In the past MWC of Barcelona, LG presented its two franchise models for 2019: the LG V50 and the LG G8 ThinQ . The new smarpthone of the G series is the most classic of both, although it presents interesting innovations associated with the screen and sound.
In Engadget we have had the opportunity to try for a few days exclusively the USA version of the LG G8 to get to know first-hand some of the novelties of the European model that will soon reach stores.
Of tricks goes the thing … and of a fantastic screen
Something that can not be criticized LG is the perseverance and sacrifice around a design idea that remains in this LG G8 . The terminal is clearly identifiable from behind, with the fingerprint reader well placed but somewhat slow for a high-end (we will see if something that is just solving the day of its launch in Spain) and a double camera system that is already a rare in the high-end market.The new LG G8 ThinkQ is slippery but very comfortable in hand and appealing to the eye (without fingerprints being a problem)
The color of the unit that we have been able to prove is a bright emerald red, impressive and quite respectful with the traces and dirt . The sense of continuity in the design is achieved by maintaining the same tone and feel in both the glass and the metal frames.
The LG G8 is not heavy (less than 170 grams) but does not break records of lightness. In fact in hand I found in these days of use a terminal with some weight due to its compaction and the use of quality glass in its back. Of course, we must be careful with slips if we do not want an unpleasant surprise. The very soft edges and the finish of the equipment, which is handled very well with only one hand for its size, make it quite slippery.
An advanced gesture control in progress
Perhaps as slippery as it is, the most striking of the LG G8 is the introduction of a control by hand gestures . If we have it activated, the LG G8 supports everything from controlling the music to taking screenshots, silencing an alarm or answering a call by placing a hand in front of the screen at a distance of about 20-30 cm.
We could also identify ourselves by our hand as a biometric data , a solution something caught with tweezers to access the system without having to lift the terminal to use the fingerprint reader or enter the unlock code.The LG G8 introduces the palm of the hand as a biometric identification system as well as the control element of the phone “without touching it”. It is not a functionality that goes beyond the trick for a specific moment and demonstration
With natural light the system works sometimes, but in interiors it has not finished convincing us. In addition to feeling one the weird of the environment, it is not a quick or precise option that can replace a few touches on the screen … unless you can not touch the screen precisely because you have dirty or wet hands. But given the IP68 resistance of this LG G8, we do not really see a problem in that regard either.
A situation in which we have used much this control by gestures, because it works very well, is in the taking of selfies. A closing of fists takes an image after three seconds , while two closures of fists (which counts very well the depth camera) make four pictures in a row, something practical when we do not want to set the timer or force the scene trying to shoot while moving away terminal of us.
High-level OLED screen (and speaker)
In LG terminals, the quality of your screen is a guarantee . The LG G8 stays true to that idea and offers us a high brightness OLED panel , more than 550 dpi density, very precise touch and an HDR mode that has given us some very successful multimedia playback sessions, also supported by a Headphone output and high level sound. At this point the LG G8 again demonstrates that right now is the sound leader in the market for high-end smartphones .
This section has also been reinforced at a critical point: external sound. LG imports into this LG G8 ThinkQ the technology of its televisions to be able to use the own screen like speaker , by means of the resonance of all its body.The OLED screen is important not only visually but also sonorously, as it acts as a speaker for the improved external sound of the LG G8
The effect is remarkable and effectively improves the sound not so much at the power level as in detail and clarity. And without really appreciating where the sound comes from, but just by plugging the speaker on the bottom and check that the volume barely varies, one already imagines where the “miracle” comes from.
The screen keeps the notch with all the necessary sensors for gesture control that integrates this LG G8, but its visualization does not bother at all. The diagonal, 6.1 inches , may seem short for what is styled right now, but the experience of use and comfort of handling by having a compact equipment compensates from my point of view.
Another of the elements already classic in the G family of the Korean manufacturer is the fluidity of operation. Inside we have the Snapdragon 855 with 6 GB of RAM (359476 in Antutu) and an internal memory of 128 GB. These are figures and data that correspond well with a high range at this time of the year, although without great bravado either.
The software layer, which we remember is the US version with T-Mobile, is clean, discreet and very well optimized. Once you get used to the organization of the elements in Settings, everything flies. It comes as standard with Android 9 and no, there is no missing the floating menu that is more a curiosity than something highlighted for the experience with this new LG G8.
Only two cameras … waiting for the European version
The manufacturer that until recently was a reference at the photographic level for his brave choice of a dual camera system with wide angle lens accompanying the classic, is something in evidence in this LG G8. It does at least in the USA version of the phone, which maintains those two cameras that now seem few . In the LG G8 ThinQ that will arrive in Spain we will enjoy one more camera and we will be able to check if that feature makes the difference.
If we focus on the USA version, the double camera is an old one known : 12 MP with f1.5 and OIS for the main camera, and 16 MP with aperture f1.9 for the wide angle.
The interface is complete and quite intuitive, and from it we have direct access to modes such as portrait, studio (with light effects) or a very complete manual that includes a small histogram. Of course, be careful because the main screen of the camera is not the method to move through the mode carousel but only changes between main and secondary camera. To select a certain mode you have to click on it directly and if it does not appear, move but exclusively by the names of the modes.
From the interface two quick comments. On the one hand, I liked that LG keeps the AI mode separate as a differentiated one and that it is not always active or accessible from the other modes. At least until it does more than tell us what we are already seeing with our eyes live. On the other hand, HDR hidden in a menu and not as my own button does not convince me.In the European version we will have a third camera that right now we need to raise the photographic level of the LG G8 ThinkQ
Regarding the photographic results, the LG G8 camera is again very versatile because of the wide angle , which gives us access to different photographs.
In the first results, the camera accuses something of lack of control in the capture of light , with a f1.5 that has to be taken care of so that it does not finish overexposing in complex situations. Here the HDR does a good job.
As for the scenes in low light, the LG G8 accuses some excess noise and, when trying to reduce it, loss of detail.
Great battery with fast charge
One of the reasons why the weight of the LG G8 can not be reduced further is the size of its battery. LG has placed a capacity of 3500 mAh , considerable for the screen diagonal of 6.1 inches and more than the version that will shortly come to Spain.
While waiting for that review in Engadget, I focused on the experience with the USA model, which in addition to that battery capacity offers fast charge as standard with the charger of the box, as well as wireless by Qi.
With the LG G8 as the main phone these past days, I have not had to resort to the charger all day at any time. The battery is more than enough to finish the working day with more than 25% remaining battery and about 5 hours of screen , always using the maximum resolution.