The LG G9 ThinQ could be LG's saving grace

The LG G9 ThinQ could be LG's saving grace
We’ve been waiting for an LG phone that really “wows” us for some time now. That’s not to say that the company hasn’t produced some alright devices over the last couple of years—it has—but there hasn’t been one that’s managed to leave a truly lasting impression.

After the ambitious, yet flawed, LG G5—which was focused on modularity—the company moved away from risky innovations in its flagship G-series phones. This wasn't necessarily a bad decision, but it left LG’s G-series phones in a bit of an identity crisis, struggling to really stand out among the rest in the premium segment.

So, is LG going to pleasantly surprise us with the LG G9 ThinQ, or is it going to be another "just alright" device with a couple of neat tricks up its sleeve that just falls flat when it comes to delivering a great lasting impression? It’s too early to tell, but we’d still like to share what we expect, and especially want, to see from the LG G9 ThinQ!

LG G9 ThinQ price and release date

LG has been known for announcing new phones at MWC, which is held every February in Barcelona. The LG G8 ThinQ was announced on February 24, 2019 and launched in March, so we may be looking at a similar timeline for the G9 ThinQ in 2020.

As far as price goes, we may not see a big increase compared to the G8 ThinQ. The LG G6 retailed for $650 at launch, while the G7 ThinQ had an initial MSRP of $750. The G8 ThinQ launched earlier in 2019 at $850, which made it hard to recommend at full price, though it's already been subject to a number of discounts that have brought its price down to a more acceptable level.

With the G9 ThinQ, LG may be wise to not hike the launch price with $100 over the previous model, though we wouldn't be surprised to see the next G-series flagship starting at $899. 

Better, more versatile camera

Image source: LetsGoDigital | LG Patent

Digging through LG patents from the past year, this one sticks out from the rest. It’s a patent for a phone with 16 cameras. Yes, sixteen. And though we doubt that the LG G9 will have as many lenses on its back, chances are, it’s going to have three, four, or possibly more.

The recent wave of multi-camera devices has proven that phone cameras can be more versatile, without adding any bulk. The optics and sensors are small enough as is, which allows engineers to cram multiple cameras with different focal lengths, while the software is getting better at using them all in tandem and further improving results digitally. So, it comes as no surprise that LG has been toying with the idea of a more versatile camera setup, as evident from the LG V40, which has three rear cameras, and the South Korean version of the G8 ThinQ, which also has a triple camera setup.

One of the proposed features of a multi-camera setup, described in the patent above, is taking a photo with all cameras at once. This allows the user to pick the one they like best after the fact. More detailed panoramas could also be created by selective image morphing and stitching.

Increasing the number of cameras also improves depth detection, which is mostly used in portrait mode, but could also play a role in AR apps.

Better display with a smaller notch (or sans)

LG hasn’t exactly been leading the pack in terms of display innovation over the last years. The company’s plastic OLED panels haven’t been quite as great as Samsung’s Super AMOLEDs, both in terms of peak brightness and color accuracy, though the LG G8 ThinQ was a marked improvement over its predecessors on both accounts.

For the most part, LG has followed the pack when it comes to increasing screen real estate – moving to a taller aspect ratio, reducing the bezels, and introducing a notch. The next big step comes in the form of true in-display cameras, but we wouldn’t hold our breath to see one on the LG G9 ThinQ. The technology is still in its infancy, and though we’ve seen working prototypes, it may not be ready for prime time for the G9.

Digging through more LG patents from the last year or so, reveals that the company has been toying with the idea of a hole-punch selfie camera, so the G9 ThinQ may move from a notch to having a smaller camera punch-hole.

Of course, the best case scenario would be for LG to surprise us with a true under-display camera out of left field. The company has a huge capacity in the production of OLED displays and more than enough R&D power to come up with an implementation. The question is, will it deem the resources needed worth spending?

Last bastion of the headphone jack?

The headphone jack seems to be on its way out of the premium smartphone market for good. Samsung has so far stood its ground by keeping the 3.5mm jack in its Galaxy flagships, but the Note 10 may put an end to this. This will make the beloved jack a real rarity among flagships, but LG may hold on for a while longer.

Coincidentally, the same people who would by an LG flagship for its excellent Quad DAC and headphone audio quality, are the same people who need a 3.5mm jack. So, unless LG is planning to stop catering to audiphiles and to remove one of the current-defining features of its premium phones, we’d be inclined to believe that the G9 ThinQ may retain the headphone jack.

