LG V30 Stands for LOOKING GOOD!!

LAST UPDATED: August 13th, 2018

This is NOT a technical review of the LG V30.  This IS a personal experience with the goal of trying to assist someone out the the internet-sphere filter all the fan boi clutter (paid and unpaid articles) from die-hard Iphone fans to newly converted Samsung disciples. With a broad brush, I can say I have owned every generation of a cellular, mobile, smartphone in the past 15 years with the exception of the Iphone platform.  As a designer and non-conformist, the early stereotype by most that graphic designers and digital content producers MUST work from an Apple ecosystem needed to be challenged.  I have always embraced technology and I was first area sales rep for a large company I worked for back in 1995 to have a “laptop” and it was running Windows 3.1.  I started dabbling in Photoshop 4.0 in early January of 1997 working on a fast Windows 95 platform.

mobile phone evolutionSeems like a 1000 years ago, but my 1st cellular phone was the Motorola “brick”.  More a novelty for me as an outside sales guy with calls costing over $3/minute, but, whipping this out from my business suit breast pocket and telling my customers I could check inventory RIGHT NOW was productive.  I never ended up with the car-mounted cellular phones but I believe I owned every predominant Nokia all the way through to a mainstream Blackberry thinking this whole texting thing was for kids.  As most users realized, texting, and texting from their Blackberry was a moment of social change and the standard communication protocols now had changed. In some instances, calling someone versus texting was actually a social faux pas.

When the Iphone dropped, and all of sudden the world could relax in any situation because NOWthere was an app for that“. Being bombarded on television, guys like me wanted my Blackberry Storm to jump in the ring and last at least 2 rounds.  But, alas, I remember well how there were limited apps for Blackberry and you were also limited to how many apps the Blackberry ecosystem could handle.  I think most users that had come to love the Blackberry keyboard, thought a non-tactile digital keyboard is just not possible.

Fast forward another 5 years with most of those days using a Samsung Note 3 and Note 5 as my daily driver with a very quick detour experimenting with the awesome Nokia Lumia 1020.  The Lumia had the best camera EVER but, OMG, that Microsoft App store was the WORST.   When you get on the internet and start bashing carriers, all I can say from my personal experience is that AT&T has always treated me fairly and allowed me to bail on the Lumia and get into the Note 3.

*NOTE: Some people might remember but most of us were LOCKED into a contract for two years with a phone that usually was outdated within 12 months.  It was a terrible period in phone history.

Thanks for enduring my trip down memory lane but I felt it was important to qualify my recent decision to run the LG V30 as my daily driver.   Another qualifier would be that IMHO Lexus and Mercedez Benz are probably regarded as the best overall vehicles but, I have own multiple Subaru’s mostly because I like to be different. (Unfortunately, Subaru’s are getting too popular now for my personal brand and will probably end up in the Volvo fraternity.) Automobiles, phones and watches probably best identify anyone’s personal brand.

The die-hard Apple user will own multiple Apple products and their brand resonates with millions.   Now that Samsung showed they could survive the burn-up-your-house Note 7 fiasco, and the way the Corporation positively handled that mishap, Samsung has solidified itself as a major, dominant force in the world of consumer electronics.   And, despite jail time for their Executive leadership, their Mission and Vision to dominate globally has not changed.

When my Note 5 was updated to Nougat/7.0, one of the significant updates to the software was forcing the integration of the new Samsung Connect app which disapprovingly messed up my car bluetooth connection which is critical for my hand-free driving experience.   Check out the reviews:  90% of the reviews HATED the app sans the paid bots giving 5-star reviews.   I get it.  Sorry, Consumer, our Mission to be bigger than Apple and Google require us to forcefully install this crappy app on your phone and you are going to like it.   LOL But, if you play along, you can connect your phone to your refrigerator, your vacuum cleaner, your dishwasher, etc, etc, etc.  Oh, btw Consumer, we do not really need to tell you but we are data-mining the shit out everything you do, thus we want and NEED you to use our app so we can sell “anonymously” every keystroke, every load of dirty clothes, every mile you drive in your car and we are going to CHARGE you $1000 for your phone so that we can potentially make $100,000 annually off of each and every Consumer.


