“At $840, the LG G8 ThinQ doesn’t excite the way in which a cellphone at this value ought to.”
Succesful digicam, enjoyable video options
Flush rear digicam design
Hand ID and Air Movement are gimmicky
Battery life could possibly be higher
The issue with LG telephones is how they’re priced far too excessive given their lackluster options. That’s the takeaway with the brand new LG G8 ThinQ. The cellphone has lots of deserves, however in LG’s try and differentiate, it went to nice lengths to create a bizarre set of options nobody requested for — and nobody will use — whereas a number of the gadget’s fundamentals may have nonetheless used some polish.
The great factor is LG normally reductions its telephones mere months after they launch, generally drastically. Choose up the G8 ThinQ when it’s $600 or much less, and it’s a superb cellphone. Till then, the competitors is solely simply higher.
Generic design, good show
The LG G8 ThinQ’s design is a bit generic — that’s for those who’re not utilizing the Raspberry Purple coloration possibility on T-Cell. It is available in black and silver in any other case, and appears fairly just like final 12 months’s G7 ThinQ. That’s no unhealthy factor, however there’s simply nothing flashy happening right here. The bezels are slim, however there’s no hole-punch digicam such as you’ll see on some newer telephones — only a notch.
The perimeters on the front and back curve into the body for a extra ergonomic really feel, and I just like the flat sides, which helps with grip. The ability button on the suitable aspect is simple to entry, however the quantity rocker feels just a little powerful to succeed in when utilizing the cellphone with my proper hand. The Google Assistant button, nevertheless, makes a return and it’s well-placed. There’s no native strategy to remap this button, however you possibly can disable it for those who don’t use Google Assistant.
Design alterations on the G8 ThinQ are extra seen on the rear. The twin-camera setup is aligned horizontally as an alternative of vertically, and it’s not housed in a separate module — as an alternative it’s underneath the identical Gorilla Glass 6 that covers the again of the cellphone, making the digicam fully flush. I like how this seems, although this class is barely ruined by the flash that stands out on the suitable.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies
There’s a fingerprint sensor under the digicam, and never a lot else. I’m grateful LG didn’t add an in-display fingerprint sensor like Samsung did on the Galaxy S10 for the sake of including new expertise, because it’s not as dependable but.
Watching exhibits like Our Planet on Netflix is breathtakingly beautiful, and it helps that the audio sounds implausible as effectively.
The entrance of the cellphone has a 6.1-inch OLED display protected by Gorilla Glass 5, with a pointy Quad HD+ (three,120 × 1,440) decision. I’ve no qualms right here. The display seems sharp and it will get simply shiny sufficient to see it in direct daylight. There’s assist for HDR10 too, so colours look vivid, with inky blacks as deep as a black gap. Watching exhibits like Our Planet on Netflix is breathtakingly beautiful, and it helps that the audio sounds implausible as effectively. When in comparison with the Galaxy S10 (as seen under), the G8’s display seems just a little cooler.
Prime: Samsung Galaxy S10, Backside: LG G8 ThinQ Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies
Talking of sound, you will have observed a lacking earpiece on the prime of the cellphone. It’s gone in favor of a piezoelectric vibrator, which produces sound by means of the show in a characteristic LG is asking “Crystal Sound OLED.” Not solely does audio come by means of the display, however the Boombox speaker from final 12 months’s G7 continues to be current. You possibly can fill a room with sound, and it’s loud sufficient to listen to in busy environments outdoor as effectively. There’s first rate bass, although the highs can really feel strained at occasions. This does imply the cellphone vibrates a bit while you’re taking part in sound at full quantity, although I’d say it provides to the immersive expertise while you’re watching a film or present.
A headphone jack continues to be current, which will definitely make a great deal of individuals completely happy, although I’ve already transitioned to wi-fi earbuds and haven’t discovered a lot of a necessity for the port (don’t take that as an invitation to ax it, LG!). There’s a Hello-Fi Quad DAC with assist for DTS:X 3D, which implies you get audio that sounds extra spatial with the suitable headphones. As normal, audiophiles will love the LG G8.
