LG was never known for making the phones with the best battery life out there: quite the opposite, really, but in 2018, when all other phone makers upped their battery game a notch, the LG G7 and the LG V40 stood out as sore losers. And all of that despite LG's claims that it is using some really efficient displays in those devices.
So what happened and how did LG end up in this mess?
First, though, let's take a look at the battery numbers. The LG G7 ThinQ not only has an unnecessarily weird name, it also comes with a quite meager 3,000mAh battery, a size that is smaller than most other competing phones. The LG V40 ThinQ is a much bigger phone, yet it also has a rather small, 3,300mAh cell (compare this to a 3,700mAh battery on the OnePlus 6T, a 4,000mAh battery on Note 9 and a 4,200mAh battery on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro).
But even with those smaller battery sizes, we are still disappointed with the results:
With a scores of around 6 hours and a half on our battery test, the G7 and the V40 last much less than other flagship phones.
THREE WORDS: BASE POWER CONSUMPTION
It turns out that this most likely has a lot to do with a poor implementation of the display. Earlier in the year, AnandTech measured that the G7 screen lives up to the company that the screen panel is nearly 35% more efficient than before, but it also found that the base power consumption is a surprisingly big number:
"There’s however a big caveat in terms of power efficiency of the phone / display. While the luminance power is extremely good, the overall total device power isn’t where it's expected to be at. The G7 showcased a very large total device minimum brightness power of 563mW which is significantly higher than the G6’s 347mW. Other phones also vary between 300-400mW so this really eats into the device’s efficiency. This regression in minimum power will still skew the overall efficiency for the G7 well into commonly used brightness levels – for example at 200nits, the G7 is actually less power efficient than the G6, measuring at 830mW vs 717mW."
The G7 features an RGBW LCD display and the V40 features a totally different OLED display, but it shows similar and even worse base power consumption levels. In fact, AnandTech states that those base power consumption levels are the highest they have ever measured in a smartphone over the last five or so years!
It's hard to determine the exact reason for this poor performance and, interestingly, the G7 actually is more efficient than other phones when the screen is used at the highest brightness level, but the more commonly used dimmer settings are what bring both these phones down.
Interestingly, other phones with LG display panels also do not quite live up to the expectations: the Mate 20 Pro with its 4,200mAh battery could have been a beast, but its battery life is instead very good, but not extraordinary. And when you compare the Mate 20 Pro which uses an LG display with the LCD screen on the Mate 20, you can see that the latter is actually an absolute beast in battery performance, so it seems that the issue is not with software.
Whatever it is, LG remains one of the sore losers of 2018, with regressions in both camera and battery performance. Here is to hoping the company gets its act together and starts delivering in 2019!