LG just announced the brand new LG G7 ThinQ, which is the seventh-generation in its G series (which began as the Optimus G actually), and it’s the most AI-focused smartphone yet from the company. On the surface, there’s a lot familiar here, compared to the LG V30 and G6 from last year, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Both of those were great smartphones with great cameras, and LG has evolved with the G7 ThinQ. As you probably noticed here, the company has decided to continue with the ThinQ branding that it debuted with the V30S ThinQ back in February. That is because the LG G7 ThinQ is an AI-infused smartphone. Not just in the camera, but also with Google Assistant. In fact, LG has given the G7 ThinQ a dedicated Google Assistant button, kinda like Samsung has done, but with a useful virtual assistant.
Externally, the LG G7 ThinQ has very little in common with its predecessor, the G6. Besides the large display, which is a bit taller than the G6’s display. This is because LG has added a notch this time around, to give you even more screen. And actually, LG has made the notch “usable” here, turning it into a second display, of sorts. You get your notifications on the left side, with icons and such on the right side. You also have the ability to change the look of the status bar, to hide the notch. This includes giving you different colors, gradients and more. You can also give it a rounded corner look or a flat look. LG isn’t first to give you a way to hide the notch, but it is giving you more options than what Huawei provides with the P20.
On the backside, you’ll notice that the LG G7 ThinQ now has a vertical camera module. Instead of horizontal. There are still two 16-megapixel cameras here, with a wide-angle and a standard sensor. The wide-angle sensor has a 107-degree field-of-view, so you can still get everything in your shot, and since it is a the same megapixel-count as the regular sensor, you still get a great looking image. The regular camera does still sport that f/1.6 aperture that LG did with the V30 last year, which is going to give you some great low-light images. LG has taken that a step further this time around, however. Using Pixel Binning, it is able to combine four pixels into one pixel, and is able to quadruple sensitivity in low light. This translates to really good looking images in ultra low-light conditions, without a lot of noise in the background.
LG has also added portrait mode here, on both the front and rear cameras. In our early testing with the G7 ThinQ (full disclaimer here, this was not on final software, so keep that in mind) it did work pretty well. The front-camera does have a wide-angle view as well, at about 90-degrees. So you can do group selfies with ease. LG also made it so that you can do a group selfie and still get that blurred out background, making it an incredible looking group picture. On the backside, the secondary camera works to capture depth data, giving you better looking portrait mode photos here, since it’s using more hardware than software versus the front. The front-facing camera is a 8-megapixel sensor, which does give you great images and also works for facial recognition.
Speaking of facial recognition, LG is following the pack here and adding facial recognition here on the LG G7 ThinQ. In our testing, it was pretty fast and easy enough to enroll our face on the device. Not a huge surprise, but don’t use it in place of the fingerprint sensor, as your fingerprint is going to be more secure. It’s just another way to unlock your smartphone. The fingerprint sensor is still on the back, but it doesn’t work as a power button anymore. Instead, LG has gone ahead and added a power button on the right side, with a volume rocker and the Google Assistant button on the left side. So you can use it to turn on the phone with your fingerprint but not turn it off. This is going to take some work for LG users, since muscle memory is going to tell you to press the sensor to turn off the G7 ThinQ.
Then there’s the display. LG has gone with a LCD panel here, but not just any panel. LG Display has made a panel that uses M+ technology. This allows the panel to get very bright, especially useful in direct sunlight. LG says that it can get up to 1,000 nits of brightness. Which puts it on the same level as Samsung’s smartphones, and makes it easy to see outside, especially important in the summer. We didn’t get a chance to test it out, outside, but inside it did get very bright so that’s a good thing. The display isn’t as nice as the V30 and V30S, but that is because those are using OLED displays, versus an LCD here. LG told us that it is saving OLED for the V series which is a more premium smartphone from the company. While LCD is typically cheaper than OLED, that’s not really the case here since they are using a new technology here. LG is boasting that it is able to do this because it does manufacture its own display panels (technically, LG’s sister company, LG Display does).
Finally, there’s the software. It’s running Android Oreo out of the box, along with LG’s latest software overlay. On the surface, it’s not much different from what LG did with the G6 and V30. There’s more artificial intelligence here, which helps to make the phone a bit better, but LG has also added in some more features with Google Assistant. There are now roughly 30 different Google Assistant commands that work on the LG G7 ThinQ. Which include things like “Ok Google, Open Camera With AI Cam” which would open the camera and turn on AI Camera so you can start taking a picture. LG is really the only smartphone maker that is doing that these days. All smartphones have Google Assistant, but none are as integrated as LG right now.
The LG G7 ThinQ is a great looking smartphone, and while it might not be the best designed smartphone out there, it is definitely worth looking at. Between the incredible cameras on this device, and all of the artificial intelligence here, it’s a great choice. LG has not announced availability and pricing yet, that is being left up to the carriers in the US. But it will be in the first tier of flagship smartphones – meaning it won’t challenge the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 or Apple iPhone X on price.