I ThinQ I like it!
I don't know about you, but I am sad about the current market trends. As I just mentioned in the Budget Flagship discussion, a lot of previously mayor players in the smartphone industry are struggling these days. Among them are LG. Previously, at least in my eyes, competing head to head with Samsung they now have a staple of being cheaper products.
In tech-circles there is also mention of the previous boot-loop scandal, which I do not think the company have officially commented on with great transparency. This is probably why they still get blamed for it, while no one mentions exploding batteries anymore.
In what I believe to be a marketing move, I have no official comment on this, a Swedish electronics.store called NetOnNet have an ongoing sale, selling of two LG G7 Thinq's for the price of one. Now to me this looks like a way for LG to try and force their phones out into consumer hands in hopes that it leads to new users in the future. Time will tell.
Compared to my other Unboxing and First Impression posts where I usually test the device for a few days prior to uploading it, this one is written on day one.
By now you know most of what is on this list:
|Storage||64GB (in Sweden)|
|Display||6.1" 1440p+ IPS LCD|
|Glass Protection||Corning Gorilla Glas 5|
|Rear Camera||Dual 16MP cameras - 2nd camera wide-angle lens|
|Front Camera||8MP, f/1.9|
|Ports||USB: 3.1, Type-C. Audio: 3,5 mm|
|Extra||IP68 dust/water proof - MIL-STD-810G compliant
A single "BoomBox" downfiring speaker
Picking up the box from its delivery box, a little bit of boxception here, I immediately notice that it is not wrapped in plastic. Now plastic is not got for the environment so I guess this is a good thing, but the box was therefor dusty leaving a less perfect first impression.
In the box you are immediately greeted by a microfiber cloth, improving on the earlier dusty box-impression. Underneath lies the phone wrapped in a plastic cover. Compared to some other phones the plastic is not taped to the phone, and I can easily slide it out.
Putting the phone aside you also get a some Warranty information, a Quick Start Guide that no one will look at, and the Charger. In the box there are also a pair of LG branded earbuds with the 3.5mm .standard Yes, the G7 comes with a standard headphone-jack.
Looking at the phone it self it gives a great first impression were both me and Sandy reacted to how light and compact it feels. It is crazy, it is 2018 and we react to a 6.1" phone as being slim. This is for me compared to the OnePlus 6 which feels larger and more unwieldy when placed side-by-side to this. The G7 is pretty slim when it comes to width, which creates a more one-handed enabled feeling.
Of course you have the notch.
Design and Display
As I mentioned, when picking up the G7 it is hard not to react to how slim it feels. Jumping back and forth between the G7 and my OnePlus 6 that I am reviewing right now I notice how the former is easier to handle.
The design is the very popular and premium feeling Gorilla Glass 5 glass-on-glass "sandwich" build with an aluminum frame separating the two panels. The notch is here along with the chin that people have voiced their dislike for a while now. I must however say that I do not mind the notch at all. It is one of those things that I believe you have to see, and live with for a day but I don't care about it. I actually think it looks kind of modern, which of course, it is.
The chin is also a hard subject. I thought I would be bothered about it, but I did not mind the slightly smaller one on the OnePlus 6 and I do not mind the one on the G7 ThinQ.
The display on this device crazy bright, especially with the manually enabled Super Brightness mode that brings the display up to 1000 nits. This is double that which a lot of phones have as their maximum brightness. From my understanding this is a special technology were you have the regular sub-pixels in red, green and blue there are also extra sub-pixels that are white which allows for the extra boost in brightness.
LCD vs. Amoled is again in effect, and it is now harder to pick a winner than ever. With the brightness there is also a lot of great colors in this display, and you can tune it to your heats content by picking through presets as well as changing the display warmth/coolness and individual RGB color-level.
Taking inspiration, there is a second button on the G7 situated underneath the volume rocker on the left side. This is the Google Assistant button that is competing directly with Samsung's inclusion of a Bixby button since the Galaxy s8. Press it once to open the Assistant like it normally opens on Android. Press it twice to open up Google Lens, my phone neede an update for this to work. Press it twice to activate the Walkie-Talkie mode for Assistant, It will listen until you release the button and thereafter answer.
Being that I use the Google Assistant often I like this button, and with full-screen gestures I would finally have the best of both worlds here.
Inside the phone LG have made a soft of resonance chamber which enables the so-called Boombox speaker. Basically this means that the sound will vibrate inside the phone when laying flat on a surface, creating a stronger audio experience with a more noticeable bass. It is actually as cool as it sounds.
