LG Mobile has released the first 5G handset in South Africa, the V50 ThinQ. It is available exclusively on Vodacom but 5G has not yet been launched by the network operator.
I managed to get access to the network, through a special arrangement from LG South Africa. The company also gave me a handset to try it out. My SIM card had to be enabled through Vodacom to access 5G, and I’m told there are only four testing areas in Gauteng; not sure about other provinces. They are in Midrand, Sunninghill, outside Mall of Africa and Sandton.
As luck would have it, I live in Sunninghill and the base station is located at my local Spar centre, the Sunninghill Village shopping centre. After a bit of social distancing and being indoors for a couple of days, I left the house to get groceries and did some testing.
I achieved a maximum speed of 469Mbps down and 13.9Mbps up; the latter being a bit disappointing, but understandably, it’s still in testing. Latency was 23ms, not great either, but it’s still in early/closed testing. But, seeing 469Mbps on my screen was definitely exciting for me! For comparison, 5G can deliver speeds of up to 20x that of 4G, which caps out at 100Mbps.
I sat inside my car in the parking lot and did most of the tests, but moved closer to the tower while my car was at the car wash directly next to it and achieved similar results. There was no big advantage to me being next to it vs. in my car, like what I’ve seen online with other videos. I guess there was no building blocking it, and it was technically in my line of sight at all times even when I was the other side.
I hate to state the obvious but this won’t work for anyone who just shows up at the 5G station with a compatible device. My SIM was enabled for it. Just saying it one more time.
The LG V50 ThinQ on first impressions is a rather good looking device. It’s very thin (8.3mm) with narrow bezels but slippery, I’m scared of dropping it; need a cover asap. But what I love the most about it, the trio of cameras sit flush, there is NO BUMP like what we are seeing on every other device. Love it!
It has a 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED display with a 19:5:9 ratio; is powered by a Snapdragon 855 chipset; 6GB of RAM; 128GB of storage (expandable) and has a 4000mAh battery.
The trio of rear cameras include 12MP standard; 16MP super wide; and 12MP telelphoto zoom. It can do 4K videos with HDR10 support; make “DSLR-like” videos with a blurry effect with video depth control; and take triple shot photos. The one-click triple shot takes images from all three cameras that can be converted to a GIF. Additionally, the front two cameras are 8MP standard and 5MP wide. All five cameras can be used to take a Penta Shot for collages and more gifs.
In terms of sound, it has DTS:X 3D surround sound and 32-bit HiFi quad DAC on the Meridian stereo speakers. If you love hearing sound coming from all directions, you’d love this feature. Will have to test watching Netflix while I’m indoors.
It’s also IP68 certified with military grade testing for extreme temperatures, impact- dust- and water- resistant.
The LG V50 ThinQ costs R13 599 on prepaid and from R699 x24 months or R549 x36 months on Vodacom only.
PS: if you’re planning to tell me how much data the speed test uses, this might come as a surprise to you – I know. I bought a big data bundle just to waste it on speed tests 😉
Disclaimer: LG South Africa gifted me the LG V50 ThinQ
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. I’m usually unashamedly taking food photos (@nafisaeats on IG).