There’s a part of me that worries about writing my review of the LG V30+ this way because I’m starting with a bit of a shade and I worry you’ll stop reading after that. Don’t. But hear me out for a minute. I was sent the LG V30+ smartphone to review about 2 weeks ago. It arrived with a strong push to create video content on it. It is being marketed as the phone for video content creators. Cool.
I made videos with it. You’ll likely see one in the next few weeks once it has gone through the editing process.
I didn’t think it was all that great. Hear me out: I’m not saying it wasn’t great, I’m just saying I didn’t see a huge difference in comparison to, say, the Samsung Galaxy S8’s recording capabilities. Which is weird because when I jumped online and looked at a few other reviews there were a lot of tech journos talking about how vloggers and youtubers would love this phone. So, I thought it might be best to share why I’d come to this conclusion. Right off the bat, I do almost all my video with the Canon G7x Mark ii. It’s small, compact and, without a doubt, the best vlogging camera on the market. I shy away from using a smartphone for YouTube videos purely because using a phone means you need battery packs, cables, selfie sticks, extra storage (and most of the new phones these days don’t come with the option for a Micro SD card). Granted, the LG V30+ has a decent battery life, even when filming and there is space for a Micro SD card. You can also purchase it in a 64 or 128GB variant. So LG gets it.
The main camera is a dual lens set up with a 16MP and 13MP lens. The main lens has a f/1.6 aperture while you’re looking at a f/1.9 aperture on the other. Let me make one thing clear, I do not fiddle with settings. When I take a camera, or a phone, out the box, I like to think that if I bang it on auto and do my thing, it should do its thing too. Hardcore creators might disagree but tough – I really think I’m in the majority here. Most of us don’t have any cooking clue how to fiddle with manual settings on our phones or cameras. It is why we drop the money we do on them, we want the professional feel without the knowledge. Out the box I thought the LG V30+ main camera, when snapping photos, was disappointing. Both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 8 offer a better photograph experience. Also, if the lighting isn’t just right the camera fails horribly. This goes for video as well. You’ll need decent lighting – which is where my first issue comes in.
Why the vlogger didn’t like the phone
I vlog. A lot. Here’s what I need my filming device to do:
Be easy to carry around, mostly one handed while I try manoeuvre around to get the best shot or need to run off somewhere. Have a means to be attached to a tripod/gorilla pod but also be compact enough for me to film selfie style.
The LG V30+ is a phablet. It is a big phone. You will struggle to use it with one hand. Especially if you have my size hands. You can attach it to a selfie stick so in that department we’re good but you’re not going to be able to film hand held vlogger style. You also don’t want to. The front facing camera is 5MP and horrible. Any vlogging direct to camera will lack in quality. And if you’re a one woman show like me that becomes an issue.
Have great on board audio and mic settings
This the LG V30+ does have. The sound recording and audio was top class. Picking up even slight nuisances in the background noise. That’ll work in any creator’s favour.
Be point and shoot (or record, in this instance).
I want to turn the camera on and go. I want auto focus, I want everything to work. I don’t want to have to fiddle with settings to get just the right light balance or whatever else. When in Taiwan I shot this video completely off a Samsung Galaxy S8. It was pissing down with rain and I didn’t want to ruin my camera. I took the phone out, turned it on and off I went. It did its job. The LG V30+ doesn’t. It needs you to tweak and alter manual settings. Granted, when you do, the phone is glorious but how many of us even know where to begin when it comes to manual settings? LG has teamed up with Graphy to try educate users on those manual features but – no.
There’s lots of additional features to try turn this into a vlogger’s dream phone. You can export footage to Adobe Premiere in raw files or just edit on the phone with great software, great filters and they’ve even incorporated rad features in the video recording. Point Zoom is amazing and works a treat. But I still just don’t think I’d drop R15k on this phone. Especially not to use it for video.
Don’t get me wrong. The LG V30+ is a good device. Again, the sound is out of this world. Actually, I’d put my head on a chopping block and say it is the best audio of any smartphone I’ve used. The battery power is strong and the phone does what it needs to do. But with a price tag of R15 000 it needs to do more. For me, it doesn’t. I really think this phone is better suited to a funky advertising agency exec who wants to watch Netflix on business flights to Nigeria and whip out his stylus to take notes during meetings. That lady – she’d dig this. It would be the perfect phone for her and the price would be justified. Because the V30+ is a phablet and offers everything she needs. But it is being pushed as a creator’s phone and this creator just doesn’t think it stacks up.
Disclosure: I was sent an LG V30+ to review. It goes back to the brand now.