LG V40 ThinQ Review
I've been a no contract cellular service user for several years now, choosing to purchase my own unlocked phone and activate it on the Straight Talk network. It saved me a lot of money in the long run but I got the itch for a new phone after my LG V10 stopped holding a charge. Sure, I could have replaced the battery but I was ready to try something new.
I am by no means a phone snob, but I do like premium performance so that I can manage several business ventures with no hiccups. That meant that I needed a flagship phone for the specs, but didn't want the price. That's why I chose the LG V10 when I purchased it nearly two years ago. I received the performance I wanted without the $40+ monthly fee for a premium phone from a major carrier. It was a little dated, but the specs were inline with other phones at the time. But a recent offer from Sprint had me rethinking my stance on major carriers: Sprint offered the newly released LG V40 ThinQ for only $10 a month on lease. That's an unheard of price for the latest in flagship phones. So I made the switch.
I had Sprint service in the past, and it was my favorite carrier. I liked that they didn't charge a premium for having a smart phone, and just offered more bang for your buck. I have used all of the major cellular service providers and several of the smaller ones - so I am pretty familiar with the service networks, costs, and overall performance of just about every carrier out there. That's because I worked for several years in the cell phone industry as an account manager for a company which provided many of the accessories and phones you purchase from Verizon and others. We kinda took it as part of our job to try out new companies, phones, and accessories as they became available.
When it comes to phones you are in one of two camps: I-Phone or Android. I will admit that Apple products look good and function well, but being that I prefer the underdog I personally choose the Android camp. Now among the android users there is a further division, it's either Samsung or everyone else who battles for your phone dollars. Now if you’re a Samsung devotee - I'm not going to change your mind. Really I don’t want to. I like Samsung, but have had some issues with the products I have owned. As a whole the Samsung products were fantastic devices until they stopped working. They seem to hit a wall where the RAM just gives out and you're out of luck.
By comparison the LG phones (not counting dying batteries) keep on ticking. I had an LG that I dropped repeatedly on asphalt and concrete but it kept on working. I had another that took a drop off a ladder. It had a big nick in the corner but never stopped functioning. That's why I am devoted to LG. They just work. No worries about destroying your $1000 phone on the first drop like many I-Phone users complain of. I also feel fairly confident that with the LG build quality, I can pass on the cell phone protection plan and save $15 a month there. Right now the company is so confident in their product that they are including a two year warranty, called the Second Year Promise, against manufacturer defects for all new phones. Once you file an approved claim, you'll receive a replacement phone within two business days after shipment date. Shipping both ways is even covered by LG.
To me, the ThinQ feels like an adult phone. No it's not the most stylish, and probably doesn't have the industry leading camera - but what you are getting is a set of features that is near class leading. It's the best combination of features for the user who needs everything, rather than just one outstanding thing like a camera.
Speaking of cameras, LG has also upped the ante for phones everywhere by featuring 5 of them on the V40. That's insane. There are two front facing cameras, and three on the rear. The 3 cameras is what gives you the Triple Shot feature: whenever you take a photo, you can choose to capture three at once (zoom, standard, and wide angle) which just about guarantees you're going to get a well framed pic of that special moment. You can debate if it's a value added feature or not, but I do like the wide angle capability that's hard to find elsewhere. I attend a lot of concerts and have always struggled with getting the whole stage in view. I secretly bought the V40 for that reason: I am attending a concert next week and hope to put the camera to the test.
Style wise, most are going to side with the Samsung. But in comparison to the Samsung S9+ can you really say that the LG V40 looks much different? The one standout appearance difference is Samsung's rounded edge screen which I personally hate. I like a flat, brick like phone. I use a case with a protective edge so that if I lay my phone face down on my desk, the screen is raised off of the surface. To see what I mean check out the Poetic Karbon Shield. The edge saving feature of a case like that would kinda hide the S9's main draw.