About LG's troubled Android skin

LG’s custom Android skin hasn't been the worst offender out there, but it could definitely use some improvements—both in terms of its visual design and actual functionality. The G8 ThinQ, despite running Android 9 Pie out of the box, doesn’t have many of the bells and whistles that other custom skins—and even "stock" Android itself—have to offer.

LG recently sort of unveiled the next version of its UX Android skin (yep, it's called UX) and it seemed to address many of the issues that we've had with previous iterations. In a recent teaser trailer for the upcoming update, the company showed off what looked like a total redesign of the interface, packing a lot of new features, such as system-wide night mode.

The video immediately started drawing comparisons with Samsung's One UI and was promptly taken down by LG, hence why we can't show it to you. We don't know if the company decided to remove all information about LG UX 9.0 due to the apparent similarities with One UI, or simply because it was shared earlier than intended by mistake, but what we saw in the video has made us both optimistic and worried at the same time.

LG's Android skin has long needed a major overhaul, and we wouldn't say that the company taking a page from a competitor's book—a competitor who's been criticized for its UI in the past but is now doing markedly better—is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could be a good thing for LG at this point.

Disclaimer: The images used in this article are based on patents and educated guesses



1. BCMWorld

Posts: 60; Member since: Mar 24, 2014

Please no, no front pills at the center

15. Elvis358

Posts: 266; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

Chill that's just render

2. Cat97

Posts: 1978; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

The more cameras, the more stupidity and lack of actual innovation. 99.9% of time only one camera is used, make that a good one !

3. LawnBoy

Posts: 203; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

Now that's symmetry and looks clean. Great render. That double front can is how Sammy should have set up their pill holes.

4. OneLove123

Posts: 1261; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

It’s not even 2020, yet.

5. db1020000

Posts: 37; Member since: Feb 17, 2019

Why nobody ever complains about chinese smartphones' interfaces? They are all iOS copycats!!!

6. User123456789

Posts: 1165; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

No notch, no hole, no excess of bloatware ....

7. andrewc31394

Posts: 302; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

if LG actually cared about supporting their phones, i might eventually go back to an one of their devices. but i waited at least 2 years just to get my V20 updated to Oreo when PIE was already out in the wild. then LG had the audacity to lie and say they were opening up a support center JUST for making software updates faster and more efficiently. never wasting my money on an LG product again

8. shield

Posts: 869; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

I wait on LG V60! New design, new battery, no notch... Pls LG.

9. Eric7779

Posts: 19; Member since: Feb 13, 2019

Please bring back good LCD with natural colors.

10. hoevito

Posts: 11; Member since: Apr 18, 2012

Come on, the G8 already has one of the best OLED displays on the market, one of the highest PPI ratios on any smartphone ever, and STILL the only smartphone manufacturer to offer a 2 year warranty at no extra cost to everyone. Still also one of the only makers with MIL STD-810G drop protection certification too...but as usual it's apparently another feature not worth mentioning huh? LG actually does offer a dark mode for the's just called "high contrast mode", currently found in accessiblity settings. Same thing, different name, so at least be fair and mention that...

13. inFla

Posts: 182; Member since: Aug 17, 2018

Don't increase the overall size. If anything, a tad smaller and lighter.


Posts: 462; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

Never buying an LG phone again after the lack of support. The Sprint V40 is still on Oreo.

21. MrMalignance

Posts: 331; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

I feel your pain, but it's only fair to place a good portion of the blame on Sprint as well. Almost every carrier has pie support for the recent phones

17. Methlab

Posts: 25; Member since: Apr 19, 2019

Well only the price will determine that. If LG produces a killer phone and sell it at a reasonable price, I don't see why people wouldn't buy it.

19. rsiders

Posts: 2013; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

All I have to say is that LG has the best audio/visual set up for content creators who want to do more with their phones than on other devices. I miss the manual mode from the V series. I loved making family memories using it around the house and on trips. While Filmic Pro does a valiant job of filling in the void, it's still not 100% reliable and still has bugs and crashes on my OnePlus 7 Pro not to mention the other lenses not being accessible in the app. MWC is going to be an interesting one next year.

20. RoryBreaker

Posts: 254; Member since: Oct 11, 2015

With the current state of many great Mid Range phones, LG needs to price accordingly to get footing back in the game. They simply are not in position to charge Samsung & Apple prices. Come in under that price point and earn their way back into the market.

22. MrMalignance

Posts: 331; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

I agree. I'm hoping that they iron out the oversharpening issue with the camera as well

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