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Apple iPhone X vs. LG V30: Battle of the bezel-less beauties


Alongside Samsung, LG was one of the first major manufacturers to jump on the “bezel-less” bandwagon. Barring some minor niggles about audio quality and storage space, we loved the LG G6 (check out our full impressions in our LG G6 review), so we’re understandably excited about the impending U.S. release of the LG V30. There are plenty of reasons why we’re excited — the V30 is bringing improved audio, a stunning 6-inch bezel-less OLED screen, and the raw power of the Snapdragon 835.

But it’s not just Samsung and LG in the bezel-less game now. Other companies are starting to catch on, and bezel-less concepts are popping up left, right, and center. Apple recently threw its hat into the ring with the iPhone X — its vision of a bezel-free future. With Apple’s newest and most powerful A11 Bionic processor, a 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED screen, and all the usual iOS polish, the iPhone X is a serious contender looking to rule the roost for the Cupertino, California giant. But who has the edge in this battle of the titanic screens? Which phone should you put your money behind? We take a look at both the LG V30 and the iPhone X in this head-to-head, and see how they fare when trading blows.

Specs

iPhone X
iphone x vs. lg v30
LG V30
iphone x vs. lg v30
Size 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm (5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inches) 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.4 mm (5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches)
Weight 174 grams (6.14 ounces) 158 grams (5.57 ounces)
Screen 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display 6-inch P-OLED display
Resolution 2,436 x 1,125 pixels (458 ppi) 2,880 x 1,440 pixels (537 ppi)
OS iOS 11 Android 7.1.2
Storage 64GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB (on the V30+)
MicroSD card slot No Yes, up to 256 GB
NFC support Yes (Apple Pay only) Yes
Processor A11 Bionic with 64-bit architecture, M11 motion co-processor Snapdragon 835, with Adreno 540
RAM 3GB 4GB
Connectivity 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi GSM, CDMA, HSPA, EVDO, LTE, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera Dual 12 MP rear, 7MP FaceTime HD front Dual 16MP and 13MP wide angle rear, 5MP wide angle front
Video Up to 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps Up to 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 120fps
Bluetooth Yes, version 5.0 Yes, version 5.0
Fingerprint sensor No, has Face ID instead Yes
Other sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor
Water resistant Yes, IP67 rated Yes, IP68 rated
Battery 2,716mAh

21 hours of talk time, 13 hours of internet, 14 hours of video playback, and up to 60 hours of audio playback

Fast charging – 50 percent charge in 30 minutes, wireless charging (Qi standard)

3,300mAh

QuickCharge 3.0 fast charging, wireless charging (Qi standard)

Charging port Lightning USB-C
Marketplace Apple App Store Google Play Store
Colors Space Gray, Silver Cloud Silver, Moroccan Blue
Availability AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Apple AT&T, LG
Price $999 $750
DT review Hands-on review Hands-on review

Apple’s A10 Fusion processor, which powered the iPhone 7, was still capable of showing the door to the Galaxy S8’s Snapdragon 835, so it comes as no surprise that the upgraded A11 Bionic is capable of thoroughly wiping the floor with the competition. The Snapdragon 835 in the LG V30 is going to put up a good fight but, based on tests of the A11, the iPhone X is far superior to the V30 in terms of pure power. That doesn’t mean that the V30 is a slow phone. On the contrary — the Snapdragon 835 is a very respectable processor, packing tons of power and scoring highly on Geekbench’s tests. So, while the iPhone X is the more powerful handset, that should be seen as a salute to the power of the A11 Bionic chip, rather than a black mark against the Snapdragon 835 in the V30.

In terms of RAM, the V30 hosts a whole extra gigabyte of RAM compared to the iPhone X, which is currently rumored to have only 3GB of RAM. That being said, it’s hard to say whether you’ll actually be able to feel the difference between the two. Android and iOS deal with memory management differently, so pure numbers can’t dictate real-life performance when comparing iPhones to Androids.

