Sunday, March 31, 2019

2019 Annual Headphone Shootout Part 1: The In-Ear Monitors

We have made it to March, and March Madness is well under way. Which means it’s time for our annual Headphone Shootout. We get some great products from excellent manufacturers every year, and this year is no different. This year we have products from 1More, Audio-Technica, Beyerdynamic, E-MU, JBL, Master Dynamic and Sennheiser. They will be divided into in the ear, and over the ear. We will start first with the IEM’s.  And for source unit my LG V40 ThinQ smartphone was used, which is well known for it’s high quality audio, using the Hi-Fi Quad DAC.

This years IEM’s have a fairly wide range of price points. Unlike March Madness, where they use seeds, here we go by price points. Like most of the basketball teams performing to how they were seeded, most headphones perform to their price point. But every so often you get a seed that performs better than they were expected to. The same can happen here, with the occasional headphones performing better than their price point.

The wireless models are getting more and more popular. We have a couple of those style of products included. While we have one present that is wired, and one that has both a wired and wireless option, most are wireless. The IEM models this year includes 1More Quad Driver IEM, Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT70BT, Beyerdynamics Xelento Wireless, JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash, and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. Let the shootout begin!

The Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT70BT is a wireless IEM designed for the active individual. Whether you are jogging, or playing basketball, they are designed for you. They wrap around your ears to securely hold them in place. They are also waterproof, so they are completely outdoor friendly! MSRP is a low $120.

Features and specs:

Type: Dynamic

Driver Diameter: 9 mm

Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

Sensitivity: 93 dB/mW

Impedance: 16 ohms

Battery: DC 3.7 V lithium polymer rechargeable battery

Battery Life: Up to 6 hours

Charging Time: Approx. 3 hours (for 0-100% charge)

Weight: 28.5 g (1.0 oz) without eartips

Accessories Included: Eartips (XS, S, M, L), Comply™ foam eartips (M) with SweatGuard™ technology, 30 cm (1') USB charging cable, hard carrying case

Type (Microphone): Condenser

Sensitivity (Microphone): -42 dB (1V/Pa at 1 kHz)

Frequency Response (Microphone): 50 – 8,000 Hz

Polar Pattern (Microphone): Omnidirectional

Communication System: Bluetooth Version 4.1

Output: Bluetooth Specification Power Class 2

Maximum Communication Range: Line of sight - approx. 10 m (33')

Compatible Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP

Support Codec: AAC, SBC

The Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT70BT came in a nice looking color printed box with photos and specs of the IEM. Opening the box revealed a well protected product held in place by custom molded plastic. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic with some rubber and a little metal in the wrap around frame. Quality of materials used, as well as the fit and finish was very good. Audio-Technica is known for making a quality product, even in their more economical products like this one. Also included was additional ear tips so you can get a good fit, a charging cord, and a soft zipper case with an interior pocket to hold the accessories.

When it came to using the product, I was very satisfied. And the design worked very well. I was able to get a good fit with the included tips. The bendable frame made sure I had a snug fit to keep the IEM in place. Pairing with the LG V40 ThinQ was very simple and easy. They even had decent Bluetooth range at 30-40 feet, depending if there are walls between you and your phone.

Next up is the 1More Quad Driver IEM. 1More is new to the scene, with the company only being in business for 5 years. Their business model is to provide quality sounding headphones with a huge bang for the buck. With an MSRP of only $169 for a hybrid quad driver IEM, I would say the business plan is working. The bang for the buck would be huge, as long as they sound good.

Features and specs:

Weight: 18.5 g

Cable Length: 1.25 m

In-line Remote Control and Microphone

Oxygen-Free Copper Wire

Plug: 3.5 mm Gold Plated

Frequency Range: 20-40,000 Hz

Impedance: 32 Ω

Sensitivity: 99 dB

Rated Power: 5 mW

The 1More Quad Drive IEM came in a premium color printed box with photos and specs of the IEM. Taking off the sleeve, was the box. Opening the box revealed a well protected IEM held in place by custom plastic molding. I was extremely impressed with the packaging! I have seen headphones at 3 times the price not have as impressive packaging as this. There were also slots for the ¼” Adapter, airplane adapter, clip and holder for the 8 different ear tips that are provided under the ear tips is a spot for the manuals. There was also the faux leather semi-hard case with magnetic closure. Equally impressive was the build quality. Materials used in the construction were metal and plastic. Quality of materials used was very good, as was the fit and finish.

I can definitely see where 1More is being extremely aggressive at following their business plan. The packaging is worthy of 3 times the price. The materials used and quality of construction is also very good. And you get a lot of high quality accessories. The only downside I see so far is the lack of detachable cables. Otherwise I see these selling for 2 times the price or more.

