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Hands on med LG V30s ThinQ: Artificial Intelligence

BARCELONA, ESP — At Mobile World Congress this year, LG introduced the V30S ThinQ, the new flagship for the company. The new handset builds upon the V30 launched in October, but has added features, such as the introduction of a version of AI, more memory, more storage, and new color options, but the outward design and most internal specifications stay the same. Some of the software-added functionality, such as AI, is expected to be backported to the original V30, but the new phones will still offer better specs.

Mid-Cycle Refresh

LG traditionally releases its V-series flagship smartphones in Fall/Autumn: the V10 was launched in September ’15, the V20 was introduced in October ’16 and the V30 was announced in October ’17. This approach makes a lot of sense as the company manages to roll out the best it has in terms of hardware and software just weeks before the holiday shopping season. But what if certain features (or even technologies) are not ready – delayed launches can hurt companies financially, so it is not an option unless you have a large loyal customer base that can wait, but even in this case missing Christmas season is not good.

Apparently, LG decided to refresh its V-series in the middle of the product cycle by adding a number of artificial intelligence / machine learning capabilities (which we understand were not ready last October), as well as expanding DRAM, storage, and new casing colors. Such a mid-cycle refresh is a rather controversial thing because it can somewhat devalue the recently released version that it is based off – no-one wants their shiny new device to no longer be the latest in such a short timespan.

Det vigtigste her er dog, at forskellene mellem LG V30 og LG V30S ThinQ er sandsynligvis ikke tilstrækkeligt signifikant nok til at forstyrre købere af det originale håndsæt, plus de AI- / ML-baserede evner vil efterhånden komme til V30 gennem softwareopdateringer.

Den nuværende produktlancering hjælper LG med at henlede opmærksomheden på sin Snapdragon 835-baserede smartphone og adskiller sig noget fra andre producenter af enheder baseret på samme SoC. Det gør bestemt ikke ondt, især i betragtning af den forestående Galaxy S9 / S9 + lancering.

LG V30S ThinQ et overblik

The LG V30S ThinQ features the same 6” OLED display as its immediate predecessor, and is based on the same Snapdragon 835 SoC as the V30. The new version essentially expands the models on offer – the new one comes with 6 GB of LPDDR4X RAM (up from 4 GB) as well as 128 GB or 256 GB of UFS 2.1 flash storage (up from 64 and 128 GB on the V30). In addition, the new smartphones come in new colors: the Moroccan Blue and the Platinum Grey. During the V30S ThinQ news conference that preceded its formal launch, LG noted that the structure of the phone (a metallic frame with two pieces of glass) enables the company to offer a vast amount of color options. For example, the company introduced a limited edition Raspberry Rose V30 for Valentines Day. Hardware differences between the LG V30S ThinQ and the LG V30 slutte her. Tid til at tale om software.

Earlier this year LG introduced its ThinQ brand, which seems to be a universal name for all of its artificial intelligence, machine learning and other “smart”-badged efforts across all of its product lines. LG’s ThinQ platform for smartphones currently includes AI Cam and QLens technologies for camera, LG’s Appliance Control for smart home as well as Voice AI/QVoice and Google Assistant for voice-based functions.

LG planlægger at udvide funktionen sæt af sin ThinQ platform, så enheder, der har den underliggende understøttede hardware, vil sandsynligvis arve de nyeste evner et eller andet sted langs linjen. Virksomheden er forpligtet til at udvide sin ThinQ platform med funktionalitet, enten udviklet internt eller licenseret fra tredjepart. For eksempel blev AI Cam-funktionen i V30S ThinQ udviklet og uddannet af firmaet kaldet EyeEm, with custom LG implementations over the top. Such an approach enables LG to quickly increase the number of features its devices support, but makes it harder for the company to make them work in concert. For example, if I picture snowy mountains in the morning and then ask to “recommend me a sunscreen” in the middle of the day, a proper AI would realize that I need a sunscreen for high altitudes, not for Mediterranean beaches, because it would analyze both my activity and location. LG fully realizes that making an AI work well is a long-term endeavor and that everything is on early stages today.

LG V-serien Smartphones
LG V30S ThinQLG V30LG V20
SoCSnapdragon 835
4x Kryo 280 @ 2.45 GHz
4x Kryo 280 @ 1.90 GHz
Adreno 540 @ 710 MHz
Snapdragon 820
2x Kryo @ 2.15GHz
2x Kryo @ 1.59GHz
Adreno 530 @ 624MHz
RAM6 GB LPDDR4X4GB LPDDR4X4GB LPDDR4
NAND128 GB (UFS 2.1) + microSD64GB (UFS 2.1) + microSD64GB (UFS 2.0)
+ microSD
256 GB til V30S +128GB for V30 +
Skærm6.0 inch 2880×1440 OLED6.0 inch 2880×1440 OLED5.7-tommer 2560 × 1440 IPS LCD
2.1-inch 160×1040 LCD (Secondary)
Mål151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm
156 gram
151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm
156 gram
159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6 mm
174 gram
ModemQualcomm X16 (integreret)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE
(Kategori 16 / 13)
Qualcomm X16 (integreret)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE
(Kategori 16 / 13)
Qualcomm X12 (integreret)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Kategori 12 / 13)
SIM-størrelsenanosimnanosimnanosim
Front kamera5MP, f / 1.95MP, f / 1.95MP, f / 1.9
Bageste kameraPrimær: 16MP, F1 / 6, Sony IMX351, Laser AF, PDAF, OIS, LED FlashPrimær: 16MP, F1 / 6, Sony IMX351, Laser AF, PDAF, OIS, LED FlashPrimær: 16MP, f / 1.8
Sony IMX298 Exmor RS
Laser AF, PDAF, OIS, LED flash
Vidvinkel:
13MP, f / 1.9
Vidvinkel:
13MP, f / 1.9
Bred vinkel: 8MP, f / 2.4,
Sony IMX219 Exmor R
Laser AF, PDAF, OIS, LED flash
Batteri3300 mAh
ikke-udskiftelige
WIreless Opladning
3300 mAh
ikke-udskiftelige
WIreless Opladning
3200 mAh (12.3 Wh)
udskiftelige
Connectivity802.11ac, BT 4.2, NFC, GPS / GNSS, DLNA, USB Type-C802.11ac, BT 4.2, NFC, GPS / GNSS, DLNA, USB Type-C802.11ac, BT 4.2, NFC, IRLED, GPS / GNSS, DLNA, USB 2.0 Type-C
Start OSAndroid
med LGUX
Android 7.1.2
med LGUX
Android 7
med LGUX 5.0