It’s a similar story when it comes to hard drive capacity. Apple offers models with 64GB and 256GB hard drives, while LG only offers 64GB, with 128GB being available in certain markets with the LG V30+. But, while that’s all you’re ever going to get with the iPhone X, you can boost the LG V30’s available memory by up to 256GB, thanks to a MicroSD slot. While iPhone users may become annoyed with their eventual lack of storage, and be forced to invest in something like a Leef iBridge, or rely on the iCloud for storage, V30 owners will be able to swap out MicroSD cards whenever they run out of storage. That said, both models do offer a significant amount of space, and diligent users are likely to have plenty of storage for some time to come.

It’s a tough call between the two phones where pure specs are concerned. While the V30 offers slightly more RAM, and the option of expandable storage, it’s hard to beat the iPhone X in terms of raw power.

Winner: iPhone X

Display, design, and durability

LG V30 waterproof demonstration

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Here’s the big category for both of these smartphones; those who live by the screen, die by the screen. Neither phone has anything to be ashamed of in regards to display fidelity. The LG V30 has an always-on, 18:9, 6-inch P-OLED display with a 2,880 x 1,440-pixel resolution. OLED screens are able to display much deeper blacks than LCD or LED screens, because OLED screens can shut down individual pixels that aren’t needed. Thanks to this, media consumption on the V30 looks amazing, especially on videos that can handle the 18:9 aspect ratio — Daredevil on Netflix looks incredible. However, on videos that don’t support such a weird aspect ratio, you’re stuck with massive black bars on either side of your screen, and as of yet, LG has not included a Samsung-like crop to fit option on YouTube videos.

The iPhone X is also packing a massive screen. It’s 5.8-inches in size, with a resolution of 2,436 x 1,125 pixels. The display fills the whole front of the phone, save the distinctive “notch” at the top. This screen is an AMOLED display (don’t be fooled by the “Super Retina” name), and comes with all the same advantages that the V30’s screen offers, with the ability to show blacker-than-black blacks, and deep, vibrant colors. Apple’s new True Tone technology also shifts the color temperature of the display to match the light in your surrounding area — a plus for activities like reading from the screen, but a nice touch nonetheless. Because of the notch, you’re going to have bars at the sides or a section cut-out if you go full screen with videos and other content.

Long-time iPhone users may be put off by the lack of Apple’s iconic home button, and only time (and the efficiency of FaceID) will tell whether this decision was the right one — though one suspects this will be a minor issue. Perhaps Apple intends the top notch to become the iPhone’s new icon? This small design choice has made waves in the Apple community, with some decrying it as ugly and invasive. It’s hard to disagree — at the moment, the notch is a blight on the front of a very pretty phone, but a necessary one that packs a host of sensors, a speaker, microphone, and the front-facing camera. Will we get used to it? Maybe. But for now, it’s a design choice that certainly makes the iPhone X stand out from the rest of the bezel-less crowd.

It’s a different story in terms of build quality. Both phones are a blend of metal and glass, as expected of flagship phones in 2017. The iPhone X is part of Apple’s first range of glass-backed phones — so Apple can finally introduce wireless charging. It’s a welcome change. The iPhone X is weighty without being cumbersome. After the almost wraith-like weightlessness of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the addition of a little extra heft is welcome.

By contrast, the V30 suffers the opposite problem, feeling too lightweight for a phone in its price range. During our hands-on review of the V30, it also suffered significant damage from a low drop of three feet — not quite the durability you want, even for a glass-covered smartphone. That said, the V30 is also IP68-rated, compared to the iPhone’s IP67 rating. So the LG phone should stand up to more abuse from water and dust than the iPhone, but we wouldn’t recommend putting them to the test.

Otherwise, the V30 looks great, with a similar design to the LG G6 with slight borders at the top and the bottom of the phone, neatly framing the massive display. It has the fingerprint sensor on the back and also supports wireless charging.

As glass-covered phones, you’ll want to consider covering both the V30 and the iPhone X with a protective case (check out our favorite options for V30 cases and iPhone X cases), since neither are likely to fare well with drops. With that said, the iPhone X is significantly smaller, making it easier to use one-handed, yet it feels more substantial. While “hand-feel” isn’t really something to buy a phone for, it certainly helps make you feel better about a purchase. The iPhone X may not be perfect — the jury’s still out on that notch — but Apple has to take it over LG in this category.