Now it’s time for the Under Armor True Wireless Flash by JBL. True Wireless Products are getting more and more popular. And they are becoming available for all different uses. These are designed for the active individual. Whether you are inside on your treadmill or jogging outside in the rain, JBL has you covered. With an MSRP of only $169, they are also a great value!

Features and specs:

General Specifications

Weight (g): 16

Weight (oz): 0.56

Ear tip material: Silicon

Bluetooth version: 4.2

Audio Specifications

Driver size (mm): 5.8

Number of drivers per ear: 1.0

Driver sensitivity at 1kHz/1mW (dB): 95dB

Impedance (ohms): 14.0

Control and Connection Specifications

Bluetooth profiles: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6

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Bluetooth frequency: 2.402GHz - 2.48GHz

Bluetooth transmitted modulation: GFSK, π/4DQPSK, 8DPSK


Dynamic frequency response range (Hz): 20Hz-22kHz

Battery Type: Lithium-ion polymer (3.7V,85*2mAh)

Charging time (hours from empty): 2.0

Speed Charging time (hours): 2.0

Talk time (hours): 5.0

Maximum music play time with ANC off (hours): 5+20

Play time (hours): 5.0

The box they came in was a premium color printed box with images and specs of the IEM. Opening the box revealed well protected IEM’s held in place by custom molded foam. Also secured in the foam was the charging case. Materials used in the construction of the IEM’s was mostly plastic with some metal and rubber tips that wrapped around the IEM. The charging case was mostly metal with a cloth wrist strap. Quality of materials used was very good, as was the fit and finish. Also included was the owner’s manual, charging cord and additional rubber tips.

I loved the design of the IEM’s. The rubber tip wrapped around the end of the IEM, and had a little rubber notch that stuck out, to help hold them in place in your ears. I also liked the design of the charging case. I love the way it does double duty. It holds the IEM’s but it also holds a built-in battery to charge them. The slots for the IEM’s are magnetic, so it also holds them in place while they are being charged. The LED is red while being charged, and turns off when fully charged. Turning them on and syncing to my LG V40 was very simple and fast. Bluetooth range was also very good at 30-40 feet, depending on if there are any walls between you and your smartphone.

Another company with a true wireless model is Sennheiser, with their Momentum True Wireless. Sennheiser has a long history of making excellent products. And the styling often tends to be on the elegant side. That elegant styling continues with the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless IEM. With an MSRP of $299, they are also priced good as well.

Features and specs:

Dimensions 78.6 x 45 x 35 mm (charging case)

Microphone MEMS

Bluetooth Version Bluetooth 5.0 compliant, class 1

Supported Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP

THD, total harmonic distortion <0 94db="" font="" khz="">

Ear coupling Ear Canal

Weight 69.8 g (earbuds and charging case), 13.2 g (both earbuds), 56.6 g (charging case)

Charging time Approx. 1.5 hrs

Microphone sensitivity 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz

Operating temperature 0 to +40°C

Power supply 5 V, 650 mA: USB charging via USB-C socket at charging case

Battery Specification Built-in Lithium rechargeable battery

Frequency range 5 Hz to 21 kHz (earbuds)

100 Hz to 10 kHz (microphone)

Sensitivity 107 dB SPL (1 kHz / 1 mW)

Speaker type Dynamic

Operating relative humidity 10 to 80%, non condensing

Battery time Up to 4 hrs (A2DP) with rechargeable batteries of the earbuds, Up to 12 hrs with rechargeable battery of the charging case

Water Protection Code IPX4, splash resistant (earbuds)

Type of Codec SBC, aptX™, aptX™ Low Latency, AAC

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless came in a nice looking color printed box, with photos of the IEM along with their features and specs. Opening the box showed a well protected product held in place by custom molded foam. There were 3 custom cut outs in the foam. 1 for each IEM, and then one for the charging case. I loved the elegant look of the cloth wrapped case. Materials used in the construction was mostly metal, plastic and some cloth. Quality of materials used as is the fit and finish is excellent.

I really like the design of the Momentum True Wireless. They have built-in mics for the Voice Assistance, and for phone calls. The touch control makes them simple to use. And I love the carry case which doubles as a charger. So once it’s time for a recharge, the case will give you 2 full charges. They also give you active noise cancellation. There’s even an app that will let you control the features as well as the sound. The Bluetooth range is also great at 40-55 feet, depending on if there are several walls between you and your phone.

Last but not least is the Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless. Beyerdyanmic has something special with their Tesla driver. They did a great job miniaturizing it for the Xelento in ear monitors. They sounded absolutely amazing, as you read in our headphone shootout last year. This year Beyerdynamic made them even better. They made them wireless! MSRP is $1199.