Vigtige nye funktioner

Ved lanceringen vil LG V30S ThinQ sende med fire vigtige ThinQ-brandede muligheder:

  • AI Cam genkender objekter i rammen og anbefaler passende optagefunktioner. Der er otte af dem lige nu: portræt, mad, kæledyr, landskab, by, blomst, solopgang og solnedgang.
  • Den QLens, der analyserer rammen og gør det muligt at udføre en visuel søgning eller en visuel shopping søgning. Sidstnævnte kapacitet blev først introduceret af Amazon med sine Fire smartphones tilbage i 2014; Firefly-teknologien skulle genkende over 100 millioner elementer, herunder film, tv-episoder og produkter (herunder vinetiketter), men Amazon har aldrig oplyst, om det har bidraget til at drive sit salg. Som en bonusfunktion kan QLens scanne QR-koder, hvilket eliminerer ethvert behov for en tredjeparts software til denne enkle operation.
  • Bright Mode for photos that measures ambient light and then uses an algorithm to “brighten images by a factor of two for better looking photos without the noise”.
  • The Voice AI (called QVoice in some of LG’s marketing documents) enables users to run apps and change settings using voice alone. Obviously, this will require support from Google and app developers because of security concerns, but enhanced voice controls could be an interesting feature.

Hands-On med LG V30S ThinQ

Following the LG V30S ThinQ-related news conference, LG handed us a pre-production sample of the smartphone to play with it and experience the new features. Just before we jump to the AI-/ML-enabled capabilities, it is worth noting that the Platinum Grey color of the smartphone looks impressively futuristic. The Corning Gorilla Glass 5 surface on the back of the phone does not make it look metallic (if that was the intention at all), but it certainly does not feel like plastic either. Think of it as of Apple’s Jet Black, only this one is grey and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 does not scratch that easily.

A particularly good thing about the AI Cam, QLens and the Bright Mode was the fact that they were easy to find and use. Many new features on some smartphones are hidden and therefore are not particularly easy to use, especially when in the go. This is not the case with the said capabilities — finding them is easy, their UI feels logical.

I et ekstremt mørkt rum fungerer Bright Mode temmelig godt, det tilføjer ikke støj (som lovet), men mange detaljer går tabt, hvilket er noget der sker med billeder i mørke forhold alligevel. Ved at huske på, at Bright Mode i de fleste tilfælde vil blive brugt til billeddannelse under forhold med dårlig belysning (ikke i absolut mørke), fjernelse af støj til en pris af nogle detaljeret tab virker som en rimelig afvejning.

AI Cam (scene detektion for kamera forudindstillinger) fungerer ret jævnt ud fra synsvinkel, men arbejder i øjeblikket på en ganske sjov måde: det genkender appelsinjuice som øl eller vin; indholdet af køleskabet ser ud som bad til det; en MacBook Pro-bærbar computer opfattes som tekst, et musikinstrument, teknologi og kun derefter som en computer; og Logitech Performance MX musen ses som en person eller et musikinstrument. Alt i alt forekommer det, at AI Cam-softwaren har brug for videreuddannelse, da det lige nu kun kan genkende en begrænset liste over objekter. I mellemtiden har vi en kort video.

QLens (detekterende objekter) kan gøre sit job, men det har også brug for forbedringer. Det kunne ikke genkende Logitech MX Master-musen med et meget karakteristisk udseende, men det indså, at det handlede om en sort mus, ikke et musikinstrument eller noget andet. Det indså også, at det blev vist en MacBook Pro notesbog, men i stedet for at tilbyde mig at købe en lignende enhed (MBP med TouchBar har et særpræg), tilbød jeg at købe nogle MacBook dele. Så selvom det forstod, at dette var en Apple bærbar computer, fik den ikke modellen rigtig, hvilket er afgørende for shopping. En lignende ting skete med sorte sko: det forstod at det handlede om sorte oxford sko, men kunne ikke genkende mærket eller modellen.

Husk at vi spillede med en preproduktionsprøve af LG V30S ThinQ, der var langt fra færdig: den havde flere appikoner på koreansk, for eksempel. Så selvom jeg kan bekræfte, at de nye funktioner virker, kan jeg ikke sige, at de fungerer som de skal. Den endelige hardware og software, der kommer på markedet i de kommende måneder, vil sandsynligvis udføre anderledes, og de ThinQ-badged-elementer vil blive opdateret over tid (forhåbentlig bliver disse funktioner opdateret i hele enhedens levetid).

LG did not announce MSRPs or exact launch dates for the V30S ThinQ at MWC. The only thing we know is that the smartphones will start emerging in the U.S. and South Korea “shortly” and their availability will gradually expand. In some countries LG will keep selling the V30 alongside the V30S ThinQ, in others the new model will replace the old one. As for prices, expect them to be comparable to the current V30 SKUs, but it all depends on markets and other factors.

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