New cheaper LG Velvet could be a strong OnePlus Z rival

LG Velvet
(Image credit: LG)

A 4G version of the LG Velvet will apparently cost 20% less than its 5G stablemates, and will also come in a trio of new colors and sport a Snapdragon 845 chip. 

Sources familiar with what LG has planned for its mid-range smartphone with an eye-catching design confirmed to Android Authority that a non-5G version of the phone will be available and it will use a Qualcomm flagship chip from 2018. So if you’re not fussed about 5G and still want a phone that comes with plenty of power, this LG Velvet could be worth considering. 

As these are just comments made by sources rather than official LG information, there’s a good chance that 4G versions of the LG Velvet might vary from market to market, meaning some handsets could come with a different chipset than the Snapdragon 845. 

The 5G version of the LG Velvet looks likely to come with a Snapdragon 765, which is a less powerful take on the flagship Snapdragon 865 found in the likes of the US version of the Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Lenovo Legion gaming phone. But the Snapdragon 765 still promises plenty of power for pretty much all smartphone tasks. 

So there’s a good chance that 4G LG Velvet phones could use that chipset in some regions, but simply not have 5G connectivity. That being said, using an older flagship Qualcomm chipset might enable LG to ensure that a non-5G Velvet is still pretty powerful but is also a good bit cheaper than its 5G siblings.

Pricing for the 5G LG Velvet looks set to cost roughly $730, which is far from cheap. But as flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 start at the $1,000 mark, the Velvet is considerably cheaper. Knocking 20% off that would bring the price of the LG Velvet 4G down to around $580, which would make it a worthy rival to the rumored OnePlus Z — or should we say the OnePlus Nord.

And from what we know about the LG Velvet so far, for the money you’re set to get a 6.8-inch OLED display, a triple rear-camera array (comprising a 48MP wide, 8MP ultrawide, and 5MP depth sensor cameras), and a 4,300 mAh battery. 

The OnePlus Z is rumored to feature a Snapdragon 765 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 6.4-inch 90Hz display and 4,300-mAh battery with 30-watt Warp Charging. So on paper the OnePlus Z/Nord seems better, especially if it will have 5G inside, but the LG Velvet 4G should we worth a look for those who prioritize style.

LG Velvet

(Image credit: LG)

However, there’s an argument that the 4G Velvet might struggle to find its feet as not only are there plenty of decent mid-range phones, there’s potential for two cheaper phones to torpedo the LG Velvet, and indeed other mid-range phones. 

The iPhone SE 2020 might have a dated design, but it comes with a powerful A13 Bionic chip, wireless charging and thoroughly decent camera performance for $400. And the Pixel 4a, slated to arrive in July, is shaping up to offer a neat design with a near bezel-less display, a decent specification, and more importantly, the potential to deliver stunning smartphone photography in a handset that’s below $400. 

Where a more affordable version of the LG Velvet might tip the scales in its favor is in its looks, as the images we’ve seen so far present an attractive handset with a neat rear-camera design and edge-to-edge display. And with the phone set to come in an additional three colors - Aurora Blue, Aurora Pink and Aurora Red -  the 4G LG Velvet could appeal to people more interested in phone aesthetics than raw performance. 

Slated for a Western release this month, we’ll just have to wait and see if both the 4G and 5G versions of the LG Velvet can make stand their ground in the best Android phones arena. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.