LG V60 ThinQ with Dual Screen Review – So Close to Greatness
LG launched the V10 back in 2015, kicking off what has been a very interesting series of devices. Say what you will about LG, but they’re not afraid to try new things. Many of these features end up as nothing more than “gimmicks,” discarded after a couple of generations. The LG V60 ThinQ includes yet another one of these interesting “gimmicks,” but will this be the one to last?
Before we dive into the LG V60 ThinQ, let’s take a look back at the V Series. The LG V10 had a small “Second Screen” above the main display for widgets and other odds and ends. LG continued with the Second Screen on the LG V20 a year later. Things went sharply in a new direction when the LG V30 launched without the Second Screen and a much more slimmed down and polished design. That trend continued with the bigger LG V40 ThinQ which had more cameras and a notched display, a first for the series. Then, the LG V50 ThinQ introduced the Dual Screen attachment, which brings us to today.
The Second Screen only lasted two generations before LG gave up on it. The first attempt at the Dual Screen attachment for the LG V50 ThinQ wasn’t super compelling, but the company made a lot of improvements with the LG G8X ThinQ. So now we’re at the second V Series device with the Dual Screen and the third iteration overall. Is this finally the “gimmick” that LG will stick with for the long haul, or is the V60 doomed to be yet another last effort? Let’s find out.
LG V60 ThinQ Specifications
|Specifications||LG V60 ThinQ (T-Mobile variant)|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|RAM & Storage|
|Fingerprint Sensor||In-display fingerprint sensor|
|Android Version||Android 10|
LG V60 Hardware & Design
I think everyone will agree that the LG V60 ThinQ is a big phone. The 6.8-inch display is very close to the display size on some smaller tablets, after all, with the device itself being just over an inch shorter than the latest iPad Mini. Obviously, it’s much narrower than a tablet, but there’s no getting around the fact that this is a very large phone. It’s easily the biggest phone I’ve ever used.
Maybe I’ve become a curmudgeon who hates big phones, but the size of the LG V60 ThinQ is something that really impacts my daily usage. I remember reviewing the LG V10 and I couldn’t get over how big, thick, and heavy it was. The LG V60 isn’t heavier than I would expect, but it certainly feels like LG has returned to the tank-like design of the first V Series devices.
Phone size is a very subjective thing. You might be the type of person who spends most of their screen time on a phone, so a big display might be something you really like. Personally, I prefer a smaller device that’s easier to use with one hand. I also prefer the feel of a smaller device in my pocket as I find it annoying to have a big phone bouncing around while running or cycling. Everyone’s use cases are different.
Putting the size aside, the design of the LG V60 ThinQ is really nice. I received the “Classy White” model from LG USA for review, but both the blue and white color options feature Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and Gorilla Glass 6 on the back. The glass back slopes drastically into the aluminum frame around the edges. It’s nearly a chamfer, but not as sharp. The LG V60 is a decently thick phone, and the shape of the back really makes that known. The aluminum frame provides a nice contrast with the white back. One negative about the glass back is how much it shows fingerprints.
The rear cameras are aligned in a horizontal row, very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S10. It makes the back of the phone look like a robot face, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your view. On the left side, you’ll find the power button, and on the right side is where the volume buttons and Google Assistant button live. I like Google Assistant and use it pretty frequently, but I find this button placement to be a little annoying. The volume up, down, and Assistant buttons are basically the same size, so it’s not super obvious by feel if you’re pressing volume or Assistant. The bottom edge features the USB-C port, speaker grill, and an ancient round port called a “headphone jack.”
The front of the device is pretty standard. LG ditched the dual front-facing cameras in favor of a single camera in a waterdrop notch this time. I don’t miss the second camera. If you’re going to have a notch, I definitely prefer making it as small as possible. The bezels around the display are surprisingly big, but only because the display doesn’t curve around the edges like most flagship phones. I have to admit it’s been kinda nice using a flat display.
