From the Editor’s Desk: ThinQ very much
The V30S is a commendable phone that nobody's going to care about after today.
Leaving aside the ridiculous nine-syllable name, the LG V30 S+ ThinQ — or simply V30 S ThinQ if you're talking about the 128GB model, or LG V30 S if you want to preserve your sanity — is a solid mid-cycle refresh of yet another underappreciated LG phone. After briefing journos at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona LG pulled the trigger on its latest handset early, clearly wanting to get ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S9 news cycle.
As Daniel writes in his hands-on feature, it's pretty much a V30 with 6GB of RAM, some tweaked colors and 128 or 256GB of storage. The "ThinQ" part of the name shoehorns LG's brand for AI into the name of the phone, since this new V30 model can control your LG smart appliances through Google Assistant — alongside a handful of exclusive Assistant commands that LG's worked with Google to introduce. On the camera side, LG adds an impressive low-light pixel-binning mode, while also giving us a slightly dubious Bixby Vision clone, so you can visually search with Pinterest or buy the things before your very eyes through Amazon.
And there's also a new AI shooting mode that's surprisingly fun to use, because you can actually see it working, as a cloud of words percolates across the screen, describing what the V30 S sees in the scene.
But ultimately, there's not much here that really demands a new hardware SKU — with the possible exception of the RAM, which will help with some of the heavy lifting involved in the camera's AI features. Even then, LG reps in Barcelona told me some of these features will be back-ported to the older V30, further undermining the central reason for this model's existence. As Engadget's Richard Lai points out, LG was already selling a 6GB V30 in Korea, in the form of its Signature Edition handset. And as it stands, with no U.S. carrier announcements and no word on European availability, it seems like Korea may be the only launch market.
LG's new strategy for mobile, we're told, is centered around releasing more iterative updates to its products at semi-regular intervals. Yet with the V30 S, the result is likely to be the same as last year's G6 — it'll be relevant for a short time, before being steamrolled by the upcoming Samsung flagship.
As always with LG phones, there's a lot to like about this updated V30. But the company seems to have squandered the opportunity to build on the V30's hardware in more meaningful ways, instead putting out a stopgap release to see us through until the real flagship arrives.
Other odds and ends before we start MWC Media Hell Day:
Yep, we're here in Barcelona covering all the announcements, and you can find continuing coverage here on the site, on the Twitters, the 'Tubes for video, and the 'gram for live photos and behind-the-scenes fun.
We've got a packed schedule over the next few days, with big events from Samsung (of course), as well as Huawei, Nokia, Sony, ASUS, and others.
And oh boy — just when I thought things couldn't get any dumber, OnePlus owners will have to mail their phones in if they want HD streaming support in apps like Netflix.
That's it for now. I'll be back in a few weeks with some post-GS9 thoughts.