Remember when LG used to make phones with two screens? That came to a screeching halt when the company introduced the V30 back in 2017. Since then, the company has called the area that’s taken up by notches on its devices the “New Second Screen,” but honestly, who is that marketing tactic fooling?
Now, LG has gone full circle and taken things to an extreme. In February, LG debuted the V50 ThinQ that was the first phone from the company to be compatible with a completely separate accessory that added a full-fledged 6.1-inch screen to the device. Is it practical? Probably not. Is it cool? Yeah, definitely. Is it saving LG money unlike developing a foldable phone like the Samsung Galaxy Fold? Absolutely.
Now, the company is releasing yet another phone with an even crazier second screen attachment. The new LG G8X ThinQ just debuted at IFA 2019, and here’s what you need to know.
First off, the phone. The G8X ThinQ is basically an upgraded G8 from earlier this year. It sports an all-glass design with a metal rail around the edges, no camera bump, and a normal USB-C port/headphone jack/loudspeaker array of cutouts at the bottom.
Unlike the V50 from earlier this year, the G8X doesn’t use pogo pins to connect to its dual-screen accessory. Instead, it just uses the USB-C port on the bottom. LG says this way, the phone looks “cleaner” and “sleeker.”
On the front, LG includes a 6.4-inch Full HD+ OLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. There’s also a tiny teardrop notch at the top opposed to something wider to house LG’s Z Camera. This means you can’t control the G8X with your hand in the air, so my condolences to those who wanna #scanyourblood to unlock your G8X.
Inside the screen, LG embedded a fingerprint sensor so it wouldn’t have to include one on the back anymore. Of course, this means you lose quick access to your notification tray since you can’t swipe on the back any longer, but it might be a worthy trade-off if the sensor under the screen is good enough.
Spec-wise, we’re looking at a Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a pretty large 4,000mAh battery. Besides the battery which is bigger, these are the same specs as the G8, so expect similar performance to that phone.
In terms of software, LG revamped its UI that lays on top of Android Pie to look almost identical to Samsung’s One UI. To be honest, though, I really don’t care since it has to be better than LG’s older, much more sucky UI.
Finally, the cameras. On the back, LG includes a main 12MP sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a 13MP super-wide f/2.4 lens. The front houses a 32MP sensor that, by default, will take 8MP images. New to the G8X are the following features;
- AI Action Shot, which lets you take photos of fast-moving subjects with a shutter speed of 1/480 of a second;
- 4K Time Lapse, which does exactly what you expect;
- LG Steady Cam for improved smoothness in videos;
- the ability to switch between the front and rear cameras while recording video;
- and higher microphone sensitivity so you can talk quietly in ASMR fashion and still be heard.
Overall, the G8X seems like a pretty solid phone. But it’s the dual-screen accessory LG wants you to focus on. After all, it thinks it can get carriers to bundle it for free with each G8X they sell.
The Dual Screen Ordeal
With the dual-screen accessory, LG includes a secondary 6.4-inch Full HD+ OLED display with an identical 19.5:9 aspect ratio. It even has a notch at the top which LG claims is there for “symmetry,” but it’s definitely not there for symmetry and only there so LG doesn’t have to spend extra money on a separate display component without a cutout.
When you slot your phone into the accessory, the second screen will light up so long as you trigger it in your quick settings panel. After that, you can begin using it like a second phone by opening apps, playing YouTube, and more. It can even work in conjunction with the first screen by acting like a larger keyboard or a gamepad.
That’s cool and all, but there’s also something cool on the outside of the accessory as well. See, I’m not the only one who thinks the V50 should have some sort of screen on the front of its dual-screen case. Apparently, LG thinks so, too, so it built another screen and placed it right where you’d expect: near the top.
This miniature 2.1-inch display can show you the time and date while your phone is sitting on a countertop. It acts like an always-on display and draws little power, according to LG. Personally, I think the V50’s accessory should’ve had this feature from the get, but at least it’s there now.
Are dual-screens better than foldables?
Of course, with a phone and an accessory like this, the question becomes whether dual-screen phones or foldables are better. I can’t make a decision just yet since I’ve never even touched a phone with a foldable display. I have been using the V50 with its dual-screen accessory for a while, though, and I must say, it’s pretty fun to use.
That being said, it’s clumsy, app support isn’t entirely there yet, and there’s no word on whether US customers are into this sort of thing. After all, the V50’s second screen option is only sold in Korea. So until the G8X hits store shelves here in the States, we won’t know how consumers will respond to something this radical.
Pricing & Availability
According to LG, the G8X ThinQ will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year in “key markets,” including the US. It isn’t clear how much the phone will cost, but it’ll likely go for around $850 to $900, given its list of specs and LG’s tendency to undercut the rest of the big guys. Of course, we’ll let you know when the phone launches and we get our hands on a review unit.
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