Rumors about LG planning to shelve its flagship G-series in favor of Snapdragon 700-series powered mid-range devices first materialized early last month when the company shared sketches of its new design approach. Soon thereafter, the company shared a teaser video for the LG Velvet that showed off the phone in its entirety. The teaser also confirmed that the phone would feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 chipset. Towards the end of last month, the company confirmed some key specifications and, just a few days ago, we also got to see some hands-on images of the device. As per the launch schedule teased earlier, the company has now officially announced the LG Velvet in South Korea. In addition, the list of key features of the handset includes the original design, support for styluses with recognition of up to 4096 degrees of pressure, a good supply of RAM, and a high-performance Qualcomm processor with support for fifth-generation networks.
Price and availability
The LG Velvet is currently available in South Korea in four color variants — Aurora White, Aurora Gray, Aurora Green, and Illusion Sunset — all of which feature LG’s new soft-touch finish. As for price, LG has confirmed that in South Korea the LG Velvet will cost 899,800 Korean won. That's around $730 / £600 / AU$1,140. If that price conversion roughly pans out then it would be cheaper than flagships, including the $819 (around £640 / AU$1,200) LG G8, but pricier than most mid-rangers.
Design and display
Design is at the heart of the LG Velvet. LG has touted the 3D Arc design marked by curved display edges for the new phone, which should make it easier to grip. At 6.6 x 2.9 x 0.31 inches, the LG Velvet is closer in height to the Galaxy S20 Plus than the Galaxy S20, though it's taller than both phones if just as wide as the S20 Plus. Then again, the Velvet also has a larger display at 6.8 inches than either of those two phones. Special thanks to a 20.5:9 aspect ratio, the phone offers plenty of screen real estate that's interrupted only by a water-drop notch for the front camera in the top center of the display.
There are very thin bezels around the screen, which is a FullVision display providing 2460 x 1080 resolution. While the display specifications seem quite standard, when compared to other mid-range phones in the market today, what sets the LG Velvet apart is that it has a special digitizer that enables Wacom stylus support with up to 4096 pressure levels. To help users make the most out of the stylus support, the device comes with the Nebo handwriting app preinstalled which can automatically convert handwriting into digital notes. Instead of grouping its three rear cameras in a chunky array like many flagship phones have done lately, LG has arranged them in a cascading order by size. LG calls this a "raindrop effect" and it's actually pretty striking and could set the phone apart from other designs.
Front and rear cameras
Speaking of those cameras, you'll get a 48-megapixel main sensor; aided by an 8MP ultra wide-angle sensor and a 5MP depth sensor that should help deliver more stylish portrait effects. You'll notice that a telephoto lens is missing from that camera array, which leaves the LG Velvet short when stacked up against other flagship phones. The Galaxy S20 family features a telephoto lens on every model. The LG V60, on the other hand, has a similar camera setup as the LG Velvet, so perhaps LG just has no use for telephoto lenses. Over on the front, the device has a single 16MP selfie shooter.
Much like previous smartphones from the company, the LG Velvet comes with many camera features such as time-lapse with automatic and manual speed change; a steady cam feature for shake-free videos; ASMR recording to capture those extra sounds such as the crackle of a fire or the crunch of a cracker; voice out-of-focus which reduces background noise in videos and focuses on the voice of the user; and 3D AR stickers with 3D mesh technology so the AR sticker blends with the face of the subject. These are features you will be hard-pressed to find on a mid-range device.
Processor, software, and battery
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G isn't the most powerful processor in Qualcomm's Snapdragon lineup, but it should deliver solid performance. The G variant is particularly attuned to gaming, promising better graphics rendering than even the standard 765 chipset. LG is augmenting that with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage on the LG Velvet smartphone. The Snapdragon 765G has an integrated 5G modem, so the LG Velvet will join the ranks of 5G phones. The LG Velvet runs Android 10 out of the box, with the company’s heavily customized UI on top. Additionally, the device also features IP 68 dust and water resistance and LG claims that it has also passed 7 durability tests to earn the military standard 810G rating. The battery meanwhile is 4,300mAh and supports both wired fast charging and 10W wireless charging.