The weirdest characteristic on a cellphone
Now let’s get to the bizarre, marquee characteristic of the G8 ThinQ — Hand ID and Air Movement, that are enabled due to the front-facing digicam, also referred to as Z Digicam. It’s an Eight-megapixel lens with an f/1.7 aperture, and it’s paired with a time-of-flight sensor. This sensor measures depth by seeing how lengthy it takes mild to hit a topic and are available again, and LG is utilizing it for biometrics in addition to a brand new strategy to work together with the cellphone.
The Z Digicam permits for safe face unlock, so you possibly can unlock the lock display simply by taking a look at it (just like Apple’s Face ID on its newest iPhones). I used it in varied lighting situations, and it labored moderately effectively — it even acknowledged my face once I had sun shades on. Sadly, you possibly can’t use Face Unlock to entry safe companies like a banking app or to authenticate a purchase order in Google Pay, as these third-party apps want so as to add assist for it. It’s a disgrace the characteristic is restricted to the lock display.
Air Movement Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies
The identical rings true for a brand new unlocking technique known as Hand ID. If the cellphone is sitting flat on a desk, why increase it up so the digicam can see your face? Simply hover your palm over the Z Digicam, and the sensor will acknowledge the vein sample through an infrared sensor, and voilà — the display will unlock. Or it ought to. It hardly labored for me. I spent numerous minutes hovering my hand over the G8 ThinQ, as if I’m a puppet grasp making an attempt to convey the cellphone to life, and Hand ID has labored possibly as soon as out of 10 tries. Deleting my hand knowledge a number of occasions helped make it just a little extra dependable. However I’ve additionally solely used it for the sake of utilizing it for the evaluate — there has by no means been a second the place I truly wished to make use of my hand to unlock the cellphone; it’s simply so unnatural.
I’m hovering my hand over the G8 ThinQ, as if I’m a puppet grasp making an attempt to convey the cellphone to life.
Talking of unnatural, paired together with Hand ID is a characteristic known as Air Movement, which helps you to use gestures to regulate the cellphone. Similar to Hand ID, it’s awkward to make use of, but it surely was much more dependable in that Air Movement truly works. Hover your hand over the Z Digicam, then make a claw-like gesture, and you may select between two apps to open (you possibly can set these to no matter you need).
When media is taking part in, it’s also possible to do the identical trick to pause/play, and twist your hand left or proper to extend or lower quantity. Lastly, you possibly can even seize a screenshot utilizing a pinching gesture.
The query is, why? It’s 10 occasions quicker to simply decide up the cellphone and management it with contact. Even when the purpose is to make use of these gestures when your arms are soiled (when cooking within the kitchen, or for those who’re within the bathtub), it’s nonetheless so awkward and sluggish to make use of Air Movement. After the primary few days of making an attempt all of this for the evaluate, I slowly simply stopped utilizing it, and now Hand ID and Air Movement stay as key promoting factors of the cellphone that I merely don’t use. Interested by the quantity of assets and vitality that went into making these two options work pains me. What a waste.
Dependable and speedy efficiency
Contained in the G8 ThinQ is Qualcomm’s newest cell processor for flagship smartphones — the Snapdragon 855. It’s the identical chipset inside telephones just like the Galaxy S10 and the upcoming LG V50 ThinQ. There’s a large 6GB of RAM, which is probably going greater than you want, and 128GB of inner storage awaits. In case you want extra space, there’s additionally room for a MicroSD card.
Other than the show, efficiency is the one different space of the LG G8 the place I had zero points in anyway. Each motion occurred instantly as I moved my fingers throughout the display — apps are fast to launch, multitasking is fluid, and gaming is clean. Video games comparable to Alto’s Odyssey ran with out a hitch, and PUBG: Cell ran on the highest graphical setting with out issues. This cellphone will deal with virtually any app you throw at it with out fail.
Listed below are our benchmark scores:
AnTuTu 3DBench: 320,019
Geekbench four CPU: three,417 single-core; 10,233 multi-core
3DMark Sling Shot Excessive: three,316 (Vulkan)
These scores are very near the Galaxy S10’s, which is smart because it’s the identical processor, they usually trounce Android flagship telephones working on final 12 months’s processor, such because the Pixel three. You don’t have anything to fret about right here.
