LG didn’t really show up at MWC earlier this year, however, when I started seeing the leaks pop up for the new LG G7 ThinQ, I was excited and wanted LG’s latest smartphone to be something more than it is. I wanted it to stand out from the crowd so I can actually hold onto it as my daily driver. The likes of Samsung, Huawei and even Sony or OnePlus has something about them that was worth the purchase. Having said that, it’s not all bad, it’s still a fantastic device, but it doesn’t do anything that other smartphones doesn’t already do well and it may struggle in stores next to the P20 Pro; I think the description I’m looking for is that it doesn’t offer anything revolutionary.
What I like and didn’t like about the G7 ThinQ:
Let’s start with the design! The G7 ThinQ comes with a lot of the features we are used to seeing now; there’s a 6.1 inch super-bright LCD display which is hands down one of the best I’ve seen so far this year since Samsung Galaxy S9’s vibrant display which also offers brightness in the region of 1000 nits, and it couldn’t have come in at a better time than the current weather we’re having in the UK. On the side, there’s a dedicated Google Assistant button which works well and it’s even integrated with a far field technology so that your voice can be picked up further away than usual. On the back, you get a fingerprint sensor that’s symmetrically aligned with its dual-lens camera setup, one wide angle and one standard.
The back is all glass allowing for wireless charging and it’s also IP68 water and dust resistant. LG also decided to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack which is a great decision as I still can’t understand why other manufacturers do. Talking of sound, there’s more to this as well, you get one of the best sound quality a smartphone as to offer with an integrated DTS:X 3D Sound, and a 32-bit HiFi Quad DAC offering 50% noise reduction.
Screen sizes are getting bigger and I think by now, we know that notch, hate it or love it is here to stay and the G7 ThinQ’s implementation is probably the best I’ve seen so far. It allows LG to give you all the screen space ( 19.5:9 aspect ratio) for consuming content and instead of calling a spade a spade, it’s called the new second screen, yeah!
So what’s this new second screen? like I said, it’s basically the notch display area where you have your battery level and signal info, but with an extra option to be able to change how curved its edges are, the colour and pattern too. It adds a better level of customisation and although it doesn’t really get rid of the notch completely, it’s a better consolation price. With how stretched out the G7 ThinQ display is, I had a few issues with it, for example, some apps weren’t optimised for it and when I’m using Instagram DM, the text field is covered so I couldn’t see what I was typing.
Back to sound again, there’s a new feature called Boombox sound and unlike what HTC did in the past by just releasing an extra piece of gadget to make this happen, it’s built into the LG G7 ThinQ; resting it on a table or something hollow produces deeper base and adds to how loud the G7 ThinQ is, however, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that it has a single down-firing speaker which can be blocked by hand when in use. Adding a stereo speaker that’s front-firing would have been a better option here.
The camera is something LG also shouted about with the new AI integration. Pressing the AI button when in use means the G7 ThinQ can read the situation for subjects and scene in order to determine the best camera settings which should result in the best image possible whether in low light or daylight situations. When turned on, I find that pictures a little more saturated than they would normally and I also didn’t see what value LG was adding by making all the scenarios flash on the screen; it could be confusing for the users as it might flash dog before showing cat when pointing it at a dog.
For me, it doesn’t compare to Huawei’s AI implementation whether we’re talking about the end result or the user interface. Having said that, it’s not all bad at all; most of the images captured using the G7 ThinQ came out really well, with or without AI. Have a look at the samples below and you will see it often delivers a good dynamic range and deals with low light very well although still not a P20 Pro when it comes to night time photography. What the G7 does very well to stand out here is wide-angle photography as you’re able to capture images with 107 degrees field-of-view, more than its competitors can offer.
For power and performance, there’s nothing to dislike. It’s running an Android 8.0 software with LG’s own flavor with some bloatware and a Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage – there’s also a 6GB + 128GB variant too if you can get hold of it. The G7 ThinQ also rocks a 3,000 mAh battery with QuickCharge 3.0 and wireless charging – I definitely welcome the wireless charging feature as that’s something I find really useful, I’d rather manufacturers include it and let the users decide if they want to use it or not.
My overall experience with the G7 ThinQ when it comes to performance is that it doesn’t struggle in most cases, however, it does get really hot which could be an anomaly, but LG said they haven’t had people reporting it to them; I also find the camera app quite laggy in most cases, which again isn’t something I’d expect from a flagship device running the latest Android OS on the latest Qualcomm chipset, so it’s possible that it’s a software issue that could be fixed via updates. Battery life is adequate for a day’s use and with QuickCharge, you can quickly bump it back up if need to. According to some media outlets, it also supports QuickCharge 4.0 if you can find the charger.
Is it worth considering?
Honestly, it’s premium, not flashy and it’s neither here or there. It’s almost as if LG just wanted a way to keep their brand in front of our minds without taking risks and therefore suggests we might see something even better for the next iteration. The G7 ThinQ offers a good battery life, one of the best if not the best sound quality on a smartphone, super bright display, better notch implementation, microSD card expansion, IP68 water and dust resistance, wireless charging, decent cameras, the list goes on for what makes it just another smartphone out, but I’m struggling to find a real reason to upgrade to it if you have something with more or less the same specs or why you would spend more vs the OnePlus 6 or why you should get it over the S9 Plus or the P20 Pro and that’s why the headline reads, I want to keep it or buy it, but I just don’t see why.