With only one profitable quarter in the last two years, LG's mobile division is undergoing a shakeup. With a fresh set of executives, LG has delayed the expected launch of the upcoming G7 and instead decided to start the year with yet another variant of the V30.
The new variant's full name is the LG V30S ThinQ. We're pretty sure that's pronounced like think, but it reads more like thin cue or theen-cue. As if that branding weren't complicated enough, there's another variant with more storage called the LG V30S+ ThinQ — try saying that three times fast.
Following a similar strategy to Apple and OnePlus, the S variant is a minor upgrade from last year's flagships, the V30 and V30+. The only real hardware tweaks are two extra gigs of RAM and a new color, so the biggest change is a set of AI-powered software upgrades that justify the ThinQ portion of its name.
- OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
- GPU: Adreno 540
- RAM: 6 GB
- Display: 6.0" 2880 x 1440 OLED
- Rear Camera: 16 MP f/1.6 (OIS) and 13 MP f/1.9
- Front Camera: 5 MP, f/1.9
- Battery: 3,300 mAh
- Charging: Wireless Charging and Quick Charge 3.0
- Storage: 128 GB (V30S ThinQ) or 256 GB (V30S+ ThinQ)
- Colors: Platinum Grey and Moroccan Blue
The biggest change to this variant is the application of machine learning to the hardware. During CES 2018, LG announced ThinQ, a new branding for its endeavor into using machine learning in products ranging from smartphones to refrigerators. The LG V30S (and V30S+) ThinQ will be the first smartphones under this branding, and they'll utilize machine learning for improved photography and voice assistant features.
The AI Cam is an upgraded version of the V30 (and V30+)'s camera which showcases Vision AI. With Vision AI, the phone can now recognize different objects and recommend the optimal settings for the best photo. Using EyeEm Vision, 100 million images are fed to the phone which then learns to both recognize different objects and how to best capture them based on the settings chosen by other photographers.
Currently, Vision AI has eight modes: Food, landscape, pet, city, flower, sunrise, and sunset. When these objects are the subject of your photo, the V30S variants will recommend the best settings. This is a very similar approach to the Huawei Mate 10 (and Mate 10 Pro), which we explained more about at the link below.
Additionally, Vision AI will assist shoppers with QLens. Similar to Google Lens (in both function and name), subjects in the frame of your camera's lens can be analyzed for additional information such as where to buy the product at the lowest price. Furthermore, QLens can perform a visual image search to detail information about an object such as the history of a building or a quick bio on a celebrity.
Low-light photography is also improved thanks to Vision AI and the introduction of Bright Mode. With Bright Mode, Vision AI uses algorithms to brighten images by a factor of two for a lower resolution but improved exposure photo.
The next application of machine learning is the voice assistant, which is branded Voice AI. Using a tool call QVoice, LG works with Google Assistant to bring 32 exclusive commands which will make navigating through menus even easier without lifting a finger.
Besides the AI-powered software improvements, users can also enjoy Android 8.0 Oreo out the box. Not only will this put the V30S and V30S+ ThinQ among the few phones running 8.0, but it also means that Project Treble is enabled, which should translate to faster updates and better custom ROM support.
Sadly, LG didn't announce the pricing or release date for US markets. LG did say a release in the US and South Korea would happen soon, with pricing varied in each market. Because the LG V30S ThinQ shares the same hardware specifications as the LG V30+, expect similar pricing, which is around $929 at the time of this article.
With the V30S ThinQ, I am not sure what LG is thinking. Not only are the software changes minor, but LG promises some of the software changes will come to the current LG V30 and V30+. But what do you think? Is this enough for you to pull the trigger on this device, or will you be waiting on the LG "Judy," the rumored replacement to the LG G7? Let us know in the comments below.