LG has taken to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to announce its latest flagship smartphone – the G8 ThinQ.
The LG G8 ThinQ resembles the G7 ThinQ released last year, but it does still pack quite a few tricks inside. Including the new Crystal Sound OLED display, the new Time of Flight sensor for better portrait mode selfies, and much more.
LG G8 ThinQ Specs
The LG G8 ThinQ sports a 6.1-inch 19.5:9 QHD+ OLED display, with a resolution of 3120×1440. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This is all powered by a 3500mAh capacity battery inside. It also supports Quick Charge 3.0 for charging that battery, as well as Qi Wireless Charging. Unfortunately, it is still the conventional Qi Wireless charging, which is 5W.
On the camera front, there is a 16-megapixel wide-angle sensor with a f/1.9 aperture and a 107-degree field-of-view. The main sensor is a 12-megapixel, f/1.5 aperture lens with a 78-degree field-of-view. On the front, there is a 8-megapixel sensor with a f/1.7 aperture and a 80-degree field-of-view. That is paired with a new Time of Flight or ToF sensor, which LG has coined the "Z Camera".
LG G8 ThinQ Design
The design of the LG G8 ThinQ is pretty familiar. The biggest change in the design this year, is the fact that there is no more camera bump. In the past, LG had a pretty small camera bump on its smartphones. It was small, but it was still a bump. With the G8 ThinQ, LG has gotten rid of that camera bump altogether, and given the G8 ThinQ a larger battery. This is something that users have been complaining about, largely because the battery capacity hadn't gotten any larger for quite a few years, until this year.
Another thing you'll notice with the LG G8 ThinQ's design, is the fact that there is no earpiece at the top of the phone. This is because LG has put the speaker beneath the display. This is their new Crystal Sound OLED display, which actually sounds pretty good. But this allows LG to give the G8 ThinQ a thinner top bezel, unfortunately the notch is still there though.
Speaking of the display, this is the first time a G smartphone from LG has shipped with an OLED display. Up until a couple of years ago, LG used only LED displays on its smartphones. Then started using OLED on its V smartphones with the V30 (then the V30S ThinQ, V35 ThinQ and V40 ThinQ). Now it is finally available on the G8 ThinQ, and for what should be a lower price than the V line of smartphones.
The LG G8 ThinQ is still a glass and metal sandwich, though one would argue that it is now much better feeling in the hand, compared to older G-series smartphones from LG.
LG G8 ThinQ Software
The G8 ThinQ will ship with Android 9 Pie on-board, and there are a few things that are slightly different from other versions of Pie we've seen. This includes the multi-tasking window, which is still based on Android Oreo. Those that aren't fans of the multi-tasking on Android Pie will definitely appreciate this. LG has also made the Quick Settings icons a bit different, it's now all circles instead of just plan icons.
With the ToF sensor on the front of the G8 ThinQ, LG is bringing some pretty interesting features. One of these is Hand ID. It's similar to Face ID that Apple uses, but instead of using your Face, it uses your Hand. With the new ToF sensor, it is able to recognize the veins in your hand, which is going to be different for everyone. But it is a cool feature, and it offers another way for users to authenticate themselves to unlock their phone.
In addition to Hand ID, LG does offer up 3D face recognition thanks to the ToF sensor. Of course, the fingerprint sensor is still available, on the backside too.
With Face Unlock, it is now being done in 3D, meaning that it is going to be tougher for people to fool the phone into thinking that the person that owns it is unlocking it, when they aren't. In the past, we've seen pictures being able to fool the phone to unlock it for the owner. But with 3D Face Unlock, that is no longer the case, and largely due to the fact that this is using that new ToF sensor that so many other smartphones will be utilizing in 2019.
The ToF sensor also enables some other new features that is pretty cool. LG calls it "Air Motion". With Air Motion, you'll be able to different motions above the phone, around three to six inches above the phone – particularly above the ToF sensor. With Air Motion, you can do things like adjusting the audio, taking screenshots, opening the camera and much more. Where this is really useful is if you are at a restaurant and your phone is on the table. Imagine someone calls you and you want to ignore it, just swipe it away without even touching the phone. It's a neat trick that many will definitely like to use.
Air Motion is still fairly new, and it is going to have a bit of a learning curve for users. LG is planning to debut some more features for Air Motion with future software updates. Though LG did not mention what new features it is looking to add to Air Motion.
LG G8 ThinQ Camera
With the G8 ThinQ, LG did not bring the Telephoto camera. It sports just two cameras on the backside, with an ultra-wide angle lens and a regular lens. There's not a lot of changes on the rear-facing cameras on the LG G8 ThinQ. However, the Snapdragon 855 does enable portrait mode in video on the LG G8 ThinQ. The Bokeh effect can be adjusted while recording. This is a first for LG, and also a first for really any smartphone right now. This is not surprising, seeing as LG has been focusing on video for the past few years.
LG has improved the NightView pictures from the G8 ThinQ. The reason for this is because the camera will take 10 photos at once. It then stitches these photos together to get a brighter image. But this will also get rid of the noise that you would generally see in low-light or nighttime images. It's not quite on the level of Google's NightSight mode in the Pixel 3, but it's fairly close. Night modes are something that many smartphone OEMs have been working on in recent years, since we all take photos at night and in dimly lit situations.
Now, the front-facing camera, is where a lot of the changes have come into play. This is largely due to the Time of Flight or ToF sensor on the front. Not only does it work to enable a few features we mentioned in the software section above. But it also provides better portrait mode. This sensor can also manipulate the direction of light in portrait mode.
LG G8 ThinQ Battery
Inside the LG G8 ThinQ is a 3500mAh capacity battery, which is roughly about 15-percent larger than the battery found in its predecessor. Now that's not quite the jump that Samsung made last year, but it's still a sizable jump and one that many will appreciate. Part of the reason LG was able to make this jump, was the fact that the backside is now completely flush, instead of having a camera bump.
With the 3500mAh capacity battery, it should get you through the entire day on a single charge. If, for some reason it doesn't, there is Quick Charge 3.0 included. Which will allow the user to fully charge the G8 ThinQ in just under two hours. The wall charger included in the box is once again a Quick Charge 3.0-compatible charger.
There is also Qi Wireless charging available. Something that LG has offered for a few years on its smartphones, but it is clear that this is still not a priority for LG. Seeing as it is still using 5W for wireless charging, which is very slow. Considering Samsung is doing 10W and Xiaomi is now at 20W, one has to wonder why LG is sticking with just 5W for wireless charging.
Pricing & Availability
LG is once again leaving the pricing and availability of the G8 ThinQ up to carriers, and it will vary by your region. But LG expects the device to be available this Spring. Which likely means early-March at the earliest. US carriers will be announcing their intent to carry the G8 ThinQ later on today, but it is unlikely that they will announce firm availability dates.
The LG G8 ThinQ may look very familiar on the outside, and that's not always a bad thing, particularly for LG. As this is their design identity. But the company has done quite a bit internally that has made this a pretty impressive smartphone. Of course, we'll need to wait for the pricing to come down in the next few weeks, to determine whether this is really worth its price, but it does indeed look like it is.