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A closer look at V50 ThinQ, the first 5G phone from LG

The V50 is a big, ultra-luxe phone that can connect to the next generation of cellular technology.

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LG V50 ThinQ

As LG and Sprint's first 5G phone, the LG V50 ThinQ costs $1,152 and is available now. While overall it's a great device, it's expensive and national 5G coverage is sparse. In addition to its outright cost, you'll have to enrol in Sprint's Premium Unlimited Plan to access 5G that starts at $90 a month.

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LG V50 ThinQ

Earlier in May, I got the chance to test out Sprint's 5G speeds in Dallas. While data speeds didn't peak as high as what we saw in Chicago with Verizon on the Galaxy S10 5G, I was still able to download a whole season of a show in less than five minutes, speeds topped at over 400 Mbps and coverage was more reliable than Verizon. For more details, read CNET's Verizon 5G vs. Sprint comparison

3 of 12 Angela Lang/CNET

LG V50 ThinQ

The phone features a huge 6.4-inch OLED display, which is great for viewing photos and videos. It has an onscreen notch that houses the phone's two front-facing cameras. You can hide the notch if you choose to as well.

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LG V50 ThinQ

A closer look at the phone's front-facing 8-megapixel standard camera and its 5-megapixel wide-angle lens.  

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LG V50 ThinQ

Wired headphone owners will be happy to hear that the phone has a headphone jack -- a pretty rare thing these days in high-end phones.  

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LG V50 ThinQ

The V50 has a quick-launch Google Assistant button near the volume rocker. Long press it and you can start speaking directly to Assistant. It doesn't look like you can remap this button, which is a drag. You can only toggle it on and off.  

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LG V50 ThinQ

The V50 is rated IP68 for water resistance, meaning it can survive at least one meter (about three feet) underwater for 30 minutes. I dunked the phone in a 5 gallon bucket of water for 28 minutes and didn't have any issues.

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LG V50 ThinQ

On the back of the V50 is a 12-megapixel standard camera, a 16-megapixel wide-angle shooter and a 12-megapixel telephoto. It's a similar setup to many premium devices, like the Galaxy S10 Plus and OnePlus 7 Pro.   

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LG V50 ThinQ

Anecdotally, the V50's battery lasted more than a workday with heavy usage. When I started testing the phone's 5G speeds back in Dallas, the phone started at 82% at 1:00 p.m. By 4:39 p.m., when I finished data tests, the phone was at 32%.  

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LG V50 ThinQ

During our lab tests for continuous video playback on Airplane mode, the V50 lasted 17 hours and 49 minutes, which is a great run and it's longer than the OnePlus 7 Pro, which clocked in 15 hours and 50 minutes. Neither phone could outlast the Galaxy S10 Plus, which clocked in an impressive 21 hours.

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LG V50 ThinQ

The V50 has a Snapdragon 855 chipset, which is the same used in the Galaxy S10 Plus and the OnePlus 7 Pro. Benchmark tests were pretty much comparable across the three phones, though the V50 did manage to beat the S10 Plus by just a hair on all the four benchmarks I ran.   

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LG V50 ThinQ

If you don't currently have 5G coverage from your provider, hold off on and pick a less expensive phone -- consider the OnePlus 7 Pro, Galaxy S10E or even the LG G8. Even if you do live in a 5G area or will get 5G in the near future, I still think you should skip it. 5G is still in its early stages, and coverage isn't as widespread or reliable as it will (hopefully) be in the next year. Unless you have a big budget and want to be on the absolute bleeding edge of network technology, investing in such a pricey 5G phone now is just not worth it.

For more information, read CNET's LG V50 ThinQ review.

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