Eric loves to give reviews for products. He hopes the information he shares will guide people towards making smart purchases.
I have the unlocked LG-US996 variant of the phone, and I wrote this review while I was using it often.
I no longer use the device much anymore. I mostly keep it on, so a few rewards apps I have on it keep earning points.
I now have an iPhone XR and use this phone as my primary device. I might buy a new Android phone in the future. I am not sure.
LG V20 Phone History
LG Electronics released the LG V20 in 2016. The phone is part of the LG V series, and the LG V20 is the second phone in the series.
- The LG V30 was released in September 2017.
- The LG V40 was released in October 2018.
- The LG V50 was released in May 2019
- The LG V60 was released in March 20, 2020.
LG has stated the LG V60 will be the last phone in this line. It seems the V series has come to an end.
Android Nougat on the LG V20
Nougat Was Good
When I bought my LG V20, it came with Nougat.
Overall, I liked the look and feel of Nougat and compared to older versions of Android I have used this feels like one of the best versions so far.
I love the look and feel of the Android system, and I don't have anything particularly negative to say about it.
There Were Some Issues with Nougat
Occasionally, I got weird slowdowns, but I am not sure if that is an Android thing or something to do with my phone.
Android Oreo on the LG V20
I Upgraded to Oreo
After over a year of owning my phone LG released the update for Android Oreo of my unlocked device. The LG-US996. I updated my phone to see what Oreo changed.
Things Are About the Same but Slightly Better
Not much changed when I updated to Android Oreo. There are plenty of system-level changes and enhancements. But from what I can see the phone runs about the same.
The new password autofill options are my favorite change. This change makes it easier for me to use my password manager.
The Default Homescreen Is Boring
The Default LG Homescreen Lacks Many Options
The default LG home screen lacks many customization options I value from custom launchers, and I installed Nova Launcher right away, and I have been using it since.
I Want to Customize My Homescreen
I am the type of person that wants everything exactly how I want it, and I spend hours customizing my home screen and organizing my applications into tabs and folders.
Boring Default Applications
LG ships the phone with their own version of applications like a messaging application and music player. I disabled or ignored most of them.
I am very picky about software and tend to prefer using applications I have picked as my favorites.
Default Applications Can Not Deleted
I wish I could uninstall this bloatware but disabling the applications does the same thing.
I can't disable a few other applications, and I do not see why some of these applications need to be in the system folder.
I figured seeing how I have an unlocked phone it will be free of such things.
I Want Control over What Applications Are Installed on My Phone
I want the most control over my phone I can get and the ability to personalize my Android is a huge reason of why I love this phone so much.
Quick Charging Is Nice
The LG V20 supports Qualcomm quick charge 3.0 and the phone charges very fast.
I was impressed with how short a time it takes to get back near full charge when empty.The phone also changes much faster when completely off.
About USB-C Cables
USB-C cables work great for the most part, and my only complaint is that the cables tend to break easily.
Cords breaking is not a fault with the phone though, and the cords are cheap to replace.
LG V20 Battery Life
LG V20 Has Short Battery Life
The battery life of this phone is short, and it shows some days. I tend to carry my phone with me everywhere I go, so it is constantly on.
Depending on how I am using the phone I get anywhere from about two to six hours of battery life.
LG V20 Has Replaceable Batteries
The fact that the phone has removable batteries evens out the short battery lifespan. I bought a second battery and a battery charging cradle, and I use both often.
Having More Than One Battery Is Great
When my current battery dies, I put in the cradle and start charging it, and then I use the alternate battery.
Having two batteries gives the phone the lifespan I would want so it works nicely.
The LG V20 Has a Good Amount of Storage Space
My LG V20 phone has 64 Gigabytes of storage. At first, I wondered if this would be enough storage for me.
I have enough storage to install the applications I use the most, and I have extra storage.
The LG V20 Has SD Card Support
In addition to the available on phone storage, the phone supports SD cards up to 200GB, and I bought an SD card with 200GB when I first bought my phone.
Why I Use a SD Card
I mostly use the SD card for storing my local music collection, and I store my music using FLAC.
Using FLAC takes up a lot of space, and without SD card support I would not be able to put my music on my phone.
I know I can use streaming services and cloud storage, but I still prefer having a local music collection.
Having SD Card Support Is a Huge Plus for Me
Having SD card support is something I love, having SD card support is one of the reasons I bought this phone.
With More Internal Space SD Cards Are Not as Important to Me
Once phones start frequently having over 100 GB of storage, I will probably be OK without SD card support.
