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LG G7 ThinQ Preview

LG G7 ThinQ
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This is our preview based on a preproduction unit, expect the review soon.

LG G7 ThinQ Preview

LG smartphones and comic book superheroes – they're quite alike if you think about it. Pretty much every recent LG flagship has stood out with a "superpower" of sorts – a peculiarity that made it distinct, unusual, unique even. For instance, the LG G4 could be personalized with stylish leather back covers; the LG G5 tried to win our hearts with its modular design; the LG G6 had the taller, 2:1 display aspect ratio before it was cool; and the new LG G7 ThinQ (pronounced "thin-cue") promises convenience through deep integration of artificial intelligence. AI abilities aside, the LG G7 also comes with a superbright display, a superloud speaker, and a superwide dual camera at the back. Indeed, we have a "superphone" on our hands, but what could be its kryptonite? Our in-depth review holds the answer.

Design


LG G7 ThinQ Preview
LG G7 ThinQ Preview
LG G7 ThinQ Preview
LG G7 ThinQ Preview

The LG G7 looks and feels every bit as premium as a 2018 flagship smartphone should. Its front and back are protected by Gorilla Glass 5, while a metal frame wraps around its perimeter. The phone is neither too light, nor too heavy for its size. It feels solidly built, I don't find it slippery, and the IP68 water resistance rating indicates that a dunk in the pool won't do it any harm. Operating the G7 single-handedly can be a challenge, though, much as the case is with many other phones of this caliber.

LG G7 ThinQ Preview
LG G7 ThinQ Preview
At the back of the LG G7 is located its dual camera, confined within a housing that bulges very, very slightly, without making the phone wobble. Below is a fingerprint scanner that is fast, reliable, and easy to reach without looking. The fingerprint reader on the LG G7 does not double as a power button. Instead, the latter has been relocated to the right side of the phone, and pressing it twice can be used as a handy camera shortcut.

The LG G7 can be had in one out of four colors: black, grey, rose, or blue (though availability may be limited, depending on the market). All of them have the same highly reflective and eye-catchy finish to which fingerprints stick so easily. Probably that's why LG throws a cleaning cloth in the box.

Overall, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way the LG G7 has been put together, but at the end of the day, it doesn't do much to distance itself from the competition. True, it does have the characteristics of a premium phone, but it could use more character. Though if that's the kind of looks the market demands, we can't blame LG for following trends instead of trying to set new ones.


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


New Second Screen, a.k.a The Notch


Speaking of trends, it is time to address the elephant in the room: yes, the LG G7 has a notch at the top of its display. It is a design feature that has been subject to much ridicule – and one of the reasons why LG's flagship looks so similar to many phones that have and will come out this year.

But despite the criticism, the G7's notch is nothing to be concerned about. In fact, it allows LG to squeeze even more display area on the front without making the phone itself bigger than it is. Within the cutout reside the phone's earpiece, front camera, and various sensors, while the additional screen space on the sides – the New Second Screen, as LG calls it – hosts the clock, notification icons, and status information.

The notch on the LG G7 doesn't get in the way - LG G7 ThinQ Preview
The notch on the LG G7 doesn't get in the way - LG G7 ThinQ Preview

The good thing about the notch is that it doesn't get in the way, be it while watching video, playing a game, browsing the web, or simply scrolling down your Instagram feed. Most apps wrap around it or simply avoid it without issues. Those who find it distracting can "hide" it by applying a background to the area on its sides, thus making it blend with the upper bezel. I didn't. 

The different notch styles - LG G7 ThinQ Preview


Dedicated Google Assistant button


On the left side of the G7 ThinQ, LG has added a dedicated Google Assistant button. This lets you access Google Assistant from most screens, while a double press launches Google Lens for visual object and landmark recognition. And if you hold the button down – just as if you were using a walkie-talkie – you can speak out your queries directly without the need for the "OK Google" hotword. For the record, the button gets disabled while the camera is in use – a case where an accidental press may be critical.

LG hasn't added the option to link this button to a different function, but you do have the freedom to disable the key if you want to. I didn't. In fact, I found myself using the assistant more because of its super convenient walkie-talkie mode. And the button is distanced enough from the rest to prevent accidental presses.

Display


LG G7 ThinQ Preview

The 6.1-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1440 by 3120 pixels is one of the LG G7's key selling points. It is the largest and tallest on a G-series phone so far – with a 19.5 to 9 aspect ratio – and even with the notch and on-screen buttons, there's still plenty of space for apps and content. I had only a few instances where apps didn't fill the entire height of the screen, and a tap of a button was enough to fix the issue.

