The model code G910 doesn’t let me lie: this phone could simply be called G9 ThinQ, being just another successor to LG’s premium line. But the Korean manufacturer decided to renew its products: the Velvet, in addition to providing a dose of oxygen when debuting a brand, tries to rebuild a business that has not made a profit for the company for almost six years.
Almost like a new beginning, the Velvet looks different from previous models of the G line, follows the market by bringing a giant 6.8 inch screen and does not leave the hardware behind. Nor the price. Launched for R $ 4,299, it has the mission of being cheaper than the best in the market, but superior to intermediate cell phones. Does it pay off? I tested Velvet in the last few weeks and I tell you everything in this review.
Review of LG Velvet on video
THE Tecnoblog is a technology-independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our product reviews are opinionated and have no advertising intent. For this reason, we always transparently highlight the positive and negative points of each product.
No company, manufacturer or store has paid the Tecnoblog to produce this content. Our reviews are not reviewed or approved by external agents. Velvet was provided by LG on loan. The product will be returned to the company after testing.
Design and canvas
Velvet is a smartphone that inaugurates a design line at LG, so much so that the company focuses a lot on the visual aspect of the device’s advertising materials. Analyzing it coldly, it doesn’t have anything very innovative, with drop-shaped notch on the front camera, screen with curved sides and pearly paint that were already seen in the competition. But it is a fact that the cell phone was very beautiful and elegant, especially in white.
The curved sides on both the front and the rear make it look like the Velvet is even thinner than 7.9 mm. The weight of 180 grams also impresses with its lightness, especially considering that we are talking about a cell phone with a huge 6.8 inch screen and a respectable battery of 4,300 mAh. And LG did not skimp on extras: the speakers are stereo, the headphone jack is still here and the housing has water protection.
Velvet’s P-OLED screen has Full HD + resolution and excellent image quality, with high brightness and the perfect black of the organic panel. The colors please me in the natural way, with balanced saturation and a temperature tending towards the cold, but you can make fine adjustments to the settings to make everything to your liking. Under the display, there is an optical fingerprint reader that was fast and accurate in almost all situations.
Like a good premium phone, the Velvet has a body made of metal and glass that is IP68 certified for protection against water and dust. LG also continues to bet on military resistance, which does not make the device unbreakable, but it is an extra security for the user. For the more cautious, a transparent protective cover accompanies the product.
Velvet’s Android 10 runs a custom LG interface that has evolved in recent years, gaining simplified icons, cleaner screens and a few translucent elements. I have bad memories of the configuration menus spread across multiple screens on LG phones, and it’s nice to see that the company has reorganized everything.
By default, all applications are concentrated on the home screens, without a menu dedicated to them, but you can change this behavior in the settings. Velvet has pre-installed questionable utility software, such as games and a hotel reservation service; they can all be completely uninstalled.
The native sound recorder is above average, offering a number of settings and codecs, including the possibility of recording in FLAC in 24 bits at 192 kHz; there is also an ASMR mode, to record softer sounds. QuickMemo + is LG’s notes application, allowing you to color existing illustrations, annotate text or scribble with brushes and pens.
LG’s software could gain a breath with the accessories sold separately, such as Dual Screen, which adds a second screen similar to the G8X ThinQ, or the Stylus Pen with electrostatic tip, which turns the Velvet into a kind of Galaxy Note more into account. Unfortunately, LG decided not to bring these items at the launch of Velvet in the Brazilian market.
Perhaps the main design brand of Velvet is in the rear cameras with lenses arranged in the shape of “raindrops”, in the words of LG. The optical set is triple, consisting of a main camera of 48 megapixels, a depth sensor of 5 megapixels for the effect of background blur and an ultrawide lens with 120 degree field of view.
The definition with the 48 megapixel camera is good, but LG’s algorithm doesn’t handle high contrast scenes as well and sometimes hides shadow areas, highlighting the limited dynamic range of the sensor, even with HDR. In the ultrawide lens, I noticed a lateral chromatic aberration in some treetops, which can disturb the most detail. Under favorable conditions, however, Velvet shows decent results, more than enough to do well on Instagram.
In low light, the Velvet’s night vision mode does the job of balancing the exposure and highlighting the scene’s lighting without blowing out the lights or overdoing the colors, but leaves a bit of noise in the main camera, especially in the sky. As for the ultrawide lens, it is best to simply not use it if the lighting is not good, as noise and lack of definition appear strongly.
The 16-megapixel front camera is good, without impressing on sharpness, but capturing good selfies, with well-adjusted colors and a style that vaguely reminded me of Google Pixel devices, with well-shaded shadows around the face and a slight tendency underexposure.
