LG W30 Review: Hit Or A Miss?

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LG recently unveiled three new mobile devices in the company's all-new W-Series. The new smartphone series is an attempt to gain back some lost market in sub Rs. 15k price bracket, a category in which LG almost vanished from Indian smartphone space. Notably, the landscape has quite changed now as the Chinese players such as Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo and Realme, and Korean giant- Samsung have successfully established themselves in budget and mid-range price brackets,

 

Rating:
3.5/5

LG W-Series: The Good, The Bad, And The X Factor

But LG has done its homework. The brand seemed quite positive for its new W-Series smartphones during the launch event. LG's new budget smartphones come equipped with a number of trending features to take on rival devices. We got to test the W10 and W30 during the launch day for some time and now we are back with our comprehensive review of the all-new LG W30.

LG W30 is priced at Rs. 9,999 and comes equipped with a triple-lens camera setup and a notch display. LG claims that the new smartphones saw an overwhelming response in the second flash sale on July 10, 2019, on Amazon.in. We will evaluate the LG W30's display, multitasking, camera, hardware and software performance in the following review.

Premium And Functional Design

Premium And Functional Design

Starting with the design, LG W30 is clearly one-of-the best-looking sub 10K smartphone. Even though the smartphone is made out of polycarbonate and not metal, the look and feel is quite premium and W30 does not come across as a sub 10K handset. The glossy rear panel covered in 2.5D curved plastic has been given a brushed aluminium finish. Combined with chrome-plated sides, the LG W30 instantly grabs eyeballs.

Good Ergonomics For Comfortable In-hand Feel

Good Ergonomics For Comfortable In-hand Feel

LG W30 not just looks premium but also offers a very functional in-hand feel. The smartphone is very comfortable to hold as the curved edges and rounded corners create a very ergonomic design. The power button and volume rockers offer decent tactile feedback. Importantly, the W30 feels very lightweight in hands even though it is backed by a beefier 4,000 mAh battery cell. The conventional fingerprint scanner is placed at a convenient spot at the rear panel.

Two Distinct Color Variants
 

Two Distinct Color Variants

We are currently testing the Platinum Grey color variant which gives an all-black color feel. If you prefer slightly vibrant colors on your handset, you can go for the Thunder Blue which looks quite striking. LG W30 offers a conventional 3.5mm headphone jack, Hybrid SIM card slot (Two 4G Nano-SIMs or one nano-SIM card+ microSD card) but skips on the Type-C port. It ships with the dated microUSB 2.0 port, which is a slight disappointment.

User-Experience- Stock Android Feel And No Unwanted Bloatware

User-Experience- Stock Android Feel And No Unwanted Bloatware

LG has been long criticized for its custom user interface deployed on the company's mid-range and flagship smartphones. Seeing the consumer's interest for a clutter-free pure Android user-experience, the company has offered near Stock Android UI with the new W-Series handsets. The W30 runs on Android Pie with no extra overlay skin. There are no bloatware and the company has offered only the most usable apps like FM radio and voice recorder.

Panic Button, Notch Layout Customizations, And More

Panic Button, Notch Layout Customizations, And More

Besides, some nifty customization features are provided to further enhance the user experience. You can tweak the notch layout or completely hide it based on your preference. LG's signature Panic button is also provided to help you contact friends and family in an emergency situation. You can simply short press the power key thrice to quickly call the emergency number.

Sluggish Performance During Power-Intensive Tasks

Sluggish Performance During Power-Intensive Tasks

The user interface on LG W30 runs smoothly for most of the part but starts feeling sluggish when you open more than 8 to 9 applications at a time. Heavy applications take time to load and that's where you start feeling the need of a powerful chipset. The W30 is powered by MediaTek P22 CPU which is essentially an entry-level chipset and works best for basic phone usage. In fact, the chipset is the most disappointing factor about this wonderful budget LG smartphone. The CPU is paired with 3GB RAM and 32GB ROM. You can expand the internal memory via an external microSD card. It is worth mentioning that the LG W30 is not an ideal phone for gaming. While it can handle light and casual gaming titles, the phone stutters and fails to offer a lag-free gameplay if you try to play heavy games.

Benchmark Performance

Benchmark Performance

We also ran our usual set of benchmark tests to quantify the CPU's performance. Backed by MediaTek Helio P22, LG W30 scored 75,536 in Antutu, 5,134 in PC Mark Work 2.0 and touched 656 in 3D Mark Sling Short test. The device was unable to run the 3D mark Sling Short Extreme benchmark test. The benchmark scores clearly suggest that the LG W30 lags behind the competition to run number-crunching tasks. The phone's benchmarks are among the lowest in our testing repository.