There is also wireless charging included in the mix, thank you LG. In addition to the IP-68 certification, the phone is also rated to be MIL-STD-810G compliant, which is a is a United States Military Standard that indicates it can take a beating.
Now onto the biggest gripe anyone should have with this device, the skin. In my previous post I discussed how Oxygen OS on the OnePlus 6 should be considered a feature on it own. Well I was comparing it to skins like this. LG would, in my opinion benefit from taking their relationship with Google further and adopting to a stock Android like approach.
The skin reminds me of Samsung's UI, a lot, to be honest. Especially in the notification and quick-settings shade. The launcher is also different, and LG have decided to equip their phone with 3 installed launchers. One without an app-drawer, one with an app-drawer, and one called simple that is made to be extra large and accessible.
I believe that one of LG's problems is that there is little with the device that actually excites a potential buyer. At least not in the software department.
Now I sound very displeased and that is not entirely right. LG have a lot of features built into their skin, and it feels fluid. Not fluid like the OnePlus 6, but still fast and flagship-like. It is also very welcoming, but funnily enough it warned me about removing the battery at first launch.
There is a theme-store, but I must admit I find it hard to navigate at first glance. Hoping I could find a simple stock Android theme I could not find any opportunity to search for themes.
As far as navigating the UI goes, I miss full-screen gestures like on the OnePlus 6, or even the ones Google made in Android Pie. I guess the normal buttons are starting to feel old in comparison.
Now seeing as I have yet to actually test the battery, I cannot tell you how well or unwell it preforms. I have however read a lot of reviews saying that it exceeds expectations.
What sets the phone apart?
Like many other publications have said, LG is pretty bad at marketing their specific features. In advertisement they mention the Google Assistant and how it can hear you, like with most Android phones, but they are not consistent in mentioning that the special far-field microphone does it better. The headphone jack is supposed to be the best there is, and if you have high-end headphones this is the phone to get.
Also the camera is greatly different from other dual camera setups. On that note let's dive into the Camera:
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LG was one of the early adopters of dual cameras, and they have since kept their design without doubting it. This is one of the things that make LG stand out still.
While the primary camera is a pretty standard 16 MP shooter, the second camera is equipped to be a wide-angled lens. Basically a panorama shot without the software clipping. It is pretty cool seeing it live.
These are just quick captures. Testing the standard and wide-angled lenses. I think the close-up at the Sony camera manages to show of a lot of details. Looking at the buildings it is hard to imagine that this is not a telephoto comparison, but truthfully the first picture is a normal length picture and the second one is the wide-angled camera. I included an image of a so called wide-angled selfie as well, that is me holding the phone backwards taking a selfie with the secondary camera.
Portrait mode is actually good, I am impressed at how well it handled our dog with the bright background, but also at how well it captured the statue even if there are a lot of edges on her.
The 8MP selfie camera does a respectable job, especially considering I come from the OnePlus 6's 16MP camera. I believe there is a wider lens on the G7 as well. There's is also the selfie portrait mode which in my eyes does a good job. It blurred out a part of my shirt just behind the neck, but otherwise it looks fine.
Last but not least I figured I would take a swing at the low light capabilities of the G7. LG gives you the option to activate night mode when it detects low light, creating images from something called pixel-binning. Simply put the phone takes the 16 MP and stiches them together into 4 MP, which allows it to capture more light.
This shots are taken with and without the night mode enabled to show of the effect. Of course, I took these images pretty quickly last night but they do a good job of showing of how much light the camera manages to take in. Moving subjects are pretty hard to capture though, as illustrated in the image below:
Overall the camera seems to do a good job. I look forward to comparing it closer to the OnePlus 6 considering this is a phone that originally costs $200 more. But overall I think the LG G7 will be a fun camera to try out.
For video fanatics out there LG also implements a Pro-mode for video recording. You know me, I don't do a lot of video, and I especially have not learned to use pro modes yet. Maybe this is the time to do that though?
This is a first for me, but I am not yet done with the OnePlus 6 review. Therefor my Sim will not go into the LG G7 yet. I will keep playing around with the phone itself though, and when I am done with the 6 I will make the switch.
Looking at LG's track record Software updates have not been brilliant. The company opened a new center for their software team this spring though, and it will be interesting to see if this results in improved update speeds.
Until next time, thanks for reading!
What do you think of the ThinQ? let me know in the comments below.
The LG G7 ThinQ is available at Amazon.