Features and specs:

Operating principle: Closed

Transmission Type: Wireless via Bluetooth®

Remote: Universal 3-button remote

Nominal impedance headphones: 16 ohms

Headphone frequency response: 8-48,000 Hz

Nominal sound pressure level: 110 dB (1 mW / 500 Hz)

Supported Bluetooth profiles: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP, GAVDP

Codecs: aptX™, aptX™ HD, AAC, SBC


The Xelento Wireless came in a great looking color printed box with photos and specs of the EIM. Opening the box revealed well protected IEM’s held in place by a foam sleeve. Underneath the foam sleeve were slots that held the semi hard case, wireless adapter, multiple sets of eartips, and clip. The ear tips came in multiple sizes both in comply and silicone. The hard carry case has a magnetic closure. Inside the case were held the charging cord, a set of filters, and standard cable with built in mic and controls. Materials used in the construction of the IEM’s was highly polished stainless steel. Quality of materials was excellent, as was the fit and finish. They could definitely pass as jewelry! The cables were also a high quality with a soft plastic covering. Every thing was of a high quality in materials and fit and finish. This is obviously Beyerdynamics at their finest, and it shows! Also included was the quick start guide.

I really like the entire design of the Beyerdynamics Xelento Wireless. The polished stainless steel looks amazing, more like chrome. You have both wired and wireless cables for any listening needs. The hard case even has an elastic band with a snap to hold your cable and charging cord securely in place, and custom plastic moldings to hold the IEM’s securely in place.

When it comes to delivering your music to your ears, The Beyerdynamics Xelento Wireless provides the best available. It all starts with the Tesla driver. They are designed for Hi-Res audio tracks, so you get the best sound. And thanks to the Xelento Wireless supporting Aptx HD, you can even enjoy your Hi-Res Audio Tracks wirelessly!

You know a manufacture is serious about providing you the best possible sound when they include Apt X HD, which is still hard to find support for in a product. But Beyerdynamic didn’t just stop there, they also included their Mosayc Sound Personalization, and M1Y App Control. Unfortunately as you get older, you will typically start to loose your hearing. Thanks to the included software app, you get your own hearing test. It tests your hearing with a set of test tones at different frequencies, to see which was you have a hard time hearing. It then boosts those frequencies so you can get a fuller sound. It’s a truly innovative product that no matter if you’re 22 or 82 is designed to help you get the most out of your music. The software was easy to set-up and use with the app that walks you thru the whole process.  The Bluetooth also works very well, giving you a range of 30-40 feet, depending on if there are walls between you and your phone.

Now it’s time for the listening, and we’ll start with Audio-Technica. Disturbed- Sound of Silence: Piano sounded natural, vocals had good texture, guitar was very crisp, violin had nice harmonics. Adele- Rolling In The Deep: Guitar was very crisp and clean, vocals smooth with great texture. Drums had very good impact and deep low-end extension, piano sounded natural. High hat was crisp and dynamic, as were the percussion. Junior Wells- Why Are People Like That: Bass had very nice depth, drums were very dynamic, cymbals were very crisp and piano sounded natural, harmonic was smooth, clean and very dynamic. Vocals had nice timbre and harmonics, sound stage was surprisingly big, overall a bit bright. Liquid Soul- Spam Sucker: Trumpets were really smooth and dynamic, drums, as well as the cymbals and high hat were really crisp and clean, kick drum had good impact, sax had really good harmonics and woodiness.

Next up is 1More. Disturbed- Sound of Silence: Piano sounded very natural, vocals had very good texture and timbre. Guitar was very crisp and clean. Violin was very smooth with very good harmonics. Tympani had nice impact, cymbals had very good details and dynamics. Adele- Rolling In the Deep: Guitar was very crisp with very good resolution, bass drums had very good impact, depth and played with ok authority. Piano was very natural. Vocals were silky smooth with much better than expected texture and timbre. Cymbals and high hat were also crisp and clean. Junior Wells- Why Are People Like That: Bass had really nice depth and played with ok authority. Drums had good dynamics and cymbals were very crisp. Harmonica was very dynamic and silky smooth. Piano sounded very natural. Vocals were smooth like honey with very good texture and timbre. Liquid Soul- Spam Sucker:Trumpets were really smooth and dynamic without being too brassy. Drums, cymbals and high hat were really crisp and clean with lots of resolution. Kick drum had decent impact ant depth. Sax had really good harmonics, texture and woodiness of the reed.

