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How Fuzzy Will the LG Velvet Phone Really Be?

Here’s a concept drawing showing LG’s new design language for its next flagship phone line.
Here’s a concept drawing showing LG’s new design language for its next flagship phone line.
Illustration: LG

After eight generations of G-series phones, it seems LG is finally ready to move on and try something different with a new family of handsets headlined by the upcoming LG Velvet. And while a shakeup from LG’s mobile division has been long overdue, an important question remains: How fuzzy will the LG Velvet really be?

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With no actual pones existing its hard to say. The goal of the Velvet is to transition away from LG’s previous (and somewhat boring) alphanumeric designations and into something that LG says will “help the consumer capture the essence of the device best suited for his or her personality and ever changing trends.”

Admittedly, that sounds a lot like corporate jargon intended to evoke an emotional response from potential buyers, though based on a few hints dropped by LG and the design preview LG dropped last week, LG might actually be cooking up something intriguing.

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For the Velvet’s design, LG looks like it will lean hard on symmetry and smooth flowing lines with the phone featuring a “raindrop camera” in addition to symmetrical curves on the front and back of the phone that are meant to please both your hands and eyes.

LG’s raindrop camera setup would certainly big a nice change from the massive block cameras we’ve seen on the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 Pro.
LG’s raindrop camera setup would certainly big a nice change from the massive block cameras we’ve seen on the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 Pro.
Illustration: LG

On Twitter, noted smartphone leaker Ice Universe even posted some fan renders of what the LG Velvet might look like and the results are quite striking. To my eyes, it also looks like LG has adapted the styling of recent Sony Xperia phones and focused even harder on creating a rounder and more consistent streamlined appearance.

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As for the fuzziness of the Velvet, LG says the phone will feature a distinctive “tactile” elegance meant to evoke both “lustrous smoothness” and “premium softness,” which are “key characteristics” of the new phone.

This sort of implies that unlike the fan renders above, the Velvet may not have a glass back at all, with LG instead opting for a cloth or leather-backed approach. While this would certainly be a big departure from recent LG phones, if we go back five years to the LG G4 (which included the option for a lovely replaceable leather back), suddenly the move to a material with a bit more texture doesn’t seem that outlandish.

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More recently, both the OnePlus Concept One and Oppo Find X2 served as great reminders of how nice leather-backed phones can feel. That said, if I had to guess at how LG might go about living up to the Velvet’s name, going for a synthetic microfiber like Alcatara (which is what Microsoft uses on a range of Surface 2-in-1s and laptops) seems like a more likely outcome. And in that case, I say bring on the fuzz.

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Over the past couple years, LG’s mobile division has been floundering, and if it takes a little desperation for LG to crank out something new and unique, LG might as well go all in. Unfortunately, while this means we can’t definitively answer how fuzzy LG’s next phone will be just yet, with the recent increase in hints and teases, it probably won’t be long until we get a good look at the Velvet for real.

 

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Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

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DISCUSSION

I liked my V20+ better than the S9+ I have now. I was strongly considering switching back to LG when I next upgrade......hopefully “floundering” is just temporary. [I like the dual screen phone, but am not sure how well it will be taken by the market, so I’m in wait and see mode. If prices drop fast enough, though, it will eventually be a bargain worth getting.]