LG V20 - The UK’s first phone to launch with Android Nougat and Quad DAC Audio

LG V20 to launch with Android Nougat

LG undeniably love touting about their ‘firsts’ and a number of these are already hitting the news headlines in official press releases from LG, about the upcoming LG V20.

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The LG V20 could be the UK’s first smartphone to launch with Android 7.0 Nougat, straight out of the box. The LG V20 is the successor to the LG V10, which launched in the US in 2015, but disappointingly never made its way to UK shores.

Consumers will be hoping that a recurrence of this won’t happen again and that the LG V20 will make its way to the UK. So far, it has been confirmed that the LG V20 will begin shipping in the third quarter out 2016 in the US, following its official announcement on September 6th, at a press event in San Francisco. 

LG V20 and Android 7.0 Nougat

The LG V20 is a flagship smartphone that has premium qualities and offers a multimedia rich experience. The LG V20 will be finely tuned to make the most of the features of Android 7.0 Nougat.

LG V20 Android N

Nougat will refine the Android experience further with Vulkan-supported graphics that offer a more immersive gaming experience, better battery performance with Doze and Direct Reply that will allow users to respond to SMS text messages or update tasks through the new notifications interface.

Android N features

Juno Cho, the president of LG Electronics and Mobile Communications Company stated that “We are excited to offer the first phone in the world to feature Nougat out of the box. The LG V20 upgrades and extends its predecessor’s cutting-edge multimedia features a step further, providing distinctive mobile experience and sets a new standard for premium phones for consumers.” 

LG V20 and Quad DAC Audio

The LG V20 will bring a one-of-a-kind audio experience with it and will be the world’s first smartphone to have 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) capabilities. In short, this means that a superior audio experience is on offer.

Quad DAC will make audio crisp and clear, giving ‘closest to a live performance’ playback, when using compatible wired headphones. Quad DAC will also reduce ambient noise levels by up to 50 percent, compared to traditional DAC.

Quad DAC Audio

Quad DAC will be the linchpin of many of the cutting-edge multimedia features on the LG V20 and this includes videos recording that will capture the environment’s sounds in stunning clarity. 

Juno Cho, the president of LG Electronics and Mobile Communications Company stated that “Higher quality audio is simply the natural evolution of the smartphone, as the industry moves toward a more holistic multimedia consumption experience. We’re pleased to continue this long-term partnership with ESS and bring best in class audio to LG V20 users.”

LG V20 specifications

The LG V20 is rumoured to have market-leading specifications. This includes a 5.7” IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, which equates to 515 pixels per inch, with a 72 percent screen-to-body ratio. 

A secondary 2.1” display with a resolution of 160 x 1040 pixels is expected to be included. We first saw this on the LG X Screen and this additional display area can show notifications without interrupting the action taking place on the main display. 

LG X Screen

In addition to this, the secondary display area is always-on and this saves battery power as the main display doesn’t need to be woken up to check the time, date or incoming notifications. Protected behind Coring Gorilla Glass 4, the display should be able to resist drops and scratches.
The expected LG V20 specifications also includes a 20MP camera. This will be able to shoot video at a quality of 2160p, with laser focus ensuring that footage remains in sharp focus. Facing the user will be an 8MP Duo camera for taking selfies.

The LG V20 comes with Steady Record 2.0 and this allows the shooter to record video, with the effects of unintentional hand shake removed.

Steady Record 2

The performance of the LG V20 is likely to be market leading with a 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor built in. The 32GB version of the LG V20 will have a 4GB RAM, while the 64GB version of the LG V20 will have a 6GB RAM. Both versions will have a microSD card slot that will accept cards with a memory of up to 256GB.

If the rumoured battery has a 4,000mAh capacity, then this will be one of the longest lasting batteries ever used in a smartphone. The battery will support fast charging through a USB Type-C charger. The USB Type-C connector has been featured on a number of 2016 mobile phones and this is gaining popularity as the connector is symmetrical, making it far easier to plug in, compared to microUSB connectors.
Fingerprint security is an almost certainty and it has been suggested that the LG V20 will support LG Friends. These are swappable modules that replace the bottom strip of the phone to give extra functionality. 

LG V20

The LG G5 was the first smartphone to use interchangeable modules. So far a Cam Plus module has been created to give phones a better grip for photography, with a physical shutter button, zoom button and a power module, for extending the battery life further.  

More LG Friends have recently hit the market and with LG using the ‘Play More’ tag line on its US launch page for the LG V20, it seems likely that some sort of compatibility will exist. 

LG G Flex 3

With the 2016 IFA Berlin event scheduled for the 2nd to 7th September and the LG V20 being announced instead in the US, it seems likely that the LG G Flex 3 may be LG’s star-of-the-show and get announced at the IFA event.

If the LG G Flex 3 does get announced at the Berlin IFA and the LG V20 doesn’t make an appearance, then we can all but say goodbye to the chances of seeing the LG V20 in the UK.

The Flex range of phones are already well known in the UK, whereas the V range is not. This could be one reason why LG may choose to launch the LG G Flex 3 in the UK instead and this phone could have some of the features highlighted to appear on the LG V20.

So far, the rumours suggest that the LG G Flex 3 may have a 5.5” Quad HD display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB RAM. The internal memory options should see the release of a 32GB and 64GB model and in a first for the Flex range on phones, there may be support for the LG Friends modules.

A dual 16MP and 8MP main camera combination would offer wide angle photography and if an 8MP selfie camera is included, then this will be the same set up as that seen on the LG G5. 

Consumers can also expect to more advanced self-healing technology, but as of yet, there are no indications of what these improvements may be.

LG Collaborations

LG has clearly understood that collaborations lead to success.

Google and LG have been working together closely since 2009, with collaborations including the Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and Nexus 5X, which were all the first smartphones to introduce consumers to next version of Android.

LG Nexus 5X
Collaborations with Google have also included wearables, such as the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, which was the world’s first Android Wear smartwatch to offer cellular-based connectivity.

ESS Technology is a market leader in high-performance analog and audio devices. ESS Technology previously supplied the 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC hardware that created the audio experience for the LG V10.

Robert Blair, president and chief executive officer of ESS Technology stated that “As a technology more typically available in high-end audio equipment, Quad DAC on the V20 will make users feel as if they are carrying around a professional home-audio system on their smartphone.”

First Android Nougat phones

LG’s announcement of the LG V20 clearly states that the phone will be the world’s first device to have Android Nougat out-of-the-box. This statement clearly indicates that other smartphones sold in the UK will get an Android Nougat update prior to the launch of the LG V20.

So far, we have heard that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 may get the Android Nougat update within a couple of months and the same update will be available for the LG Nexus 5X and the Google Nexus 6P. 

Nexus 6P review

HTC has confirmed that the HTC 10, HTC One A9 and HTC One M9 will all get the Android 7.0 Nougat update and it is also likely that the Huawei Mate 9 will get the update prior to the end of the year.

The Sony Xperia X Performance should also be getting the Android Nougat update and Sony has already started to allow X Performance owners to start testing Android Nougat through its Xperia Beta Program, although this program does not run in the UK.

Written by: Michael Brown