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LG V30S ThinQ review: A solid but pointless phone

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    Then there’s QLens, which ultimately isn’t much more than a pared-down version of Bixby Vision. Once it’s enabled, you’re given the option to snap a photo of an object and search for related results on Amazon and Pinterest. I’ve been dreaming for years now of an app that would help me identify shoes, accessories and articles of clothing I see around New York that I’d want to add to my collection and this … definitely isn’t it. Having Amazon as a search partner for retail results is awfully handy, but the V30S ThinQ was never very accurate. Unless the item is very clearly labeled or exceptionally unique in its design, you’re probably not going to get the right result. It’s also worth noting that if/when the V30S ThinQ arrives in the US, it might not have Amazon as a search partner: Samsung had a similar partnership with Amazon last year, but that seems to have fallen apart.

    QLens’ Pinterest integration worked a little better, but there’s little value here unless you’re a die-hard Pinhead. Sure, taking photos of clothing often returned results that looked pretty similar. I just don’t find adding those images to a pinboard particularly helpful. Your mileage may vary, naturally.

    Oh, and while it’s not actually connected to LG’s AI endeavors, the new Night mode generally works like a treat too. Long story short, it treats four pixels on the main camera as one, resulting in brighter, lower-resolution shots (you might know this better as pixel binning). The quality-brightness trade-off can be worth it if you don’t require high-res results, say, for printing, but it would’ve been nice if this feature worked on both of the V30S’ cameras.

    Beyond that, LG also worked with Google to craft new, device-specific Google Assistant commands that let you access specialized camera functions with your voice. They range from the generally useful (“Hey Google, take a wide-angle selfie” or “Hey Google, open the camera in manual mode”) to the absurd (“Hey Google, take a romantic Cine video”). At time of writing there are 23 V30S-specific commands, and most of them are just for launching the video camera with a specific set of Cine effects. The company says it’s working on some more immediately useful commands so that you’ll be able to ask Google to scan a QR code, search for images or take an AI Cam photo, but sadly, none of these have materialized yet.

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    At the end of my first go-around with the V30S ThinQ, I pondered whether anyone out there should actually drop some hard-earned cash on this thing. After living with the phone for the better part of a month, my answer for just about everyone is a definitive no. The V30S is what LG has referred to in the past as an interim release, a device meant to drive customer interest and keep people talking about LG in between its major flagship devices. It’s not an inherently flawed idea, but we already know LG is making the same AI-fueled features available on the original V30 as well. The point here is clearly to make a little extra scratch without having to significantly modify an existing phone’s production process. As far as money grabs go, this one’s pretty naked.

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