No Full HD+ Display, No Widevine L1 Certification

No Full HD+ Display, No Widevine L1 Certification

LG W30 boasts a big 6.26-inch display with a notch at the top. The notch layout can be customized or you can completely hide it as per your preference. The screen is fairly bright and touch responsive but fails to match the sharpness of a 1080p panel. LG W30's screen offers HD+ (720x1520p) resolution, whereas some of the rival devices (e.g. Redmi Note 7 Pro) offer 1080 displays. Moreover, the display on LG W30 is not Widevine L1 certified and only offers WideVine L3 certification. What this means is that you cannot stream higher-resolution content on media streaming apps such as Prime Videos and Netflix.

While the resolution is not the only factor to evaluate a screen's overall performance, it makes a huge difference if you are solely buying a device for media consumption, which is the case for most of the buyers in sub 10K price bracket. In that case, LG W30 is not the perfect choice for media streaming and gameplay. If you stream videos occasionally and mostly need a device for basic usage, the HD+ display on W30 serves the job well.

Feature-Rich Rear Camera Setup

Feature-Rich Rear Camera Setup

LG smartphones have always shown immense potential as camera devices. Just like the company's premium offerings, the W30 has some notable camera features. The handset sports a triple-lens camera setup featuring a 13MP wide-angle lens, a 12MP main camera with PDAF and a 2MP depth sensor. For selfies, LG W30 boasts a 16MP front-facing camera. The camera app on LG W30 is quite feature-rich and offers a variety of modes to let you experiment with photography. The list of camera modes includes- Night mode, Portrait, Slow motion, Wide-angle, Beauty mode and panorama.

Still Camera Performance

Still Camera Performance

While the camera app is not very responsive and feels sluggish at times, the camera output is surprisingly good. The 12MP shots captured on LG W30's rear camera reveal very good details and pleasing colors when the light conditions are favorable. Backed by Sony IMX486 sensor, the camera captures accurate colors. If you prefer natural color, you will like the final image output as the camera software does not add any unwanted artificial saturation. The autofocus could use some improvements though.

Pleasing Bokeh Shots

Pleasing Bokeh Shots

Even though the LG W30 features just a 2MP depth-sensor, the bokeh shots are among the best-in-class in sub 10K price-point. The 2MP camera manages to create a pleasing bokeh effect for natural-looking portraits. There are inconsistencies in edge detection (that's there with all budget and mid-range smartphone cameras) but the camera still manages to give pleasing results considering the low price-point of the device.

Wide-Angle Shots, Video Output And Selfie Camera Performance

Wide-Angle Shots, Video Output And Selfie Camera Performance

The 13MP fixed-focus wide-angle camera working on f/2.2 aperture is a welcome addition in sub 10K price-point. Not many phones offer a wide-angle lens at such low-price point which gives LG W30 a definite advantage over the competition. The wide-angle shots come out good only when light is in ample amount. Loss of details is clearly visible in wide-angle pictures. Make sure that you capture wide-angle images when light conditions are favourable. The camera on LG W30 can shoot 1080p videos, slow-motion videos and even time-lapse movies.

There's a dedicated Night mode but it's not very effective and failed to impress us. Last but not least, the 16MP selfie camera on LG W30 delivers excellent results. It is the one-of-the best front-facing shooter in the market. Selfies look crisp and show true-to-life colors. You can also capture software-driven portraits and apply all sorts of Beautify effects to enhance the image output.

Long-lasting Battery Life, Solid Call Quality

Long-lasting Battery Life, Solid Call Quality

LG W30 can easily last a day and even more on one full-charge. The beefier 4,000mAh battery unit supplies adequate power to HD+ display to offer long media-streaming hours. We streamed videos on Wi-Fi, used the device to attend more than 30 calls a day, shot 1080p videos and took countless random shots, and LG W30 still had some juice left at the end of the day. LG W30 also offers a solid call quality over VoLTE network. We tested the phone on Airtel 4G network in Delhi NCR.

Verdict

Verdict

LG W30 is a very good attempt to mark the company's re-entry in the Indian budget smartphone space. It's an affordable handset from a trusted brand, which might not replace the budget handsets from Xiaomi or Samsung but still manages to offer a lot to be considered as a viable option. The phone looks absolutely premium and runs the stock Android to deliver a pure Android user-experience. I also don't have any major complaints with the camera performance of W30 considering the sub 10K price-point. However, I would still recommend Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 if you have a knack for photography.

Some other areas where LG could have focused more are the underlying chipset and a Full HD display. These two features would have made LG W30 a perfect budget smartphone for Indian consumers. While the HD+ display on W30 serves well for all the tasks, the market offers 1080p screens that make much more sense for consumers who spend long hours on mobile phones to stream media content.

To summarize, LG W30 is for consumers who prefer a premium looking budget smartphone with decent camera performance and long-lasting battery life. It also makes for a good option for consumers who prefer stock Android user-experience over custom skins offered by Chinese handsets.

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