LG V20 Audio Quality
I Do Not like the Speakers on the Bottom of the Phone
One of my main annoyances is the fact that the speakers are on the bottom of the phone.
Holding the phone, the wrong way or putting it down mutes the audio.
The speakers sound nice otherwise though, and they get loud enough when necessary.
LG V20 Sounds Great with Headphones
The phone with headphones sounds considerably better, and the better sound quality is due to the built high-quality DAC.
Phone calls sound great while wearing headphones, and so does listening to music.
I Love the Audio Quality
The better audio quality is a plus for the phone, and I love using the phone to listen to music.
What I Think About the Display Quality of the Phone
Screen Burn In
The LG V20 has an OK LCD screen.
The biggest issue I have with the screen is the screen burn in that happens.
After leaving things on the screen for too long, they start to appear as ghost images on the screen for a while.
The Second Screen
About the Second Screen
The LG V20 has a second screen at the top, and there are multiple pieces of information this screen can show.
You can set quick launch options, change phone settings, and a few other things.
The Second Screen Is Not as Fun After a While
While at first, it sounded cool in practice I do not use it very often. Right now, I have my signature on my second screen.
This is so I can receive phone call notifications and answer calls with the second screen.
The Power Button and Fingerprint Reader
Power Button on the Back of the Phone
The power button and fingerprint reader are on the back of the phone, and this is quite different than any other Android device I have used in the past.
I Use the Fingerprint Reader a Lot
I use the fingerprint reader often, and I took the time to register all my fingers. I use the fingerprint reader to unlock my device, and I also use it applications often when I can.
LG V20 Camera Quality
I Do Not Take Pictures with My Phone Often
I am not the most experienced with photography, and I only have a basic understanding of photography terms.
The Camera Seems Nice to Me
What I can say is that the camera works great for when I need to take pictures, and it is the best mobile camera I have used so far.
I Use the Auto Features and Wide-Angle Lens Often
I use the auto features and let it take whatever pictures it can. I have also used the wide-angle lens occasionally, and it is a nice extra feature.
My Final Thoughts
Overall, I have enjoyed the phone, and I love to use it. While the LG V20 has some specific issues, the positives are better than the negatives.
If you can live with the shorter battery life, and the occasional screen burn-in I would recommend picking up the phone.
Questions & Answers
Question: What other phones do you recommend?
Answer: I have been using the same phone for about three years. So I am not exactly keeping up to date with current phones. But there are some devices I am somewhat interested in.
I think One Plus phones could be interesting. I am open to buying one in the future.
I am also considering newer LG phones. I recently was looking at the LG V60, and I am considering buying one when it gets cheaper.
The Surface Duo phone from Microsoft sounds like it will be really fun. I am also considering buying this phone when it becomes cheaper.
Question: Does the LG V20 Android smartphone have an issue with boot loops?
Answer: Some older LG phones had issues where they would not fully boot. This issue does not affect the LG V20, at least not in any huge way.
Keep in mind though there will always be a small percentage of people who have issues with their phones.
I can say that while using the stock firmware and even LineageOS I have never had any boot loop issues.
Question: Is the LG V20 Going to Be Updated to Android Pie?
Answer: The Korean version of the LG V20 received an update to Pie. No other version of the phone received this update.
Unless you use a custom ROM with a higher version of Android, you are stuck using Android Oreo forever.
Question: How do I root the LG V20?
Answer: First, I had to unlock the bootloader on my phone. Then I had to flash a custom recovery. I am using the Teamwin Recovery Project (TWRP).
I then flashed a stock like Oreo ROM. After flashing the ROM, I then installed Maskisk to root my phone.
This was pretty easy for me as I have the unlocked USA model. The process is much different depending on the model of the phone you own.
Question: How do you root an LF V20 with Oreo?
Answer: I downloaded and flashed the Alpha Omega Rom. You can find a forum post about it at this link. https://forum.xda-developers.com/v20/development/a...
I flashed the ROM to my phone using TWRP. I had to unlock my phone's bootloader to flash TWRP. I am using the unlocked US-996 LG V20. If you have another version of the LG V20, then I am not sure what you need to do. Do some research.
After flashing the ROM, I then flashed the latest version of Magisk. You can get this at this link. https://forum.xda-developers.com/apps/magisk/offic... Once you have Magisk installed, you will have root and should pass SafteyNet.
Question: How often would you advise upgrading your android phone if you only use it for basic needs?
Answer: I would only replace your phone when you have to. Stick with a device as long as possible and replace it when it breaks. I plan on doing that with my Android smartphone to get the most value out of the money I spent. I plan on keeping mine for four years or longer if possible.
