LG Velvet quick review: Not everyone’s cup of tea
We take a quick look at the LG Velvet smartphone, priced at ₹36,990. This mid tier smartphone has a lot to prove and the market can be brutal for it considering some of its specs and features are a bit outdated.
LG is a brand that usually goes under the radar for many smartphone buyers these days. You don’t see their ads or nor do you see an increase in their offline presence. But the South Korean firm still makes fairly good handsets. We are not talking about those coming out of Explorer Project or the fancy rollable screen devices, but the regular ones. And LG Velvet is one of those.
Launched at ₹36,990, the mid tier smartphone is definitely facing a tough competition as some of it's specs and afeatures are outadted. But considering the price and the features, it has a certain appeal and few other specs, which somewhat work in its favour.
Design and display
We used the Velvet for a while and right off the bat, the design gets a thumbs up here. While LG phones have been getting better year over year, the Velvet proves to be a major leap in terms of looks for the company’s smartphone design. It definitely feels premium with a screen that is curved on both sides, glass back and a metal chassis. To some extent, it does remind you of Samsung Galaxy phones from a couple of years ago, but it sure is better.
Yes, there are colours too. There is New Black, Aurora Silver and Illusion Sunset (Red-ish). But no matter the colour, you are still going to see a lot of smudges and fingerprints at the back due to the shiny glass. It is definitely a head-turner, but many may not like that much attention.
That said, there’s no fancy design in this as the front is all screen and the back is as simple as it gets with three cameras, one below the other, stacked on the top left corner. No accents, curves, patterns or anything. Just a plain back. And since the sides are curved, the grip is not great. However, if you are into sleek phones, the LG Velvet might be right up your alley.
As for the screen, the Velvet is a rather narrow device with a tall screen. That’s mainly because it has a 6.8-inch P-OLED panel with 2460x1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 20.5:9. However, that doesn't change the weight balance and using it was as good as any other handset for us. The screen is really good with bright and vivid colours. This made streaming FHD and QHD videos a delight. Gaming is good too in this one as you get a wider screen. However, considering the panel curves on both sides, playing for longer sessions might be an issue.
Although there are visible screen bezels on all the sides, they won’t bother much. What might be bothering, is the waterdrop notch at the top that comprises a single camera. On the otherwise good looking screen, this seems to be the most outdated aspect. But then again, this is subjective.
Performance, cameras and battery
The performance is not the shiniest part of LG Velvet. While the global variant has Snapdragon 765G, which is technically a newer processor and more advanced, the one that comes in India has the Snapdragon 845. Yes, the processor is dated but in day-to-day operations you won’t see any noticeable lag. Even while playing games or handling multiple apps, the handset works well. We even tried it with the dual-screen accessory and had no complaints.
Also, LG doesn’t seem to be pitching Velvet as a very powerful and ultra-premium handset like the Galaxy Note or S series. It is meant for average usage and is priced under ₹40,000 because of its market placement. But we would have appreciated if the company got a slightly better SoC in this as this one won’t stay future-proof for long. Backing the processor is 6GB RAM and 128GB inbuilt storage, both of which are enough even with today’s standards.
The triple rear camera includes a 48-megapixel wide-angle sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a depth sensor. For the most part, the cameras work fairly well and click in 12-megapixel resolution by default. And as the company has been maintaining since past few years in other handsets too, the camera UI here is also good, easy to use and feature-rich. The focus is quick and the resulting images are bright, vivid and good to look at. You also get AI HDR enabled by default and fortunately, it doesn’t change your image drastically.
While the images taken from the primary camera are crisp, the ones taken from the ultra-wide sensor lack some details. It’s noticeable only if you zoom in though. But, on the other hand, the bokeh shots are handled well with a good amount of background blur and pretty accurate edge detection. We will advise you to use the dedicated Night Mode for shooting in low-light situations instead of using the regular mode since the former captures slightly more details and the colours look more natural.
The 16-megapixel front camera captures details well and does a good job with portraits too with decent background and subject recognition. Low light selfies are not the best ones out there but they are enough to get the job done. Getting sharpness is difficult but the colours are captured well.
LG Velvet is backed by a 4,300mAh battery, which is just average if you look at today’s smartphone standards. We have handsets with 5,000mAh batteries as the new base, with some going to 6,000mAh and even 7,000mAh. At 4,300mAh, Velvet can pull you through the day’s work if you are an average user. Heavy users would definitely need to carry a charger around. But then the handset is not meant for heavy usage anyway. Playing Call of Duty for hours on 'very high' graphics drained the power faster than expected. And using the secondary screen accessory will do it even more as it uses Velvet’s battery to power itself up. But fortunately, you get software tweaks and options under the ‘Settings’ app to make the handset run for a longer time.
LG Velvet gets the job done and at ₹36,990, it seems like a decent buy as it can handle apps well, looks premium and has a camera setup that can get the job done while giving the user some tweaks for better control and in certain situations. Another plus point here is that the device has a really well-implemented display that is crisp, vivid and is a delight to look at.
However, if you are someone who goes by the numbers and specs, the Velvet is not the best option out there. You get 2018’s Snapdragon 845 processor, which is already three generations too old now. Battery performance is not the best for intensive work and gaming, And while the overall build is premium, the shiny look with glass back might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
So, if you are someone who wants a sub- ₹40,000 handset that can run well for the next 2-3 years, looks premium and gets the basic job done with ease, Velvet is just one of the options. Otherwise, you have smartphones like Galaxy S20 FE and Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro, both of which come with better specs, have advanced processors, better camera specs and features like 144Hz refresh rate, 108-megapixel camera and AMOLED screens.