Review: LG K20 V for Verizon Wireless
The LG K20 V is one of the least expensive Android smartphones available from Verizon Wireless. This low-cost handset features basics such as a 5.3-inch 720p screen and entry-level Snapdragon 435 processor from Qualcomm. Things that set it apart include a good fingerprint reader and excellent battery life. A few things, however, manage to hold this phone back. Here is Phone Scoop's in-depth review.
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Is It Your Type?
The K20 V from LG is an inexpensive Android handset sold by Verizon Wireless. If you're a Big Red subscriber, the K20 V makes sense for those who prefer a simple, bread-and-butter experience or are perhaps buying their first smartphone.
The K20 V is essentially the same as the “K20 plus” sold by T-Mobile and MetroPCS. The radio frequency bands are different to match the T-Mobile network, and it has more storage, but it's otherwise the same phone. While we didn't test that version here and performance could differ slightly, 95% of this review should apply if you're considering the K20 plus.
LG did what it could to dress up the K20 V, which falls close to the bottom of Korean phone maker's lineup of smartphones. It wasn't entirely successful. The phone relies on a mix of materials, colors, and textures to define its personality, but there's no escaping the phone's status as a budget-friendly bore.
The generic curves do nothing to help the phone stand out. It could be any phone from a distance of more than a few feet. The rear panel is straight out of 2012 and gives me a case of the shudders. And yet LG found a way to inject at least some individuality into the K20 V's appearance. The front relies on 2.5D curved glass and LG rimmed the panel with bronze-colored trim. Bronze is rare for phones; phone designers typically dress up their devices with accents that lean closer to chrome or gold. The bronze alone salvages the K20 V's looks as far as I am concerned.
With a 5.3-inch screen, the phone is what I'd call average in size. I'm glad it measures less than 6 inches tall and less than 3 inches wide. This means it fits in your hand comfortably. The slim 7.9mm profile helps the phone find its way into jeans pockets without much trouble.
LG did a fine job selecting the K20 V's materials and assembling them. I'm very pleased with the quality of the curved glass on front. It's glued into a thin plastic frame. The bronze trim circles the entire outer edge of the phone and also acts as a secondary frame of sorts to separate the front and rear halves. The removable plastic rear panel affixes to the bronze frame on back. All these pieces are assembled tightly. I didn't see any odd gaps, and the materials all feel good for this price point.
The K20 V's front face is nearly all black. The display hides within the frame well, meaning the really thick bezels are more or less invisible when the screen is off. LG certainly could have cut down the bezels a bit, but that likely would have drive up the phone's cost. The earpiece speaker is the most noticeable aspect of the phone's forehead thanks to the bronze-colored metal grille. LG's logo is painted on in chrome (what, no bronze?) under the display. There are no physical buttons (LG uses on-screen controls), so the glass is uninterrupted from top to bottom.
Like many LG handsets, the K20 V relies on a rear-mounted screen lock / power button. This arrangement takes some getting use to, but generally works out well. One of the K20 V's primary improvements over last year's K10 is the addition of the fingerprint reader, which doubles as the lock button. The round key is indented, making it simple to find without looking. Travel and feedback are good.
I appreciate the bronze accent that helps the camera module stand out visually. The module itself is raised just a bit so it's easier to differentiate from the fingerprint reader below, but I still managed to mar the lens with fingerprints.
The rear panel itself is a flat, textured affair made of black plastic. Both Verizon's and LG's logos are painted on. The panel can be pried off thanks to a small notch buried in the side edge of the phone. I wish the plastic weren't quite so flimsy. Believe it or not, the K20 V's battery is removable. (It's becoming harder and harder to find phones that include removable batteries.) The slots for the microSD and SIM cards are stacked atop one another. You may swap memory cards while the battery remains in place.
You'll find the volume toggle on the left edge. It's a small button, but the profile is good enough that you'll have no problem finding it. Travel and feedback are a bit weak. The microUSB port and 3.5mm headset jack are on the bottom.
It's worth noting that the LG K20 V is not rugged, nor is it water-resistant.
This Android phone offers well-made hardware considering the cost, and yet I wish it had just a bit more visual pizzazz.
The K20 V has a 5.3-inch 720p HD LCD screen adorning its face. The size/resolution combo isn't the best; I was able to spot individual pixels with ease when holding the phone close to my eyes. I wish the pixels were packed in more densely. You'll be fine when doing most things with the phone, but video is definitely not as rich as it could be. Virtual reality applications are out of the question.
The LCD panel does put out plenty of light. I was able to read the screen indoors and out, and reflectivity is kept to a minimum. Viewing angles are quite impressive. But overall, the screen matches the phone's low-cost trappings.
The K20 V performed on par with other devices I've tested on Verizon's network. The phone always held onto LTE 4G in my neck of the woods, even under the worst network conditions. The K20 V was consistently able to make and receive calls, and didn't drop any during my tests. Data speeds are acceptable for most tasks, but I'd be happier if they were a bit faster. You won't have trouble browsing the web, shopping for apps, or playing games, but network-intense activities like streaming media were not as smooth as I'd like them to be.
LG assembled a fine voice phone in the K20 V. Voice calls sound perfectly clear via the earpiece with no audible distortion even at the highest volumes. Voices come through the earpiece a bit sharp, but otherwise pleasing. I was able to hear calls at home, in moving cars, and busy coffee shops without issue. (Keep in mind, these were all standard calls over Verizon's legacy voice network. The K20 V supports VoLTE with HD Voice, too, though we were unable to test it.) People I spoke to through the K20 V said I sounded great.
The speakerphone does an equally good job. Conversations are loud and clear whether you're in the office, the car, or out and about.
Ringers and alerts were loud enough to get my attention most of the time. The vibrate alert could be a bit stronger.
If you take the time to remove the rear cover, you'll see the 2,800 mAh battery that LG bestowed upon the K20 V. The battery is more than a match for the phone. Not only did the K20 V push from breakfast to bedtime on a single charge, it did so with plenty power left at the end of the day. I had total confidence when using the K20 V, knowing I needn't worry about running low on power.
The phone doesn't support rapid nor wireless charging.
Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, WiFi
The K20 V's secondary radios all functioned properly. Bluetooth was painless to use. I made several calls via my car's hands-free system and they sounded pretty good. Music had a full, balanced sound when passed through a good pair of Bluetooth headphones. The phone had no issue connecting to other phones, accessories, and PCs for swapping files and such.
Google Maps and the K20 V's GPS radio worked well. The phone consistently located me within a few seconds and was accurate to about 20 feet. Real-time navigation between points worked very well.
The WiFi performed admirably. The phone doesn't have NFC.
Hands on with LG's Updated K10
LG updated its K-series phones this week, refreshing its more affordable Android lineup with improved specs and features. The K10 — the new K10, that is — adds a fingerprint sensor and spruces up the design.
T-Mobile's LG K20 Plus Packs Better Specs
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LG K20 V Hits Verizon Today for $170
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Verizon Wireless today added the low-cost LG K20 V to its lineup of Android smartphones. The K20 V features a metal frame and rear-mounted fingerprint reader for security.
LG Reveals Mid-Range K Series Ahead of CES
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