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Hands-on with LG's dual-screen, dual-selfie camera V10

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If you were wondering how LG might keep up with Samsung's experimentation with extra screen real estate on its Edge phones -- and really, isn't that the first thing we all think about after we wake up, pour a cup of coffee and question the insignificance of our existence -- the V10 is your answer. It's the beginning of a new series of phones for LG, ostensibly replacing the G Pro phablet line. Whereas the company's "G" series remains its flagship, it seems like the "V" line will be where LG experiments a bit (even moreso than its curved Flex models). To that end, the V10 includes a few unique features: A second, tiny screen right above the main 5.7-inch display, and two front-facing cameras for the selfie-afflicted. It's also the company's first phone to include metal (it has steel around the sides), it sports a tough new silicon-based rear cover, and it packs in two Gorilla Glass 4 panels on its display. Clearly, there are a lot of ideas at play here, but how do they come together?

Gallery: LG V10 hands-on | 9 Photos

LG V10 Hands-on

The first thing I noticed about the V10 wasn't its second screen, it was the fact that it felt like a tank in my hand. The combination of silicon and metal makes the V10 feel more like a rugged device like the Galaxy S6 Active, rather than a traditional smartphone. It feels a tad heavier than the iPhone 6 Plus, and it's a bit thicker too, clocking in around 8.9 mm at its thickest point. In a series of 1 meter drop test videos LG displayed, which battered the corners, back and front of the phone, the V10 didn't show any noticeable damage. Of course, we'll have to test it out ourselves to see if LG's claims are real.

As for that extra display, it's reminiscent of how Samsung took advantage of its curved Edge phones. It's an always-on screen -- by default, it stays on even when you turn off the main screen) -- that lets you quickly access recent contacts, apps and it can display notifications for your next appointment. It can also show your signature, or a custom bit of text, if that's what floats your boat. Given its tiny size though -- it clocks in at just 1040 x 150 pixels -- there's only so much LG can fit in. While I don't see the second screen as a big selling point for LG, it's an intriguing idea for making smartphones more versatile.

With the V10's two front-facing cameras, LG is basically declaring war on the selfie stick. They're both five megapixel shooters, but whereas one has a standard 80 degree lens, the other can take far wider 120 degree shots. It of course adds a slight curve to selfies, but it allows you to capture much more than a traditional lens. In my brief testing, the front cameras worked as advertised. But it's also the sort of thing that will only appeal to a certain type of consumer.

While the V10 packs in the same 16 megapixel rear camera as the G4, LG also included some video recording upgrades. The phone has an additional bit of stabilization technology that makes shooting video feel almost like you're using a dedicated steadicam gimbal. It's a particularly useful addition for anyone who likes to take video, and it comes just as Apple added optical image stabilization to the iPhone 6 Plus.

LG says the V10 is hitting Korea "soon," and it'll hit AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in the US at some point afterwards. Pricing is also up in the air, but you can expect it to be more expensive than the G4.

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