Now it’s time for the JBL’s. Disturbed- Sound of Silence: Piano sounded very natural, vocals had good texture, guitar was crisp. Violin had good harmonics, cymbals had nice details and dynamics. Adele- Rolling In the Deep: Guitar was very crisp and clean with good resolution. Kick drum had good impact and depth with very good authority. Cymbals and high hat were very crisp with very good resolution. Piano sounded very natural. Vocals had very good resolution to the texture and timbre. Imaging was quite good and they threw a nice sized soundstage. Junior Wells- Why Are People Like That: Bass had nice low end extension and played with authority, drums and cymbals were crisp and dynamic with very good resolution. Harmonica was very dynamic with excellent harmonics. Piano sounded very natural. Vocals were silky smooth with very good texture. Soundstage was quite big. Liquid Soul- Spam Sucker: Trumpets were smooth and dynamic without being too brassy. Drums cymbals, and high hat were really crisp and clean with good resolution. Kick drum had really good impact, low end extension and played with authority. Sax had very good dynamics, texture and woodiness of the reed.

Now it’s Sennheiser’s turn.  Disturbed- Sound of Silence: Piano sounded natural, vocals very smooth with very good texture and timbre, guitar was very crisp and clean. Violin was also vey smooth with nice low level harmonics, tympani had good impact and dynamics, soundstage was also quite big. Adele- Rolling In the Deep: Guitar was very crisp with very good resolution of the strings. Drum had very good impact, low end extension, and played with good authority. Cymbals were very crisp with excellent resolution. Piano sounded very natural. Vocals were smooth as honey, with excellent texture and harmonics, imaging was spot on with a large soundstage. Junior Wells- Why Are People Like That: Brass had very good resolution and played very deep and with a ton of authority. Drums and cymbals were extremely crisp with excellent dynamics. Harmonica was silky smooth with very good harmonics and dynamics. Vocals were silky smooth with very good resolution of the texture. Piano very natural. Liquid Soul- Spam Sucker: Trumpets were very smooth and dynamic without being too brassy. Drums, cymbals and high hat were really crisp and clean with very good resolution. Kick drum had punch and played with good depth and authority. Sax had very good harmonics, texture and woodiness of the reed.

Last but not least is Beyerdynamic. Disturbed- Sound of Silence: Piano sounded extremely natural, vocals were very smooth with excellent texture and timbre, guitar was very crisp and clean with excellent resolution, violin was also silky smooth with nice harmonics. Tympani had great impact and dynamics as did the cymbals. Adele- Rolling In the Deep: Guitar was extremely crisp and clean with excellent resolution of the strings. Kick drum had excellent punch and depth and played with authority. Piano was very natural. Cymbals and high hat were also very crisp. Junior Wells- Why Are People Like That: Bass had excellent depth and played with authority. Drums and cymbals were very crisp, clean. Piano sounded very natural. Harmonica was silky smooth with excellent harmonics and dynamics. Vocals had tons of resolution of the texture ad timbre. Soundstage was big and imaging was spot on. Liquid Soul- Spam Sucker: Trumpets were extremely smooth and dynamic without being too brassy. Drums, cymbals and high hat were crisp and clean with excellent resolution. Kick drum had real punch and played with really good low end extension and great authority. Sax had excellent harmonics, texture and resolution for the woodiness of the reed.

As far as the overall sound, the Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT70BT had a slightly bright sound signature, with good resolution for the price.  The 1More had a sound signature that was more on the slightly warm side.  The resolution was very good, especially for their price point.  The only downside was the bass performance that left me disappointed. Like watching your team miss the Final Four by a missed shot at the buzzer. Employing a hybrid design using a dynamic driver for the bass, it had depth but more reserved on the output.  The JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash was a surprise for its price point.  Its sound signature was more neutral and gave nice resolution and strong bass response, especially for its price.  Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless had the sophisticated sound I’ve come to expect from Sennheiser.  They threw a big soundstage with very nice imaging, and excellent resolution in its neutral sound signature.  You get excellent sound in a true wireless IEM.  Last but not least the Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless provides the sound that some only fantasize about.  Sound stage is wide and deep with spot on imaging.  The sound signature is also neutral, with loads of resolution and stunning looks to match its aural smorgasbord. 

To some things up, these are all great products.  No matter your budget, these all provide great sound for their price.  The biggest surprise was the JBL Under Armor True Wireless, giving much better sound than expected for their price point.  The 1More Quad Driver IEM also provided excellent sound for their price.  They just had bass output that was more reserved.  And all of the wireless models had the same Bluetooth range except for the Sennheisers, which managed to get about an extra 10-15 feet of range.  Based on their design, features, quality, and performance, the Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT70BT has earned out Value Award, and the 1More Quad Driver IEM has earned our Recommended Award.  The JBL Under Armor True Wireless and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless has earned our Highly Recommended Award, and the Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless has earned our Editor’s Choice Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their websites at,,,, and

Read more!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

LG V40 ThinQ Smartphone Review

It’s amazing how much a smartphone can do. Obviously, there’s calls, and texts, including video calls. They’re also great for photos, videos, checking and sending emails, playing games, and even music. They do so much, our phones tend to be our go to device. We can do everything with them. And every year they keep getting bigger, better, and faster. Which is the right one for you? Enter the LG V40 ThinQ.

