The LG V20: you might ask why someone who claims to be a power user is using a 3+ yr old phone. In this review, I will tell you why.
7/27/20 I have moved on. Unfortunately, I haven’t kept this guide up to date for the past few months life has been very hectic. I have recently moved To a Redmi Note 9 Pro as my daily driver, mainly due to the overheating of my V20.I still use my V20’s as my main media consumption device but haven’t put very much time into modding it as of late. I would like to thank this great community and apologize if I offended anyone during my stay. I’m also sorry that this article has become so convoluted over time if I can clarify or help in any way feel free to dm me or email me [email protected].
FYI STAY ON NOUGAT AS OF 3/31/20
CHECK OUT SECOND SCREEN STATUS BAR.
Why The V20
After finding the LG g5 to be a pretty terrible phone compared to its competitors, I was looking for a replacement. I had, what would seem to be, a pretty reasonable list of stuff I wanted in a phone.
- Headphone Jack
- Removable Battery
- OLED Screen
- High-End SOC
- USB C
- Non-Curved Screen
The funny thing was that the Samsung Galaxy S5 fulfilled all these requirements (except for USB C, which wasnt around yet) including waterproofing. All phones after the S5 come only with 6 of the 7 requirements listed. But, I digress.
So I bought the v20 for 185 USD and then got a case and two batteries for a grand total of 215 USD.
Before I even get started into the specifics of this phone please keep in mind you have to root this phone. This phone without root is mediocre at best, though with root it is my ideal phone. Hundreds of hours and one bricked phone later, I’m gonna try to advise you on the best way to set up this phone, but remember, this is a tinkerer’s phone, not a set it and forget it. Sorta like iOS is to Android, this is to a more mainstream S7 etc.
Let’s go through the main hardware with a quick overview of each point.
The first thing you’ll notice when you play with this phone is the screens. Yes, that notch in the top right corner isn’t a notch in the typical sense. This phone has two separate LCD panels. There is the main 5.7-inch panel and a secondary ticker display in which different things can be put up, (even a status bar). The notch has the front-facing camera and proximity sensors.
After that you will see a headphone jack which has a separate Hi-Fi DAC, including a high impedance mode which on stock enables automatically, if necessary. (With root you can force it).
USB Type C
On the rear side of the phone, you have a dual-camera setup which is great when shot in manual and great in Auto with Gcam. (Stock auto is terrible!)
There is also a dual flash setup which also gives you a flashlight that is way brighter than other phones.
The backing of this phone is the thin, yet super strong (5000 aircraft grade aluminum )backing which allows a removable battery. You will also find your sim and MicroSD card slot near the battery.
So how does this phone actually feel? Quite honestly, build is fine and the metal-based phone is super refreshing. I don’t like phones with glass on both sides. IMO glass is the dumbest material to put on the back of a phone as it’s super prone to shatter. Putting it on the other half as well would just give me more to worry about. You may ask how thin this phone is, but it doesn’t really matter. You’re putting it into a case! Who are you kidding??!! It is thin enough!
Lg’s current design of putting the power and fingerprint reader in one button is my favorite feature. Yes, the downside of having to pick up your phone to fingerprint unlock is a drag but having it on the back is so much more natural, not to mention, a real space saver. The other complaint I see is that you now also have to pick up your phone to turn it on to see notifications etc. That’s completely negated by phones such as this one, with the always-on displays, because the second screen or double tap to wake which this has stock without root. That’s why I believe it to be the best way to do power buttons and fingerprint readers
The volume buttons are metal rocker design and feel great.
The phone is large and unwieldy being that it’s using a regular 16:9 aspect ratio but you should be aware of that before getting into this.
The camera glass is prone to shattering and is probably the weakest part, in terms of durability. Luckily, it’s cheap and super simple to replace so its a non-issue in my opinion. Here is a link for it on Amazon.
Before you start, I recommend you first do a test to see if you need to do the hardware thermal paste mod using this You should be getting somewhere around 75,000 average, after ten minutes. Please do this in airplane mode. If not, then repaste.