Overall, if I put my personal bias against giant phones aside, this is a very attractive phone made with premium materials. It feels like a flagship phone in your hands. That may seem like an obvious statement, but it’s not always the case. I think the company made the correct design changes in going from the LG V50 to the LG V60. That includes the Dual Screen accessory as well, but more on that later.
LG V60 Display
The LG V60 is a flagship phone that can compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra in almost every category. The one area where the LG V60 doesn’t stack up, at least in terms of raw specifications, is the display. While many high-end devices are rocking Quad HD+ displays with 90Hz or even 120Hz refresh rates, the LG V60 only has a 1080p display with the classic 60Hz refresh rate. This is a downgrade from last year’s LG V50 as well.
1080p on a screen this large seems like it would be a problem, but this is a surprisingly good display. Everything looks crisp and clear with vibrant and deep colors. LG’s OLED panels were a bit iffy in earlier generations, but I haven’t noticed any of those problems on the LG V60. The lower resolution hasn’t been a big deal to me either. Refresh rate, on the other hand, is something you will notice if you’re coming from a phone with a 90Hz or 120Hz panel. I haven’t upgraded my daily driver to such a device yet, so it doesn’t bother me.
I will talk about the Dual Screen in-depth in its own section, but I should mention here that it has essentially an identical display. Brightness and color are matched on both panels, but you can choose to tune them separately if you’d like.
There is a really big issue in the display department, though: auto-brightness. It’s bad. I’m the type of person who enables auto-brightness on day one and then never thinks about it again. On most phones, I don’t have to think about it again. Auto-brightness on the LG V60 ThinQ, unfortunately, is unusable. I can be sitting in my living room with ample lighting and all of a sudden the brightness will lower until the display is nearly unreadable. This has happened to me on multiple occasions, and it’s so bad that I had to disable auto-brightness altogether. I hope LG can fix this in a software update.
One final note on the display: There is an optical fingerprint sensor under the display. This is my second phone with an under-display fingerprint sensor, and I still don’t like it. I just find it to be generally annoying and frustrating to use.
Dual Screen Accessory
As mentioned before, LG’s first attempt at the Dual Screen accessory felt unfinished. LG solved many of the problems with the Dual Screen attachment for the LG G8X, and they’ve continued to refine things further with the LG V60 ThinQ. The Dual Screen experience is about hardware and software, both of which have been improved this time.
First, let’s talk about the hardware. Like I said in the display section, the Dual Screen has the same display as the phone itself, including the notch (which is fake on the Dual Screen). The bezels are also the same, which is both a good and bad thing. The bezels on the phone and Dual Screen make it easy to touch the edge of the screen near the hinge. The downside is there’s a very large gap between the two displays.
The gap between the displays is why the Dual Screen is better for using two apps side by side rather than spanning one app across both. You can’t think of this as a tablet that can fold in half, like the Samsung Galaxy Fold. It’s really more of a small, digital notebook. The best way to use the Dual Screen to its full potential is to do independent tasks on each screen.
Moving on from the Dual Screen’s display, let’s talk about the case itself. The cutout on the back for the cameras has been greatly reduced in size. On the LG G8X, it was a big square cutout that revealed half of the phone’s back. This time around, the cutout is the size of the camera bump, which offers better protection and looks nicer. LG has also added a ribbed texture to the case that adds some nice grip, but I’m not a fan of the look.
Software is a huge part of the Dual Screen experience. After all, slapping a second screen on your phone isn’t useful if you can’t interact with it in a meaningful way. LG has improved several of the Dual Screen software features on the LG V60, making it feel like a more complete product.
The control buttons that pop-out from the side of the display are ever-present, and they have the same features as last time. You can swap the screens when you have two apps open, move apps between screens, put the main display to sleep, and span apps across both screens in “Wide View” if supported. “Wide View” is one area where LG has made some improvements.
The LG G8X only supported Google Chrome for Wide View, but the LG V60 ThinQ adds YouTube, Google Maps, Google Photos, Gmail, the Google app, and the Naver Whale browser. That’s still a pretty small list, but it is an improvement, and you can easily force more apps to use Wide View with a simple app.