While so many used to have a cellphone, camera, camcorder and music player, and even a PDA, now the current smartphone can replace them all! The new smartphones may not do all of those functions excellently, it does all of them at least very good. The big battle that everyone is trying to get better at is at photos and video. But what about audio?

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like music. And thanks to their increased storage capacity of internal storage, as well as the use of memory cards, you do not have to resort to just streaming services. You can even save your entire CD collection onto your phone, and turn it into the ultimate music player! And this is what really confuses me. Everyone enjoys their music. And we’ll spend $500, $700, even around $1000 on the new smartphone. But then go around and spend $20 or $50 on a pair of headphones at your neighborhood Walmart. For those of you that want to actually enjoy your music there are much better headphones available. Smartphones are also improving on that front as well. Sure AptX will give us CD quality sound, but there’s also hi-res audio now as well.

Hi-Res Audio is starting to go big. If you thought music sounded good on CD, you need to listen to Hi-Res audio. The sound quality is amazing. There are more and more headphones coming out that can handle it as well. But most smartphones aren’t built for excellent audio. That’s were the LG V40 ThinQ comes in. It is probably the most under-rated phone available, and it’s also one of the best smartphones available! It’s one of the few that are also designed for audio.

Features and specs:



 Standard Angle
 Super Wide-Angle
 2x Zoom Telephoto
 Field of View
 Maximum Aperture
 Sensor Size
 Sensor Pixel Size
 1.40 μm
 1.00 μm
 1.00 μm
 (up to)
 12 MP
 (4032 x 3024)
 16 MP
 (4656 x 3492)
 12 MP
 (4032 x 3024)

 Standard Angle
 Field of View
 Maximum Aperture
 Sensor Size
 Sensor Pixel Size
 1.12 μm
 1.12 μm
 (up to)
 8 MP
 (3264 x 2448)
 5 MP
 (2560 x 1920)

  • 16x Continuous Zoom - 2x optical zoom-in, 5x digital zoom-in, and 1.6x optical zoom-out, total 16x zoom from super wide-angle to telephoto zoom
  • OIS+ and EIS - capture sharp images quickly with less blur1
  • Dual PDAF - autofocus using dual PD pixel sensor (standard angle camera)1
  • Triple Shot - capture 3 shots (standard, wide, and tele) and create a short video with one touch
  • Triple Preview - press and hold a camera icon to see a live preview of the 3 rear lenses
  • Super Bright Camera - automatically activated in extreme low light to capture bright photos and video2
  • Manual Mode - adjust shutter speed, ISO, exposure, white balance, and more; save image as raw (DNG) and JPEG
  • Graphy 2.03 - select reference photos that automatically adjust Manual Mode settings
  • Food - adjusts white balance to improve appearance
  • AI Composition - recognizes up to 3 people and adjusts the picture composition based on photography’s rule of thirds
  • AI Cam - intelligently suggests the optimal effect and angle by automatically identifying what’s in the shot
  • Cine Shot - create partially animated GIFs by selecting specific areas to animate
  • Google® Lens - searches what you see and provides relevant online information; features QR code and real-time translator4
  • Backdrop - switch the background to a specific color or an image from the gallery
  • Portrait - bokeh effect blurs the background while keeping the subject in focus
  • 3D Light Effect - apply lighting effects on the background of selfies; options include Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono
  • Flash Jump-Cut - photos are taken every 3 seconds and saved as a GIF
  • Live Photo - record the action right before and after you take a photo
  • AR Sticker - personalize photos with a variety of pre-loaded stickers
  • Film Effect - choose from 17 preset filters
  • HDR - corrects backlighting with multiple exposure techniques
  • dual front cameras
  • My Avatar - take a picture of yourself to create a personalizable animated emoji2
  • AR Emoji - 3D graphic animals mimic your facial expressions
  • Makeup Pro - manually change the appearance of selfies by adjusting complexion, lip color, or enhancing eyes and eyelashes2
  • Auto Shot - take a selfie with automatic face detection2
  • Gesture Shot - take a selfie with a simple hand gesture2
  • Gesture Interval Shot - make a fist twice to take four selfies in a row2
  • Gesture View - automatically preview the image when bringing the phone close2
  • Selfie Light - screen illuminates for well-lit selfies2
  • Beauty Shot - softens facial features2
  • Quick Sharing - access sharing apps instantly after taking pictures and videos

