LG’s first 5G phone is here and it’s the LG V50 (or V50 ThinQ to give it its full name). Like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the V50 is fully loaded in just about every area: Snapdragon 855, X50 modem to enable 5G, 4000mAh battery and five cameras.
LG is also selling a secondary clip-on display that turns the V50 into a sort of DIY foldable device.
LG V50 release date and price
LG didn’t detail any release or pricing details about the LG V50 5G or the LG G8. It said it would sell the phone on Sprint’s 5G network when that becomes available. It’ll also release in Korea. EE has confirmed it’ll sell the phone when it launches in the UK later in the year.
No price was given and we don’t yet really know how much extra these 5G devices will cost when compared to 4G versions.
Related: MWC 2019
LG V50 – 5G
The LG V50 itself is a big device but that fits in with the style of this series. It’s IP68 rated for water resistance, and has been rated for military-standard toughness and is one of the few flagships that genuinely feels durable.
LG said there are three main concerns it has highlighted people have about the move to 5G: heat, size and battery drain and it’s hoping to address them all here.
Related: What is 5G?
Take battery life, for instance. LG said the 4000 mAh battery here should comfortably get you through the day without any issues, even though the 5G modem does require more juice than a 4G one. Expect all 5G phones to have big batteries to make up for this extra power drain.
The LG V50 might be thicker than the V40, but it’s only by 1mm and I was quite surprised at how slim it was. To address the concern about heat, LG has included a new cooling pipe that’s 240x larger than the one used in the V40 and has 40% better heat dissipation.
Related: 5G phones
LG V50 – Dual Display
That secondary display is the standout feature here and it looks quite strange. Basically it’s LG’s answer to Galaxy Fold or Mate X, but nowhere near as slick. The 6.3-inch FHD+ OLED panel comes with a case that the V50 slips into, it then connects to your phone via a proprietary connection tech and extends your phone’s home screen.
LG said this screen can be used as, amongst other things, to be a dedicated game controller, a mirror for your selfies or for adding an extra person into a video chat.
I didn’t get to use this add-on during two hour briefing for the phone, but the demos shown didn’t sell it too well. The pre-production device was a bit slow to react to presses and had trouble connecting to the phone. Hopefully these issues resolved when this product actually ships.
LG V50 – Camera
Like the LG G8, there’s a lot of recycled features from the outgoing V40 model. There are three cameras on the back – standard, wide and telephoto – with an extra wide-angle camera on the front too. These cameras also boast LG’s ‘AI’ scene detection and built-in Google lens support.
The quad-HD+ OLED display measures 6.4-inches, supports HDR10 and seems to be exactly the same as the V40. It’s still good though, with bright saturated colours and plenty of detail. The screen keeps the notch too, even though phones like the Honor View 20 have swapped that for something a lot more visually appealing.
It seems strange that LG isn’t bringing any of the 3D sensing features it announced are coming to the LG G8 to the V50. There’s no Hand ID here, nor the depth effects enabled by the Z Camera setup. This almost feels like LG wanted a 5G phone and didn’t have enough time to properly create a new one.
LG V50 – Performance
Powering the LG V50 is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile chipset which is still something of an unknown quantity. It’s built on the 7nm architecture and should offer improvements in the GPU and CPU over the outgoing 845. But, we haven’t benchmarked it ourselves yet as the phones it is powering have only just started to appear. Paired with that is 6GB RAM, 128GB storage and microSD support.
There’s a quad-DAC onboard, with a traditional headphone jack for a strong audio experience. Previous LG phones with this DAC have sounded terrific so it seems like this might follow suit.
LG’s first 5G phone might be mainly a retread of the V40, but at least it shows the brand is interested in embracing the next standard of mobile connectivity. It’s just a shame the additional screen seems like nothing more than a gimmick.