LG is usually one of the big hitters of the Mobile World Congress. In 2016, the company used this show to debut its modular modular flagship LG G5. In 2017, we saw the LG G6, which was one of the first phones with a screen almost without bezel. But in 2018, LG is giving us a new impetus: the LG V30S ThinQ.
Yes, I agree, that name is horrible.
The V30S retains the same design as the V30, the same dual camera system, the same 18: 9 screen, the same 3,300 mAh battery and the same Snapdragon 835 processor. The only updates are for the memory, with the V30S going from 4GB of RAM to 6GB, and a choice between 64GB or 128GB of storage to a selection of 128GB or 256GB. The colors that are offered are called New Platinum Gray and New Moroccan Blue, in case they are accidentally mistaken for not having changed like the rest of the phone.
New Platinum GreyFoto: LG
New Moroccan blue photo: LG
The immediate question that arises when looking at the V30S is: why was it necessary for this to exist? LG made a media presentation here at the MWC where he explained his thinking on the integration of artificial intelligence in mobile devices and how that found expression in the company's new AI Cam, the V30S's main novelty. But here's the problem: the AI camera and all the other software enhancements in the V30S promise to be delivered as an update to the V30 phones. Then there is no hardware reason for the new hardware. Unless you were really craving a slightly darker gray on the back of your phone.
Photo of Vlad Savov / The Verge
The biggest LG release in this year's MWC is essentially a software update. However, as the software patches go, it's not that bad. The installation of AI Cam is licensed by EyeEm EyeEm, a tool called EyeEm Vision, which other phone manufacturers can also license, and inform me that their machine learning system has been trained in 100 million images. It exposes the keywords related to the things that it recognizes when pointing the camera towards several objects or scenes, which is a very pleasant and immediate way of saying that the camera is judging the scenes correctly. In a quick test, I found that the AI camera produces a better and more accurate color than the LG camera without assistance, so it's an encouraging start.
Another LG trick done with the V30S camera is a new Brilliant Mode, which combines four pixels in one to produce brighter images in low light conditions. The disadvantage is that you lose the resolution for a better exposure. This is another change that is also coming to the existing V30.
Finally, LG added a QLens image detection tool to the camera. QLens connects to Amazon's online store and is supposed to allow you to buy by simply taking a picture of what you want. It is unfortunately inaccurate. Taking a picture of the V30 led him to suggest that he buy an iPhone X. That's the kind of self-control that immature AI will continue to deliver for companies that insist on sending things before they're ready.
LG V30S with LG V30Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge
It is very evident that the flagship of LG 2018 was not ready in time for the great MWC event, but LG was not willing to go to Barcelona empty-handed. What the company has done is change the name, rather cynically, of what is still its most recent (and the best) phone. That's not the worst thing in the world, but it's a definite disappointment for anyone who wants to see one of the world leaders in consumer electronics live up to its enormous potential.
The LG V30S ThinQ will be on sale first in Korea within a couple of weeks. After that, it will be more widely available by the end of March, and prices will be determined locally.