1 Feature only available on standard rear camera.
2 Feature not available on Telephoto Zoom Lens.
3 App download required.
4 Google Lens not available on Dual Front Cameras for AT&T

  • 4K Video Recording at 60 FPS
  • Resolution: up to 3840 x 2160 pixels (1920 x 1080 default)
  • Steady Record - record smoother, clearer videos on the move with OIS+ and EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization)
  • HDR10 Video Recording - life-like footage with a wide spectrum of color that is rich, accurate, and high contrast
  • Point Zoom - zoom in on any selected area within the frame for more stability and control
  • Video Manual Mode* - adjust audio focus, manual focus, white balance, frame rates, and more
  • Cine Effect - choose from 16 different color grading presets for a cinematic look
  • Slo-mo - HD 240 FPS Slow Motion Video Recording
  • Time-Lapse Video - video where time appears to be moving faster
  • Video Studio* - merge up to 50 photos or videos; trim and add title/text, background music, and theme effect overlays
  •  Audio Tuned with Meridian
  • Boombox Speaker - inner resonance chamber along with top and bottom speakers provide greater sound levels for boosted bass
  • DTS:X Virtual Surround - deep 3D stereo audio experience1
  • 32-Bit Hi-Fi Quad Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) - produces crisp, full sound through wired headphones
  • Sound Preset - custom options to achieve different sound experiences
  • Digital Filter - Short, Sharp, or Slow options of Sound Filter characteristics in DAC
  • Super Far-Field Voice Recognition (FFVR) - improved voice recognition picks up commands better in noisy environments from up to 16' away2
  • Wind Noise Filter - minimize wind noise during video recording
  • RAM (Receiver as Mic) - 2 analog mics and the phone’s receiver improve sound clarity while recording in loud environments
  • HD Audio Recorder - choose between Normal, Concert, and Custom modes; record over a separate track
  • Hi-Fi Video Recorder - 2 high AOP mics record higher-quality sound3
  • Hi-Fi Streaming - MQA decoder enables high resolution audio to be packaged in a small size

1 Wired headphones or speakers required.
2 Ambient noise and room configuration may lessen operational distance and accuracy.
3 Available only in Manual Mode.


  • 6.4"* QHD+ OLED Display (3120 x 1440, including notch); 538 ppi
  • FullVision Display - 19.5:9 Aspect Ratio; 84.3% screen-to-body ratio
  • New Second Screen - choose to add a color fill to the status bar
  • Floating Bar - access app shortcuts and call notifications on a movable/collapsible toolbar
  • Always-On Display - time, date, and notifications appear on a sleeping screen
  • Palm Rejection - prevents accidental interactions on the touch screen

* Actual viewable area is less due to rounded corners and notch.

Design & Durability

  • Size: 6.25" (H) x 2.98" (W) x 0.31" (D), Weight: 5.96 oz.
  • Dedicated Google Assistant Key
  • IP68 Dust and Water Resistant1
  • Shock Resistant - MIL-STD-810G Tested2
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 - protection on front, back, and camera
  • Heat Pipe - absorbs and moves heat away from the processor to help minimize the risk of overheating

1 Tested under controlled laboratory conditions with a rating of IP68 under IEC standard 60529 (Water resistant up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes). If the product gets wet, use a clean, soft cloth to dry it thoroughly.
2 Compliant with a military standards test (MIL-STD-810G Method 516.6, Procedure IV “Transit Drop”). Device may not perform as tested in all conditions. Test performed in controlled environment. Do not attempt.


  • 4G LTE Network1
  • Mobile Hotspot2 - share a 4G LTE data connection with up to 8 wireless devices3
  • Bluetooth® Wireless Technology Version 5.0
  • Supported Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, DI, GAVDP, GOEP, HDP, HFP, HID, HSP, MAP, OPP, PAN, PBAP, SPP, HOGP, ScPP
  • Wi-Fi® Standards: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Wi-Fi Direct® - connect directly to devices
  • USB4 and Bluetooth Tethering2 - share your Internet connection
  • Android Beam (NFC) - share contacts, web pages, and more
  • Media Server - allow nearby devices to access content
  • Screen Sharing - wirelessly mirror device screen
  • MIDI Device - connect to musical instruments via USB4
  • HD Voice Capable5
  • MirrorLink® - connect to a MirrorLink-capable car to share your screen and apps
  • S-GPS, A-GPS, and Qualcomm® Service for Enhanced Location Accuracy

1 4G LTE Network not available everywhere.
2 Carrier service required. Product features subject to change. Features based on carrier program availability. Additional charges may apply.
3 Depends on network availability. Additional carrier charges may apply.
4 USB cable required (included).
5 HD Voice required on both caller and receiver devices.


