You’ve got to hand it to LG: the company’s not afraid to try doing things a little differently with its phones. Whether that means a flagship with rear-mounted buttons, a curved display, or now – a secondary screen – LG’s got this irrepressible urge to push its phone hardware into new, largely uncharted territory. At least, we’ve seen the odd phone before with a secondary ticker-style display, but with its new V10, LG’s trying to prove that handsets like the old Samsung Continuum were on to a good idea, and that a low-power, immediately available notification screen has a lot to offer when paired with modern smartphone hardware. We went hands-on with the V10 at LG’s New York launch event to see how well this all came together.

Mind you, the V10 is a lot more than just a gimmick, and while that 1040 x 160 extension of the main display is bullet point one on our list of V10 features, the phone also offers a 5.7-inch quad HD main screen, beefy 4GB of RAM, a rugged construction, and an unusual dual-sensor front camera design – one that allows for the capture of some exceptionally wide-angle shots. All that’s driven by a capable Snapdragon 808 SoC, and gets its juice from a big, removable 3000 mAh battery. Extras like a home-button-integrated fingerprint scanner help round-out the package.

But let’s not mince words; you’re curious about that secondary screen. Is it at all usable perched up there at the tippy-top? What else is it good for besides acting as a quick-launch bar? Watch on to get our initial impressions of LG’s latest smartphone.

Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen’s first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he’s convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he’s not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits

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