So, what else is new here? Well, the second, smaller display picked up a few new features along the way, the like the ability to display longer signatures. The screen itself is also brighter than the V10's, and you can enlarge notifications that roll in, but there's a good chance you won't love it now if you didn't before. On the software side, the V20 is the first Nougat phone with the ability to search deep in apps you've installed instead of just pre-loaded Google apps. It's one of those things that should've been part of core Android for a while now -- too bad LG announced the feature after we played with the phone.
Beyond that, there are a lot of audio and video improvements. LG updated its Steady Record feature to make on-the-go footage come out much crisper, thanks in large part to Qualcomm's gyro-based electronic stabilization. The phone's dual camera array is also helped by three forms of autofocus -- laser, phase detection and contrast -- to identify targets even faster in both videos and still images. Video effects that ape traditional film and some impressive Hi-Fi audio recording chops make it clear the V20 is trying to be a real production powerhouse.
And while you had to buy extra hardware to coax the G5 into playing high-quality audio -- hardware that wasn't even available everywhere -- the V20 does it just fine out of the box. LG representatives didn't go into a ton of detail about how the V20's "Quad" DAC works, short of mentioning how it cranks up volume, minimizes distortion and supports lossless music files. Still, the effect was clear: I tried running some tracks downloaded from the Google Play Store through the V20 and a pair of someone else's expensive Audeze headphones and the difference in volume and punchiness was a pleasant surprise.
As far as first impressions go, the V20 leaves a pretty good one. It's a solidly built device that incorporates the elements that made the G5 special, while also including features that will enhance people's everyday routines. At the same time, it feels as though every decision LG made here was the safe choice. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's true that Innovative products -- even ones that, like the G5, weren't properly polished -- influence our expectations for the future. In the meantime, though, safe bets can still pay off big, and LG has done some good work here. Stay tuned for our full review soon.