LG rolled the V30 out late last year with a few notable features, at least for LG. That phone had the first OLED panel on an LG phone in several years, and it didn't have the extra ticker display that defined older V-series phones. It turns out LG isn't done with the V30 yet. As rumors indicated, LG is releasing a new version of the V30 called the V30S ThinQ (yes, that's the name) with AI camera goodies. With a new name and features, you might expect this phone to be at least modestly different than the last V30. Well, ThinQ again.
Not a new phone
The convoluted tale of the V30S ThinQ can be told in two parts: hardware and software. Let's talk a bit about the hardware first. This phone is the LG V30 with 6GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. That's literally all that's different on the inside. The regular V30 has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (128GB in the V30+). It comes in either moroccan blue or champaign gray colors. Here's the spec sheet just for fun.
SoC: Snapdragon 835
Display: 6-inch 2880x1440 OLED
Camera: 16MP standard camera, 13MP wide-angle camera, 5MP wide-angle front camera
Software: Android 8.0
The cameras, display, and industrial design are the same as the V30. If you're concerned about the display, it seems to still suffer the same issues I saw with the V30 at launch. The colors are bright and striking, but there's so much grain and blotchiness—it's much worse than the Pixel 2 XL (also an LG OLED). I should note: this is a pre-production unit.
On the software side, all the AI features are contained in software. There's no hardware component that does AI processing a la Huawei's Kirin 970. The V30S ThinQ can identify eight types of objects like flowers, food, people, and so on. This is running on the CPU, and it seems a little slower to identify objects than the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. You've got to turn on AI Mode, too. It pops up all these vaguely accurate descriptions of objects, even if they aren't things that have a mode attached. When the phone finds something it can work with, you have to tap the AI button to activate the filter. That will allegedly tune the photo for the subject. There are actually several different filter strengths shown. I don't feel like these settings change the images for the better.
There's also a "QLens" feature, which you activate via a button right next to AI Mode. You can think of this a bit like Google Lens... but worse. There are three settings: shopping search via Amazon, visual search via Pinterest, and QR code scanning. Why can't the phone do all these things at the same time? QC codes work without issue, but both shopping and visual search are very much hit and miss. Logos seem to help the shopping search ID products, but the visual search never does better than a general guess. This just feels like a gimmick no one will ever use. The previously announced Google commands for LG's camera features are included as well.
Using the auto-filter on food, results on the bottom (left modified, and right modified)
Lastly, there's the low light camera mode. The phone's 16MP camera can act as a 4MP sensor when it detects light is too low for a good shot. You can turn this feature on and off, and I don't know if I'm not convinced it's worth using. The photos are brighter, but they also look very soft and the shutter lag is extreme. See below for Ryne in a dim room with and without low-light mode.
Ryne with and without low-light mode.
Again, this is a pre-production device. The camera AI might work better when it launches for real. Whether or not the AI features work well in final phones, you won't have to buy the V30S ThinQ to get it. LG is planning to port the AI camera features back to all V30 devices. After all, there's no hardware dependence in the "new" phone. However, LG tells us a few features might not make it to the ported version but couldn't say in particular what would be missing. We're waiting for clarification.
The LG V30S ThinQ will launch in Korea soon, but other markets are up in the air. The company is still discussing when or if to sell it in North America. Pricing will vary by market.
LG V30S ThinQ WITH NEW INTEGRATED AI DEBUTS AT MWC 2018
Upgraded with AI Features, LG’s Newest Smartphone Brings Ease and Convenience to the Mobile Experience
BARCELONA, Feb. 25, 2018 — LG Electronics (LG) is debuting its first ThinQ
mobile device this week at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.
Building on the foundation of the LG V30 platform, the LG V30S ThinQ integrates new AI
technologies into the most commonly used features that are closely aligned to the needs
and usage behavior of consumers today. ThinQ was introduced at CES 2018 to identify
all of LG’s home appliances, consumer electronics and services that utilize artificial
intelligence. With the vision of becoming a human-centered AI company that puts
consumers first, LG’s vision for ThinQ is to promote artificial intelligence as an
approachable and less intimidating technology.
LG began working on making differentiated and intuitive AI-based solutions for the
most commonly used smartphones features more than a year ago. With a particular
focus on the camera and voice recognition, the resulting Vision AI delivers a smarter
camera that is even easier to use, while Voice AI enhances the breadth of spoken
commands in the latest smartphone.