In case you don’t know, thermal paste is the toothpaste- like concoction that you put in between the CPU and the heat sink of any computer. The better the compound is as well as the manner in which it is applied, the more efficiently the heat will transfer from the processor. This will enhance the clock speed of the processor and sustain it for a longer period of time, which ultimately leads to better performance.
LG’s stock thermal paste application is usually terrible, so what you want to do is test out the phone for thermal throttling by using this app. If your phone has a range like this you want to replace the thermal paste. Most people are recommending a pad like this (which is .5 mm) and just watching a youtube video.
Please note Stock Rom Software Mods not Los or Aosp
I’m personally sticking with stock-based ROMs, although people have had good experiences with using Los and resurrection remix. I urge you to go look at those forums. It seems like performance and battery are slightly better but the overall experience is much better with a stock rom.
(The reason why stock rom is a better experience is because all the features work properly. Stock camera, Dac,second screen etc. These vary in support on Los.)
So Roms, it’s pretty simple to root your phone with Dirty Santa or Laf depending on your phone. Be sure to use the latest stock-based
oreo Nougat rom for your phone from XDA. OREO IS NO LONGER RECOMMENDED SEE HERE And the MK BTTF OC kernel.
Upon further review, all variants perform similarly
I would like to mention that for myself on the h910 which is the att variant, the kernel seems to have a lot fewer performance issues than other models. You should note that even on the h910 there is some scrolling lag. I haven’t had an issue with it especially since in general I don’t find androids scrolling animation of performance to be on par with either Windows or iOS. So it’s a good thing to keep in mind all of my reviews is based on the h910 and for some reason, LG’s variants have a lot of performance variations. Again YMMV since I don’t have another variant to test with. I recommend this modded version of the main stock based kernel which is mk2000. It is based on his latest version with some improvements.
After you have your rom installed, here are the mods you should use.
In a kernel manager of your choice set the colors to one of these.
In Developer Options
Turn OFF automatic system updates
Force GPU on 2d
Force allow resizing apps
Congrats, very nice and detailed review. I changed from a G4 to the V20 and was quite shocked at the JPEG image quality degradation – too much noise reduction going on.
Regarding the modded camera libraries, do they work on Oreo?
Thanks and keep up the good work!
Thanks for the kind words.
Unfortunately, they aren’t yet available for oreo, but they will be coming soon according to the dev. I will be updating the article as time goes on.
I came to the v20 after my v10 died last week.. Yes, everyone thinks I’m nuts, but can see spending $900+ when the v20 seems to have what I want. Removable battery was top of my list. Great review for the revival of the v20. Thanks for the info, I enjoyed the links to all yhe root stuff etc. I always glaze over when ivisit XDA and I’ve avoided rooting right away but may have to now. Hope the camera extensions for Oreo gets updated soon!
Hey man sounds good,im sticking with the v20 for a while as well.
Glad my review could help.
If I can help you with anything feel free to “shout at me”.
Thank you so much for the detailed review!
I am getting my friend old V20 soon (he likes to upgrade often, I like to take my friends “old” phones) and wanted to see how easy it is to root.
I have never done so many mods to a phone – most I did was root, maybe different kernel when needed and custom ROM.
Is it easy to do all the mods you write about?
Are there any points I might brick my phone I should be careful about?
Hey dude sorry for the delay been crazy busy.
So with the v20 like most phones your gonna have to find what the exact variant is. Once you have that info you can go ahead and look on xda for instructions to get root. Unfortunately, most of the methods to root the v20 are somewhat complicated and this is the part you have to be super super careful. So a lot of these mods are magisk modules which is the current recommend root method. With magisk modules If you install one it will usually work but if it doesn’t and you go into a boot loop u can uninstall magisk modules withing twrp. Xposed is a little more complicated and you have to be more careful with its mods but there are way to remove those as well. Really the parts u should be most worried about is the root process to get twrp as well as making sure if it’s a variant-specific thing like a kernel that you flash the correct variant. Let me know if that helps. If you want me and a few others with v20s are super active on telegram and we can guide u through.