  • Platform: Android™ 8.1 (Oreo)
  • User Interface: LG UX 7.1
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 845 up to 2.8 GHz x 4 + 1.7 GHz x 4 Octa-Core
  • Battery Capacity: 3,300 mAh Non-Removable
  • Charging: USB Type-C™ port; wireless charging1; Qualcomm Quick Charge™ 3.0
  • Internal Memory: 64GB (Usable memory varies by carrier)
  • microSD™: supports card up to 2 TB (cards sold separately)
  • RAM: 6 GB
  • Hearing Aids: Rated for M4, T3

The LG V40 came in an elegant looking black box. Opening the box revealed a well protected phone wrapped in plastic and held in place by custom paper box. The plastic wrapping showed some of the phone’s features. Sliding the phone out of the plastic protective wrap, showed a beautifully elegant black phone. It has an aluminum frame with glass wrapping both the front and back. While gorgeous to look at now, it’s also a fingerprint magnet. Quality of materials used was excellent, as was the fit and finish. This is LG’s flagship phone, and it shows! Also included are the guides, charging cable, wall adapter, some fairly basic earbuds, and a replacement ear tip for the earbuds, as well as a small tool to access the sim card tray. Now it’s time to get it charged.

This is an android device. We won’t be covering all of the details of Android, or the Oreo 8.1 OS that it uses. Although I was a little disappointed that it didn’t come already loaded with Pie 9.0, as Pie was released before the phone was. Walking through the setup was extremely easy. And downloading the LG Mobile Switch app made it very easy to get all of my info from my LG V20 to the LG V40. The app also worked great back when I got my info from my old HTC phone onto the V20. Now that it’s setup, it’s time to put it through the paces.

We’ll start with the display. The LG V40’s P-OLED display is nothing short of breath taking! And while it is huge at 6.4 inches, it does not seem huge. I also like the way it goes all the way to the top, and wraps under the front camera lenses and speaker. Colors really pop with excellent resolution and are well saturated. Contrast is also excellent, and thanks to the high resolution the images are also really sharp! Whites are bright, and blacks are deep and inky black. And whether you are looking at photos or videos, they all look amazing. I liked the 2nd small display at the top of the V20, and am glad to see it is used on the V40, at the very top on each side of the lenses to display notifications for time, email, texts, temperature, wi-fi and signal strength. The always on feature is nice. The screen goes completely black, adjust displays the time, date, notifications, temperature and battery life. The LG V40 ThinQ is a top of the line phone, and the internals also match up to this level of product. It comes with the quality top tier Snapdragon 845, Adreno 630 GPU, 6GB of RAM and 64 GB of memory, as well as an SD card slot. That means you will have the power for all of the apps you use. Whether it’s games you play or music you listen to on your daily commute or documents you may need to access and work on for work, there is plenty of computing power at your fingertips.

When I think of a smartphone, I initially think of talking and texting. But there is also surfing online, playing games, listening to music, as well as taking pictures and recording video. The LG V40 ThinQ does it all extremely well. Calls come in crystal clear, and those who I spoke to heard me crystal clear as well. Text messages were very responsive. All my favorite time passing games also played very well with excellent visuals, responsiveness, and great sound. And when I wanted to turn to YouTube and didn’t have any headphones with me, the built-in speaker played sufficiently loud, and sounded good for a smartphone speaker. There’s an internal cavity to improve bass responses and it did help. Holding the phone I could feel the improved bass as the phone had a little resonance to it. Listening with headphones, my music sounded extremely good. When it came time to use the camera for pictures and video, I was even more impressed.

To me, it’s a little funny how much weight we put on the quality of photos out of our phones. After all, it’s not like it’s a DSLR with a larger sensor and a bunch of glass in the lens. Yet manufacturers have been working hard to improve the quality of the photos and videos. LG has had great success with the V40.

For me, the use of 5 cameras is awesome! You get 3 main cameras; 1 for regular shots, 1 telephoto lens, and 1 wide angle lens. On the front you get 2 cameras for your selfies; 1 regular lens, and 1 wide angle lens. And to bring it all together, they provided a great app that is easy to use! Moving around among the settings and various modes was easy, even for a beginner.

In the main camera page, you have buttons for what will probably be used the most. There is AI Cam, Triple shot, portrait, and google lens. AI Cam did everything for you, and worked very well. Triple shot is just what it sounds like. It takes a pic with each lens, so you get a photo using regular, telephoto and wide angle. Portrait is for when individuals are in the photo. Google Lens is for finding that item or a similar item, so you can buy it online. It is cool in theory, but was hit and miss. Mostly it was a miss. On the bottom of the app are a record button for video and a shutter button for photos. On the side are buttons for telephoto, regular, and wide angle, so you can select the camera lens you want to use. On the top of the app are buttons for setting, mode, colors, switching from back to front cameras, and button to turn off the flash.

