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The LG Velvet is a mid-range 5G handset with high-end finishes. It has a sleek design that is slim and elongated with curved edges on either side but a slightly thicker bezel at the top and bottom.

It is comfortable to hold and lighter than other handsets. There is an option to get the dual-screen cover, available separately, which is great for multi-tasking but makes it chunkier in size. It offers protection and has a 2.1-inch front mono display panel for notifications.

The Velvet 5G is powered by a Snapdragon 765G chip, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage (expandable up to 2TB via microSD) and a 4300mAh battery. It has a USB-C charging port, 3.5mm audio jack and a dedicated button for Google Assistant.

The phone is great for regular daily use, not to be pushed to the max because the processor may not be the latest, but it’s most efficient for its integrated 5G modem and slim design while keeping costs down. The Velvet has an in-screen fingerprint reader and a 6.8-inch OLED screen with a 20:5:9 ratio and a full HD display with 2460x1080 pixels, making it ideal for consuming multimedia content; I enjoyed watching YouTube or Netflix videos with the LG 3D Sound Engine setting turned on. The difference in sound is instantly noticeable, and the speaker quality is excellent. The Velvet has triple rear cameras, mostly sitting flush with a minor bump on the main 48MP shooter. The other two lenses are an 8MP wide with 120˚ field of view and a 5MP depth camera. It is a welcome design given the bulkiness of bumps in every other smartphone.

Picture quality with bokeh effects are great, but you may want to turn off the auto scene optimizer (which is where the camera recognizes a subject or scene and applies optimized automatically), depending on what you want to focus on in the picture. Taking photos on the main 48MP shooter means you cannot zoom, so for flexibility or social sharing, I used the other options a lot.

The selfie-cam is 16MP, sitting on the center notch, triggered by hand gestures. This was especially useful during lockdown when you only had yourself to take photos, and not limited to the timer. HDR works brilliantly, correcting any poor exposure in the shot to creative bold colours that really stand out. The rear camera supports manual camera mode, panoramic shots, time-lapse, slo-mo, night view, AR stickers if you’re into that and the option to live on YouTube natively. Video mode supports 4K videos, a built-in steady-cam and shooting at 60fps in full HD (1920x1080).

Going back to the 6.8-inch dual-screen accessory, it’s useful for running two apps side-by-side (socials and email), or if you want to turn it into a gamepad controller for gaming. There are custom settings you can create to have two apps open together or a specific one upon launch. Battery life is great too and will usually last a full day.

Final thoughts

Overall, the LG Velvet is a great looking, affordable 5G handset with a decent camera and excellent battery life. It is priced at R11 799 on Vodacom prepaid, or from R479pm on contract. Purchase the LG Velvet today from Vodacom online.

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