Colors exhibited by the LG G7, while not entirely accurate, are bold, saturated, and very likeable. Whites do have a blueish tint, though, which is why I choose the Cinema color profile from the Display Settings menu. This mode is a lot more accurate when it comes to color reproduction. Comfort View – a blue light filter feature – can be toggled manually in the evening or set to activate automatically at a given time.

Brightness is the screen's most touted specification. By adding a fourth, white sub-pixel to the traditional red, green, and blue ones, the LG G7 is able to hit the remarkable 1000 nits of brightness, making this the brightest smartphone screen we've ever tested. Brightness is critical when it comes to outdoor visibility, and after almost two weeks of use, I can confirm that the G7 doesn't disappoint in this respect.

But there's a catch – a few of them, actually. Firstly, the G7 can't maintain that 1000-nit brightness level for prolonged periods of time due to the high power consumption and the heat that is generated. Secondly, color accuracy gets thrown out of balance at such high brightness levels. Nonetheless, it is legibility that matters most when a phone is used under the scorching sun, and the G7 does excel in this key area.

As previous LG flagships, the LG G7 supports the useful Always-on Display feature, which shows the current time and pending notification icons on the lock screen while on standby. You can also access the music player and various toggles without waking up the phone. Alas, AoD has a small, but noticeable impact on battery life, which is probably why it is disabled by default.

Software and interface


Android 8 Oreo comes loaded on the LG G7 ThinQ. To no surprise, it has been heavily customized by LG – the software looks very different from what you'd find on a Google Pixel phone, for example. It has its quirks and peculiarities, as new users would quickly find out, but anyone who's handled an LG G6 or an LG V30 should feel right at home, as the experience is nearly identical in day-to-day use.

LG's software is characterized by its lack of an app drawer. Instead, all apps are placed on the home screen. We also find the Floating Bar feature introduced with the V30, giving you quick access to apps, contacts, or features. The on-screen buttons can be rearranged and the height of the on-screen keyboard can be adjusted. A double tap on the screen can be used to wake the phone. Gallery files and notes can be locked to keep them safe from prying eyes. All in all, the LG G7 is not a phone lacking in features that both regular folks and power users can appreciate.

Some things I would have changed if I could, though. For example, I can't access my notifications with a swipe down on the home screen. Instead, I get a universal search bar. It can find strings of information even inside an app's data, such as the contents of an email – sounds cool, but in practice, this feature is rarely needed. Fingerprint gestures haven't been implemented either.

Artificial intelligence


"So where's the AI?" you may be wondering. Well, there's the dedicated Google Assistant button that we've already mentioned. There's also the integration of Google Lens, which lets you perform visual searches by pointing the camera at an object. There's the Smart Bulletin that can deliver a daily briefing in the morning. And there's an AI scene recognition feature in the Camera app that we'll explore in detail later on. But there's not a whole lot beyond that.

Frankly speaking, LG's ThinQ initiative and AI implementations feel like a bet on buzzwords to draw attention, and ultimately, the LG G7 does little to convince us that it is beneficially smarter than other smartphones. Sure, Google Lens support and a dedicated Google Assistant button are nice having, but at the end of the day, there isn't a single "killer" AI feature that makes the G7 a phone worth owning. With LG investing so heavily in artificial intelligence, we expect ThinQ-branded phones to get smarter in the future, but at this time, their AI abilities are hardly groundbreaking.

Processor, memory, and performance


As a true 2018 flagship phone, the LG G7 comes equipped with Qualcomm's fastest chip to date, the Snapdragon 845. In terms of memory, there are to variations: the standard LG G7 comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, plus a microSD card slot for storage expansion, but there's also a LG G7+ modification that provides 6GB of RAM and 128GB for your files.

As we're dealing with a non-final unit here, we'll have to reserve our more in-depth analysis on system and app performance for a later time.

Camera


LG G7 ThinQ Preview

First, let's get the specs out of the way: the LG G7 boasts a dual main camera comprised of one regular cam and a secondary wide-angle shooter. The main cam has 16MP of resolution, OIS, and F1.6 fixed aperture, but small for a high-end phone 1.0-micron pixels. Meanwhile, the wide-angle cam – which uses the exact same sensor, by the way – has a 107-degree viewing angle, allowing you to fit more in the frame without having to step back.

As before, the camera app is rich in features that experienced photographers may appreciate, including full manual controls for both photos and video, as well as support for HDR10 4K video recording. On the downside, the whole camera app feels slow – both when taking photos and when switching between modes. Another drawback is that we can't switch back and forth between the regular and the wide-angle camera while shooting video. On top of that, the preview in the viewfinder tends to be darker compared to the photo taken, especially with HDR activated.

