Hands on: LG G8X ThinQ
The rumours pointed to LG revealing the V60 at IFA, but instead we got the snappily named LG G8X ThinQ – a kind of mashup of the V50 and G8.
LG’s 2019 phone entries have been slightly disappointing, with both the G8 and V50 opting for gimmicky features rather than a focus on getting the basics right. The LG G8X is the company’s attempt at righting the wrongs whilst challenging the Galaxy S10, iPhone 11 and OnePlus 7T.
Related: IFA 2019
LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen – A pseudo foldable that’s equal parts a novelty and useful
The most obvious upgrade over the V50 here is the improved dual-screen display. This clip-on screen appeared to be an attempt by LG to quickly bring to market a foldable rival to Samsung and Huawei, and this second-gen unit addresses many of the issues we had with its predecessor.
The first dual-screen add-on featured a completely different aspect ratio, resolution and even screen type to the regular screen on the phone. This resulted in making it feel more like a dodgy third-party accessory than an official part of the phone.
Thankfully, with the G8X LG has sorted those issues. Here, the dual screen matches the 6.4-inch quad-HD+ OLED display of the phone (including the dewdrop notch, which seems to have no business being on the secondary screen). The hinge, too, now works more like that of a laptop with the ability to come to a stop at any angle.
Another welcome improvement is the addition of an extra screen on the outside of the secondary panel. Now, you can see the time and any notification alerts without unfurling the phone.
Of course, the dual-screen aspect is unlikely to be anything more than a novelty without decent software integration – and LG certainly has plenty of tricks built into the G8X. You can use the second screen as a dedicated controller when gaming; a mirror when you’re taking photos; or as an extension of the phone’s multitasking skills.
LG has even added a new browser, Whale, which is built specifically with the dual screen in mind. Overall, this second outing feels far more polished than the first.
Gaming is a good example of how this second-gen dual screen feels more complete than before. For example, the new hinge lets you control the angle of the fold, proving far more comfortable. Plus, the updated screen quality means you don’t have any weird shifts in colours when you move from one panel to the other.
Still, these improvements aren’t enough to stop the addition from continuing to feel gimmicky. With the dual screen attached, the phone is thick and heavy, and operation feels clunky. The dual screen isn’t a seamless solution; instead it feels rather similar to Game Boy owners who had to bolt on an additional light to use that device in the dark.
Related: Best Phones 2019
LG G8X ThinQ Design and specs – Feels like an LG phone, with a few mod-cons
The G8X is distinctively an LG phone. It’s very similar to the G8 with its rounded sides, but short on design flair. It’s functional, not too large – and it lacks the delicate finish of the Galaxy Note 10. In fact, I could imagine dropping this, picking it up and finding barely a dent on it.
The display notch has been minimised and there’s now an in-display fingerprint sensor below the screen. It retains the IP68 rating and continues the V-series’ trend of offering military-standard ruggedness.
On the inside is a Snapdragon 855 (not the newer, gaming-focused 855+), accompanied by 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage that’s expandable via microSD. Also present is a 4000mAh battery, and the LG G8X is one of the few phones that actually claims support for Quick Charge 4. Wireless charging is included, too.
Basically, this is what you’d expect from a 2019 flagship phone.
LG G8X ThinQ Software – LG UX 9.0 makes some vital visual upgrades
LG’s Android skin has long been one of the least attractive out there. While Samsung, Sony and – to an extent – Huawei devices have all seen fairly substantial redesigns over the past few years, LG’s UX has remained largely consistent.
Hopefully, that changes here with UX 9.0. While I didn’t get to see much of what makes it different, LG reps did note that the software now features much bolder fonts, the super-popular all-black Night mode and default apps that are designed to be used easily while gripping the phone in one hand.
LG G8X ThinQ Camera – Modes galore
On the back of the LG G8X you’ll find a duo of cameras. There’s a main 12-megapixel unit with OIS alongside a secondary, ultra-wide angle 13-megapixel sensor. On the front you’ll find a 32-megapixel sensor. While there’s nothing particularly innovative or new with this setup, LG has added plenty of features to the software.
The strangest of all – and this seems odd considering LG reps were keen to stress this is a phone that eschews gimmicks – is an ASMR mode. This will focus the mics on specific sounds when you’re recording, boosting the volume for those spine-tingling moments.
You also have AI Shooting for reducing the number of photos where people’s eyes are shut, and Steady Cam for reducing shake. 4K timelapse is here too, as is the usual array of customisable bokeh modes.
Related: Best Camera Phones 2019
LG G8X ThinQ dual screen – Early verdict
If the dual screen accessory was something that drew you to the LG V50, then you should certainly consider this model instead. It fixes many of the issues of the first-gen unit and makes a much stronger case for the product to exist.