LG is the perennial underachiever in the smartphone space, but you canâ€™t accuse the company of not trying to change things up in 2020.
It threw out the long-running G series and released the LG Velvet instead â€” a smartphone that sacrificed flagship power in favor of attractive pricing and style. The company also launched its Explorer Project line of innovative phones, with the LG Wing as a great example of a fresh approach to smartphone design.
Thatâ€™s not to say it didnâ€™t have familiar devices on offer either. The LG V60 delivered a super-charged flagship experience at a lower price than the likes of Samsung and Motorola. LG really had something for everyone in 2020 â€” at least when it came to premium devices. However, thereâ€™s still plenty of room to improve in 2021. Hereâ€™s what we want to see from LG in 2021.
1. Competitive budget phones
LGâ€™s high-end phones are usually solid propositions, but one of its biggest issues has been the generally lackluster offerings in the budget segment. Weâ€™ve seen a couple of solid offerings in the Q and K seriesâ€™, but these have been the exceptions to the rule.
LG still used the same low-powered MediaTek chips (e.g. A22 and P35) in the vast majority of its cheap phones in 2020, despite these chips launching two years ago. The phones also tend to sport 3,000mAh or 4,000mAh batteries and meager specs in other areas. This is especially galling when the likes of Samsung, Google, Xiaomi, and even Apple are delivering well-rounded, long-lasting budget phones.
There is hope though. LG will purportedly turn to ODMs to design and manufacture more of these budget phones in 2021. We could be in for some welcome improvements as a result. It wouldnâ€™t be the only major company taking this route either, as Samsung and Xiaomi reportedly turned to ODMs for some budget phones too.
2. World-class camera quality
Itâ€™s really difficult to buy a smartphone with poor image quality from a major brand these days. LG phones are no exception. They still generally deliver solid results. However, our reviewers all noted that the cameras on the Velvet, V60, and Wing varied from okay to good, rather than being great.
Related: The best Android camera phones you can buy
This has been a complaint for a while now, and itâ€™s still valid given that smartphones are the primary or sole photography platform for hundreds of millions of people. Maybe itâ€™s time for the company to launch a camera center akin to its update center?
LG did make some major photography strides in 2020, however. The LG Wing gained a neat pseudo-gimbal functionality. Weâ€™ve also seen LGâ€™s V60 form part of the first wave of devices with 8K recording support. Nevertheless, weâ€™d like to see a few more neat photo and video features come to future LG phones.
3. Step up the update game
LG has a reputation for being tardy at best when it comes to software updates for its phones. If it wasnâ€™t a case of South Korea getting updates well before other markets, it was a case of updates not arriving at all. It seems like the company has improved somewhat, but users still generally need to wait a while for updates to come to their phones.
Weâ€™d therefore like to see LG improve its update process, reducing the time it takes for updates to leave its home market and bringing updates to more devices. Samsung has also pledged to offer three generations of version updates, so weâ€™d love to see LG adopt this for some phones too.
4. Push the Explorer Project hard
The LG Wing was the first product coming out of the brandâ€™s Explorer Project â€” an initiative aimed to deliver unique smartphone designs. It certainly succeeded with the dual-screened, rotating Wing, dishing out a polished yet innovative experience.
We already know the company is working on a rollable phone â€” tipped for launch in early 2021 â€” as the next device in the Explorer Project. However, we really hope to see LG deliver more unique devices (perhaps even foldables) as part of this project and keep the momentum going into 2022. After all, Samsung might be the only other company offering unique, commercially available takes on the foldable smartphone.
5. Lean into that audio focus
LG has long been renowned for its audio credentials, sticking with the 3.5mm port while also offering quad DAC audio hardware and impressive audio recording capabilities. The company needs to push into this area even more, if anything, maintaining most of these features.
Read more: If you love the headphone jack, buy from LG
Weâ€™d also love to see LG pack the latest and greatest wireless audio codecs and Bluetooth support, while also expanding on its already great audio recording suite.
You tell us: What do you want to see from LG in 2021?
What would you most like to see from LG in 2021? Let us know by taking our poll below. You can also add your own wishes via the comments section.