At a Mobile World Congress where foldable phones are grabbing most of the headlines, the new LG G8 ThinQ and LG V50 ThinQ can look unspectacular by comparison – but LG’s new flagships for 2019 come with a number of useful upgrades, without deviating too much from last year’s models.
Starting with the LG G8 ThinQ, the phone is the first G series model to use an OLED screen – which should provide deeper, richer color than LCD. Not only that, special vibration technology enables it to work as an amplifier, removing the need for a front-facing speaker.
Another interesting (though perhaps ultimately unnecessary) upgrade is the vein-scanning tech built into the front facing camera: it enables you to hold your palm up to the phone and unlock it using the unique pattern of your veins. The facial recognition login system has been upgraded for speed and accuracy too, LG says – so take your pick of login methods.
Speaking of waving your hands in front of your phone, the LG G8 ThinQ supports the use of quick “air gestures” – swipes and pinches in the air for controlling media playback, taking screenshots, opening apps and more. Quite whether they’ll be more convenient than just pressing and tapping remains to be seen, but they’re there if you need them.
Elsewhere the specs are respectable for a premium 2019 flagship phone, without offering anything to raise eyebrows: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of internal storage (expandable via memory card). The screen measures 6.1 inches, with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a 3,120 x 1,440 pixel resolution.
The rear camera is a triple-lens 16 MP + 12 MP + 12 MP affair, though LG says it can vary by market (it looks as though some countries, including the US, will have to settle for a dual-lens rear camera). It didn’t make much mention of the camera during its press event but we’re assuming it’s going to be at least competent.
Background blurring is being improved for both portrait and video modes, giving users more flexibility when it comes to tweaking the look of their shots.
With a notch and a fingerprint sensor on the rear, the phone design isn’t pushing any boundaries. It is, however, waterproof to the top IP68 level and supports quick charging. Oh, and the 3.5 mm headphone jack is still here too, so you can carry on using your existing headphones with it.
The LG V50 ThinQ is a surprise in that LG usually waits until later in the year to unveil its V series phone. Compared with the LG G8, it brings with it a bigger 6.4-inch display (that lacks the speaker functionality), upgraded wireless audio quality, and 5G support – just in case you’re in a part of the world likely to get a 5G network upgrade this year.
This time around with the V series, and with a nod to the folding phones of 2019, LG is introducing an accessory called the Dual Screen. It attaches to the LG V50 ThinQ to work as a hinged second display that doubles up as a case – letting you bring up virtual game controls, say, or enabling you to watch video and browse the web at the same time.
Finally, as Apple did last October and Samsung did last week, LG has introduced a more affordable flagship model. The LG G8s ThinQ (note that “s”) has a display that’s bigger (6.2 inches) but with a slightly lower resolution than the main LG G8, and a camera with fewer megapixels, though the rest of the internal specs are largely the same.
As for the all-important pricing, we’re still waiting for official word – expect these handsets to cost just a little less than the Samsungs of this world. LG hasn’t said when the phones are going to go on sale either, but it should be in the near future.