The "1-Minute" Review
- Motion controls can be frustrating
Known for pushing the innovation envelope, LG is in an odd place. They create interesting phones with great displays -- but they’re not always a hit with consumers. With the LG G8 ThinQ, they again introduce several firsts or near-firsts to the mobile market. But does the full package justify the price? Let’s see what reviewers are saying...
The phone features the now-common metal and glass design used for many of this year's top releases. While it’s simple, reviewers found the phone comfortable to hold and very compact for the larger screen size. It’s also IP68-rated, allowing for full submersion in up to 1.5 meters for less than 30 minutes.
But there were also many complaints of slippery phones and scuffed finishes. You’ll want to look into a phone case to keep it looking great.
The phone’s rear-mounted fingerprint scanner was also a hit thanks to its rapid response time and convenient placement.
Android Pit struck a nice balance between the various reviews out there, saying, “... The G8 is a well-made, compact, solid device that focuses on a design that can be appreciated for its simplicity and minimalism (but that for some may be a bit boring).”
LG makes a big deal about the new screen tech in the LG G8 ThinQ, calling it “6.1-inch Crystal Sound FullVision P-OLED display.” Specs include HDR10 and Dolby Vision and a resolution of 1440-by-3120 pixels.
Reviewers found the display bright enough for outdoor use, detailed enough to make images pop, and they loved the HDR support for streaming movies and TV shows. They also found the colors accurate and loved the inky blacks of the P-OLED panel.
But the display’s real trick has nothing to do with visuals. It also doubles as a speaker. There’s no earpiece at the top of the display. If you’re worried about how it all works, don’t be. Reviewers found it worked great.
Loaded up with a 2.84Ghz Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB of RAM, the phone tops the benchmark charts for 2019 releases. Reviewers had zero issues with lag or overheating. Whether they were playing games, editing photos, or scrolling through Instagram, things just worked.
The phone ships with Android 9.0 Pie with LG’s UX 8.0 skin. While there is some bloat, reviewers liked LG’s approach to Android. However, many questioned how well LG will keep updates flowing as they have been slow to update previous phones.
The biggest question surrounds LG’s new Air Motions. These use a special sensor to track your hand and allow you to unlock your phone, adjust volume, launch apps, and more. However, most reviewers found the gestures more complicated than performing the action the traditional way. Some also had trouble getting the sensor to track their hand.
PC World summed up opinions well, saying, “... UX 8.0 leaves much to be desired.”
If you love to install lots of apps and games or want to keep a large media collection downloaded for offline playback, the 128GB of internal storage is sure to please. There’s also support for microSD cards up to 2TB for easy, affordable expansion should you need it.
LG was one of the dual-camera pioneers. The LG G8 ThinQ continues their history of camera design, pairing a 12MP main rear camera with a secondary 16MP ultrawide camera. While low-light photography didn’t receive the best marks, most reviewers found the cameras very capable in decent lighting and enjoyed the list of effects and settings available within the app.
Ubergizmo notes, “... The LG G8 has the best ultrawide camera we’ve tested to date...”
The front-facing 8MP camera includes a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor. This allows the camera to judge distance and volume for better portrait effects and focus.
Ubergizmo also liked the selfie camera with ToF sensor, saying, “If you prefer a more natural skin tone and texture, then LG G8 is a good choice.”
While the 3500mAh battery in the phone might seem small compared to recent flagship releases. Reviewers found it was good for a full day without too much trouble Should you need to top-off your charge before heading out USB Type-C charging and Quick Charge 3.0 support offers as much as 50% in half an hour. You can also use wireless charging but it will be slower.
Trusted Reviews put the battery through its paces and said, “I ended most days (usually running from 8 am to midnight) at 50% charge or thereabouts, with a day and a half confidently possible – and two days if you’re checking Twitter and Instagram infrequently.”
Audio is where LG really breaks out the features. If you’re looking for a phone to listen to music or watch movies, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack with 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC and DTS:X 3D surround sound if you prefer wired headphones. Then Bluetooth 5.0 and AptX support cover most wireless options. Finally, the stereo speakers (the Crystal Sound display and a traditional speaker on the bottom of the phone) provide clear, full audio for listening without headphones.
Trusted Reviews notes, “The ‘Crystal Sound OLED Speaker’, as LG calls it, handles the higher frequencies, while the bass tones come from the grille set into the phone’s frame. Cover the latter and audio does break down, but in general use, it’s surprisingly clear and loud... If your phone is your primary media player, especially if you mainly use it for music playback, the LG G8 would make an excellent choice for your next device.”
With the strong praise for the phone, a recommendation might seem obvious.
However, most reviews stopped short of a full endorsement. This is mainly because of the price.
While the phone offers some interesting innovations, it costs as much -- if not more -- than many of this year’s most popular releases. And while they might not offer some of the cooler features, they do many of the standard ones better.
Android Pit says, “... it isn’t a bad device. However, to turn heads and make sales in the current market it’s unclear if the G8 ThinQ offers enough appeal to tear people away from what else is out there.”
Trusted Reviews says, “In a vacuum, the LG G8 ThinQ is a well-rounded flagship phone with reliable top-tier performance, capable cameras, a great screen and decent battery life. However, slot it in among the competition and, as suspected, it melts into the crowd of similarly ‘fine’ high-end phones.”
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