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LG V40 vs. LG V50 5G: Which should you buy?

LG V50
LG V50 (Image credit: Android Central)

LG V40

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The V40 may not be everyone's first-choice flagship, but it's a really good phone that competes with top-end devices at a sub-$900 price. Sure it doesn't have 5G, but its price makes it a much better value proposition than the V50 — and you'll be able to choose (and change) your carrier because it's available unlocked.

LG V40

Our pick

Less expensive for effectively same experience
Available unlocked and to use with any carrier
Great screen
No future 5G capabilities
Less than stellar battery life

LG V50

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The V50 is a good phone, but it isn't substantially different from the V40. You get access to a 5G network, and a larger battery is always nice, but it also costs $300 more than the unlocked V40. Plus, you'll be limited to just Verizon or Sprint, and 5G isn't worth switching carriers for right now.

LG V50

First to 5G

5G is ready for the future
20% larger battery
Great screen
Newer processor
Overpriced for what you get
Only available from Verizon and Sprint
Heavier than V40

The V40 and V50 are nearly identical

The LG V50 has a different name, but is nearly identical to the LG V40 released months earlier. It's built with the same materials, has the same-sized screen, and has the same specs other than four simple changes: a newer Snapdragon 855 processor, 5G radios, 128GB of storage and a larger 4000mAh battery.

Those changes lead to small increases in thickness and weight for the V50, though you won't particularly notice those on account of the V40's already thin and light hardware.

LG V40LG V50
Operating systemAndroid 9 PieAndroid 9 Pie
Display6.4-inch OLED, 3120x1440 (19.5:9)
HDR10
6.4-inch OLED, 3120x1440 (19.5:9)
HDR10
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
RAM6GB6GB
Storage64GB128GB
ExpandableMicroSDMicroSD
Rear camera 112MP, 1.4-micron, OIS, f/1.5, 78-degree lens12MP, 1.4-micron, OIS, f/1.5, 78-degree lens
Rear camera 216MP, 1-micron, f/1.9, 107-degree lens16MP, 1-micron, f/1.9, 107-degree lens
Rear camera 312MP, 1-micron, f/2.4, 45-degree lens, 2X zoom12MP, 1-micron, f/2.4, 45-degree lens, 2X zoom
Front camera 18MP, f/1.9, 80-degree lens8MP, f/1.9, 80-degree lens
Front camera 25MP, f/2.2, 90-degree lens5MP, f/2.2, 90-degree lens
Connectivity802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB-C802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB-C
AudioBoomBox speaker
3.5mm headphone jack
32-bit Quad DAC
BoomBox speaker
3.5mm headphone jack
32-bit Quad DAC
Battery3300mAh
Non-removable
4000mAh
Non-removable
ChargingQuick Charge 3.0, Fast wireless chargingQuick Charge 3.0, Fast wireless charging
Water resistanceIP68IP68
SecurityCapacitive fingerprint sensorCapacitive fingerprint sensor
Dimensions158.8 x 75.7 x 7.6 mm
169 g
158.8 x 75.7 x 8.4 mm
183g

Being the "same" as the V40 definitely isn't a bad thing, and if you're comparing these two phones it means you're already drawn to the features and design that LG has to offer. But it's worth noting that the improvements in the V50 are minimal, even though it's listed with a different name that would indicate there's more of an upgrade at play.

How much do you want to pay for 5G?

With so much shared between the phones, the differentiator in this comparison is access to a 5G network — and the associated price and carrier restrictions associated with it.

Getting access to a small 5G network is not worth $300 more than the V40.

Considering the V50 is so similar to the V40 but with the potential to use 5G in the future, it would be a no-brainer to go for the V50 ... except for the fact that it's about $300 more. The V40 launched at a high price, but in the months since it's dropped considerably — and now it can be had for under $900, whereas the V50 is over $1100. That's a big price differential for a small improvement, and while the V40 is a fine value at about $750 its core tenets don't really stand up to the scrutiny placed on a phone that costs hundreds more.

In addition to the cost aspect, which is likely the most important for people, there are also carrier restrictions in place for the V50. You can only get the LG V50 from Sprint or Verizon, and at this point with the small size of 5G networks it isn't worth switching carriers in order to get this phone. If you use T-Mobile or AT&T, or a prepaid MVNO, you'll only be able to go with the V40 because it's available unlocked.

If you like what LG is offering in its high-end phones, we recommend you get the LG V40. It's hundreds of dollars less than the V50, and you won't miss the 5G capabilies — by the time the network matters, you'll be ready to upgrade to a new phone again.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.