Hands-On

LG V30 Hands-on Review

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Launched in 2015, LG’s V-series represents a new breed of LG flagships designed to be the ultimate device for creating and consuming content. While each release has given users something to love, that vision hasn’t been fully realized until today’s V30 launch in Berlin.

If there’s something that resonated most during my short test period with this phone, it’s that the V30 has the potential to be the perfect smartphone companion for content creators. And while that may sound like the V30 is a niche device, it definitely isn’t.

Even if you weren’t into its set of pro tools — which we’ll discuss in full later — the V30 has plenty to offer casual users looking for a great all-around phone. It ticks off so many boxes, we don’t know where to begin.

Look and feel

I’ve said it many times over: When it comes smartphones, looks matter, and you’ll find that seeing a device in person is like going on a first date. I want a phone that evokes this indescribable pull, a phone that makes me want to keep picking it up and holding it. The V30 is such a phone.

LG V30 (left), LG V20 (right)

The phone is a stunner. And while I loved the rugged and rubberized feel of 2015’s V10, and the removable metallic back cover of the V20, the new all-glass design of the V30 feels like a step up in the looks department.

The review unit I tested came in Cloud Silver, which had a similar sheen to my Ice Platinum G6, but with a different texture to it. The V30 is also available in three other colors: Aurora Black, Lavender Violet, and the color I really want, Moroccan Blue.

Up front, its display now has very subtle curves, and finally on an LG flagship, a gorgeous near-borderless 6-inch OLED display. The combination is top-notch. And despite the shift in materials of choice, LG says the V30 is still built tough with the same adherence to military standards, although one would assume that glass is more fragile than the silicon and metal of past V-series phones.

Because the front of the phone is all display, there are only three physical buttons on the device, volume buttons on the left, and a power button with fingerprint sensor on the back. The dual-camera module on its rear also takes up a smaller footprint, and because there aren’t any visible antenna bands, the whole back side has a more polished look.

The only real downside is that the glass back, like any other all-glass smartphone, is quite the fingerprint magnet. In case you were wondering: Yes, there is a headphone jack on top of the phone. Down below are the microphone, USB-C port, and speaker grilles.

Camera features

The V30 sports dual cameras, which has become a long-running tradition on LG flagships. As usual, one’s a normal lens, while the other is an ultra-wide-angle lens — perfect for capturing architecture and majestic landscapes.

Both cameras are an improvement over last year’s models, according to LG. The company boasts the use of a clear glass lens that captures more light unlike the conventional plastic material used on most smartphones. The main shooter is still 16 megapixels, but this time has a larger f/1.6 lens. That means there a larger opening for more light to come in, which is great for taking photos at night or in dimly lit places.

Meanwhile, the secondary wide-angle lens has been improved with a 12 megapixels sensor and f/1.9 lens. And, while it fits more elements into a photo, it minimizes distortion (or the fisheye effect) on the image. That was an issue we had with the V20 from last year, wherein there was a considerable amount of distortion on the edges of wide-angle photos.

Being a multimedia tool, it still has the full manual controls for shooting, but the V30 is kicking things up a notch by introducing its Cine Log feature. For the unfamiliar, using Log basically maximizes the dynamic range in order to preserve more details during post-processing. This term is usually tossed around between filmmakers and video editors, so LG has made a clear direction for this handset.

Another feature is something LG calls Point Zoom. What it does is smoothly zoom in on a specific area even when it’s not at the center of the frame — just tap the area and adjust the slider to zoom.

Have a specific look you want for your shots? LG worked with professionals on Cine Effect to offer a set of presents that dramatically change the look and feel of your video. There’s a wide selection, so check out our hands-on video to see them in action! Adding to its slew of video features is high-frame rate recording at 120fps at Full HD

Here’s what V30 photos look like. All these were shot in auto mode:

Software, specs, and security

As expected of any flagship smartphone this half of the year, the LG V30 comes with the best-available processor in the Snapdragon 835. During our time with it, we weren’t disappointed by the performance. Every app ran smoothly, and there were rarely any hiccups or stuttering.

If we’re being nit-picky, the V30 only has 4GB of RAM, which may be behind some other premium phones that offer 6GB, but to be honest, 4GB is more than sufficient. Android 7.1.2, which is the latest build of Nougat, should be optimized enough to keep power-hungry apps at bay, but it’s no Oreo.

The software experience on the V30 is great. LG’s Android skin covers the basics and throws in plenty of its own customizations without bogging you down. Things like knocking to turn on the display are always a great touch. First seen on the Q6, LG brings its facial recognition technology to the V30. Not to be confused with an iris scanner, facial recognition uses the front camera for some sort of a biometric scan. If you train the phone under multiple lighting conditions, facial recognition works great except when the light gets too low.

