Over time LG has been known for trying different things from its competition and standing out in the process. Adding Quad DACs, keeping headphone jacks, modules, Flexes you name it. Problem is after the modular LG G5, they have pretty much kept the same design language on their G and V models. You would not be able to tell much of a difference unless you checked the specs sheet and maybe a re-arrangement of cameras.
Per LG though they look to be going a new route forgoing models with numbers and just relying on names that standout. This is where we come into the LG Velvet. New design, a wide range of colors and not as pricey as you expect. But is it enough?
Looking at the Velvet you can see right away it is a different direction for LG and feels that way as well. While its a very tall phone to wield it doesn’t weigh as much as it looks coming in about 180g. Its incredibly thin and curved from end to end. LG is using what they are call 3D Arc Design. I found to have a nice grip on it and curved perfectly in hand. Velvet utilizes Corning Glass 5 on both the front and back. It is a fingerprint magnet of sorts and I find myself wiping this phone down constantly when not having a case on it. I will say though it survived a caseless 4ft drop on concrete and surprisingly was still intact besides a very small nick on the back and on the left corner.
It is IP68 certified / MIL-STD-810G Passed so it pretty much handles dust, water, and resistance with ease. From me dropping it and getting caught in the rain it looks to hold true to this. As far as button layout there is a power button on the right side with volume controls and a Google Assistant button on the left. Top is just a sim card slot which also uses the microSD capabilities. Bottom is a Type-C port, speaker and a headphone jack. While thrilled to still have a headphone jack, was saddened to see no QuadDAC support. I was seeing that as a stable for LG phones the past few years and one thing that really kept them apart while attracting audiophiles.
This is when you want to decide if the LG Velvet can be considered a flagship or is in the mid-tier category. It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 processor, Adreno 620 GPU, 6GB RAM, and 128GB (out the box 100GB) storage. There is also a 4,300mAh battery that supports fast charging and wireless charging. Realistically besides the battery these would be considered mid-tier specs. It does house a 5G chipset though. Using it on the daily I didn’t find much issue with the performance of the LG Velvet.
Whether I watched some Netflix or played a game on the LG Velvet I felt the audio was on par. LG has a 3D Sound Engine using AI that tends to recognize what content you are using and tries to input the best sound possible from it. Using its dual speakers audio wasn’t bad on the Velvet.
The LG Velvet 5G model we been using is Aurora Gray. It was provided to us by LG and is a AT&T variant. Came in an AT&T black/blue style box and is locked to their service. Connecting to AT&T’s 5G network was positive wielding download speeds in the 100-200 Mbps range depending if I was in a particular area. I used it mostly in NYC and a trip I took to Rhode Island over the late summer.
LG Velvet is available though on other carriers and also has a unlocked model. There is a variety of different colors. Some colors are exclusive to certain carriers though.
Like the hardware, the display is of the mid-tier variety as well. It’s a 6.8” P-OLED 60Hz screen that is 1080p(2460×1080) with 395ppi. Once again because of how tall it is the aspect ratio on this display is “20.5.9”. I felt like the display gave content more of a natural feel and look and may slightly lack on color if you are looking for something a bit more punchy and vivid. The black borders around the display could be distracting depending on what you are looking at as well.
As of this now the LG Velvet is pretty much up to date on hardware running Android 10. While 11 is practically not other phones than Pixels are using it. I didn’t find anything special about LG’s usual UX UI other than it looks nice and usually has stuff I don’t use. Also, on the AT&T version its full of bloatware. Endless amounts of apps to disable or remove.
If you feel two screens are better than one you can opt for the LG Dual Screen. Its been becoming more a stable for LG with their flagships and they have created a version for the LG Velvet as well. It matches up with the Velvet’s display giving you a 6.8” OLED FHD display. It is a gem for multitasking if you want to watch a movie on one screen while looking all some directions on another. I did find it a bit nerve racking though as you have to push it in certain area while not damaging the Type-C port in the process.
I mostly used it though for mobile gaming. LG has a feature called LG Game Pad to make the 2nd screen a on-display controller and it works perfectly with games like Asphalt 9. Other games like Fortnite only utilized some of the control but you could go into the options and do button mapping if needed. The case itself is beefy and not something I would use all the time.
Two interesting things to point out about the Dual Screen for the LG Velvet. If you decide to get a Dual Screen, make sure you get it for the right carrier version. So, you cannot say for instance use the T-Mobile version with the AT&T version and vice versa. Also, the LG Dual Screen is $200.
The “Raindrop” Triple Camera design is what caught everyone’s eye when the LG Velvet was first revealed. They blend into the hardware of the phone not giving you huge camera bumps besides the main 48MP but even that doesn’t stick out much. The remaining 5MP Depth lens and 8MP Ultra-Wide are pretty much flushed in.
As for photos themselves, images I felt were hit or miss with the Velvet. Some photos would range from having too much color oversaturating some objects while others just look like they didn’t have enough. Outside in daylight you could get away with some shots looking decent while indoors or in lowlight settings some stuff may look a bit washed out. On the front is a 16MP camera. I used it a handful of times just to see how the camera was. It did a good job on focusing on my face but using portrait mode oversaturated me a bit.
LG managed to create one of the better-looking smartphones they have designed in years. But also fallen into the midrange category as well. By giving us an elegant looking phone, we aren’t getting the highest performing processor nor the smoothest moving display. While it doesn’t feel slow by itself its hard to compare when there are devices from OnePlus and others lingering around. I get that with lesser specs it does put the price at $600 and you still get a smartphone that has 5G. It looks to be a fresh start for LG, and I am interested to see where they go from here.