For 2018, LG has once more revamped its flagship smartphone line with a single model: LG G7 ThinQ.
The LG G7 moniker is a familiar progression from the LG G line which has been the company’s standard bearer in terms of design and features. The name “ThinQ” is new. It pertains to a larger grouping of LG’s smart home collection of appliances, robots, and solutions.
ThinQ, a play on the word “think,” is also a nod to the smart-ness of the LG G7 which now has an AI-powered camera, said to analyze the subjects in the frame and provide various suggestions on how to improve your photos.
Evolution of LG G phones
LG is one of the longest running smartphone makers; they are both daring and innovative. Each year it seems the company chooses a unique theme for their new products. In the past we’ve seen modular attachments, a focus on camera technology, as well as adding surround sound, and multiple cameras in a tiny smartphone body.
The idea is that the LG G7 integrates with the greater LG ecosystem of products and smart home accessories. That’s great for people who value integration and interoperability with various home entertainment and appliance devices although, a similar interactivity can be achieved through apps without requiring a specific smartphone.
What’s new with LG G7 ThinQ
The LG G7 ThinQ maintains the slender and tall form factor of the LG G6, and it is easy to see that LG built the phone around the 6.1-inch display.
This time around, the Super Bright LCD is designed to be viewable outdoors even in direct sunlight. If you’re wondering where the extra brightness comes from, LG has engineered a white subpixel to the RGB subpixel array of the LCD to pump up the brightness. This is pioneering technology for displays, something that will also be coming to some laptops and tablets, and that makes great sense for smartphones that tend to see much more usage outdoors than other devices.
How bright is the LG G7 ThinQ display? It generates an unprecedented 1000 nits of brightness. Yet, LG says this display is 30 per cent more battery efficient than the LG G6.
Anyone familiar with the LG V30 large-format flagship will see a lot of design touches carried over to the G7 ThinQ. Glass front and back panels are fused with a metal frame, which results in a solidly built device.
LG already introduced thin bezels with rounded corners in the LG G6. However, it mixes things up a bit this year by adding a notch. Yes, the controversial notch (a necessity on devices like the iPhone X or the Essential Phone) is, believe it or not, a “feature” for the LG G7 ThinQ. The good news is that going forward, Android P will support notched screens. So the LG G7 ThinQ will be ahead of the curve when that OS update comes around.
The notch enables LG to increase the screen size of its display which is good for adding status icons to the left and right of the notch (whether apps can automatically adapt to this 19:5:9 aspect ratio remains to be seen).
If you are notch-averse or don’t want to be an iPhone X copycat, there’s an option to fill in the extra spots with digital bezel to give the LG G7 ThinQ an edge-to-edge look. LG wants to give user’s choice, so it is up to individuals to decide whether they want this notch or not.
Listening to customer feedback
LG has been listening to customers and has made some overall pleasing design changes. For example, the LG G7 ThinQ no longer uses the rear fingerprint sensor as a on/off button. This made earlier phones look and feel smoother, but some found it non-intuitive.
LG has added a standalone sleep/wake button to the right side of the phone and the fingerprint sensor remains in the back, but isn’t clickable.
There’s also an additional button and no, it isn’t a camera shutter. While that would have been cool, the new button is earmarked for AI access. The rival Samsung Galaxy S9 has a Bixby button, the LG G7 ThinQ triggers Google Assistant.
Right now, you can’t assign any other app to this button. If you notice it becoming a nuisance (i.e., triggering “Ok Google” by mistake), you can disable it if you choose.
For avid users of Google Assistant, this button works much like a walkie-talkie, simply press and speak, then let go to end the query.
Flagship specs to ThinQ about
LG doesn’t disappoint in terms of specs with a Snapdragon 845 chipset (2.8GHz, octa-core) bolstered by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
It is also available with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, which would be my choice despite the added cost, simply because that extra 2 GB of RAM will go a long way when multitasking and managing apps efficiently.
These specs are as good as it gets for a modern flagship Android device.
Battery is 3,000 mAh, which is about moderate for a device of this size. Do note, it is a step down from last year’s LG G6. Whether the energy efficiency of the new display can make up for the reduced battery remains to be seen. The LG G7 ThinQ can charge quickly through Quick Charge and through wireless Qi charging as well.
LG has imbued the LG G7 with a HD audio capable DAC (Digital Analog Converter) with surround sound capability through the loud stereo speakers or through headphones. Audiophiles will appreciate the freedom to shape the sound of the audio they listen to.
I’ve been a fan of LG’s smartphone cameras since the LG G4. The company gives users great features and manual controls that go above and beyond what many smartphones offer. With a front-facing 8 megapixel camera, and now dual 16 megapixel rear cameras (with a brighter, wider f/1.6 aperture) as well as a 107’ wide angle camera for getting immersive photos, there are a lot of options here to unpack.
Like its competitors, LG has finally added portrait mode. The AI features on tap are formidable and can be overwhelming. The camera “recognizes” the subject and generates information as well as filters to enhance the image.
This will delight point and shoot-happy photographers, but more exacting shooters will want to exercise more control and avoid this AI.
Head to your local Best Buy and check out this phone so you can decide which of the new and outstanding features of LG G7 ThinQ is your favourite.