Sunday, June 11, 2017

LG V20 Sprint LS997 Initial Impression

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Being not impressed with my Galaxy S7, I broke down to order yet another sprint locked phone… This time being the LG V20. I’m a long time LG user despite some unfortunate history with this brand, a low-end Optimus L9 dead in 6mo, and a LG G4 dead with infamous bootloop. Besides these, my other LG G Flex survived and still being used as of this writing. (The nexus 5X built by LG being a recent purchase, not sure how long it will last). I always loved LG software. Especially the wireless storage app, which allows as a samba network device. But unfortunately, this app was removed after Android 4.4. And I have yet to find a replacement for that. Although there are quite a few samba apps on Play Store, all of them require some special kernal which are hard to get by. 
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Before going into the phone impression, let me talk about registration with Sprint MVNO network. My experience with sprint network has been fine contrary to what the internet is saying. Also as long as the phones are sprint locked, joining any MVNO network seems to be smooth, the financial eligibility requirement seems not being affected. I have transferred two LG Volt from Ringplus to tello. I replaced one of them with the GS7 sprint locked version with no issue. I registered a Verizon iphone 6 plus with Ringplus, then ported the number out to google voice. After using AT&T for three month, then registered the phone with tello. This time I registered this LG V20 on Ting. There are about 7 different sim cards for Sprint, as long as you get the right sim card, it should be easy to register the phone onto sprint network. From my understanding, the MEID is used for phone and text, and ICC ID is used for data connection. This LG V20 currently has a ZV5 firmware, which is the last version to support flashing Dirty Santa to unlock bootloader, and sim unlock as a side effect.
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Now back to the phone, all I can say is that the phone is a beast. The always on secondary screen is fully customizable, and very useful. Unlike the GS7 always on screen which drains battery drastically, the secondary screen on V20 barely affects battery performance. And you can even set timer to turn it on and off at your specified time.
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The general battery performance seems to be a little better than G4 since the Sprint firmware has less junk apps built in than the Verizon G4. The standby battery performance is excellent.
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Being a more recent release than GS7, V20 came with the USB-C port. The three size when compared to Oneplus 3 isn’t that big either. The weight though is significantly heavier. The back cover is so slippery that it almost feels like holding a soap in hand. A case is mandatory for this device. The back cover is very easy to open with the provided eject button. The battery at 3200mAh is relatively small compared to other phones with the screen size. But so far the battery performance is decent.
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The most interesting features of the phone are 1. Hi-Fi Quad DAC 2. Dual camera with regular and wide angle lens. I played around with the Hi-Fi Quad DAC with a pair of SONY MDR-7506 and Neutron music player. The sound is very good although the background noise is a bit high. Neutron runs quite stable on this device unlike on G4 it crashed a lot. There is still occasional stuttering when streaming from NAS with high bitrate Hi-Res FLAC files though. It almost made me regret getting the SONY NW-A35HN Hi-Res Walkman.
For the dual camera, I don’t think it uses software to simulate the bokeh effect. The two cameras work on their own. I haven’t got too much chance to test out the capability.