 4x the light gathering ability?

Because then you won’t be able to take hi-res photos?

That’s what the HTC "ultrapixel" One M7 tried to do, and we all know how well it went down (hint: not at all)

So this won’t resolve any of the screen issues with the V30?

Does that problem still exist? Because i think you said the Google Pixel 2 XL, which has the same LG display, now ships with a much better (second batch) screen.

The Pixel 2 XL doesn’t have the same display. It has a 6-inch OLED from the same display supplier, but it’s definitely a different panel.

LG doesn’t like to make the claim since it would make older phones seem else’s desireable but newer batches of the OLEDs tend to be better overall.

Interestingly, engadget.com’s Chris Velazco notes on his V30S ThinQ "This P-OLED display doesn’t have the original’s scratchy, uneven appearance in low light." …So this makes me curious if the quality does in fact vary from unit to unit?

V30+ User here, I really like it.
No issues on the screen that would stop me recommending the phone to others.

Who the fuck comes up with these names?

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