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Gadget Review – LG V30 Teardown Best Cell Phone Camera Hardware Ever!

LG V30 Teardown - Best Cell Phone Camera Hardware Ever!

[Helicopter landing] LG brought me to New York City to tear down
their brand new LG V30, the camera hardware in this thing could quit possibly be the best
in the world at the moment. Before I take a look at the inside, let's
see what the footage looks like from the outside. [Music] [Intro] The coolest thing about this phone, in my
opinion, is the camera. The hardware underneath the little glass lens
is pretty amazing, and I'll explain why.

But first we have to get to it. This pre-production version of the LG V30
is a super sleek looking phone. It has the metal body, bezel-less OLED display,
and the full curved Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and the back. One cool thing with the curve, though, is
that the glass is curved  but not so much the display.

I find that when using my curved Galaxy S8
without a case, the palm of my hand causes phantom touches to the screen since it wraps
around the edge of the phone. But the LG V30 screen is all in the front,
not wrapping around the edge, so hopefully it won't have that same phantom touch issue. Getting inside the phone is pretty straight
forward. The LG V30 is ip68 water-resistant.

One step above the ip67 water-resistant rating
of the iPhone 7. I always enjoy pointing that out. Heat is our best friend during the glass removal. Warming up the phone until it's just barely
too hot to touch.

And then using a large suction cup to lift
up and decrease the tension on the surface of the glass so I can slip my thin metal pry
tool between the edge and the metal frame of the phone, slicing through the adhesive
all the way around the underside of that glass layer. This adhesive is the type that hardens again
when it's cooled down. So about every 30 or 40 seconds I'll warm
it back up with my heat gun and keep on cutting. It is glass so I'm being careful not to flex
it too much or cut too deep inside.

Once the glass gets pulled off, there are
fragile ribbon cables underneath – mainly the wireless charging and the cable that goes
to the fingerprint scanner/power button – which is conveniently located in the center of the
back panel instead of up right next to the camera lens. These little golden circles right next to
the power button just rest up against the motherboard to do all the communicating. From here we can see all the inside of the
exterior camera lens. This is actually made from Gorilla Glass 4,
which lowers it's potential for being scratched or damaged compared to just regular glass,
so that's good.

Our goal here though is to see the guts of
the camera unit, so let's go deeper inside the phone. There are 7 non-proprietary Philips head screws
on the top half of the phone. Glad LG doesn't try to complicate things. Then there are three more screws that hold
down the loudspeaker to the bottom of the phone near the charging port.

I'll lift off the wireless charging. It's got those same golden contact pads for
the power transfer that we saw with the power button. With a lot of restaurants and vehicles adding
more wireless charging stations lately, I'm glad that LG has included it in their design. Phones with useful features are the best kinds
of phones.

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I'll disconnect the battery and then reach
down and pull up the loudspeaker. This little guy has the same water-resistant
screen that we saw with the recent iPhones and the water-resistant Samsung phones. There are a few more ribbon cables keeping
us from accessing that camera. I'll just start unsnapping those like little
Legos.

The front facing selfie camera is up there
at the top, and the regular camera wraps around through the back side of the motherboard. Then down here at the bottom we have the screen
ribbon cable and the charging port ribbon. The motherboard will come away from the phone
body at this point if you remember to remove the SIM card tray. I left mine in place as an example for what
not to do, of course.

The SIM and the expandable memory tray are
out of the phone. I can finally lift away the motherboard from
the aluminum mid-frame and look at all these golden contact pads. This is a repair guy's dream. A totally modular phone.

Less plugs and connections mean a more simple
and modular design to work with. I'm definitely a fan of that. We have a headphone jack up in the top left
hand corner. That deserves a thumbs up all by itself.

Then the circular vibration motor is right
below that, with it's golden contact pads. And then we have the earpiece and one small
microphone up here at the top. One super cool things about this phone is
that the earpiece turns into a receiver or a microphone during loud events, like at a
concert. I'll explain more about this after we find
the third microphone in just a second.

And then here's the front facing camera that's
also at the top of the phone. Right below that we have the golden contact
pads for the volume buttons. Also embedded in this solid slab of milled
aluminum is the copper heat pipe. We took a thermal imaging camera to the heat
pipe inside the LG G6, and it actually does a pretty good job of wicking away heat from
the processor.

And finally we get our first look at the two
rear cameras on the back of the phone. The standard camera is 16 megapixels, and
the wide angle camera is 13 megapixels. Both held in place by separate ribbon cables. The wide angle camera is pretty cool all by
itself,but the standard camera could very well have the best cell phone camera hardware
on the market right now.

I'll show you why as we tear it down. First of all, it does have OIS, that optical
image stabilization that not every camera has. It also has electronic image stabilization
to keep photos and videos extra crisp. There is to optical stabilization on the wide
angle camera lens, but that's a different ball game anyway.