© 2018 Eric Farmer
What Do You Think of My Review? Feel Free to Leave Comments
Eric Farmer (author) from Rockford Illinois on March 26, 2020:
Some versions do support two sim cards. The unlocked US version I have does not.
Marcus Yimie on March 21, 2020:
Honestly I think its a cool phone and it has dual sim capability as well as 2 tb sd card support right ?
Eric Farmer (author) from Rockford Illinois on January 01, 2020:
@MichaelP3138 Thanks for the comment. I actually still use my phone as my main device and it is going to be three years old soon. I see no reason to replace it as it still is kicking no matter how many times I dropped it. It is quite amazing.
MichaelP3138 on January 01, 2020:
Very nice, informative and balanced review of this phone. I have owned my V20 for just about a year now. I purchased a refurbished model a year ago and have been completely satisfied with it. 4 years now since it debuted, and I still think its relevance in the marketplace cannot be ignored. I'm not particularly tech savvy and don't demand much of my devices. That said, the features of this phone that I value the most: removable battery, headphone input jack, audio quality, 64 GB internal storage, and the camera is above average. After 1 year of use, I am pleased to report this phone has given me no problems whatsoever. I have no need to buy a new phone until this one starts giving me problems. When I think about what I would gain in updating my phone and compare it to what I would be giving up, I just cannot justify it. This phone has a snappy processor even though today's phones would offer slightly better performance. 5G technology is still a few years away from full implementation so my V20 will be suitable until then (and probably beyond).
Anyway, thank you again for your review. I believe the V20 may be the best kept secret in old flagship phones on the market today, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a budget phone.
Tristan on August 04, 2019:
I use Greenify app to sleep apps I seldom use. This way it minimizes the battery drain.
Eric Farmer (author) from Rockford Illinois on July 29, 2019:
Interesting comments. I hope you enjoy your Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
I am still using my LG V20 myself. I want to hold onto my phone until it falls apart. I feel I invested enough money into this phone.
Patresi on July 29, 2019:
I no longer use this phone. I was especially happy with it however little things started to go wrong with it. I especially loved being able to swap batteries as every phone I purchased up to that point lost battery power. I now have the Galaxy note 9+ however I'd have been happy enough to have stayed with the V20. I loved the sound system as it was incredible however my earjack didn't hold the jack from my really good set of headphones at all. I understand that this was quite common with the phone.
I also found the sign in fingerprint feature worked only so well. THe sign-on feature in the Note 9 works a lot better. I didn't like the way the camera worked as things went badly with that too sometimes. Perhaps that had more to do with me not bothering to research it further.
If the V30 had had the removeable batter feature still, I'd have purchased it instead of the Note 9. I thought the second screen was better than the second screen on the Note 9.
Eric Farmer (author) from Rockford Illinois on December 27, 2018:
I am glad you like the second screen. The second screen is a nice feature. But like I said in my review I tend to not use it much.
Ty on December 27, 2018:
There are a few things you missed and something I want to point out was is just your user experience.
#1 Second screen
Is extremely useful. From app shortcuts to calander, Agendas, contacts to music control are only a swap & tap away. Just because you don't use it don't mean it's not useful. It a real time saver for me.
#2 knock knock.
Dubble tapping on the screen is a killer feature that no other phone that I can think of uses. It is awesome when the phone is on a flat surface and all you have to do is tap to wake up/ unlock.
theBonVoyage on September 14, 2018:
You don't have to pick the phone up to wake it. Double tap the screen and it will wake up. Now you can use your pin. Never having to pick it up.
Eric Farmer (author) from Rockford Illinois on August 23, 2018:
I agree. Having dropped the phone on various things I 100% appreciate this.
Lars Røssell on August 23, 2018:
The best thing is the DURABILITY.
You do not need at cover to protect the phone.
It wont break apart falling on the floor.
Eric Farmer (author) from Rockford Illinois on July 29, 2018:
Good points. I know there are extended batteries, but then you have to be willing to have a bigger a heavier phone. I suppose this trade is worth it for some people.
Alpha on July 29, 2018:
Actually the phone is even better than what is said in the review. I got an extended battery of 6600 mamph. That gives phone life for almost 48 hours straight. And when that goes I pop in a freshly charged battery for another 48 hours! No other phone from the modern era will give you that. The Qualcomm cpu is 820 that's fast enough. Camera is very good. Speakers are mediocre but connected sound is phenomenal. I don't mind nougat, and in fact it gives sort of comfort that the os does not on you too frequently. I wish other oem will reintroduce the replaceable batteries, otherwise I will stick to this rig for a long while.