Budget LG Q9 Introduced With A Pleasant Surprise, A Hi-Fi Quad DAC

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LG Electronics unveiled its latest mid-range smartphone offering, the LG Q9, in its home market of South Korea. This product shares similar hardware specifications as the LG G7 Fit, a device that the company launched last year during the IFA 2018 event last August. This handset includes hardware and software features usually found in more expensive devices, and LG noted that some of the features incorporated into the handset should provide users with enhanced video and audio experience. Despite being a mid-range smartphone, the device sports a 6.1-inch FullVision display with a resolution of 3,120 by 1,440 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The screen can also reach a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits, which should allow users to view content even in extremely bright environments. The device also features Google Lens and an AI Camera functionality that recognizes the subject being captured and automatically recommends the best shooting mode.

Meanwhile, for improved audio listening experience, the LG Q9 includes a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC, which reduces sound distortion and ensures accurate sound reproduction, and the Boom Box Speaker, which LG claims could supply bass that is twice stronger than similarly-priced smartphones from other device makers. It is interesting to note that both audio features are present in LG's recent flagship smartphone offerings. LG included the Hi-Fi Quad DAC in several devices under the LG V series, while the Boom Box Speaker feature is present in the LG G7 ThinQ, which is one of the company's flagship smartphone offerings last year. The handset also includes support for the DTS:X Stereo surround sound format.

Aside from improved multimedia experience, the LG Q9 features IP68 water and dust resistance certification, and it also complies with MIL-STD 810G standard. The compliance with the military standards means that the handset can survive harsh environments which include repeated drops, extreme temperatures, high humidity, and vibration. The handset also features support for LG Pay, although the availability of this functionality will likely be limited to South Korea.

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The LG Q9 features the Snapdragon 821 chipset which is Qualcomm's flagship smartphone offering from mid-2016. The device has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal flash storage, which is expandable using a microSD card with capacities of up to 2TB. The handset sports a single rear camera equipped with a 16-megapixel sensor and one front-facing camera, which comes with an 8-megapixel sensor. The selfie shooters, along with the earpiece and additional sensors, are found inside the notch located above the handset's display. The smartphone also features a fingerprint sensor at the back for biometric authentication, although people may also use face detection to unlock their devices. The device also includes a 3,000mAh battery, and it also supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 technology. The handset is available in three color variants, namely Carmine Red, New Aurora Black, and New Moroccan Blue.

Background: The LG Q9 is the first device that LG announced this year and based on earlier reports, the tech firm will launch more devices soon. Among the devices that LG Electronics will also launch this year include the LG G8, which the handset manufacturer will reportedly unveil in March, while the company's device roadmap shows that it will launch its first 5G smartphone in May. On the other hand, Samsung will reportedly reveal its first foldable smartphone between September and November this year.

Impact: The handset offers exceptional content consumption experience for a mid-range handset, especially with the inclusion of features usually found in more premium devices. Nonetheless, the inclusion of an older flagship SoC, in the form of Snapdragon 821 chipset, is an interesting choice, and it may result in poorer battery life compared to other mid-range devices. The device will go on sale in South Korea starting January 11th, and it will ship with a price tag of 499,400 Korean Won, which translates to $443 at the current exchange rate.

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