LG has also thrown in voice recognition which lets you unlock your voice with a voice command. While a fun party trick, voice unlock is still a tad bit too slow. I’d still prefer using the fingerprint sensor which is conveniently placed on the back of the phone, away from the camera module!

Unlike any of its predecessors, the V30 does not have a secondary display. In its place, LG added a software feature called Floating Bar. When turned on, you get this little tab that expands to reveal a bunch of shortcuts to apps, contacts, and other tools.

While the 3300mAh battery looks adequate on paper, we’ll have to bombard the V30 as a daily driver before we can say for sure if its capacity is enough. And unlike with the V10 and V20, you can’t simply swap the battery for a fully charged one. Looks like the era of hot-swappable batteries is dead.

Is the LG V30 your GadgetMatch?

Because of the timing of its release, the V30 will most likely be compared to the phones that come immediately before and after it, including the Galaxy Note 8, Pixel 2, and iPhone 8 — all worthy contenders.

Pending the release of the latter, if you compare the Note 8 versus the V30, our answer would require a comprehensive answer. How LG chooses to price the phone will be a big factor; if LG can set it at about US$ 200 lower than the Note 8 (somewhere in the US$ 750 to US$ 800 range), it would be an easy phone to recommend to anyone.

In all aspects, this phone is a standout. It delivers on expectations, does amazingly well where it matters most, and doesn’t compromise. If you’re in the market for a top-of-the-line Android smartphone and have the money for it, then by all means take home a V30. You won’t regret it.

SEE ALSO: LG V30 features 6-inch FullVision OLED, brightest phone camera

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Hands-On

vivo X60 Hands-On: vivo X Zeiss team up for mobile photography

Redefining power and photography

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vivo X60

Now that we’re at an age of portability with a purpose, we definitely want to own a smartphone that can provide everything that we want and need, so we don’t have to rely on any other gadgets. That’s what the vivo X60 aims to be.

One of the features we usually look for in a smartphone is if its cameras are top notch. With that in mind, vivo made sure that they can contend against the best of the best as they comeback with the vivo X60 series — among these is the vivo X60.

With the X60, vivo co-engineers their cameras with high-end lens manufacturer Zeiss, making us experience Zeiss’ cutting edge imaging technology through our phones and making X60’s photography function more powerful than ever.

Specs and performance

Providing us so much in the camera department, vivo also ticks all the boxes when it comes to amazing specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor
  • 6.56” AMOLED display
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 12GB+3GB RAM
  • 256GB internal storage

Expect lag free browsing of your social media content and your favorite mobile games, even the very demanding Genshin Impact.

With so many things that you want to do with your smartphone, the vivo X60 is packed with a 4300mAh battery. This gives you more than enough power for a day of media streaming, social media browsing and some games on the side.

It even comes with a 33W flash charger that lets you juice up your phone back to a hundred percent in just a little over an hour.

As for the software, the vivo X60 runs Funtouch OS 11.1 based on Android 11 which has to be one of the most efficient skins from vivo yet.  It’s a very simplistic skin which feels close to vanilla Android but with visual improvements to enhance that vivo experience.

Stunning display

Despite its 6.56” display, the X60 is still ebay to grip thanks to it being slim at only 7.44mm and light at 176g.

Its AG glass back definitely grabs your attention with its gradient finish. Shifting its colors depending on how the light hits it, the shimmer blue design we have in our hands is absolutely gorgeous.

As we’ve touched on the 6.56” display of the vivo X60 earlier, do not be deceived as this is not your ordinary display. This is a 120Hz LTM AMOLED display and it boasts an HDR 10+ certification. This means you can expect details on the shadow side and lighter side of images that you won’t normally see on an average smartphone.

So surely, it would be your perfect companion for streaming films, documentaries, and TV series. LTM technology lets you enjoy clear visuals even with bright sunlight.

Now let’s talk about the star of the show, the camera with Zeiss optics.

Smartphone companies partner with camera or lens manufacturers to enhance their camera systems. And vivo pulled off a great move in partnering with Zeiss, making its superb technology present on all of vivo X60’s cameras.

Fantastic camera features

There’s the 48MP main camera, 13MP telephoto camera, and a 13MP ultra wide angle camera. And up front, you have the 32MP selfie camera.

With all these, you can take remarkable photos in whichever mode you choose. Your photos will look like it came straight out of a DSLR or a mirrorless camera with your main shooter.

Landscape views look amazing on the X60’s ultra wide mode, and your photos still look sharp and detailed with the telephoto lens.

The vivo X60 also has the Zeiss biotar portrait style, giving your portrait photos that iconic bokeh look. The portrait lens also has an equivalent 50mm focal length which is a staple for photographers to take great portraits.

As for its super panorama mode, shots are so seamless that you wouldn’t see any stitches.