As I mentioned above, there’s a considerable gap between the displays, and that makes Wide View not super useful. Sure, it can be nice to view a website or Google Maps in a larger view, but that’s not what I find myself wanting most of the time. Rather than spanning both displays, I would love to see apps with a “dual pane” UI. For example, it would be great to view Gmail with the inbox on one screen and open emails on the second screen. I highly recommend an app called “G8X BrowserHelper” for improving the Dual Screen experience. You set it as your default browser, and when you tap a link in any app it will open it in a browser window on the other screen, keeping the current app open.
The most fun part of the Dual Display experience is still the game controller feature. I’m not a big mobile gamer, but I enjoy a good side scroller or racing game. The game controller is great for those times, and I love the ability to create your own custom controller for every game. At the end of the day, it’s still a touchscreen controller, which has its downsides, but it’s a huge improvement over controls that overlay on top of the game UI.
As I’ve already said, you shouldn’t compare the LG V60 ThinQ with Dual Screen to the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The best way to use the Dual Screen is to have two apps running at the same time, not one app spanned across both screens. If the latter is how you expect to use the Dual Screen you’re not going to like it. This is why I don’t find the Wide View feature to be that compelling.
Another aspect that’s different from a true “foldable phone” is you don’t have to keep the Dual Screen attached. Once you stop treating the LG V60 with its Dual Screen accessory like a foldable phone, the experience becomes much better. There’s a ton of potential here, but it sadly depends on developers to support it. Something like the dual-pane UI I mentioned would be awesome for a multitude of apps, but why should developers rush to support something that LG could abandon?
One last thing about the Dual Screen: Don’t underestimate its use as a kickstand/tripod. You can watch a video in landscape mode while the LG V60 is propped up on the table. You can position it to take photos. It’s more useful than you might think.
LG V60 Cameras
Note: Due to Stay at Home orders, I was not able to go out and test the cameras as much as usual. Max Weinbach contributed some of his camera samples as well.
It’s time to talk about one of the most important aspects of every flagship phone: the camera quality. The V Series has rocked triple rear cameras for a while, but the LG V60 ThinQ goes back to two (the front also drops from two to one camera). More cameras don’t always mean they’re good cameras, but it does mean more options.
The LG V60 ThinQ drops the dedicated telephoto lens in favor of using digital zoom on the large 64MP main camera. The main sensor captures images at f/1.8 with a pixel size of 0.8 microns. LG says the sensor supports zoom from 2X to 10X, but this is via digital zoom from a crop on the main lens. The second camera is a staple among LG phones: wide-angle. It’s 13MP at f/1.9 and has a 117° field of view. Both cameras are assisted by a ToF sensor.
In a word, I would describe the LG V60 ThinQ cameras as “okay.” In some situations, I was very impressed with the results, even preferring them over the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. But in other situations, I was disappointed. The main issue I noticed is inconsistent exposure. Certain parts of a photo can end up overexposed, leaving darker areas hard to see.
While Samsung phones can soften images too much, LG phones seem to go in the opposite direction. Sometimes I noticed excessive sharpening, which can make a photo look noisy. If I had to choose between over sharpening and over smoothing, I would take the extra detail every time. But it’s still a problem, nonetheless.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: A large megapixel count is not a replacement for true optical zoom. That being said, the zoom capabilities of the LG V60 ThinQ are pretty decent, all things considered. It uses software to digitally crop and sharpen the zoomed-in photos. The results can sometimes look like an oil painting, but in general, they are better than what you would normally get from digital zoom.
On the video front, the LG V60 ThinQ is capable of recording 8K video. I’m not sure many people own an 8K TV yet, but having that extra quality from the get-go can be useful for video editing. 8K video can be recorded at 24FPS while 4K video can be shot at 60FPS. Video overall looks pretty great. Along with the extra microphones mentioned in the audio section below, this is a great device for video capture.
The 10MP selfie camera isn’t super noteworthy. It gets the job done. LG’s Portrait Mode algorithms could use some work, though. One little tidbit about the camera software that I like is Motion Photos. They work basically the same as on a Google Pixel phone and even support playback in Google Photos.
