The LG V30S ThinkQ is LG’s very obvious pivot to launch a smartphone at MWC 2018 without actually creating an entirely new phone.

It’s a basic specs update to the existing LG V30, with a few tweaks that make it better than the Android phone we reviewed six months ago – emphasis on few tweaks. 

None of the changes are going to send you upgrading. Instead, it’s the true definition of an iterative smartphone update. Here’s what we’ve experienced so far from this Android 8.0 Oreo handset.

New LG V30S ThinkQ design and specs

We’re looking at 6GB of RAM where there was 4GB of RAM before, 128GB and 256GB internal storage configurations instead of 64GB and and 128GB, and a brand new color, New Moroccan Blue, which joins Platinum Gray.

The design and specs are otherwise the same as before, and that’s okay for most people. It runs the Snapdragon 835 chipset that’s in most Android phones today and we’re a fan of its 6-inch P-OLED screen in a compact body. The understated design really lets the big 18:9 screen shine.

We’re still testing the phone and its 6GB of RAM to determine its meaningfulness, but we already find the internal storage configurations interesting. While Samsung is capping its space at 64GB with microSD storage, LG V30 ThinkQ starts everyone off at 128GB now and also includes a microSD storage slot. To us, that’s the right move.

About that AI camera

The LG V30S ThinkQ touts new camera smarts through its AI CAM mode, which is a trending way of saying it automatically switches between eight modes: portrait, food, pet, landscape, city, flower, sunrise, and sunset. It’s helpful, but other phones do this with a dedicated AI chip, too. 

There are a few other camera software tweaks here. The phone links to up services like Amazon and Pinterest to identify objects around you, while Bright mode reduces photo noise with algorithms in addition to measuring ambient light.

There’s very little that’s convincing outside of the camera we got six months ago on the original V30. The back of the phone has a dual-lens 16MP camera that shoots at f/1.6 on the normal lens and f/1.9 on the wide angle lens. The front-facing camera is capable of taking wide F/1.9 selfies.

We’re a big fan of the video modes and settings found on the LG V30 and that hasn’t changed in the upgrade to the V30S ThinkQ. It’s Point Focus setting lets you gradually zoom into specific spots while a video is recording, now just blow up the center of the viewfinder screen. Its Cine Video menu returns for comprehensive color grading options.

Early verdict

All of this makes the LG V30S ThinkQ a minor upgrade to what we’ve considering an underrated Android phone. It has features you may have overlooked: an impressive 18:9 6-inch P-OLED display, powerful speakers and DAC audio and feature-packed video recording modes.

Should you buy the LG V30S ThinkQ over the original or wait for this one? That’s going to depend on the LG V30S price and release date, which the company has yet to announce. 

By the time it does launch, you may be tempted by the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus, which are poised to be the more powerful and capable Android phones. Everything comes down to what LG charges and how much you want to spend.

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