Winner: iPhone X

Battery life and charging

apple iphone x review hands on

In a time where flagship battery numbers always seem to start with a “3”, Apple’s insistence on the oddly numbered 2,716mAh battery on the iPhone X could put a few power users off. However, Apple has stated that the upgraded efficiency of the A11 Bionic core should mean that the 2,716mAh battery lasts for longer than the numbers would suggest — and given Apple’s record with batteries, this isn’t too hard to believe.

However, it’s hard to see how Apple’s iPhone X could stand up against the raw battery power of the LG V30. In our hands-on review, we noted that the V30 had serious staying power thanks to the 3,300mAh non-removable battery. After taking the phone off the charger at 8 a.m., the V30 made it to 7 p.m. with 50 percent battery, after medium usage. Further heavy usage saw that battery fall to 15 percent by around 11:30 p.m., but that still makes it one of the best performing flagships for battery life, by quite a big margin. Apple’s record on battery life is good (with some blips), but it’s hard to see how the Cupertino, California giant could top that performance.

Both smartphones come with fast charging and wireless charging capabilities, and boast some seriously good fast charging numbers (Apple claim that their new iPhones can charge from 0 – 50 percent in 30 minutes). However, you’ll have to pay extra to get the cable and adapter required to fast-charge the iPhone X, whereas LG provides them in the box with the V30. While more rigorous testing will be needed to validate which of the phones is truly better over time, our money is on the LG V30.

Winner: LG V30

Cameras

iPhone X Op Ed lifestyle

The ability to take good snaps has become an increasingly vital part of a flagship over the last few years. Gone are the days when fuzzy, blurred shots were the norm — we now expect so much more from our cameras, and they’re rising to meet the mark. The increase in the number of dual-camera phones is also on the rise, and it’s two of those we’re dealing with here. The LG V30 is packing two lenses on the rear of the phone; a 16-megapixel lens, coupled with a 13-megapixel wide angle lens.

While most manufacturers are now including a telephoto lens as the second in the set-up, LG have instead gone for a wide angle lens. Whether you’d prefer that or the telephoto lens is a purely personal choice, but you can get some stunning photos from the wide angle lens that are completely different from what other smartphone cameras can provide. The images are clear in good lighting, but are let down somewhat by the low light performance. But LG’s real focus isn’t on stills — it’s on video — and it shows. LG’s new Cine Video allows you to shoot in various colored filters, and the Point and Zoom function lets you zoom in on a specific point in the video — rather than always zooming into the center of the frame. It’s a handy little feature, and a nice touch.

The camera on the iPhone X is somewhat harder to grade since we haven’t had much time to play with it properly yet. But the camera on the iPhone X is likely to be a tweaked version of the twin-snappers on the iPhone 8 Plus — which in turn, is a slightly upgraded version of the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera. While it may sound as if Apple is resting on its laurels, it’s worth pointing out that the iPhone 7 Plus had one of the best cameras we’ve ever seen on a smartphone, and the 8 Plus’s camera was similarly impressive in our iPhone 8 Plus review, and won the top spot on our list of the best smartphone cameras. You don’t have to take our word on it, DxOMark has also given the iPhone 8 Plus the highest score ever for a smartphone camera, and since the iPhone X is Apple’s flagship, we think it’s safe to assume that it will be at least as good.

While we have to speculate a bit on the iPhone X’s part, we know that it shoots 4K video at 60 frames-per-second (compared to the V30’s 30fps), and can capture slow-motion 240fps video at 1080p. By comparison, the V30 can shoot slow-motion at 120fps, and only at 720p. Another plus is that the iPhone X also comes with Apple’s new Face ID recognition system, replacing Touch ID. While the LG V30 also comes with face recognition as a unlocking method, Apple’s Face ID takes that so much further with a system of infra-red 3D-sensing cameras that detect depth and can reportedly work in the dark. Add to this Apple’s new ARKit and Portrait Modes, and the iPhone X comes out on top by a country mile.

