LG VelvetSource: Alex Dobie / Android Central

With so many phones that are released during a given year, it only makes sense for some of them to slip between the cracks. Companies get fiercer, prices get more competitive, and those that aren't truly amazing often get left to the wayside.

Unfortunately, that seems to have been the case for LG for the last few years. The company makes solid devices, but a handful of quirks or missteps keep them from achieving true greatness.

2020 is here, and this time around, we have the LG Velvet (aka the successor to 2019's LG G8). This is the phone we were expecting to be called the LG G9, but LG wanted to do something a bit different rather than a traditional year-over-year upgrade.

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Is the Velvet what the company needs to turn things around? Here's everything you need to know about the phone!

Silky smooth

LG Velvet

The 2020 LG flagship tries something different

LG tried something bolder than usual with the Velvet, and while it didn't 100% pay off, it's a good step in the right direction compared to where the company was headed. The LG Velvet touts a gorgeous design, capable specs, and a fun Dual Screen accessory. Factor in the low price tag, and it could be worth a look.

Is the LG Velvet available in the United States?

LG VelvetSource: Alex Dobie / Android Central

LG fully unveiled the Velvet on May 7, 2020, and made it available on all major South Korean carriers that same day. In the country, the Velvet costs KRW 899,800 — or around $734 USD.

A few months later on July 22, the LG Velvet officially launched in the United States with availability first being offered at AT&T. Then, on August 19, the phone debuted at Verizon. We're expecting a T-Mobile launch at some point before the year is over, though a final date has yet to be set.

We also haven't heard anything about unlocked availability, meaning if you want the Velvet, you'll need to be comfortable buying from your carrier.

How much does the LG Velvet cost?

LG Velvet ReviewSource: Android Central

If you want to pick up the Velvet at AT&T or Verizon right now, it comes with a retail price of $600 or $700, respectively. Those are pretty good numbers considering the premium design of the Velvet and all of the specs it's packing, making it an interesting alternative to the OnePlus 8 and upcoming Pixel 5 later this year.

The AT&T and Verizon variants of the Velvet do not come with its Dual Screen accessory (more on that below), which is why the phone costs as little as it does. Assuming T-Mobile sells the Velvet bundled with the accessory, we're bound to get a steeper price from the carrier.

Have we reviewed the LG Velvet?

LG phones often struggle with feeling a bit mediocre compared to their competitors, and unfortunately, this is something the Velvet continues to be hampered by. The phone isn't terrible, nor is it perfect. There's a lot about the Velvet that works incredibly well, but its downfalls could be reason enough for some shoppers to look elsewhere.

The LG Velvet has an absolutely beautiful design, featuring a glass and metal construction, comfortable in-hand feel, and a body that's surprisingly grippy. To say that this is the best-looking device we've ever seen from the company wouldn't be an exaggeration. You also get really good battery life, great specs, 5G support, and the Dual Screen accessory for expanded functionality.

While all of that stuff is great, there are some drawbacks to the Velvet that are hard to ignore — the most damning being its poor camera performance. The LG Velvet doesn't have awful cameras, but compared to what other companies are doing in this space, the Velvet is a keen reminder that LG still has a lot of work to do.

What should I know about the LG Velvet's design?

LG VelvetSource: Alex Dobie / Android Central

Without a doubt, one of the biggest draws to the LG Velvet is its design. LG is referring to the phone's aesthetic as a new "natural" design language, and it sure is something.

The front of the device is home to a display with very minimal bezels, along with a slight curve on the edges. The three cameras on the back are also positioned quite differently from most other Android phones, with LG saying this is a "Raindrop" design with the different camera sensors descending in size to mimic "images of falling raindrops" — ending with the LED flash at the bottom.

Also present on the phone is a "3D Arc Design," with LG curving the display and rear panel for a symmetrical and "natural" in-hand feel.

The Velvet isn't drastically different from other smartphone designs, but it looks unique enough that it stands out better than its G-series predecessors.

Does the LG Velvet have good specs?

LG VelvetSource: Alex Dobie / Android Central

Along with an eye-catching design, the LG Velvet also has plenty of specs to round out the experience of using it. Here's a quick look at everything it's packing.

Category LG Velvet
Operating System Android 10
Display 6.8-inch
Full HD+
20.5:9 aspect ratio
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765
5G ✔️
Rear Camera 1 48MP primary camera
Rear Camera 2 8MP ultra-wide camera
Rear Camera 3 5MP depth camera
Front Camera 16MP selfie camera
Battery 4,300 mAh battery
Charging Fast wired charging
Qi wireless charging
Ports USB-C
3.5mm headphone jack
Security In-display fingerprint sensor
Durability IP68
Colors Aurora White
Aurora Gray
Aurora Green
Illusion Sunset

The most interesting spec on that list is the Snapdragon 765 processor. It offers almost all of the same power of the flagship Snapdragon 865, but is a more affordable chip to use. It also still allows for 5G connectivity, if that's something you're interested in.

There's talk that Google will also use the Snapdragon 765 in its upcoming Pixel 5, so it'll be interesting to see how it performs on the LG Velvet.

Is the LG Velvet the LG G9?

LG VelvetSource: Alex Dobie / Android Central

LG's been pretty consistent with its device branding over the years, but for 2020, that's changing.

Two reports from March 27 indicated that the entire G-series branding is dead for future smartphones and that LG is shifting to a naming scheme that will highlight certain features/aspects of that particular device.

LG Velvet LogoSource: LG

Shortly after this, LG confirmed the "Velvet" name. According to the company, it's "intended to evoke images of lustrous smoothness and premium softness, two key characteristics of the new phone."

Introducing a new name/branding tactic isn't a guarantee that sales will be better for LG, but there's no denying that the G-series and V-series have gotten a little long in the tooth. The phone itself looks quite good, so maybe an exciting name to go along with it is just what LG's been needing.

Is the LG Velvet a folding phone?

LG Velvet ReviewSource: Alex Dobie / Android Central

The LG V50, G8X, and V60 have all worked with LG's polarizing Dual Screen accessory — a case for the phones that adds a second screen to them (basically turning them into a pseudo-folding phone).

The Dual Screen accessory also works with the Velvet, meaning you can add a second display to the phone if your heart desires. On top of that, the Velvet also works with LG's Stylus Pen so that you can further transform it into a makeshift Galaxy Note alternative.

The Dual Screen isn't perfect, but it's also one of the more unique accessories currently available for any smartphone. Having two screens literally doubles your potential productivity when using the Velvet, and depending on how you use your phone, it could be a must-have gadget.

Silky smooth

LG Velvet

The 2020 LG flagship tries something different

LG tried something bolder than usual with the Velvet, and while it didn't 100% pay off, it's a good step in the right direction compared to where the company was headed. The LG Velvet touts a gorgeous design, capable specs, and a fun Dual Screen accessory. Factor in the low price tag, and it could be worth a look.

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