Video taking

Now when it comes to taking videos, its main camera has optical image stabilization (OIS) making your video shots really smooth and steady. The vivo X60 has ultra stabilization which combines OIS and EIS.

But what happens when the lights are out and you only have your surround light to keep you lit? That’s what really puts the vivo X60 on the pedestal — its outstanding low light capability.

With vivo’s updated AI noise reduction algorithm, you can take stunning photos even at night. With its HDR super Night Portrait Mode, you can still stay in the spotlight and shine even in darkness.

Even if it’s pitch black outside, the vivo 60 can still make it seem like it’s daytime, giving us photos with good light and clear details, thanks to its Extreme Night Vision 2.0.

The X60 also lets you shoot in long exposure mode, giving you the chance to capture light streaks without worrying about too many settings.

The vivo X60 surely puts the wonder in wonderful with its outstanding cameras. It even takes things a few notches higher among smartphone contenders with its amazing display and performance, with a competitive base flagship pricing.

Pricing and availability

vivo X60, 12GB+3GB RAM/ 256GB Storage — PhP 34,999. Available in vivo Official Stores, Lazada, and Shopee.


This feature is a partnership between GadgetMatch and vivo Philippines.

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Gaming

SCARLET NEXUS First Impressions: Technological dystopia

BANDAI NAMCO’s take on an anime-style, cyberpunk RPG

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SCARLET NEXUS

I knew BANDAI NAMCO mostly from their incredible work on classic games like PAC-MAN and TEKKEN. In fact, I grew up playing their games quite a lot, whether with family members or with some friends. To this day, they’re still producing a decent amount of games across both current and next-generation consoles and the PC.

This time around, they’ve ventured into an action RPG mixed with a little bit of “brain punk” as they described it. They called this game, “SCARLET NEXUS, and it’s set for release for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and the PC. Now, I gave the demo a shot to see just how everything will turn out.

Short, sweet, and action-filled

In total, the entire demo took about 30 minutes to finish, which for a demo isn’t that long. At the start, you even get to choose which main protagonist you want to roll with, for a good reason too. Apart from the same tutorial section, you actually get to play a different main stage design. I honestly thought it would be the same all throughout.

Character selection screen for SCARLET NEXUS

Regardless, gameplay immediately picks up after a short tutorial session, and I found myself just having a blast. Honestly, the controls are pretty easy to understand and master after a few combat sequences so the learning curve isn’t steep. Plus, part of the combat mechanics includes the SAS, which grants access to additional attacks and abilities.

SCARLET NEXUS

It’s a gameplay style I’ve come accustomed to with other RPGs in the last few years. Even for a short demo, action looks quite fast-paced and reaction-heavy on some occasions. Also, you can add onto that a bit of exploration with the vast level design, so combat feels more loose and exciting to mess around with.

Visuals suited for the time

If you’re planning to get the version for the PC or  next-gen consoles, the design for the demo is amazing. I have to give credit to BANDAI NAMCO for integrating some apt lighting fixtures in Kasane’s demo level, further emphasizing the technological wasteland in the background. Although, I think that this will also be present in the PS4 and Xbox One versions but not as prominent.

Also, like I mentioned before, the demo levels are quite vast, which also aids in the exploration aspect. I noticed that they scatter some items across the whole level, ranging from healing items to items that aid in combat. In some instances, these items were well-hidden in some of the nooks and crannies of the level.

Of course, it isn’t just in the overworld visuals that I’m amazed at, but even in some of the cutscenes in between combat and exploration. The cartoony, comic book-style animations mixed in with some techno-punk were nice touches. I could feel that there was a lot of love given just to this department alone.

Worth all the waiting?

If I could sum up my initial impressions on SCARLET NEXUS, it’s an RPG that I truly enjoyed even for 30 minutes. Honestly, the biggest culprit for this goes to the gameplay mechanics that feels so great to execute, and you take a short time learning everything. Packed with some incredible visual design, I think this game has potential to be a favorite for this year.

SCARLET NEXUS

One of the things I am looking forward to later on is the storylines we’ll be working with. The demo doesn’t really touch on plot points that you could do mental gymnastics with. Although, it does reveal that you play with different NPCs instead of taking on the enemies all by yourself. Nonetheless, I feel that it’s something worth diving into when the full game comes out.

SCARLET NEXUS will be available on June 25.

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Hands-On

moto G stylus 5G Hands-on

The last of its kind?

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The moto G stylus was launched just last year. This time, Motorola has unveiled the moto G stylus 5G.

From the name itself, it now has 5G support — that’s thanks to the new Snapdragon 480G processor.

It may be look like a lower model number on paper, but this one promises better specs.

But is it enough for you to buy one? Watch our moto G stylus 5G hands-on video now.

 

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