LG adopts the OnePlus’ “T” strategy for device releases

At MWC 2018, LG announced the first of the new V30 variants it recently teased: the LG V30S ThinQ. Far from the all-new V30 it sounds like, the V30S ThinQ is just a regular V30 with more RAM, larger internal storage and a couple new color options: New Moroccan Blue and New Platinum Gray. There’s some new AI and camera software features too, but these will be back-ported to existing V30 handsets.

We don’t know yet how much more it will cost, although ETNews recently claimed it would be priced at over a million won (~$918). The V30S ThinQ should be out in South Korea in March sometime with other markets to follow.

It's basically what OnePlus has been doing for a couple years

If you can get past the slightly misleading nomenclature, having a slightly upgraded version of the V30 available is not a bad thing. Unless, of course, you recently bought a regular V30.

The approach probably seems familiar: a while after the flagship release, in this case six months, put out a new variant with some timely hardware upgrades, a fresh lick of paint and some new software features. It’s basically what OnePlus has been doing for a couple years with the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 5T.

LG is going about it a little differently, at least this go-around. For starters, there isn’t anything on the hardware front as significant as a bigger battery, new chipset or new display, as OnePlus has done in the past. LG did note that the particular upgrade recipe we’re seeing this time could make way for more significant changes in future, depending on what was deemed to be “lacking” in the flagship release.

The other big additions are on the software front: AI, voice assistant and camera enhancements have been added which will also be made available on the original V30. LG said the new software features should all be made available, but would ultimately be market dependent. At least the LG V30S ThinQ runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.

Besides some Google Assistant-powered voice commands and the ability to control LG home appliances, there are three main additions that are specific to the camera. They start with QLens, which can do visual searches on Amazon or in Pinterest, kind of like Bixby Vision (and equally slow and inaccurate) or scan QR codes.

Most interesting of all is Bright Mode: four pixel binning which makes images 2x brighter

Then there’s AI Cam, which suggests camera settings based on image recognition, much like Huawei’s AI-powered Mate 10 Pro scene selection (although much more slowly and with fewer recognizable scenes).

Most interesting of all is Bright Mode, which LG says makes images 2x brighter. It certainly does that, with significantly brighter images. But to achieve the results you see below, it groups pixels into fours, pixel binning a dark 16 MP photo to turn it into a bright 4 MP shot. That’ll either be a total waste of time or a great compromise given the circumstances, depending on how large you need your pics.

LG V30S ThinQ Bright Mode flower LG V30S ThinQ Bright Mode flower LG V30S ThinQ flower
LG V30S ThinQ flower
LG V30S ThinQ Bright Mode mouse LG V30S ThinQ Bright Mode mouse LG V30S ThinQ mouse
LG V30S ThinQ mouse

In some ways, it’s an enticing idea: miss out on picking up the flagship and still be able to get a slightly improved flagship whenever you’re ready to upgrade. But the knife cuts both ways, because no matter when you buy, your device is essentially going to be outdated a half year later. This hasn’t hampered OnePlus’ ability to turn the T variant into its “true” flagship, and in some ways, it lets them sell the same phone twice. Whether or not the same recipe will prove successful for LG, we just don’t know. But LG was happy to admit the one flagship per year strategy wasn’t working either.

What do you think of LG’s new strategy? Is LG onto a good thing or focusing on the wrong things?

 LG V30S ThinQ
Display6.0-inch QuadHD+ P-OLED FullVision
2,880 x 1,440 resolution
538 ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
18:9 aspect ratio
ProcessorOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform
GPUAdreno 540
RAM6 GB LPDDR4x
Storage128 GB, 256 GB UFS 2.1
MicroSD expansion up to 2 TB
CamerasRear cameras
- Main: 16 MP Standard Angle sensor with ƒ/1.6 aperture, laser detection autofocus, OIS, EIS
- Secondary: 13 MP Wide Angle sensor with ƒ/1.9 aperture

Front camera
- 5 MP Wide Angle sensor with ƒ/2.2 aperture
Audio32-bit Advanced Hi-Fi Quad DAC
3.5 mm headphone jack
Battery3,300 mAh
Non-removable
Wireless charging
Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
IP rating / other certificationsIP68 water and dust resistance
MIL-STD 810G
NetworkLTE-A 4 Band CA
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac
Bluetooth 5.0 BLE
NFC
USB Type-C 2.0 (3.1 compatible)
SIMNano SIM
SoftwareAndroid 8.0 Oreo
LG UX 6.0+
ColorsNew Moroccan Blue, New Platinum Gray
Dimensions and weight151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm
158 g

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