Bloatware in every single place
My predominant LG G8 ThinQ evaluate unit is an AT&T mannequin, however I additionally spent a number of days with the T-Cell one. One factor that remained fixed between the 2 was the sheer quantity of bloatware on each telephones. There are such a lot of pre-installed apps that come on the provider telephones, and I wouldn’t be shocked if this was the case for the unlocked mannequin as effectively. You possibly can uninstall most of those apps, however some (like DirecTV or Recreation of Thrones: Conquest) can solely be disabled. It’s annoying.
You possibly can uninstall most of those apps, however some can solely be disabled. It’s annoying.
The G8 ThinQ runs the most recent model of Android 9 Pie, and the software program expertise is first rate. After seeing Samsung enhance its Android theme, I can’t assist however want LG did the identical. Some elements of LG’s theme can look cluttered and really feel clunky. Streamlining it down would enhance the design total, and possibly even assist LG push software program updates out quicker.
Final 12 months’s G7 ThinQ already acquired the Android Pie replace in choose markets earlier this 12 months, however check out the LG G7 subreddit on Reddit, and also you’ll discover individuals complaining concerning the lack of an replace to the most recent model of Android. Google launched Android Pie in August 2018, and LG simply introduced it’ll convey Pie to different telephones it launched final 12 months, just like the LG V40 and the LG V35 ThinQ, in June. That’s near a 12 months later, which is horrible.
Android Q’s second beta is in full swing, and Google will possible launch it in August. With the LG G8, anticipate to attend a very long time earlier than receiving the replace. This isn’t a cellphone to purchase if you’d like the quickest updates and the most recent model of Android — get a Google Pixel cellphone as an alternative.
Not an excessive amount of has modified with the cameras on the rear of the cellphone. It’s a typical, 12-megapixel lens with an f/1.5 aperture and optical picture stabilization, paired with a 16-megapixel wide-angle lens with an f/1.9 aperture and 107 levels area of view.
It’s fairly a succesful digicam, truly. Particulars are robust in good lighting, and the wide-angle digicam boosts creativity as you attempt to fluctuate up your photographs. My largest concern with the G8 is its HDR, which I made certain to activate within the digicam’s settings. HDR helps mitigate the overblown sky you see in a number of of those photographs above, making a well-exposed picture slightly than one which’s extraordinarily blown out in a single space or terribly darkish in one other. It’s very hit-and-miss when it needs to work, as there are some photographs the place it does job.
With the wide-angle lens, colours can look just a little unusual, and element deteriorates quick in low mild. Fortunately, that’s not a lot the case with the principle lens, which is aided by a brand new mode known as Night time View. On this mode, the G8 ThinQ can go toe-to-toe with telephones just like the Google Pixel three and the Galaxy S10 (however most likely not the Huawei P30 Professional). Night time View takes a number of photographs and fuses them to create a better-exposed picture. Have a look under at the way it stacks up:
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies
The Pixel three’s Night time Sight characteristic illuminates the darkest areas, but it surely makes colours look unnatural. The G8’s photograph is probably the most detailed, and it does an important job of holding the publicity of the grocery retailer on the underside proper in test.
Left: Portrait Mode on, proper: Portrait Mode off Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies
You’ll be met once more with poor HDR in Portrait Mode and with the Eight-megapixel selfie digicam. There are simply too many blown-out photographs, and Portrait Mode, which blurs out the background behind a topic, isn’t probably the most correct. Not solely does it take a while to lock onto a topic, but it surely typically messes up the define round them.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies
Whilst you can undoubtedly take some wonderful photographs with the LG G8 ThinQ, there are some consistency points that preserve it from being an important digicam. It additionally doesn’t have the perfect HDR, the cellphone’s digicam menu isn’t probably the most intuitive, and whereas the wide-angle lens is enjoyable, it delivers inaccurate colours generally, together with poor element in low mild.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies
The video options are just a little extra fascinating, as a result of there’s a brand new one that allows you to seize Video Portraits. It basically provides a blur impact behind a topic in actual time (like Portrait Mode), and whereas it does look wonky — significantly when topics are transferring — it does add a neat look, as if you’re manually adjusting the concentrate on a DSLR.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Tendencies
There’s additionally Cine Video, which I’ve been a fan of ever because it was launched on the LG V30. It permits you to add completely different coloration gradients to movies, and the pan and zoom characteristic permits you to concentrate on a topic and easily zoom in on them, like a cinema digicam. It’s a enjoyable video digicam to discover.