Jennifer Lopez on the cover of Vogue MagazineI have never gone 3 years with the same phone so when the Note 8 was available, I ordered it through AT&T.   I did all my research and I had much reservation.  Mostly for the size.   When the Note series first arrived as a “phablet”, it seems crazy but the size has worked out well for me.  The Note 8 was slender and tall. Like that beautiful girl in with the long legs and red dress standing at the end of the bar. Very compelling.

Did I mention I am a photographer and mostly an adventure photographer?  So, at any given moment leaving the confines of my home, I might have anywhere from 3-8 cameras in a bag (POV, drone, fisheye, telephoto, etc) PLUS my smartphone.  I depend on those specific camera tools to do the heavy lifting of my photography to include low-light, action, bokeh effect, etc.  But, it is nice to have another “snapper” in my pocket that can handle the occasional spontaneous shot.

note 8 photo
Taken with the Samsung Note 8.

The Note 8 aka the hot chick in red dress professed happiness with this new dual camera setup.  And, fake Bokeh features.  The camera was good.  In fact, really good.  The hot chick with long legs looked good, had smarts but unfortunately some major pimples on her butt.  Those pimples were BIXBY!

I knew Bixby was coming but I am usually pretty good in getting rid of this Iphone-wannabe crap but it because quickly obvious that Samsung was going to go to great lengths and force this Bixby culture on it’s customers.  Sure, you can turn it off.   But, as I have tried to preface my user-experience, I would buy a Porsche with no radio and manual transmission.  I want to hear the RPM’s, I want to get through the gears and I want a very personal experience. Samsung took that away.   Promoting a sports car but it is really a Lincoln Continental that just sits there.  I spent a couple days with the hot chick with the long legs and red dress and set it back to AT&T promptly.

Part of my critical rejection was motivated by the $1000 price barrier but mostly to how Samsung has stripped the core features that Android users like myself appreciate.  If you use a “Launcher” on your current phone, you probably know what I am talking about.  If you don’t, you don’t. And, not there is nothing wrong with that.

My car bluetooth experience was just getting unbearable with my Note 5 so I wanted to move fast into a new phone.  Much of the rebel in me was convinced the new Sony XZ1 Compact was the way to go.  I was actually drawn to the phone because people dissed it’s big forehead and chin (bezels) and it’s thicker design.  I liked the idea of a flagship specs in a smaller but thicker footprint.  With some surprise car repairs, the ability to fork over $600 cash was not an option and there was one thing that really bothered me that the Sony did not have.  That was wireless charging.  If you do not have wireless charging, you would think it is not a big deal.  Once you have it, it actually is the biggest feature I “need” in a phone.   I have wireless chargers placed throughout my house and it just makes life so much easier to always have a solid charge on my phone for those days I need to run out and really use my phone hard.

LG V30 with Nova Launcher customization
LG V30 with Nova Launcher customization

The HTC10 and upcoming HTC11 looked great but it seems they jacked AT&T in the past and so that was not an option.   But, when you really look at the global economics of smartphones, they international companies that specialize in “displays” can probably weather any smartphone disaster.  I have an LG television that I got on a great deal at Costco.  Not top of the line.  Average.  But, it has been great.  So, I started looking at the LG V30 and I guess they have really had a hit-and-miss history with their generations of smartphones.  Again, what got my attention were the volumes of technical reviews that consistently all said the same thing – GREAT PHONE but…..

I agree….GREAT phone….BUT…..

It takes me about 48 hours to customize my phone experience and from my drive around the block the ONLY gripe I have is from a designers viewpoint – the small wifi icon that renders at the top of the screen looks like an upside down triangle versus the normal looking pulsating microwave .

This was NOT taken with the V30 but my interpretation of the "girl next door".
This was NOT taken with the V30 but my interpretation of the “girl next door”.

One other visual strike was that curvature angle of the bezels and the physical phone do not match up.  The physical phone has a .25″ angle and the bezels of the screen look about .15″. Guesstimating for sure.

Lastly, the screen grab mechanism is not very simple compared to my normal “swiping the screen”. Those are my only “complaints”.  I think I have found that pretty hawt girl-next-door.

Overlooked by the all-star jocks and rock star musicians.  Still sexy, plenty of performance and with the promotional two-year warranty, this phone should look forward to some great adventures in the next couple of years.

Robert Baker Headshot