Popping off the metal housing for the camera
reveals my favorite part  the 10-bit image sensor. This means that the LG V30 can capture over
1 billion colors. And the special cine video mode can output
videos with up to two hundred and eleven percent more colors than you can with the average
smartphone. These colors help improve contrast and definition
of the image.

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I'm a camera guy. I use my cellphone camera quite a bit, so
I'm pretty excited about this big step up in extra camera power. Most computer screens these days can't even
display 10-bits of color yet, so this camera is really leading the futuristic curve. But even if your computer monitor only displays
8-bits of color, all the different shading that 10-bits can pick up will still enhance
the dynamic range on your 8-bit monitor, so it's still a good thing either way.

In order to fully utilize this 10-bit sensor
though, we need light. And the more light we have, the better the
sensor can capture an image. To help facilitate the light entering onto
this sensor, there is an F/1.6 Aperture camera lens inside this plastic housing  also
a world's first on a cell phone. Due to the shape of the lens, there's more
light hitting the sensor on the LG V30 than any other cellphone on the market.

The hardware is pretty intriguing, and judging
by my initial helicopter ride, the software looks like it's keeping up so far. It was around this point that I realized I
was not going to be able to put this back together in one piece. Since I am at LG though, I hope they have
the backup replacement around here somewhere. Now that I'm finally through the plastic,
look at all these different lenses inside the housing.

It's pretty incredible how much development
goes into such a small component. LG has used glass instead of plastic for the
main lens inside this module. Using glass instead of plastic improves image
clarity and starts bridging the gap between DSLR and smartphone cameras. Before coming out to New York to see this
phone, I chopped open a real Canon DSLR camera lens so I can see if the lenses were even
remotely similar when placed side-by-side.

And while the Canon lens is significantly
larger, both camera lenses have the same basic construction with all the different layers
inside stacked on top of each other  pretty impressive. After looking around I did find a replacement
camera lens that fits inside the LG V30. Hopefully nobody notices what I did to the
first one. Down at the bottom of the phone we have pretty
much the cutest little charging port that I've ever seen.

There are 2 screws holding down the USB-C
port, which is also connected to the third microphone inside this phone. Let's talk about that earpiece mic again real
quick. So let's say you're one of those people at
a concert with your phone up in the air. Instead of your tiny little microphones recording
the loud audio, the LG V30 earpiece turns into a microphone with anything above 120
decibels, like a rock concert, which means you actually get decent audio recording because
the diaphragm of the earpiece is so much larger than those tiny little microphones.

It's a pretty sweet little trick, plus the
integrated quad deck allows quality playback of the audio you just recorded. That's pretty cool all by itself. The charging port has a huge thick orange
rubber ring around the tip to help keep liquid out. The non-removable 3300 milliamp hour battery
is next on my removal list.

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There are no magic pull tabs below this battery,
but the adhesive is not destructive like we saw on the BlackBerry Key One. With a little bit of force the battery pops
up and out on it's own. Still no dogs allowed though. You might have noticed the extremely small
bezels on the 6 inch OLED screen of the LG.

V30. This was mastered in part by having the display
driver IC flip around under the display and wrap up inside the phone. You can kind of see it from this angle here. Removing the display from the metal mid frame
would destroy it and I can only assume that LG wants their phone back in one piece.

I only attempt screen replacements if the
display is already totaled. Speaking of getting the phone back in one
piece, cross your fingers that it turns back on after I reassemble it. The cute little charging port and bottom microphone
go back into the frame making sure that the rubber ring is still surrounding the port
to help keep the water out. Every bit of water-resistance helps.

I'll make sure that the screen ribbon is folded
down and out of the way before dropping the battery back in place. There's still plenty of sticky adhesive on
the frame so I'm just going to reuse it. The motherboard gets tucked back into the
phone, making sure none of the ribbon cables are caught underneath it. And after plugging in the screen ribbon and
the charging port ribbon, I can set the loud speaker back on top of the motherboard and
get those three Phillips head screws back in place.

And the last thing to plug in is the battery. The wireless charging can go on top of the
motherboard. It has little black plastic clasps that fit
into the metal frame, and then of course, the additional 7 Philips head screws to hold
it all down tight. And finally the aesthetically pleasing back
glass panel gets re-adhered over all the components.

I'll definitely be doing my durability test
as soon as I get my hands on a retail version of this phone. And it looks like a clear back panel is also
a real possibility. It'll be interesting to see how this phone
handles during my durability test. If it's anything like the LG G6 though, it
will probably do just fine.

I'm pretty impressed with this phone. If the software matches the hardware, this
might be the first time LG gets me to switch over from Samsung. Thanks again LG for letting me review your
phone from the inside. The camera hardware is pretty impressive.

Come hang out with me on Twitter and Instagram
and I'll keep you updated when I get the retail version of the LG V30 for my durability test. Thanks for watching, and I'll see you around..

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