LG's unusual V10 smartphone features a second, tiny screen above the main 5.7-in. display and two front-facing cameras. Credit: Florence Ion
The unusual LG V10 smartphone running Android 5.1 (Lollipop) went on sale online today on AT&T and Wednesday on T-Mobile, with in-store purchases coming a few days later.
What primarily sets the V10 apart is its distinctive dual-screen and its dual-selfie, front-facing cameras that show off LG's interest in trying new technologies. Some reviewers have called those features "gimmicky" or even "oddball," but analysts said the features also demonstrate a capable manufacturer willing to try new things.
LG’s unusual V10 smartphone will go on sale online at AT&T on Tuesday and online at T-Mobile on Wednesday. Credit: LG
The dual-screen feature is composed of a second, tiny screen at the top of the display, just above the main 5.7-in. touchscreen. That second screen is always on and is designed to enhance productivity by giving access to favorite apps and notifications.
The dual, 5-megapixel front-facing selfie cameras will offer either standard, 80-degree or wide-angle 120-degree selfies to eliminate the need to pan the smartphone or use a selfie stick, AT&T said.
AT&T will charge $250 for the V10 on a two-year contract or $29 per month on a 24-month plan. T-Mobile will charge $600 outright or $25 per month on a two-year payment plan. In-store sales start at T-Mobile on Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 at AT&T. Verizon Wireless will also carry the phone, but hasn't posted pricing or other details.
LG said yesterday it will kick in a 200GB microSD card, extra battery and battery-charging cradle for free on orders at all three carriers from today to Nov. 15.
Whether LG's tendency to experiment with the V10 (as with its previous curved-screen Flex models) will matter in sales is unknown. In a fiercely competitive Android smartphone market, LG ranked sixth globally in the second quarter of 2015, with just under 4% of the overall smartphone market, according to IDC analyst Ramon Llamas in an interview.
There haven't been many U.S. reviews of the V10, but it seems clear that LG is trying to add experimental features to a new V line of phones, while LG's G sphones will remain the flagship line. The LG G4 launched on all the major U.S. carriers in the spring, but didn't get superlative reviews. It was even called "bulky and awkward to carry in a pocket" by Computerworld reviewer JR Raphael.
Raphael also dings LG for its sometimes "terrible" performance in providing prompt upgrades to the latest Android version, although it did a quicker job getting Android 5.0 to the LG G3.
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