The LG V20 is a safe, dependable upgrade, after the failure of modular G5 smartphone

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Image: brittany herbert/mashable

SEOUL, South Korea — With the Samsung Galaxy Note7’s untimely demise, fellow South Korean smartphone maker LG has an opportunity to slide its new flagship V20 into the gap in the market.

In its home country, where domestic brands tend to do better, that seems to be panning out. The country has reportedly sold 7,000 units daily, with sales doubled since the Note7 was discontinued.

But the U.S. is a different story, where LG faces many more international contenders such as the Google Pixel.

As LG rolls out the V20 to suppliers this week, it’s had to market its new phone differently from how it did back home when it launched a month ago. Marketing campaigns in Korea had focused on the V20’s hi-fi audio features, including directional audio recording for concerts and quad-DAC audio playback. 

But LG is betting Americans will be a lot more interested in content creation features to up their Instagram and Snapchat games — like focus peaking in the manual photo setting, two rear cameras for wide angle and portrait, steady-recording video and the multi-view to record with all three cameras at once.

A safe, sleek upgrade

In many ways, the V20 represents LG’s plans to go back to basics, to appeal to the market. Earlier this year, the much hyped modular G5 smartphone, bombed so hard it led to LG reshuffling its key execs.

So LG is pinning its hopes on the V20 to claw back positive brand perception and market share.

“Regardless of the G5’s results, we have been feeling the pressure in many ways…The V20 is going to be an important turning point for LG Mobile internally and externally,” Young-su Choi, the vice president who oversaw V20 product development, told Mashable during a factory tour.

The LG V20 disassembled.

The LG V20 disassembled.

Compared with the G5’s detachable parts, the high-end V20 is a safe, sleek upgrade to last year’s very rugged-looking V10. 

The seamless surfaces and full, nearly bezel-less screen show the clear attention to design to match the high-performance audio, photo and video improvements. That’s not to mention the Bang & Olufsen luxury earphones and that it’s the first phone to come with the battery-efficient, smarter Android Nougat operating system preinstalled.

“The most important value for a smartphone producer is the basic quality. That’s the only way to gain the trust of consumers,” says Choi.

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