Going to the main page. There are options for camera and camcorder. Some of the modes were kinda cool, and fairly self explanatory, like slo-mo and penta shot. Manual modes were pretty cool for both photos and video. For camera, it showed the 9 AF points in the center. At the bottom it showed the graph, WB, Focus, EV, ISO, and Shutter Speed. You could also tap on each of those items and make manual adjustments. For video mode, you had the same buttons on the bottom of the page to make manual adjustments. But instead of the graph, it showed you the quality setting as well as left and right channels to show real time audio levels for the hi-fi stereo sound. There was also a hi-fi button to make adjustments to the audio. Making adjustments was all very easy to do!

Analyzing the photos, I was impressed with the quality. I saw no readily apparent negatives, such as vignetting or barrel distortions. LG did a good job on the lenses. The colors seemed very natural and correctly saturated with good detail. And even in difficult low light settings, it did better than expected with a well useable image.

For video, I’ve always had a hard time with concerts. So I thought I’d see how well it would do with my daughter’s play. The lighting for the junior high schools equipment gave for a good challenge. The HDR definitely helped. But being able to easily go and make brightness adjustments on the fly was even better! I was also impressed with the quality of the audio! You don’t always have great environments when you want to take photos and videos. But the easiness to make quick adjustments made for made for easily usable photos and videos in most lighting conditions. I can’t help but to quote Vader: “Impressive…Most impressive!” It has me more excited and wanting to take photos and video with this phone, then I ever have been with any other phone.

Now it’s time for what has me the most excited on this phone. The audio features. Users of quality wired headphones can rise and shout hallelujah! Not only does the LG V40 ThinQ still have a headphone jack, it also has a quad 32-bit DAC! Going into the phone settings, you can access the sound quality and effects settings. Here you can change volume (if hard buttons stop working) and access the equalizer, which has 13 different sound curves to choose from.

In these Sound Quality and effects setting, you can also access and turn on and off the DTS:X3D Sound and the hi-fi Quad DAC. The DTS:X is pretty cool and gives you a bit of a 3D sound with a few different effects of wide, front, and side to side. But what I love is the hi-fi Quad DAC! It amplifies the sound, and more importantly makes your headphones sound much better! With the Hi-Fi Quad DAC engaged, you also have access to a few sound presets, a few digital filters, as well as the ability to adjust the balance of your headphones.

The Hi-Fi Quad DAC is also not a gimmick. It not only works, it works extremely well! Audiophiles will rejoice. I turned to some of my favorite tracks and every single one sounded amazing. Using my reference Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro’s, I was actually a little taken back after hearing some nuances and details that I hadn’t picked up on before! Use some good quality headphones and thanks to the hi-fi Quad DAC, the LG V40 will let you hear things in your music you may not have heard or noticed before! Highs were crisp and clean and not overly bright.  Mids were smooth with excellent harmonics.  Bass had great extension and punch and played with authority.  In all I would say the sound provided was very transparent to the source, with excellent resolution to hear all of the aural bliss you are used to hearing with your music, only better!!  I ended up getting lost in my music, in a listening session that ended up going on for a lot longer than I had planned. And that’s probably the biggest compliment I could give.

Looking back, LG has hit the ball out of the park with the LG V40. With the improvements to phones year after year with manufacturers, it can be hard for some to catch up, or stay ahead of the curve. Some like Samsung, have excellent products themselves. Hi-Res Audio is gaining more and more ground, and gaining in popularity. With the LG V40, Audiophiles have an all in one device. And it also makes non-high res files sound better. After all, if you’re going to listen to your music, enjoy it! With the LG V40, you definitely will!! And LG may just have more market share coming their way thanks to the V40. And if you don’t like wires for your headphones but still want to enjoy hi-res audio, the LG V40 has you covered there as well, with aptX HD compatibility. I was also surprised at some manufacturers not having aptX HD compatibility in their new phones.  At least LG is making audio a priority.

LG has a real winner here with their LG V40 ThinQ. It is very well built, and feels very solid in hand. The finish of the glass and edges are excellent. The screen is gorgeous, and has the power to handle what you throw at it. The cameras also perform great, and sound quality is top rated for what is available for phones. If the LG V40 isn’t on your short list for phones to checkout, it should be. Based on it’s design, features, quality and performance, the LG V40 ThinQ has earned our Editor’s Choice award. For more info and specs, check out their website at

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