LG G7 ThinQ vs. LG V30: Which LG flagship phone is best for you?

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

With a notchy new look, a super bright display, and a bucket load of A.I. smarts the LG G7 ThinQ is LG’s latest flagship. But how does it compare to the South Korean manufacturer’s last big phone, the LG V30? They may look similar, but there are quite a few differences here. Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Specs

LG G7 ThinQ LG V30
Size 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm (6.03 x 2.96 x 0.31 inches) 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.4 mm (5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches)
Weight 162 grams (5.71 ounces) 158 grams (5.57 ounces)
Screen size 6.1-inch IPS LCD 6-inch P-OLED display
Screen resolution 3120 x 1440 pixels (564 pixels-per-inch) 2880 x 1440 pixels (537 pixels-per-inch)
Operating system Android 8.0 Oreo Android 7.1.2 Nougat (upgradeable to 8.0 Oreo)
Storage space 64GB, 128GB 64GB, 128GB (on the V30 Plus)
MicroSD card slot  Yes, up to 2TB Yes, up to 256 GB
Tap-to-pay services Android Pay Android Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
RAM 4GB, 6GB 4GB
Camera Dual 16MP (with OIS) and 16MP wide angle rear, 8MP front Dual 16MP and 13MP wide angle rear, 5MP wide angle front
Video  Up to 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 30 fps, 720p at 120 fps Up to 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 30 fps, 720p at 120 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-Type C 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-Type C
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 3,000mAh

Fast charging, wireless charging (Qi standard)

3,300mAh

Fast charging, wireless charging (Qi standard)

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support All major carriers All major carriers
Colors Aurora Black, Platinum Grey, Moroccan Blue, Raspberry Rose Cloud Silver, Moroccan Blue
Price  Starting at $750 $800
Buy from Verizon, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Sprint SprintVerizonAT&TT-Mobile
Review score 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

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While the LG V30 relies on last year’s Snapdragon 835 processor, the LG G7 ThinQ sports Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 845 processor. That means it will be faster and more power efficient. Both phones have 4GB of RAM, though you can jump up to 6GB with the new G7 ThinQ, which might prove handy for serious multitaskers.

On the battery front we’re surprised to find that the V30 has a larger 3,300mAh battery, compared to the G7 ThinQ’s 3,000mAh battery. It’s not a huge difference, and the more efficient processor might compensate. LG also said it managed to reduce the display’s power consumption over from the LG G6, so we expect battery life to be similar.

Both phones support fast charging and Qi wireless charging. Only the LG G7 ThinQ supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0, though, which promises five hours of charge from 15 minutes of charging. Sadly, if you want to take advantage of it, you have to buy a QC 4.0 adapter separately because there isn’t one in the box.

Winner: LG G7 ThinQ

Design and durability

LG V30 Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Superficially there are a lot of similarities between these two phones, but as you look closer you’ll find some important differences. The most obvious is the presence of a notch at the top of the display on the LG G7 ThinQ. It’s customizable, so you can make it blend in like a bezel if you prefer. By default, you’ll be able to see system information on the sides of the notch, such the time, battery life, and signal strength.

The G7 ThinQ is a touch taller and thicker, but not quite as wide as the V30. On the back of the G7 ThinQ, the camera module is stacked vertically instead of horizontally and the fingerprint sensor doesn’t double as a power button – there’s a separate power button on the right spine. There’s also a dedicated A.I. key that triggers Google Assistant below the volume controls on the left edge. Both phones have USB-C ports for charging, but the V30 has its headphone port up top, whereas the G7 ThinQ has it on the bottom alongside the charging port.

In terms of durability, both phones boast an IP68 rating, so they can handle a short dunk. They also both meet military drop test standards, but we’d advise a case if you really want to keep them in good condition.

There’s very little to separate them here, but the G7 ThinQ is slightly easier to manage one-handed and offers some useful additions such as the dedicated A.I. key.

Winner: LG G7 ThinQ

Display

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Things get interesting in the display section. The V30 has a 6-inch P-OLED screen with a 2880 x 1440 pixel resolution, giving it 537 pixels per inch (ppi). There were complaints about LG’s OLED screen, mostly leveled at the Pixel 2 XL, but we felt the issue was overblown. However, LG has chosen to go with a 6.1-inch IPS LCD in the LG G7 ThinQ. The company said it’s reserving its OLED screens for the V-series.

