LG didn’t hold a press conference at Mobile World Congress this year, but that hasn’t stopped the South Korean electronics giant from trying to steal some of the competition’s thunder. The company announced the LG V30S this week, an enhanced variant of last year’s V30 that bears ThinQ branding. Not coincidentally, the LG V30S, like the Google Assistant-powered LG ThinQ speaker LG unveiled in late 2017, puts AI first and foremost.
LG V30S ThinQ Specs
|Specs||LG V30S ThinQ|
|Display||6-inch QHD+ (2880 x 1440) 18:9|
|System-on-Chip||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|Storage||128GB/256GB + microSD card slot|
|Sound||32-bit Quad DAC, MQA audio decoding|
|Rear Camera||16MP f/1.6 + 13MP f/1.9 wide-angle|
|Battery Capacity||3,300 mAh|
|Quick Charging||Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0|
|Misc.||Vision AI and Voice AI|
The LG V30S, much like the LG V30+ and the other LG V30 variants that came before it, has more or less the same hardware as the standard V30. That includes a 6-inch QHD+ (2880 x 1440) OLED display; a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip with an Adreno 540 GPU; a 3,300mAh battery; a dual rear camera comprising a 16MP sensor with a f/1.6 aperture and a wide-angle 13MP sensor with a f/1.9 aperture; and a 90-degree 5MP front-facing camera with a f/2.2 aperture.
During the LG V30’s launch event last year, the company called it the “the lightest among smartphones in the 6-inch and over category.” It claims the V30S, which weighs 158 grams and measures 7.3mm thick, is still “the thinnest and lightest among smartphones with displays of 6 inches or more.”
Despite the aforementioned thinness and lightness, the V30S is no less durable than the V30 — it’s MIL-STD 810G compliant and IP68 certified for protection against dust and water up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. And thanks to a combination software and hardware optimizations inherited from the V30, including an SS Sabre ES9218P digital-to-analog converter, preinstalled equalization options, and Master Quality Audio (MQA) decoding, it produces the same great sound.
It has a USB Type-C connector, supports Bluetooth 5.0 BLE, NFC, and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, LTE-A 4 Band CA, and a USB Type-C connector. That’s all unchanged from the V30.
But there are a few enhancements here and there. Notably, the LG V30S has 6GB of RAM instead of the standard model’s 4GB, and up to 256GB of internal storage expandable via microSD slot, which is double the high-end LG V30’s 128GB.
The real headliner is the software, though. The V30S ThinQ, just like the V30, ships with Google Daydream, Google’s mobile virtual reality headset platform, and LG’s UX 6.0+ skin. But it’s also preloaded with new AI-powered services enhance the phone’s basic functionality.
Vision AI and Voice AI
The V30S is the first to launch with LG’s new AI-enabled suite of applications: Vision AI and Voice AI. Both were announced in February.
LG says it’s been working on the AI features for more than a year, with the bulk of the research focusing on object recognition and voice authentication. It collaborated with Eyem, a startup, to analyze over 100 million images in order to develop LG Vision’s image recognition algorithms, generating over 1,000 image categories that informed its image analysis and intelligent camera modes.
Vision AI on the LG V30S is a little like Bixby Vision on Samsung’s Galaxy series smartphones, and it’s broken out into three camera features: AI Cam, QLens, and Bright Mode.
QLens can scan QR codes and barcodes, serve up shopping results, initiate an image search, describe landmarks from a scene, or show where to purchase items for the lowest prices, depending on what’s in the camera’s viewfinder. “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,” LG says.
AI CAM and Bright Mode improve your pictures with tweaks and suggestions. When you’re in the camera app, Vision AI will recommend the best shooting mode from one of eight different options (Portrait, Food, Pet, Landscape, City, Flower, Sunrise, and Sunset), and when it recognizes something, it’ll label it — like “person”, “table”, or “computer”, for example. And when you’re in a dimly-lit environment, Bright Mode brightens the image automatically, resulting in colors that LG claims are “much more [accurate]” than you’d capture on the default settings.
“Each mode enhances the characteristics of the subject taking into account factors such as the viewing angle, color, reflections, lighting, and saturation level,” LG says. “Instead of measuring only ambient light like most smartphone cameras, [the phone’s] algorithms […] brighten images by a factor of two for better-looking photos without the noise.”
Voice AI is a little less holistic than Vision AI, but it’s not less useful. It piggybacks on the Google Assistant, adding a total of 32 voice commands to the V30S for tasks like opening the camera app, snapping a food photo, and taking a selfie. Nine of the commands are new for 2018.
Voice AI commands
- Wide-angle photo (“OK Google, take a picture on a wide angle”)
- Wide-angle selfie (“OK Google, take a selfie on a wide angle”)
- Wide-angle video (“OK Google, record a video on a wide angle”)
- Wide-angle selfie video (“OK Google, take a selfie video on a wide angle”)
- Cine Video (“OK Google, open camera on Cine Video)
- Expert Photo Mode (“OK Google, open camera on a manual mode”)
- Expert Video Mode (“OK Google, open camera on a manual video”)
- Cine Video (Romantic) (“OK Google, take a romantic Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Melodramatic) (“OK Google, take a melodramatic Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Thriller) (“OK Google, take a thriller Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Beauty) (“OK Google, take a beauty Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Blockbuster) (“OK Google, take a summer blockbuster Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Romantic Comedy) (“OK Google, take a romantic comedy Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Documentary) (“OK Google, take a documentary Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Landscape) (“OK Google, take a scenery Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Drama) (“OK Google, take a drama Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Historic) (“OK Google, take a historical Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Mystery) (“OK Google, take a mystery Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Noir) (“OK Google, take a noir Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Classic) (“OK Google, take a classic Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Flashback) (“OK Google, take a flashback Cine Video”)
- Cine Video (Pop Art) (“OK Google, take a pop art Cine Video”)
- Expert Mode (Graphy) (“OK Google, open camera with Graphy”)
New for 2018
- Panoramic Photo
- Food Photo
- Time-lapse Photo (Video)
- Slow-motion Video
- Low-light Photo
- AI Cam Photo
- Image Search
- QR Code Scanning
- Shopping Search
In South Korea, the LG V30S ThinQ will come with QVoice, a Korean-language voice assistant.
LG says that at least some of the V30s ThinQ’s features will come to older devices in over-the-air updates, but didn’t elaborate.
Pricing and Availability
The LG V30 kicks off a new strategy for the company’s mobile division: prolonging the life of its existing flagships by debuting new, slightly improved models of them. After months of struggling to turn a profit and hundreds of millions of dollars in quarterly losses, Cho Sung-jin, Vice Chairman of LG Electronics, told 2018 Consumer Electronics Show attendees in January that the company will “[only] unveil new smartphones when it is needed” going forward, and that it will “not launch [a smartphone] just because other rivals do.”
He also said that LG “plan[s] to retain existing models longer,” and that one way it plans to accomplish this is by “unveiling more […] models of the G series or V series.” To that end, LG launched the V30+, an enhanced edition of the LG V30, in August, and the Raspberry Rose LG V30, a new color option for the LG V30 featuring audio tuning by B&O Play, in January at CES 2018.
LG didn’t hasn’t announced pricing or carrier availability for the V30S ThinQ. It did say that when the phone launches later this year, it’ll come in two new colors: Platinum Grey and Moroccan Blue.