Winner: iPhone X

Software

how does fast charging work

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Comparing Android and iOS is like comparing apples and oranges — you likely know if you prefer one over the other by now, and swapping between the two isn’t generally something that happens on a whim, and without some major soul-searching. With that in mind, we’re going to take a quick look at the various elements of each smartphone that make them stand out from the usual in their crowd.

The V30 will be launching with Android Nougat 7.1.2 at launch, but LG has confirmed that they will be working on getting Android Oreo on the device shortly after launch. LG’s spin on Android is fairly light, and we enjoyed playing with the customization options. Of particular note is the Floating Bar — an expandable bar that sits on the edge of your screen and allows quick access to a few apps, screen capture, audio recording, and more. It’s somewhat similar to the Edge Bar on the Galaxy S8 and the Note 8, and it’s something we appreciated during our time with the V30, but it’s easily switched off if you don’t like it. Also added is the ability to choose a different color theme, and various Smart settings that turn off functions like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth when you leave your house. These are all things that were previously available via third-party apps, but it’s always nice to see a manufacturer embracing customizable options. And if you want more, you can always access third-party customization apps via the Google Play Store. The V30 also supports Google’s new VR standard, Daydream.

The iPhone X will ship with Apple’s new iOS 11, much like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Outside of some small changes to the way that various options are accessed, there isn’t much that the iPhone X does that isn’t also available on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. While this is good for parity, it really does mean that the iPhone X doesn’t have much special going for it outside of its physical changes. With that said, iOS 11 is as smooth and responsive as ever, and if you’re a fan (and even if you’re not), you’ll find a lot to love here regardless of a lack of individuality. One thing it does offer, that the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus don’t, is support for Animoji — cute animal masks that can be animated with your facial expressions via the same camera system that enables FaceID.

As always, picking between the two operating systems is a matter of personal choice. If you’re a fan of one OS or the other, neither phone’s software is going to do much to sway you the other way. In the time we’ve had to play with these phones, both have been fast, responsive, and great to use.

Winner: Tie

Pricing and availability

iPhone X op ed screen

Neither phone is currently available, but the LG V30 will be available from October 5 from AT&T, and will be available from T-Mobile from October 13, after pre-orders open on the 5th. We’re not likely to see the iPhone X until November at the earliest, with pre-orders from Apple opening at the end of October. With that sort of small difference between the two, it’s not really enough to insist that prospective upgraders should buy the V30 instead of wait for the iPhone X.

However, only AT&T and T-Mobile have currently confirmed that they will be stocking the LG V30, restricting buyers to those particular networks for LG’s latest. On the other hand, the iPhone X will be coming to every network, with everyone wanting a cut of the newest Apple pie. So if you’re stuck between these two phones, but aren’t on T-Mobile or AT&T (or don’t want to switch), then you’ve really only got one choice.

The iPhone X is likely to cost north of $1,000 for any model other than the base one — which will set you back $999. Not really much of a difference there. Pricing for the LG V30 hasn’t been confirmed, but if history is anything to go by, it’s likely to cost around $750 on launch. The V30 may also come with Google’s Daydream headset when purchased on AT&T. The difference in price between the two is pretty hefty, despite the V30 not exactly being a budget device, so LG’s phone has to win this round.

Winner: LG V30

Overall winner: iPhone X

While the LG V30 put up a great fight with improvements to the camera, video, battery life, and Google’s new VR system, the day could only ever be carried by Apple’s iPhone X. It’s big, it’s expensive, and it’s Apple finally catching up to the status quo, but it’s just that damn good. Despite the notch at the top of the screen, it looks incredible, too.

In this battle between these two titans, your personal answer may not be that simple. In a direct comparison between the two phones, it’s clear that the iPhone X is the superior smartphone. But what does having Android or iOS mean to you? Your personal thoughts and leanings matter a lot, and anyone wedded to the Android ecosystem shouldn’t be put off the LG V30 by this verdict. It’s still a fantastic phone, and looks to be well worth the investment. But if you’re torn between the two, and OS doesn’t really matter to you, then you should definitely hold out for the iPhone X.

If you want to know how the iPhone X holds up against the rest of Apple’s latest, check out our iPhone X vs. iPhone 8 vs. iPhone 8 Plus breakdown.






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