A couple of day of battery life
Battery life on the LG G8 ThinQ is just like my expertise with telephones just like the Google Pixel three, averaging about three hours of display on time on a typical workday. The G8 went from 100 p.c round Eight a.m. to lifeless by 9 p.m., which isn’t nice. If you can be away from a charger after work, it’s greater than possible the cellphone will die earlier than the night time ends.
Fortunately, it helps wi-fi charging, so it’s even simpler to maintain to topped up in the course of the day.
In our battery take a look at, the place I performed a YouTube video in 1080p over Wi-Fi with most brightness, the LG G8’s three,500mAh battery lasted for Eight hours and 40 minutes. It’s respectable, however the Samsung Galaxy S10, which has a smaller battery and prices just a little extra, lasted an honest bit longer. Fortunately, it prices comparatively shortly. The G8 ThinQ helps Qualcomm’s Fast Cost three.zero expertise, and it took us an hour and 37 minutes for it to go from zero to 100 p.c.
Battery life isn’t atrocious, however on days the place you’ll want to make use of the cellphone closely, the G8 ThinQ will undoubtedly offer you battery nervousness.
Worth, availability, and guarantee info
The LG G8 ThinQ prices $850 for the unlocked mannequin and goes on sale April 11. Pricing is definitely a bit complicated, as virtually all retailers and carriers are promoting the cellphone at a reduced value already — B&H and Greatest Purchase have it for $700. Verizon is promoting the cellphone at retail value for $840, however for those who lock right into a 2-year contract, you possibly can pay $20.42 monthly for 24 months, which quantities to $490. Whereas AT&T is promoting it for $27.67 monthly for 30 months, or $830. From T-Cell, it’s $620, or $25.84 monthly for 24 months. It’s all very weird, however you possibly can try our purchasing information for the total particulars.
LG presents a two-year guarantee that covers producer defects, however that you must make sure that to register the cellphone to make sure protection for the second 12 months.
The LG G8 ThinQ is a high-quality cellphone that doesn’t match its retail price ticket. There’s nobody specific factor it excels at, and the marquee characteristic is a complete gimmick. At $850, it doesn’t excite the way in which a cellphone this value ought to, and it’s value skipping for different, higher alternate options.
Is there a greater various?
Sure, granted that is for those who’re pondering of paying $850 for the cellphone, since value is various by retailer. I feel there are two prime alternate options you need to contemplate: The Google Pixel three, which prices $800 however can possible be discovered for cheaper, and the Samsung Galaxy S10e, which is $750. The Galaxy S10e has a really related digicam setup because the G8 ThinQ — a typical lens paired with a wide-angle one — and whereas battery life isn’t its robust go well with just like the G8, it’s a much better worth. The Pixel three has a much more dependable and stronger digicam, and whereas it received’t match efficiency, it’s nonetheless quick and has a significantly better software program expertise.
If you happen to’re open to iOS, you must also try the iPhone XR, which is $750, and can also be an important worth. And for those who’re contemplating telephones on this value vary, you need to know the best possible in the intervening time is the Galaxy S10 Plus, however that’s $1,000, which can be too large of a price ticket.
If you happen to’re trying on the LG G8 and it has a price ticket round $600 (like on T-Cell), I feel it’s a way more affordable purchase. Try our greatest smartphones information for extra.
How lengthy will it final?
The LG G8 ThinQ is wrapped in Gorilla Glass 5 and 6, which implies it’s powerful, but it surely’s nonetheless glass. A case is a great thought to maintain it protected. It’s additionally IP68 water- and dust-resistant, so it’ll survive a dunk within the pool. When it comes to updates, they may come, however anticipate Android model updates to be sluggish. You possible received’t get Android Q this 12 months in any respect. I anticipate the cellphone will final three to 4 years earlier than you’ll need to improve it.
Do you have to purchase it?
Not for $850, as there are much better choices on the market. LG has a historical past of dropping costs on its telephones quickly after launch — many retailers are already promoting it at a reduction — and if the G8 ThinQ prices $600 or much less, it’s a strong purchase.