LG is interpreting the concept of foldable smartphones very differently from Samsung and Huawei. But is the G8X ThinQ, with its two extra displays, really a good idea? Do we actually need three screens on a smartphone? We were able to test the device for several weeks. The concept arouses curiosity, but there is still work much to be done.
- Great for multitasking
- Fingerprint reader under the disappointing screen
- Charging system in dual screen mode
LG G8X ThinQ release date and price
Unveiled at IFA 2019, the LG G8X ThinQ has been available in the United States for $699 since November 1. In Europe, the smartphone is also marketed in some countries, such as Germany. As for pricing, the smartphone is available for €949 in Germany, but LG offers cashback sum of €200, for a final price of €749. We don't yet know if the phone will come to the UK.
For $699, LG obviously includes not only the G8X ThinQ but also the second screen. Failing to offer a truly foldable display, the South Korean manufacturer offers an affordable solution to have a smartphone that can fold whilst benefit from multiple displays.
LG G8X ThinQ – Design and build quality
The LG G8X ThinQ alone is above all a normal Android smartphone, which (no surprises) looks like the G8 or G8S. That is not a bad thing, on the contrary. With its 6.4-inch screen and thin bezels, the LG G8X has a fairly compact size, rounded glass surfaces are beautiful and ensure a good grip on the device. The two cameras at the back do not protrude from the housing, but fit perfectly into the window.
The LG G8X ThinQ has three buttons. On the left are the volume buttons and the button for Google Assistant, on the right is the power button. I prefer to have the volume knob on the same side as the power button, but it's just a matter of habit. I've nothing bad to say about the quality of the finish.
Unlike the G8 and G8S, however, the fingerprint reader is located below the screen. LG has given in to this trend that most high-end smartphones now offer. The problem is that the experience proposed by the South Korean manufacturer is very bad. You have to leave your finger pressed for a long time to hope to unlock the smartphone. There are also many recognition errors and the code ended up being used most of the time. Worse still, LG does not even offer facial recognition (even 2D via the front camera) to make up for it.
A good OLED display is not enough anymore for LG
The LG G8X ThinQ has an OLED display with a 6.4-inch diagonal screen size and a small notch behind which the front camera sits. The presentation is characterized by beautiful colors, high contrasts, and good brightness. For this point in time, it's quite ordinary. But the LG G8X ThinQ offers more than just a single display, at least if you put the smartphone in its case.
The second big screen is fun but that's all
What about the second and third screens? They are located in a case. Like the LG V50, the second display is provided in the box. Outside, there is also a small screen that displays the time and notifications, but only for 10 seconds. It's a shame that LG chose this mirror effect screen at the front which attracts too many fingerprints.
The second inner screen lights up when you unfold it. This is the same panel as on the smartphone, i.e. a 6.4-inch OLED display with Full-HD+ resolution. LG also put a notch for the second screen, although there is of course no second front camera. This is a serious mistake in my opinion and I wonder how LG can neglect details like that.
With the second screen, you can do all kinds of things, some are practical, some are not. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, I see this second screen in a totally different way. This foldable smartphone obviously does not offer the same advantages as the Samsung smartphone. Forget widescreen videos, for example. You can use Chrome across both screens but the result is not good and obviously absolutely not practical. Indeed, extending the browser or other applications to both screens is not fun, the hinge is much too wide for that and it ruins the display.
We must better conceive this G8X as the possibility of having a second screen for emails, messages or videos. It's like having two smartphones next to each other. In the end, it is the gamers who will be more satisfied with the separate controller on the lower screen. You can also transform this second screen into a large keyboard for typing.
The other concern I have encountered is its size. Once the smartphone is inserted into this cover, which includes the second screen, the smartphone is very large and takes up a lot of space. Its width makes it more difficult to handle than the Fold. What's worse, to recharge the smartphone, you must then use the magnetic adapter pins to USB-C dongle included in the box. It is therefore very easy to lose it or simply forget it carry it with you. If this is the case, you will need to remove the smartphone from the second screen to charge it traditionally.
LG has made its UI prettier
LG has equipped its G8X ThinQ with a new interface that not only brings new features to the second screen but has also undergone a small facelift. The new software, which is based on Android 9 Pie, is more modern and attractive. However, the fact remains that we do not have the latest version of Android. And when you know LG's update policy of the past, you can be very concerned about the worst for this smartphone.
