The V10 was big, heavy, and rubbery, the V20 was still big, if a little lighter, and metal-clad, and both had secondary displays in the top right corner. The V30 is light, compact, and has a single display that leaves little room for anything else on the front. Talk about continuity.
You could argue that the V30 is what the G6 should have been, and you may well have a point. But just because it turns its back on most things 'V' doesn't mean it's not staying true to LG, and that's got to be more important.
There's the dual camera, yet another iteration of it - the one time LG left it unchanged was between the G5 and V20 and we now have version 3. The specs are for the marketing team to work with but in the end, the V30's primary shooter takes great pictures with its 1/6 of a stop brighter lens than the competition.
The ultra wide-angle cam is still only found on LG phones while others are exploring telephoto/portrait/bokeh modes or black and white photography. Kudos to LG for further refining it, even though no one is actually competing with them on this one (a fact that at least one reviewer over here can't seem to grasp).
The OLED display reenters LG's phone lineup after last making an appearance on the G Flex2 some three years ago. So there, the V30 is staying true to LG. And even if the V30's screen isn't quite up there with Samsung's Super AMOLEDs, it's pretty close.
It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, our battery testing with the V30. Superb voice call endurance was followed by a merely average web browsing run. But then came video playback and the V30 properly blew us away. So, stick to video and you have a winner, throw in web browsing - not so much.
Back in the days of the V10 and V20, we'd say that top of this list should be the current Samsung Galaxy Note. Well, no, not with the V30. It's your choice of Galaxy S8 or S8+ mostly depending on where you stand on pocketability. The S8 proper will get you the most of that - its narrow body is the easiest to manage single-handedly. The S8+'s battery should last you the most if your usage leans towards web browsing. The V30 has two cameras on the back. The S8 is the most affordable, but give the V30 a couple of months, and it could get there.
You could, of course, opt for the G6 and that'll net you a similarly performing dual camera at a fraction of the price of a V30. Well, the G6's chipset isn't as powerful, and battery life is actually mostly worse, but you can't really beat the G6 in the bang for buck metric.
Or can you? There's always the OnePlus 5, which could potentially be as financially enticing as the G6, only it's got this year's Snapdragon and heaps of RAM. And the other dual-camera concept with the portrait mode - if you're on that side of the argument the OP5 is an easy sell.
Maybe not as affordable as the OP, but still cheaper than the V30, the HTC U11 has a lot going for it. Just one camera, but a pretty amazing one, BoomSound stereo speakers, a higher-res selfie cam. The U11's display isn't anywhere as FullVision as the V30's, battery life isn't as good overall, and the HTC's shiny back could be either a pro or a con, depending on your personal taste.
The Nokia 8 packs three 13MP cameras and it can even shoot 4K video with the front one. It can also take monochrome stills, while the V3 can do neither. The V30 has the ultra-wide-angle cam on its side, better protection against the elements, a lot more display in the same-sized body. Oh, and the Nokia is cheaper.
The LG V30 could have easily been a G6s or something - it's that close to an incremental upgrade to the G6 and that far away from the original V-series concept. But hey, it's LG regrouping at its best and the V30 has turned out so remarkably well. It's got the most important boxes checked (one of them double-checked in a unique way) and we can see people running to the stores. Maybe come Christmas though, if the launch price sounds steep.
We are basing this review on a pre-production V30 unit running non-final firmware. We've pointed this out wherever it may affect the phone's performance. Once we have the retail-grade firmware we'll duly update the relevant review sections.