LG G7 ThinQ Preview
LG G7 ThinQ Preview
LG G7 ThinQ Preview


We're sharing a number of LG G7 camera samples so you can take a look and get an idea of what can be expected from its promising camera. The pictures utilize different modes and showcase how the phone handles different situations. Still, keep in mind that the final unit may introduce some differences.



Pictures taken with AI Cam mode




Portrait mode


For the first time on a G-series phone, we have Portrait mode, which adds blur to the background of your photos to make the subject stand out better.

LG G7 ThinQ Preview
LG G7 ThinQ Preview

Selfies


The LG G7 has a single 8MP camera at the front. Its viewing angle is wide, though not as wide as with the selfie snappers on the V30 or the G6.



Video


By default, the LG G7 shoots video at 1080p resolution and 30 frames per second.



Boombox speaker and call quality


The Quad DAC LG introduced with the G6 is also in use here on the G7. It promises high-fidelity audio reproduction while wired headphones are used – yes, the G7 still has a headphone jack! The DAC is capable of driving high-impedance, audiophile-grade headphones with ease.

Unlike other high-end phones, the LG G7 does not have a stereo speaker arrangement. It uses a sole speaker instead – the so-called Boombox speaker is situated at its bottom. What's unique about it is that placing the phone on a flat surface "amplifies" sound, as if by magic, making the G7 one of the loudest phones we've tested. We have a whole article dedicated to how LG's Boombox speaker works, so check it out if you're curious. But when the phone is simply held in the hand, the sound is just average, both in terms of loudness and quality.

LG G7 ThinQ Preview


And before we move on, we're happy to report that the LG G7 sounds great during phone calls. The slightly offset loudspeaker doesn't pose any issues, whether the handset is held to the left or right ear. Out of curiosity, we put the call on loudspeaker and placed the G7 flat on a table. The powerful vibrations of its Boombox speaker did not affect the call in any negative way.

Preliminary Battery Life


The LG G7 scored well when subjected to our custom battery benchmark, however keep in mind that this is only a preliminary result, as the unit we have may not be completely representative of what the final one will be like. When we get a unit with finalized software for review, we'll run our test again to see if it will achieve a different result.

LG G7 ThinQ Preview


Thankfully, LG is shipping the G7 with a fast charger in the box – a full charge takes about 1 hour and 22 minutes. Having a rapid charger is also nice for quick battery level boosts – before you leave home for a night out, for example. And with wireless charging on board, you can charge the G7 conveniently on a Qi-compatible charging pad.

Expectations


Here's the thing about the LG G7 ThinQ: despite the silly name, it is a phone worth owning. It is worth owning for the awesome wide-angle camera, for the large and bright display, for the fast Snapdragon 845 chip, and for the extra-loud Boombox speaker. Its design may lack originality, but the premium look and feel you'd expect out of a 2018 flagship are definitely there. And at a price of $750, the LG G7 is not terribly expensive either.

LG G7 ThinQ Preview


At the same time, I'm not sure what LG was thinqing when it decided to bet the house on AI. Sure, having a phone with artificial intelligence sounds all sorts of cool, but in practice, not a single AI-based feature on the LG G7 feels like a solid reason to pick this particular phone over a competitor's offering. The whole ThinQ initiative has all the marks of a work in progress – of a concept that would take years to fully unfold its potential.

But if buzzwords are what it takes for LG to sell a lot of G7 units, then may the ThinQ brand live long and prosper. At the end of the day, the LG G7 is a solid, feature-packed, and reasonably priced Android flagship, and I plan on keeping it in my pocket for at least a bit longer. If you plan on doing the same, then I doubt you'd be disappointed.

This is our preview based on a preproduction unit, expect the review soon.

Pros

  • Premium design with some lovely color options
  • Great outdoor display visibility
  • Wide-angle camera is great having
  • Retains the headphone jack
  • Boombox speaker is a nice extra
  • Dedicated Google Assistant button is convenient

Cons

  • Unconvincing AI camera implementation
  • Camera app is slow and needs work
  • Battery life could have been better
  • Design lacks originality

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LG G7 ThinQ

LG G7 ThinQ

OS: Android 8.0
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Not rated
Display6.1 inches, 1440 x 3120 pixels (563 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera16 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz, Kryo 385 processor
4 GB RAM
Size6.03 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches
(153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm)
5.71 oz  (162 g)
Battery3000 mAh, 15 hours talk time

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