LG announced the G7 “ThinQ” smartphone on Wednesday, and it looks to be a solid, well-rounded, high-end device based on the brief amount of hands-on time I got to spend with it ahead of its unveiling.
Will it make you rush out to upgrade from last year’s smartphones, or even two-year-old smartphones? Probably not, but that’s OK. Pretty much every recent smartphone release, including Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy S9, haven’t really offered major reasons to upgrade every one or two years.
It’s way too early to make a final conclusion on the LG G7, as I have yet to fully test its performance, camera, and feature set (a full review will be coming soon). But for now, check out the LG G7’s design, what it offers, and what features it has that you don’t get on other smartphones:
Here it is, folks: The LG G7.
In many respects, the LG G7 isn’t that much different than most other high-end Android devices of late. You get:
– A 6.1-inch quad-HD display.
– A nice design with slim bezels.
– A fingerprint sensor.
– Water resistance.
– The latest Snapdragon 845 processor from mobile chip maker Qualcomm.
– 4GB of RAM.
– 64GB of storage.
– A 16-megapixel dual-lens rear camera.
– An 8-megapixel selfie camera.
– An incredibly loud speaker, but it’s not in stereo.
– A 3,000mAh battery.
– Wireless charging and fast charging.
– Android 8.0
– A headphone jack (some Android phones have it, like the Galaxy S9. Others, like the Google Pixel 2, don’t).
What the LG G7 offers that you won’t find on most high-end Android devices.
If you choose the LG G7, you’ll get these specific features that you won’t usually find on other high-end Android smartphones:
– An audio DAC for higher quality music through headphones than most other smartphones.
– A camera that uses LG’s “ThinQ” AI, which recognises objects you want to shoot and automatically adjusts the camera settings for the best photo.
– A rear camera lens that acts as an ultra-wide lens that spans 170-degrees. The regular wide lens spans 71-degrees, which is in-line with most other smartphone cameras. Most other smartphones with dual-lens cameras also use their second lens for different features, like enhanced zooming.
LG’s “ThinQ” AI camera worked pretty well, and I’m excited to test it further.
LG’s “ThinQ” AI will adjust the camera settings depending on what object or setting you’re shooting, and it seemed to work pretty well during the demo event I attended. I got reassuring words that floated on the screen telling me how the phone was correctly interpreting the object I was shooting.
For the plant I was aiming at with the camera, the LG G7’s “ThinQ” was telling me “leaf,” “green,” and “close-up,” which is all pretty accurate. I can’t show you the photo it took, but it looks pretty good from my short test. I’ll be testing the ThinQ AI more with different scenarios when I get my hands on a review unit.
Yep, there’s a notch.
LG is referring to the areas around the notch as a “second screen.” You might remember LG’s second screen on the LG V10 and LG V20 smartphones, which had a small second display to the left of the selfie camera above the main display where you can get notifications and shortcuts to apps.
In reality, the areas around the notch are just extra screen real estate where you’ll find the usual things you normally see in the top Android notifications bar, like the time, battery indicator, and notifications. It essentially allows the Android notification bar to be pushed up to the areas around the notch, which is usually unused on notch-less phones. There’s less of a divide between whatever you have on-screen and the notifications bar, which is usually black.
You can turn the notch “off,” if you like.
You can simulate the traditional notch-less experience by going into the LG G7’s settings. The Android notifications will still go on either side of the notch, but it will retain the familiar black notifications bar aesthetic.
The back of the LG G7 looks and feels premium, but it’s a little bland and utilitarian.
This won’t really matter for anyone who uses a case with the LG G7.
It still looks and feels premium, but it’s not THE most premium design.
LG added a dedicated button for Google Assistant, but it’s making the same mistake that Samsung did with the Bixby button.
The extra button on the left side of the LG G7 pulls up Google Assistant, which makes it immediately more useful than Samsung’s Bixby button, which summons Samsung’s lacking Bixby assistant.
Unfortunately, that extra button can’t be re-mapped to anything else you might want to do, which is something that tech media and Samsung customers have complained about in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 phones. If you don’t use Google Assistant, you’ll essentially be stuck with a completely useless button.
LG still isn’t using one of its best TV technologies in its smartphones.
Despite LG’s heritage and pedigree with superior OLED displays, the LG G7 is using an IPS LCD display. Those are fine and still look great, but they’re not quite at the same level as the OLED displays you’ll find on the majority of high-end smartphones these days, when it comes to OLED’s colours and eye-watering contrast.
LG is also making a big deal out of it’s super bright display that’s meant to be more visible in bright outdoor situations, but I didn’t really notice much of an improvement over other smartphones I’ve used recently.
The LG G7 will be available to buy in the US in June, but its price has yet to be announced.
It’s impossible to tell how good the LG G7 truly is until I’ve spent more time with the device. I still have yet to fully test out the LG G7’s differentiating features that you don’t get with other top Android devices. A full review is coming soon, but for now, the LG G7 seems like a great smartphone.
The price tag will probably be the main selling point when comparing the LG G7 to other smartphones on the market, like Google’s Pixel 2 and Samsung’s Galaxy S9. I fear that if the LG G7 costs as much as either of those phones, it might only appeal to a niche crowd who seek high-quality audio through the headphone jack, or those who like the ultra-wide angle camera lens. From my short time with the LG G7, it doesn’t really add significantly more than most high-end Android smartphones in terms of specs and features.
We’ll see how its price tag matches up with its design, features, and specs when carriers start announcing their own pricing – stay tuned.
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