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LG's bad software is the one thing holding back its great Android phones

LG V60
LG V60 (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

I'm fresh off the heels of publishing my video review of the LG V60, which went live alongside Andrew Martonik's written review, and to be totally honest, the very first thing I did after my video went live was move back into my Galaxy S20+.

This is partially because my V60 is a locked AT&T review unit, and my personal phone number is attached to a Google Fi SIM. But it was also hugely relieving because for as much as I enjoyed the V60 for its nice hardware, I couldn't wait to stop using LG's software, which Andrew and I both complained about in our respective reviews. I'm not even a huge fan of Samsung's One UI per se (I'm that guy that always prefers Google's Pixel UI or OnePlus's OxygenOS), but it feels incredibly modern by comparison.

LG's software isn't a deal-breaker, but it doesn't add any value against other phones.

At first glance, LG's UX 9 looks perfectly fine, with a revamped aesthetic based around Android 10 — we even wrote an article a few months ago touching on its visual similarities to One UI. But under the surface, there's a lot that's either outdated or downright missing from the software.

I mentioned in my video review that there's no way to swipe down on the screen to access your notification shade with the default launcher, something that seemingly every other variant of Android has gotten down by now. That's a hugely important feature, especially on such a physically large phone, and one can only imagine that LG (who was one of the first to implement swiping down on the fingerprint sensor around back for the same action) just forgot to move the action to software since switching to an in-display fingerprint sensor.

LG V60 with Dual Screen

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

There are also hilarious holdovers from long-discontinued hardware trends, like how the software still reminds you not to remove the battery if the software freezes ... something you haven't been able to do since the LG G5. Or the fact that the app drawer still doesn't remember your sort settings; if you sort alphabetically, then add or remove an app, you'll need to hit the menu overflow button in your app drawer and sort all over again. How is this still a thing?

Of course, you can fix a lot of this by just installing a third-party launcher — but that, in turn, disables gesture navigation and kicks you back to the old three-button layout.

You still shouldn't count the V60 out, considering how great its hardware and battery life are.

There's also the frustrating software management of LG's own creation, the Dual Screen secondary display attachment offered with the V60. While it works well in doubling your screen real estate, running one app on both screens is an exercise in frustration; before entering full screen(s) mode, you need to first jump into the system settings and enable each app for Dual Screen individually, then the system still prompts you to manually activate full-screen mode within the floating menu button before it distributes the UI elements accordingly.

To LG's credit, it does some things on the software side that aren't just good, but better than the alternatives from others like Samsung. I love being able to double-tap the screen not just to wake the V60, but to put it back to sleep as well. It also isn't loaded with too many redundant services like One UI (though bloatware is a different story on this AT&T unit), and the lack of Bixby is certainly a relief.

LG's software isn't a deal-breaker, and the V60 is still a perfectly good phone with excellent features like 5G support, 8K video recording, high-res wired audio, and outrageously good battery life — all for under $1000. But it's hard to call any part of its software experience a positive trait of the phone, and I'd put just about any other manufacturer's software on the phone if I could.

Still, the phone's a great value for all of the high-end features it offers, and as I said in my review, it doesn't have to beat Samsung's S20 series (or any other flagship, for that matter) in sheer feature sets when it manages to offer such a complete experience for hundreds of dollars less.

Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.

26 Comments
  • The is some kind of April fool's joke right? I actually found LG UX9 to be alot more functional. I haven't gotten the urge to install Microsoft launcher since I first got my V60. Samsungs gestures are borked asf which makes their software worse than anything LG has done. You again just wanted to show you allegiance to Samsung.
  • Samsung's gestures are borked? They work the exact same as every other Android 10 device.
  • I was playing around with my friends A20 or whatever. It has Android 10 and the gesture system was different.
  • You can choose from two different swipe schemes.
  • Her phone didn't have that option
  • Ah; gotcha. She had the three swipe areas at the bottom?
  • Yeah, that's what it was.
  • I have the LG V60 and that alphabetical app drawer thing drives me crazy
  • How did they mess up the app drawer? I'm still using a G5 and it always remembers my setting.
  • The other issue is their poor track record when it comes to updates.
  • LG will be following the same footsteps as htc pretty soon...
  • In your dreams
  • I think LG will move into the "mid range" segment shortly. They can't compete on the high end so guess they will be left with the "cheaper" segment trying to get the scraps from Samsung, Google, and others. 
  • The V60 is a very formidable competitor.
  • Is that why the LG v60 doesn't have its own forum?
  • This site is biased, that's why.
  • They are already there. Premium phones are $1000 plus, mid range $500-$1000, budget $500 or less.
  • The V60 is not midrange
  • No, LG is a much bigger and more diversified company than HTC, they can prop up a struggling smartphone division with profit from elsewhere
  • I'm shocked that here we are in 2020, and LG still hasn't refreshed their software.
  • They just resurfaced the UI with the Android 10 update. I have no issues with the UI and they have been relatively good with update timeliness lately imho.
  • Without trying it out myself I can't have a definitive opinion on this, other than I've always used 3rd party launchers, even for "clean" software phones like Motos and Pixels. And it's easy to remove the old style nav buttons, using these other launchers and ADB. So on my admittedly old V30, it's not really an issue. But I do agree with those who say LG has to improve their performance with regard to updates, including the carrier-locked ones.
  • I just watched Flossy Carter's review and one of the first things he did was swype down to open the notification shade. Someone's not telling the truth and I just watched him do it so.....
  • You definitely can. I have an LG G8 (updated to android 10) i bought for my dad to replace his old device and you can definitely swipe down to bring the notification shade. How an editor/writer for this site does not know that is mind blowing.
  • Floss swiped from the top of the screen. You definitely cannot swipe down from anywhere on the home screen to pull down the notification shade. Which I believe is what the author was referring to
  • Switch to Nova Launcher, deal with the navigation gestures issue, and have a better V60.