LG's flagship smartphones don't often stay in the spotlight long after they're launched, like many of their competitors do. On the other hand, OnePlus and Samsung have much more important shares in the opinion of the audience. The South Korean company is now trying to set its own accent with the LG G8X ThinQ on a foldable smartphone. This new device works like an ordinary smartphone, but you can also double your screen space with an additional display case that is included. The G8X ThinQ costs Rs. 49,999 in India, including the display case, and this is the first time that such a product has been launched. Is it useful or just a gimmick? We tested it to find out.
LG G8X ThinQ design
The LG G8X ThinQ follows the same design language as its predecessors. This smartphone has a glass sandwich design with a metal frame between the display and the rear glass panel. This smartphone is big and a bit chubby. On the front is a 6.4-inch OLED FullVision display with a tiny water drop notch at the top. It has thin bezels on the sides, but the bottom is comparatively thicker.
LG has positioned the power switch on the right side of the device and it is easy to reach. On the left you will find the volume buttons and a special button for the Google Assistant. If you use Google Assistant very often, this is very convenient. We looked around the Settings app but found no way to reassign the button.
The LG G8X ThinQ has a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom, the primary microphone, the speaker and a USB Type-C port. Only the SIM compartment is at the top. The LG G8X ThinQ is one of the few smartphones with rear cameras for flush mounting. At a time when most devices have outstanding camera modules, LG has managed to give this phone a clean look. The back is made of glass, but is curved on the sides, which makes it comfortable to hold. However, the smartphone easily stains and is super slippery. We even noticed that it was sliding on a sloping surface.
LG only delivers this smartphone in Aurora Black. Together with the dual-screen accessory case, you receive headphones and a 16 W charger. LG also comes with a magnetic connector that can be used to charge the smartphone while using the dual screen case.
LG G8X ThinQ dual screen case
LG has cleverly bundled the dual-screen accessories with the G8X ThinQ. This case itself has two displays. The first is a tiny monochrome on the outside that lights up when notifications or when the device is lifted. It shows the battery level, time and date as well as the icons of the apps for which notifications are pending. The front display is difficult to see when the phone is not in use because LG chose a mirror for the front of the case. This also stains fairly easily. The glossy front is slightly off-center to accommodate the hinge of the case.
Open the case and you will see the second display on the inside. This is also a 6.4-inch OLED display with a water drop-like notch that fits the screen of the phone. This notch is pointless here as it has nothing in it, and it looks like LG used the exact same panel as the phone's display. The housing cannot be opened flat. It is more like stepping between the two displays so that they are never at the same level. You can flip the case cover over completely, which simply turns off the secondary display.
The housing has a USB Type-C connector, which is connected to the LG G8X ThinQ. As soon as the connection is established, both displays of the housing are powered by the smartphone's battery. If you plan to use the case at any time, the battery life can be significantly reduced. If the smartphone's battery level drops below 15 percent, the secondary display turns off. The case also has magnets and pogo pin contacts on the bottom, so you can charge it using the included adapter instead of having to pull it out of the case every time.
LG G8X ThinQ specifications and software
The LG G8X ThinQ is operated with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC and has 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. LG added a heat pipe to cool the processor under load. Only one configuration is offered. We would have preferred to see the newer Snapdragon 855+ SoC, but the Snapdragon 855 is acceptable considering the general features and capabilities of this smartphone.
The 6.4-inch OLED display offers good viewing angles and is bright enough when you are viewing content outdoors. The G8X ThinQ is also equipped with a built-in fingerprint scanner. Both dual 4G and VoLTE as well as Bluetooth 5, dual-band WiFi, NFC, GPS and the usual basic sensors are supported. LG has inserted a 4,000 mAh battery and supports fast charging via the USB Type-C connection.
LG ships the G8X ThinQ with LG UX 9.0 on Android 9 Pie, and we would have loved to have seen Android 10. LG plans to update this smartphone along with several other models to the latest version of Android. The number of bloatware apps is under control, including Facebook, Instagram and Booking.com. There are also some LG apps, such as ThinQ, LG Health and LG SmartWorld.
The user interface does not have an app drawer, but is easy to use. The Settings app is clear and we found the search function to be quite practical. Just like other LG flagship smartphones, the LG G8X ThinQ has a Hi-Fi Quad DAC function and supports DTS: X 3D surround sound. It also has stereo speakers where the listener also acts as a second speaker. We enjoyed watching content on the LG G8X as the audio output was impressive.
LG G8X ThinQ performance and battery life
The LG G8X offers first-class performance thanks to its sporty hardware. No delays or stuttering occurred while using the smartphone. With 6 GB RAM, the device ran particularly smoothly when multitasking and loading apps. Even if the secondary display is on and a completely different app is running, the device can handle the load quite well. However, we would not recommend running two heavy apps at the same time as it warms up the smartphone. We also noticed that the built-in fingerprint scanner is slow and inconsistent.