As you can see @ xda I have been inspired by your blog. Thank you so much. Bring a hifi nerd I intend to keep this phone as long as possible and I try out most of your recommendations. I have never got greenify to work properly though, it ends up taking more battery than it gives. I don’t yet know what i am doing wrong.
Hey most people seem to have that experience I for some reason haven’t,are you using it with the xposed module though?If its not working for you just skip it. Again trying the best I can but not everything will work for everyone. Also I really appreciate the coffees it means a lot. If i can help any further feel free to comment here or shoot me an email from the contact page or the xda thread or telegram.Also as a hifi guy how do you like the jamesdsp I love it though poweramp is still super awesome for flacs. I use jamesdsp when streaming,hbu?
Did you flash ainur sauron/narsil? seems you use jamesdsp. I have big issue when using ainur sauron, hifi mode not processing at some audio files even it both mp3 and hi-res even some files is ok.
I only use the jamesdsp module. Have you tried installing both audio modification library and audio compatibility library modules in conjunction with ainur sauron?
Yes, I did it and still doesn’t work. I also tried 60ohms both earphone and headphone then sounds gonna weird. crackling and hissing.
So I just copying modded mixer_paths_tasha.xml from ainur sauron and uninstall that modul
Awesome, thanks for the blog again u/aygross1929 ! A few questions:
1. Which extended battery are you testing? How long have you tested it for, and what’s the SOT / accubattery estimate of its capacity?
2. Any guidance on RR vs LineageOS vs Alpha Omega? I’m looking to go for a custom ROM for better smoothness and battery life, but don’t want to sacrifice on the special features like the stock style second screen, DAC, LG camera etc.
Hey sorry for the delayed response.Im testing the Perfine lipoly 8200 which is hard to find. I also just purchased a shenmz 8500 lipoly.
Accubattery is pretty terrible with the estimates since the kernel isn’t properly coded for it.I usually get 10 hrs sot but you have to charge a couple of hrs past 100 percent IMO. The charge percentages aren’t accurate since the kernel isn’t coded for it.I’m working on an in-depth update for stock oreo vs stock nougat with mk kernel.I hope to do a slow-motion video to capture animations lag but have been super busy. After that, I plan on testing Los/RR. From what I know about Los camera, it doesn’t work at all. Dac with gamma kernel should work but isnt ideal. Second screen on los 15 with gamma kernel kinda works but its using bored signs as a base and is super buggy. Los 16 is using the built in notch feature so you essentially have a giant notch, ymmv if you care about that. Overall performance and battery life is definitely better on Los. Stock Nougat is the most stable and has the better performance of the two stock options but you lose out in terms of battery life as well as pip and updated GPU drivers.
Firstly, thanks for the awesome and in-depth guide. Do you have the links to the nougat rom and kernel? Everything on XDA seems to be dead.
Here you go
Do you know if this https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=889764386195925970 version of WETA was based on 10p or an earlier version? The anti rollback has kept me away from using the WETA ROMs, so I’ve just been on stock Nougat. Also do you remember how you got xposed to work? I keep bootlooping when I try to install it.
Im not sure sorry.
im trying to figure out how you did these changes:
i have googled this for a while and i figure i should just ask. im glad you mentioned that other kernel the MK 2000 BTTF OC as i was using the older kernel the “v20 restock 1.2” which was at this link:
You should be able to since it has the blu_active governor.
What kernel manager are you using.
If you have ex kernel manager go to cpu tab- governor options
The quad DAC is ESS Sabre, not Wolfson.
You are correct my bad. Fixed
hey im back, thanks for the help.
i am trying to install this kernel but i keep getting “error update 2”
Jul 14, 2019 | 10:00PM
its located here:
i saw some other people post about it not installing correctly, but i never saw a fix for this.
do you have any idea what is going on with this?
thanks again so much for all of your help
If I recall correctly this one is just broken and the dev ghosted everyone after that.
Hello. This post was extremely interesting, particularly because I
was looking for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.