When you first glance at the LGV40, you almost overlook it. The phone is fairly normal sized by modern smart phone standards. A lot of people would probably pass it over in the store as not being “big enough”. That’s a major mistake. For starters the LG V40 screen is big. The 6.4" QHD+ OLED display goes almost to the edges of the phone making it feel even bigger than it is. Despite that much screen real estate, the phone is actually smaller than the LG V10 I upgraded from. That’s because of the aspect ratio. Basically LG has went to a slightly quirky 19.5:9 aspect ratio that allows for 84.3% of the body to be screen area. That gives you a thinner, taller profiled phone that feels better in the hand - and it's even smaller than many competitor phones with smaller screens. I had a problem with my hand cramping up when watching videos with my old phone. The thinner body has helped with that as my hand isn't stretched as far.
LG V40 Specs vs. Samsung Galaxy S9+
I'm not going to be able to give you detailed technical benchmarks, and don’t really want to hit you with that stuff. You can get that elsewhere. I will talk about a few head to head specs with the Samsung S9+ that are important for comparison: both feature 6 GB ram (almost as much as my laptop) and the latest SnapDragon 845 with up to 2.8 GHz x 4 + 1.7 GHz x 4 Octa-Core processors. In a week of use, the LGV40 is lightning fast when opening applications and doesn't bog down when I have several open. Both phones have the latest Adreno 630 chipset. Not something that matters much to me, but it might to you if you're a gamer.
The LGV40 does have 'only' 64 gb of storage compared to Samsung's 128 gb. I heard you sigh in disappointment at the “64 gb of ram”. Rest assured it can be expanded to 2TB which is ridiculous. I mean that's a lot of stuff.
The Lg does stand out if your a guy like me who uses a phone as a primary music device. The V40 features a Boombox Speaker which makes your music louder by acting like an amplifier. So far I have found the sound is crisp even when turned up. I find myself listening less on my Alexa and more on my phone. It also comes with some pretty fancy onboard processing by a 32-Bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC that you can take advantage of if you use ear buds. That's right it has a headphone jack. Old Skool, you gotta love it. For movies, you get DTS:X 3D surround sound.
The LG V40: Good and Bad
To me whats important is how does a phone feel and work for real world scenarios. If you judge your phone the same way, you'll be pleased with the LG V40. The cameras may not be class leading, but for even the most active social media engager - five cameras are going to capture just about anything you can throw in front of them.
The phone gives you enough real estate to replace your tablet. I have already put my 2 kindles in a drawer until further notice. With 2 TB of possible storage, I can store thousands of hours of music and save data since I don't need to stream it. That means I can save money by purchasing a smaller service plan. I can have a library at my fingertips and store all my books on it, and believe me I have hundreds. Sure, you can do that with a lot of phones, but its hard to find the feature set and thus value that the LG V40 ThinQ offers elsewhere.
I find that the Quick Charge 3.0 works well, and 30 minutes on the charger is usually plenty for many hours of additional use. It does feature wireless charging technologies which I have yet to test. The IP68 dust and water resistant rating, MIL-STD-810G shock resistant rating is a nice preventive feature: I do sometimes grab my phone from the shower when expecting an important call. Not recommended, I know. I also sometimes venture off on hikes so the shock protection is nice. If this phone is anything like my previous LG phones I have nothing to worry about.
Now for the bad, and honestly I struggled with this one. I guess you could say the phone is boring. I mean it's predictable and it's simple, like a under appreciated employee. It does everything you can throw at it and does it so well you don't recognize how good it is. I guess if I have to nitpick, I could say the Google hot button is in a weird spot. I would expect it to be on other side of phone or lower than where it is. I love that I can access Google Assistant with a dedicated button, but it's located right where I expect a power button to be. So I keep turning on Google when I try to turn off the screen.
There's a learning curve with anything new, so I know Ill get the hang of it in a few weeks. Some have complained that the battery is small (3300 mAh Li-Ion battery) for a flagship. Maybe, but so far I make it through a workday and I am on the phone all day. I do wish it had a removable battery, but then again I'll be out of the lease before it needs replacing so to me it's a non-point.
If you want to get the LG V40 ThinQ for yourself you can purchase it through Sprint, the $10 lease deal is off the table - but $20 a month that they are now offering is still pretty sweet. You can also buy it unlocked on Amazon.