Overall, I would say the LG V60 ThinQ’s camera situation is just good enough for a flagship phone. I don’t think it can beat Apple, Google, or Huawei, but it’s fairly close to Samsung.
LG V60 Performance
by Max Weinbach
The LG V60 ThinQ is one of the faster phones on the market thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. While it’s not the fastest Snapdragon 865-powered phone I’ve tested, it is still faster than LG’s previous generation phones. There are no frame drops, no app loading lag, or anything of the sort. It is like any other modern flagship: fast as it should be. To be honest, I don’t feel it necessary to run through a bunch of benchmarks because I feel it really shines in real-world performance, but I’ll still share some results for good measure.
What I’m doing here is simple: I’m running these benchmarks on the LG V60 ThinQ, LG V50 ThinQ, iPhone 11 Pro Max, and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. This is so you can see what the difference is between two Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 devices and LG’s previous generation phone. The settings will be the same with the same apps across the devices.
Geekbench is the go-to CPU benchmark. Since Geekbench released Geekbench 5 with an emphasis on AI, AR, and ML, along with some camera stuff, I decided to use it for benchmarking. To give some simple context, these are likely some of the highest scores we will be seeing on Android phones this year.
Next up is AnTuTu. This is, in my opinion, one of the better benchmarks. It tests pure CPU and GPU performance along with usage tests like scrolling and HTML5. The higher the score the better. AnTuTu also separates each category into its own number. You get a score for memory, GPU, CPU, and UX performance.
Both the LG V60 ThinQ and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra have UFS 3.0 storage for faster theoretical storage speeds. The LG V50 ThinQ has UFS 2.1 storage, so the LG V60 ThinQ has an advantage here over its predecessor. Honestly, these speeds don’t matter that much. You won’t notice much of a difference between the devices. Still, I know people like to compare minor details between devices, so here are the results for the phones.
3DMark is also a great way to test GPU power. If a phone scores well here, you won’t have to worry about it running any Android game. The LG V60 ThinQ handles it very well, as expected. According to 3DMark, the LG V60 outperforms over 99% of smartphones that have been tested. I threw the newest iPhone in there because people love to compare iPhones to Android phones, and as you can see, the GPU on the LG V60 beats the iPhone by a cool 200 points.
Look, the LG V60 ThinQ is really fast. It’s one of the fastest phones you can buy. It’s hard to project longevity, but I feel like this phone will still perform well for two years or more without massive slowdowns.
Joe’s Thoughts: Day to day performance on the LG V60 has been really great. This is easily the fastest device I’ve used. I can crank up the graphics on games and the phone handles it without any issues. Installing apps from the Google Play Store is super quick. It certainly makes some of my other phones feel a bit slow.
LG V60 Battery & Charging
One of the best things about the LG V60 ThinQ is battery life. Packed with a 5,000mAh battery and a 1080p display, this is one of the few phones that I can honestly say might not need a nightly charge. The battery capacity alone isn’t that noteworthy (it’s the same size as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra), but the “low” display resolution and only 60Hz refresh rate greatly help with battery life. You can expect to get around 5 hours of heavy screen-on time in a day.
As for charging, the LG V60 ThinQ supports fast wired and wireless charging. It comes with a 25W charger in the box as well as a cool magnetic adapter to charge the phone with the Dual Screen cover on. With the included charger, you can go from 0% to 25% in about 15 minutes. 30 minutes will get you halfway charged. Wireless charging does work with the Dual Screen cover on, but it’s a little slower than normal.
LG V60 Audio
I’ve reviewed a lot of LG phones, and there’s a subset of people who want to hear about the audio quality. Truthfully, I’m not anything close to an audiophile. While I can say the audio from the LG V60 sounds really good, the Quad DAC technology is wasted on me. There are two audio features that I do really like, though. First, the LG V60 has a headphone jack. I’ve largely moved on to Bluetooth headphones, but I still appreciate having the physical port from time to time. It doesn’t hurt to have it.
