As more of us are spending time on our phones, whether for work or school or just to stay connected, it’s becoming glaringly obvious if your smartphone can’t keep up. The good news is if you’re looking to upgrade, there’s plenty of choice on the market now. The LG Velvet 5G smartphone just landed on my desk, so I’ll tell you what it can do and whether it may be a great choice if you’re looking for a new smartphone.
LG Velvet 5G smartphone review
The sleek and minimalist Android-10-powered LG Velvet is slim and thin with a 6.8” edge-to-edge screen that’s becoming much more common today. Why is it called Velvet? LG says the “eye-catching finishes … shine to create the illusion of velvet.” But if you ask me there’s nothing matte or buff about this phone; it’s all sleek, shiny and slippery.
I’m not going to get too deep into the specs, because as you guys know, I know most of you come here already having read the basics; you want to know what this phone is like in the end user sense, so I’ll stick to more of the practical features and how tos and what this phone is like to use.
One of the appealing factors about this phone is the 5G connectivity which should make the phone much faster to use once 5G service rolls out across Canada.
A quick primer on 5G
What’s the deal with 5G? 5G is a network standard for cellular connectivity. 5G allows for faster downloads, lower latency, and better smartphone performance. Actual 5G access across Canada is hit or miss as carriers are rolling it out in bigger cities first.
There are three 5G service providers in Canada at the moment: Rogers, Bell and Telus. So far, there’s no additional cost to access 5G service, but like all cellular options in Canada, it wouldn’t surprise me if extra fees come into play to access 5G networks.
With that said, I didn’t have 5G access during my testing period, so I can’t make any claims about how. Well this phone uses the new more powerful network. But if you’re looking for a phone that an access 5G in the future, the Velvet will have you ready.
LG Velvet Features: Voice Bokeh, ASMR recording & Steadi Cam
The LG Velvet offers some of the same features found on other LG phones, like the Dual Screen that I reviewed recently. This one has Voice Bokeh and ASMR recording, settings which lets you zoom in or amplify certain audio during video recordings. It also offers Steadi Cam for less motion and shake when recording videos.
LG Velvet: Battery Life, Fast charging and Qi charging
The LG Velvet has a 4,300 mAh battery. That’s a good size and should last most users for the day, but of course that all depends on what you use your phone for, and how often. Fortunately the LG Velvet has super-fast charging and wireless Qi charging is also built in.
Screen, viewing & videos: LG Velvet
As with most smartphones, the major allure is the screen. The 6.8 Cinematic FullVision Display is meant for movie and video watching. Pretty much anything and everything looks great on this device, and if you can find content in the exact 20.5:9 ratio that movies were made to be viewed in it’s pretty amazing.
The 6.8-inch cinematic POLED widescreen also has what LG dubs true colour expression, which translated just means you get a very vibrant and colourful screen. A stereo speaker is also on board if you nix headphones.
All about the Camera on LG Velvet
Cameras on smartphones these days rival DSLRs. There, I said it. For the average Jane and Joe who would never take the time to learn and use a DSLR, it’s still possible to take stunning photos. With a 48MP Rear Camera and Ultra Wide 8MP Rear Camera, LG says the camera promises brighter, clearer photos even in low light.
The settings on the LG Velvet are similar to other LG phones; with camera, video, time lapse and portrait mode (which gives that blurred background or bokeh effect).
Overall I’d say the photo quality is good. I did notice that the colours can be a little fake looking when using the AI photo mode, but these helpers will surely help you up your photo game.
Video: shoot 4K on LG Velvet
You can shoot videos up to 4K on the LG Velvet. To switch your resolution, in video mode, tap the third icon from the left to change from Full HD (default) to HD or 4K.
Video Timelapse Control while recording
You can control the speed of a time lapse video while recording. Just tap the speed slider bar that appears over the shutter button.
Additional LG Velvet Camera Features
AI photo helps you take better photos
Not a great photographer? AI Mode lets the phones brains help you take better snaps. In photo mode, tap the small grid of five dots just to the bottom left of the viewfinder. In this mode, the camera will see what you’re trying to shoot and adjust to create the best photo. It will change and adjust if you’re shooting people, landscapes or high motion activity like sports.
Shooting landscapes or nighttime shots? Night View helps you get more light into your photos and lots more detail. It can make the difference between dark, blurry photos and full of light panoramas that dazzle.
In Video mode, the fourth icon from the left is Steadicam mode. Steadicam is essentially the brand name of stabilization gear filmmakers use. Here it’s simple video stabilization, adding anti shudder properties. It will keep bumpy video from looking so… jittery.
Voice Bokeh, ASMR & audio effects
Another feature of the video mode is the ability to zero in on certain audio. LG calls this voice bokeh. Essentially this feature lets you choose which audio to focus on, so you could feature your voice while at a concert, for example, or zoom into someone speaking on a distant stage, like a prof in a huge and fidgety class.
The video mode also lets you amplify quieter sounds, and that setting is called ASMR Recording. Take a listen in my video review.
While there is a panorama and Manual camera mode I didn’t see a dedicated macro mode, but there is 10X zoom. The close up photos I took of flowers looked like a bit like impressionist paintings. So, a lot less detail, but neat effects.
AR effects & stickers
There’s also AR stickers which lets you capture photos and video with live and dynamic augmented reality effects that mesh with 3D face mesh technology. The stickers move with you as you turn your head or move the camera, just like they’re stuck in place. There’s also Playmoji that lets you insert animated characters into your world. Fun, sure but not exactly a deal breaker for most of us.
Other LG Velvet phone features
The LG Velvet has a bunch of other bells and whistles that are also nice to have. There’s an in-screen optical Fingerprint Sensor , Al Cam, Google Assistance, Google Lens and the Velvet is water & dust resistant with an IP68 rating.
Overall review: LG Velvet
Overall, the LG Velvet has a lot of features. The camera is good, and it has a lot of extra photography features. The screen is beautiful, the phone is light and slim and sleek and fast. It’s also future proof for when 5G comes to a wider Canadian audience. Downsides? I guess for me it would be the camera. As I said, this camera is good, but I have used smartphone cameras that have taken photos that blew my mind, and this did not, but I think I’m probably a tougher critic than most, and most folks would be really pleased. But for the money, this is a quality phone that can do a lot.
The LG Velvet sells for about $599CAD and as you know you can get it for less as part of a contract.