In particular, I missed a manual video recording mode, a feature that was highly praised in some previous LG line tops. And the ASMR recording mode, which the company tries to highlight in advertising materials to record relaxing sounds and whispering voices, may even be cool, but I would be much happier with 4K footage at 60 fps, which is not present in Velvet .
Considering the cameras of competitors in the same price range, Velvet suffers more from noise in low light environments and the dynamic range is not the best. It is not bad, but it is a level of quality that I would expect from a Moto G9 Plus or Galaxy A71, which cost much less.
Hardware and battery
The Velvet was launched in two main versions in the world: one with Snapdragon 765 5G, the other with Snapdragon 845 4G. For the Brazilian market, LG decided to focus on the 4G model, justifying that the fifth generation mobile networks are still incipient here. This is probably the most accurate proposal, but it is not without controversy.
The Snapdragon 845 is a more powerful chip than the Snapdragon 765, but it is manufactured in an older lithograph, 10 nanometers, even because it was launched in 2017. With that, it tends to spend more battery doing the same task. In addition, by bringing this processor in a price range of R $ 4,299, LG competes with the Galaxy S10 Lite (equipped with the latest Snapdragon 855) and with line tops from past generations that are already cheaper at retail .
Anyway, even with a relatively old chip and no impressive numbers in the 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, Velvet does well in performance. Most of the games run with the graphics at maximum, although I did notice some occasional crashes. On a daily basis, the device appears to be quite fluid, with smooth animations and applications opening quickly.
The 4,300 mAh battery can also handle the stride. In my quarantine pattern, with three hours of video playback on Netflix, one hour of web browsing and 30 minutes of Asphalt 9, always on Wi-Fi and with maximum brightness, the battery went from 100% to 47%, staying at the same level of line tops as the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
I liked the presence of wireless charging, a feature that is usually only available in the ultra premium segment. Only the wired charge could be a little faster: the LG Velvet plug adapter is 15 watts and fills the battery in 1h58min, while manufacturers like Samsung and Motorola are already including models of 25 or 30 watts in the middle range.
Velvet is a brand new name, but the launch strategy reminds me of any other old top of the line LG. That is, the product is premium, has attractive features, has no serious negative points, but the suggested price of R $ 4,299 is exaggerated. I have no way of saying that it is worth buying it for that price, with rivals like Galaxy S20 + and iPhone 11 in the same range.
But, as usually happens at LG, the retail price tends to plummet in a few weeks after launch, so I always do an exercise in guessing the future scenario. At what price would it be worth buying a Velvet? Maybe for half of what LG is charging at the premiere.
Considering only the product, the Velvet’s direct competitor would be the Galaxy S10 Lite, found for R $ 2.3 thousand at the time I was doing this review. If both were at the same price, I would still choose the Samsung device to bring a better processor and slightly higher cameras, even losing wireless charging and protection against water.
At Motorola, the closest option to Velvet would be the Motorola Edge, found for around R $ 3,300. It brings a better screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate and a more versatile camera set, but you pay too much just for the Snapdragon 765 5G. That’s why LG’s option to bring the Velvet with Snapdragon 845 4G to the Brazilian market was quite right.
Far be it from me to want to dictate what LG executives should do in Brazil: the company has merits for being the third largest manufacturer for years in such a large market. But in the end, Velvet is a cell phone that could show what it came from and leverage the brand, as the company tries to do globally. And it ends up just being a new name with the wrong price, as it has been every year since the G5.
- Battery can handle the stride
- Well-finished and elegant design
- Protection against water (IP68) and military resistance
- Large screen with good image quality
- USB-C, 3.5 mm, wireless charging: nothing is missing
- Below average category cameras
- What about Velvet accessories?
- Deserved an updated processor to close the package
- Could have more aggressive price in the debut to show what came
- Screen: 6.8-inch P-OLED with Full HD + resolution (2460 × 1080 pixels);
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core up to 2.8 GHz;
- Connectivity: 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, NFC, GPS, USB-C, 3.5 mm headphone jack;
- RAM: 6 GB;
- Internal storage: 128 GB;
- Frontal camera: 16 megapixels (f / 1.9);
- Rear cameras:
- Main: 48 megapixels (f / 1.8);
- Ultrawide: 8 megapixels (f / 2.2);
- Depth sensor: 5 megapixels (f / 2.4);
- Operational system: Android 10;
- Drums: 4,300 mAh with fast 15 watt charging;
- Colors: Aurora Gray (gray), Aurora White (white)
- Dimensions and weight: 167.1 x 74.1 x 7.9 mm, 180 grams.