The LG V40 ThinQ is the world’s first smartphone with five cameras. That’s right. It has not one, not two, not three, not four, but five cameras in all. Three on the back and two on the front. No other smartphone in the world offers as much versatility for shutterbugs as the LG V40. That’s not to say that it is just about the cameras. Being an LG V-series phone, the V40 also comes with outstanding audio credentials. No other smartphone in the world offers as much versatility for audiophiles as the LG V40.
Phones with multiple cameras are very common these days. Most of the top smartphone brands – including Apple, Samsung, OnePlus and Huawei – are doing it. Even Google is shipping three cameras in its third-generation Pixel phones. But the V40’s five-camera setup is unique: it has a standard camera, a super wide-angle camera and a telephoto camera on the back, and on the front, it has a standard camera and another wide-angle camera for group selfies.
The V40’s main camera is a 12MP camera with an f/1.5 aperture and a 78-degree field of view. It may have a lower resolution than the G7 and V30’s 16MP main camera, but the pixels are 40 per cent larger (1.4μm, up from 1μm), which when combined with the slightly brighter lens, should entail in better low light photos. LG says the main camera also has half the shutter lag, 50 per cent faster autofocusing, and a significantly faster burst mode.
Next to it lies a 16MP super wide-angle camera with a f/1.9 aperture and a 107-degree field of view, that’s basically the same deal as the G7, for capturing a wider field of view.
Finally, there’s a 12MP telephoto camera (which is a first for LG) with f/2.4 aperture, to get two times closer to your subject compared to the main camera.
LG has built some clever software tricks into the V40 to make best use of its three rear cameras. Long pressing on the different toggles, you use to switch between the three cameras brings up a live thumbnail of their respective field of view, so you can easily preview how your shot looks like in these scenarios. Since you can do this before taking a shot, it gives you a heads-up about the best possible shot that you can get at that time.
Then there’s a mode called Triple Shot that lets you take a picture using all the three cameras so you can choose to keep the best possible photo out of the lot. Although Triple Shot is achieved by a single press of the shutter button, the three cameras are fired one after the other, and not at the same time. This means your mileage may vary from time to time depending on the nature of your subject (whether it is moving or stationary) as well as your hand movements. The mode can also automatically stich the three photos together into one looping GIF-like video.
There’s also a Cine Mode that lets you shoot what LG is calling Cinemagraphs, wherein a part of your photo is still, and you can manually enable motion in another part of it.
All of this is in addition to your run-of-the-mill portrait and portrait lighting effect features. And artificial intelligence, courtesy LG’s new ThinQ division. While not as exhaustive as say the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the LG V40 has enough parlor tricks to keep you occupied. Just like LG’s past multiple camera phones, switching between the three cameras of the V40 is fun and easy. As for image quality, I will reserve my final verdict for my full review coming up soon.
On to audio, the V40 may have only a single bottom-firing speaker, but the whole phone can act as a resonance chamber, helping push out incredibly loud audio. LG calls it Boombox and the effect is particularly pronounced when the phone is kept back facing down on a flat surface made of metal or wood. This is in addition to DTS-X surround sound and LG’s signature Hi-Fi quad DAC.
Aside from the new camera setup and high-end audio features, the rest of the LG V40 is in line with any other premium flagship phone in the market right now. It is made of glass and metal, has a 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED display (with notch) with support for HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB RAM and up to 128GB storage which is also expandable, Android 8.1 Oreo software and a 3,300mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3. The LG V40 is also IP68 and MIL-STD-81G certified and retains endangered hardware features like a conventional fingerprint scanner and headphone jack.
Clearly, the LG V40 ThinQ packs a lot of features. It packs more cameras than any other high-end smartphone in the market right now and has audio credentials bested by only the pro devices in the business. But it is coming in an already overcrowded flagship market, and flagships with top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 are just around the corner. LG’s shabby track record in updating its phones (there is no word when the V40 will get the Android Pie update) also does not gel well in its favour. The LG V40 has been launched in India at a price of Rs 49,990, and at that kind of price, it ought to be polished way beyond just the cameras and the audio. Watch this space for our full review of the LG V40 ThinQ in the days to come.