Vision AI: Making Photography Intuitive
Vision AI includes three new intelligent camera features: AI CAM, QLens and Bright
Mode that automates and enhances the smartphone image capturing experience for
novice as well as experienced shutterbugs.
AI CAM analyzes subjects in the frame and recommends the optimal shooting mode
among eight categories: portrait, food, pet, landscape, city, flower, sunrise, and sunset.
Each mode enhances the characteristics of the subject taking into account factors such
as the viewing angle, color, reflections, lighting, and saturation level.
QLens takes further advantage of the image recognition capabilities of the AI
technology to scan QR codes to improve the online shopping experience. Capture an
item of interest with QLens to get information as to where to buy the product online at
the lowest price as well as recommendations of similar items. Perform an image search
with QLens to see matching or similar images of food, fashion and celebrities or
detailed information of landmarks such as buildings and statues.
Low light photography on the LG V30S ThinQ gets a huge boost with Bright Mode.
Instead of measuring only ambient light like most smartphone cameras, this AI feature
uses algorithms to brighten images by a factor of two for better looking photos without
Voice AI: LG-Exclusive Voice Commands
Another new feature is Voice AI that allows users to run apps and change
settings through voice commands alone. Working alongside Google
Assistant, the LG-exclusive Voice AI commands eliminates the need to
search through menu options and allows for direct selection of specific
More Memory, More Storage, More Colors
The LG V30S ThinQ takes the “flagship” nomenclature to a new level with upgraded
features that would satisfy even the most demanding customer. With 6GB of RAM,
smooth multitasking and faster performance is virtually guaranteed and storage
capacities of 128GB in the LG V30S ThinQ and 256GB in the LG V30S+ ThinQ means that
customers will never run out of space. In the rare event that does happen, the microSD
slot provides even more storage, up to 2TB.
Still the thinnest and lightest among smartphones with displays of 6 inches or more, the
LG V30S ThinQ is no slouch in the toughness and durability category, having passed 14
MIL-STD 810G tests approved by the US Department of Defense. The New Moroccan
Blue color has been updated with a green tint while New Platinum Gray gives the
device a sophisticated, elegant look. Both devices feature a lenticular finish on the back
that displays different hues under certain lighting conditions.
Expanding the Smartphone AI Experience
The AI suite of technologies in the LG V30S ThinQ is the just the beginning of the
company’s renewed strategy to create more intelligent smartphones that puts
consumers’ needs above all else. While the LG V30S ThinQ offers such advanced features
out of the box, certain phones from LG will receive key AI features in future updates
delivered over-the- air. Additional LG smartphones will be considered for future AI
upgrades, depending on hardware and other factors for the best user experience.
“Many companies talk about AI but we’re already delivering on our promise by
integrating intelligent technology in the LG V30S ThinQ to features most commonly used
by our customers for a whole new level of convenience never before available in a
smartphone of this caliber,” said Hwang Jeong-hwan, president of LG Mobile
Communications Company. “And we will continue to introduce new AI capabilities to
enhance usability and to demonstrate to our customers that we are committed to
delivering a great user experience that continues long after the purchase of an LG
Attendees of MWC 2018 are encouraged to visit LG’s booth in Hall 3 of Fira Gran Via
from February 26 until March 1 for more information on the LG V30S ThinQ .
Chipset: Qualcomm ® Snapdragon ™ 835 Mobile Platform
Display: 6.0-inch 18:9 QuadHD+ OLED FullVision Display (2880 x 1440 / 538ppi)
- V30S ThinQ : 6GB RAM / 128GB ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)
- V30S+ ThinQ : 6GB RAM / 256GB ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)
- Rear Dual: 16MP Standard Angle (F1.6 / 71°) / 13MP Wide Angle (F1.9 / 120°)
- Front: 5MP Wide Angle (F2.2 / 90°)
AI: AI CAM / QLens / Bright Mode / AI Haptic / Google Assistant
Operating System: Android 8.0 Oreo
Size: 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3mm
Network: LTE-A 4 Band CA
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 5.0 BLE / NFC / USB Type-C 2.0 (3.1 compatible)
Colors: New Moroccan Blue, New Platinum Gray
Other: IP68 Water and Dust Resistant / MIL-STD 810G Compliant / 32-bit Hi-Fi
Quad DAC / HDR10 / Crystal Clear Lens / Google Daydream / UX 6.0+ / Voice
Recognition / Face Recognition / Fingerprint Sensor / Qualcomm ® Quick Charge™
3.0 Technology / Wireless Charging