The second screen was helpful for multitasking. We could actively operate two different apps on the LG G8s ThinQ. With the phone, you can also easily exchange apps with three fingers between the two displays. Apps that support dual-screen mode allow simultaneous use on both screens. With the preinstalled Whale Browser and Google Chrome, for example, you can distribute a website on both screens. While this usually works well, the fat hinge between the two panels means that you don't have an unobstructed view like you would with a device like the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
Like many other smartphones, the LG G8X also has a game mode, which, however, also takes full advantage of the second display. You can use one of the two screens as a gamepad while a game is displayed on the other. We tried this with Asphalt 9 Legends, Sniper Fury and a few other games and thought that it made them more engaging. In game mode, you can also choose between different types of gamepads, so you can choose a layout that is appropriate for the genre of the game you're playing.
We didn't notice any lag or jerk in these games. Playing Sniper Fury with the dual screen accessory made the phone feel warm. We also ran some benchmarks to measure the performance of the G8X ThinQ. AnTuTu scored 3.83.512 and PCMark Work 2.0 9.486 points. In the Geekbench 5 single-core and multi-core test, the smartphone also achieved values of 723 and 2,388, respectively. In GFXBench Car Chase, the phone managed 37 fps.
The LG G8X ThinQ has a 4,000 mAh battery that lasts about a day and a half under normal use. With accessories with two screens, we noticed that the battery life has decreased significantly. In our HD video loop test, the smartphone ran for 19 hours and 53 minutes, which is pretty good. When using the included charger, the battery level rose from zero to 34 percent in half an hour and to 67 percent in one hour. LG should have put a more powerful charger in the box because the competition offers faster charging.
LG G8X ThinQ cameras
While many flagship and midrange smartphones these days have four or five rear cameras, the LG G8X ThinQ has a dual camera setup. The first model of the LG G8X ThinQ has a 12 megapixel sensor and an aperture of 1: 1.8. The secondary camera is a 13-megapixel wide-angle camera with a 136-degree field of view and an aperture of 1: 2.4. The camera app has several modes to choose from, and you can choose manual mode for both photos and videos. It also has a toggle that allows the dual screen accessory to act as a viewfinder. This simply reflects the output of the primary screen, so you can fold the device and take pictures conveniently at awkward angles.
We found that the LG G8X ThinQ can be quickly focused and captured scenes correctly. The AI also recognizes scenes quickly and the camera automatically activates HDR when required. The LG G8X ThinQ delivers excellent photos with good details even after zooming in daylight. Taking pictures against a light background with the HDR function activated has proven to be quite good. The wide-angle camera is also able to take photos in HDR. These images had lower details than those taken with the primary sensor and were also slightly distorted at the edges.
In portrait mode, you can select the level of blur required before taking the picture. Portraits had very good edge detection and the phone was able to blur the background properly. The light is measured to expose the subject's face clearly, so you may have to deal with washed-out backgrounds in poor light.
When taking close-up pictures, the LG G8X ThinQ could quickly see what it was aimed at. These pictures had a natural depth effect and good details when zooming in.
In a dimly lit environment, the AI automatically switches the camera to twilight mode. This draws in more light, resulting in a bright picture. You can also put the camera into night mode, which keeps the shutter open longer. With the LG G8X ThinQ you can select the ambient light conditions with a slider and adjust the settings accordingly. We found this useful when taking pictures at dusk. The performance of the low-light camera was quite good and we were satisfied with the level of detail of the smartphone.
The 32 megapixel selfie camera delivers good details. You can use portrait mode with this camera and blur the background before taking a picture. We found that the edge detection is also very good for two people in the frame. The maximum video recording is 4K 60fps for the primary camera and 4K 30fps for the selfie shooter. While the primary rear view camera has optical image stabilization, only electronic stabilization is used for video recording. We have found that 1080p material is very well stabilized. The phone also has a Super Steady mode, which uses the wide-angle camera and trims the frame for even footage. In low light conditions, the camera was able to achieve a bright output with minimal shimmer.
The G8X ThinQ is LG's unique opportunity to join the foldable smartphone combination. While this is nowhere near the same as the Samsung Galaxy Fold, LG has managed to deliver something nearby in a cost-effective way. Because LG combines the dual-screen accessory with the G8X ThinQ, users can try a dual-screen device right away at no additional cost. The magnetic plug for charging the phone via the case is also a useful addition.
For Rs. 49,999, LG offers a good package for someone who wants to experience a foldable smartphone without breaking the bank. It also contains very good camera hardware that allows you to take full advantage of manual mode. However, these are the only things that help this smartphone stand out from the competition. If you are not really interested in the second screen, you can consider the OnePlus 7T (test), which costs much less, or the Samsung Galaxy S10 (test) as a suitable alternative.