On a daily basis, the software interface of the LG G8X ThinQ is pleasant to use. The animations are fast and the smartphone responds without too many problems. Nevertheless, it is far from perfect in my opinion. First, the gesture navigation is quite limited and a bar is always present at the bottom. Secondly, the interface could still be redesigned aesthetically. Finally, LG does not really offer many software possibilities for managing both displays. You have to settle for simple options such as reversing the screens, the controller for games or the keyboard. Forget any form of drag and drop apps or other gestures to create multi-window stuff on both screens.
As for the rest of the equipment, the LG G8X ThinQ has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. A microSD card can also expand the storage of the device.
The LG G8X ThinQ also has a stereo sound via the speaker at the bottom of the device and the speaker for phone calls. The sound quality is fine without being exceptional. Ditto for conversations.
During my test, the performance of the LG G8X ThinQ seemed excellent. The smartphone works quickly and smoothly, as you would expect on a high-end model. Ditto for games where you do not have any problems. The GPU keeps up perfectly, even on top-end titles. To keep the demanding games running with minimal fluidity, the G8X is doing just fine.
You can get an idea of the performance of the device from the benchmark results in the table below:
LG G8X ThinQ: benchmark results comparison
|LG G8S ThinQ
|Huawei P30 Pro
|Samsung Galaxy S10+
|3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme ES 3.1
|3D Mark Sling Shot Vulkan
|3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.0
|3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0
|Geekbench 5 - single-core
|Geekbench 5 - multi-core
I must admit that the G8X ThinQ is not the best student in the network. The smartphone sometimes struggles to fully capture the 4G network when others do not encounter any problems.
Wide-angle yes, telephoto zoom no
The two cameras at the back, which do not protrude from the case , have a resolution of 12 and 13 megapixels. There is a wide-angle camera, but no zoom unfortunately.
On a quality level, the LG G8X ThinQ is below the market leaders. Of course, the pictures are quite acceptable, and the results of our latest survey of the best cameras phones shows the limits of the tests and the importance of perception. When the lighting conditions are good, the pictures offer beautiful colors faithful to reality with good details and a satisfactory sharpness. Indoors, the G8X ThinQ is even a pleasant surprise. Artificial intelligence works well and the HDR mode is nice.
When night falls, the noise is strongly felt. The night mode is obviously present to raise the level. Both focal lengths offer creativity. The wide-angle mode is also very good but LG can not compete with some of its rivals and the colors are not the same when you change the sensor.
With 32 megapixels, the front camera offers a much higher resolution and it is more than enough to capture good selfies. As for the options, we find all possible modes imaginable (Studio, Portrait, Auto, AI CAM, Manual, Slow Motion, Panorama, YouTube Live, Stickers AR, Night ...).
You can get an idea yourself by looking at our photos:
Regarding videos, the G8X offers videos in 2160p at 30/60 fps and 1080p at 30/60/240 fps. It's ok but not at the level of a Samsung Galaxy S or Note phone or the iPhone.
The battery has to power a lot of screen
The autonomy of the smartphone was interesting to watch, because the case with the second screen and the third mini-screen on the front, which lasts only 10 seconds, does not have its own battery. The 4,000 mAh battery of the G8X ThinQ must therefore manage and power two large screens , which has a significant impact on the endurance of the smartphone.
On this point, LG does not disappoint. The South Korean smartphone offers a battery life that will delight most users. The G8X ThinQ allows you to spend a day without any trouble, including with fairly intensive use (about five hours of on-screen time) only reaching its limits at the end of the evening if you are a very demanding user. With the second screen connected, the smartphone battery suffers a lot, especially if this second screen is always on. In this case, you will have to go through the box recharging in the early evening if you use the device a lot. The second screen causes a surplus of 20 percent of energy consumption.
PC Mark's battery test score for the LG G8X was 10 hours and 30 minutes.
The battery is compatible with Fast Charge 4.0 fast charging and can also be charged wirelessly, even when using the second screen. Allow a good hour and a half for a full charge.
LG G8X ThinQ technical specifications
The future of this one is uncertain
For $699, LG offers a smartphone with two screens that's versatile, more robust and simpler than a collapsible smartphone with a complex and fragile flexible display. But the question of whether this type of product can inspire the mass market is another matter.
If you are looking for an original smartphone, play a lot or watch a lot of content on your smartphone, then this G8X ThinQ may interest you. Even if the second screen does not interest you, it is still possible to use the G8X alone.
However, if you are looking for a real foldable smartphone or just a flagship with top performance, photo quality and design that other high-end smartphones offer, I suggest you look elsewhere.