We think Samsung’s AMOLED screens are the best in the business right now, and OLED tech offers some advantages over LCD, specifically truly inky blacks. On the other hand, one of the advantages of LCD is brightness, and LG has included a Super Bright Display feature which boosts the screen to 1,000 nits (for three minutes) so you can see clearly outdoors, which is a common problem on sunny days.

At 3,120 x 1,440 pixels the LG G7 ThinQ scores a slightly sharper 564ppi rating. Of course, the notch is still the most noticeable difference. It means the G7 ThinQ has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 instead of the 18:9 you’ll find in the V30, but the extra screen space isn’t really usable a lot of the time. Both phones support HDR content.

We think the G7’s screen is vibrant and colorful, and while blacks don’t get as dark as on the V30, we prefer the brighter screen. If you’re not a fan of the notch, you can easily mask it away with black bars around the notch, making it hardly visible.

Winner: LG G7 ThinQ

Camera

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

At first glance, it doesn’t look as though LG has made a lot of changes to the camera — the G7 ThinQ has a dual lens main camera both rated at 16-megapixel, whereas the V30 pairs a 16-megapixel and a 13-megapixel lens. The secondary lens in both cases offers wide-angle shots, which we like. The G7 ThinQ also has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, whereas the V30 makes do with 5 megapixels.

It turns out there are some improvements, but they’re in the software. LG did release a new version of the V30, dubbed the V30S ThinQ, which introduced some A.I. smarts into the camera for scene and object recognition, but the G7 ThinQ takes this further. It also boasts a super bright mode for low-light conditions, allowing you trade off some detail for a clearer photo. There’s also a new portrait mode that works with the main and front-facing cameras.

We were a little disappointed in the V30 camera when we tested it head-to-head with some of the top competition, so we’re hopeful the G7 ThinQ will perform better.

Winner: LG G7 ThinQ

Software and updates

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The LG V30 shipped with Android 7.1.2 Nougat, though most handsets should have received at OTA update to Android 8.0 Oreo by now. The LG G7 ThinQ ships with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. Both have LG’s user interface on top which makes quite a few tweaks to stock Android and adds a handful of extras. We don’t think it’s the best user interface around, but it’s not the worst either.

LG is really talking up the A.I. advances in the G7 ThinQ and there are even some custom Google Assistant commands, a smart bulletin screen that’s supposed to learn your preferences and display relevant information, and the camera improvements. Combine that with the fact that the G7 ThinQ, as the newer phone, will likely get updates for longer and it’s the obvious winner here.

Winner: LG G7 ThinQ

Special features

LG V30 camera app
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you’re looking for something special that the G7 ThinQ has over the V30, beyond the notch in the display, then you might take note of the dedicated A.I. key on the left edge. Press it once to trigger voice recognition with Google Assistant or hold it down for a walkie-talkie mode so you can talk continuously. You can double click it to launch Google Lens vision recognition. There are also some unique G7 ThinQ commands, such as “take a photo with Super Bright Mode.” Whether this is useful to you will depend on your relationship with Google Assistant – if you use it a lot then this should be a welcome addition.

Both the V30 and G7 ThinQ have a Quad DAC which should improve your listening experience when you have headphones plugged in, but the G7 takes it all a step further with its Boombox Speaker. It only has one mono bottom-firing speaker, but LG removed the module covering the speaker, and turned the whole phone into a resonance chamber. That means the audio sounds like its coming out of the whole phone; it gets incredibly loud, and sounds really rich as well.

The V in V30 stands for video and so Cine Mode was the main special feature it boasted. It offers a bunch of cinematic effects for shooting video in different styles. We found it fun to use, but you could probably achieve a lot of the same results with apps and filters.

Winner: LG G7 ThinQ

Price

At $800 the LG V30 is an expensive phone, but if you shop around you’ll find it a bit cheaper than that now. We’re waiting for final confirmation on the pricing of the LG G7 ThinQ, but T-Mobile will sell it for $750 — that’s not a lot cheaper. Both phones will work on all the major carriers — though AT&T isn’t going to sell the phone — and the G7 ThinQ will be available in the U.S. in the first week of June.

Overall winner: LG G7 ThinQ

It would obviously be disappointing if LG’s newest flagship didn’t improve on its last phone, but the LG G7 ThinQ definitely does. The faster processor, design tweaks, and injection of AI should all make for a better experience. If you’re shopping today and choosing between these two, then the G7 ThinQ is the obvious pick. For owners of the V30 thinking about upgrading, it’s not quite as clear cut because there isn’t a world of difference between these two phones.

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