Second, the LG V60 has stereo speakers. That’s a feature that sounds good on paper, but it doesn’t always pan out in real life. The stereo speakers on the LG V60 are, thankfully, very good. The phone gets super loud and the audio quality is great. The last audio feature to mention is the phone’s audio capture ability. The LG V60 has four microphones that help out a lot when recording video. Video recording has always been a big part of the V Series, so it’s nice to have improved audio capture to go along with it.
LG V60 Software
The LG V60 ThinQ ships with Android 10 and the company’s LG UX skin. In terms of pure aesthetics, I don’t mind LG UX at all. To someone who has never used an LG phone, I would compare the look to a combination of Google Pixel and Samsung’s One UI software. In terms of actual usage, it’s much closer to the latter. LG is clearly taking many cues from Samsung here.
One UI put a big focus on one-handed usability by moving UI elements lower on the display. LG is attempting to do the same thing with LG UX. This is most noticeable when you expand the notification shade and the Quick Toggles all move to the bottom of the screen. The implementation doesn’t seem quite as fully fleshed out as on One UI, however.
The default LG Launcher is decent enough. You have the option to have an app drawer or go iOS-style with all the apps on the home screen. One of the most annoying things about LG’s software is the app drawer, though. You can sort the apps by name or download date, but it will not retain your choice. Downloaded apps are always added to the end of the list. This is maddening and I have no idea why it’s still a thing.
Another weird thing in LG’s software is the way gestures act with third-party launchers. You can use Android 10’s gesture navigation with third-party launchers. However, when you switch to a new default launcher, it will always revert to the 3-button navigation bar. You have to manually go into the Settings, find the Navigation Bar options, and enable gestures again. It’s a little annoying.
For the most part, I would say LG UX is an inoffensive Android skin. The biggest issue with LG software is support. LG has been doing a better job lately at providing consistent updates, but that’s only because the only to go was up. The LG V40 ThinQ launched with Android 8.1 Oreo in October 2018, two months after Android 9 Pie was available. It didn’t receive the Android 9 Pie update until June 2019. My T-Mobile LG V60 ThinQ has the February 2020 security patches, and I’m afraid it will be stuck on that for a while. The update situation makes it hard to recommend LG phones.
The title of my LG V60 ThinQ first impressions was “A Good Phone at a Great Price.” My argument was the LG V60 ThinQ fails to “win” in any of the categories where it competes. The Dual Screen isn’t as exciting as other gimmicks in the smartphone world right now, and as just a smartphone, you can do better elsewhere. The saving grace was the price tag, which undercuts many of the top flagships on the market. However, I don’t think I was giving the LG V60 enough credit.
My first impression of a device is usually my final conclusion. In most cases, it doesn’t take long to get an idea of what a phone has to offer. However, with the LG V60, I started out pretty “meh” on it, but I’ve slowly come around to liking it more. A lot of that has to do with finally understanding how best to use the Dual Screen, but I also think the LG V60 is a sneaky good smartphone by itself.
The pricing is still the biggest selling point for the LG V60. Even with the Dual Screen, which costs around $100 by itself, the whole package is about $200-300 cheaper than several top-of-the-line devices. The only area that is an objective downgrade from other flagships is the 1080p 60Hz display. I don’t think the camera quality stacks up, but that is more subjective.
If you are looking for a flagship phone and you can’t justify the $1,000+ price tags, the LG V60 ThinQ is a nice option. One of the questions you’ll have to ask yourself is if the Dual Screen is worth the extra $100. I really like it as an accessory to use at home while consuming content on the couch, and I can also see it as a very useful productivity tool. For me, though, the entire package is too bulky to take anywhere in my pocket. I still think it’s a good reason to buy the phone.
There are two main concerns with the LG V60 ThinQ: Will it get updates and will the Dual Screen continue to be supported? We’ve already talked about LG’s issues with software updates and their tendency to ditch interesting ideas. Both of those things will impact your long term experience. Sadly, I don’t have a lot of confidence in LG in this regard. The LG V60 ThinQ is a super compelling device with a lot of positives, but it succumbs to LG’s longstanding deficiencies much like their other devices.