(Pocket-lint) - LG has announced two new handsets, joining what it's now calling the "G7 platform". In a similar vein to having "play" or "lite" devices, LG is using the G7 name to carry its phones forward, rather than dropping them into another series.
That might cause confusion - there's an LG G7 flagship and now two lower tier devices - but at the same time all the phones do have something in common.
Drilling though the details, here are the differences between LG's expanding G7 phones.
The same great design, differing materials
- All are 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
- All offer same premium design
- All IP68 rated
There isn't just a passing resemblance between the LG G7 and its new cousins: they offer the same design and build with the same measurements.
We love the G7 ThinQ design, it is high quality, offering flagship features like IP68 water and dust protection, with an all-glass rear. There's some colour variety, but otherwise, all these phones look similar.
That means you have the notch to the display on the front, a high screen to body ratio and a great overall look, fitting nicely into the hand, giving you a big display without swelling the body size.
Bit there's a difference in the materials: while the G7 has a glass back, the G7 One moves to plastic, so it feels a little more like a value proposition; conversely, the G7 Fit sticks to glass, so has a premium shine that the G7 One lacks.
They also offer a dedicated key for accessing Google Assistant.
It's also the same great display
- 6.1-inch MLCD 19.5:9 display
- 3120 x 1440 pixels, 564ppi
What might also surprise some is that the displays are all the same too. This is a great display, one that LG calls FullVision Super Bright and uses MLCD+, an LCD display with an additional white sub-pixel.
This sub-pixel helps deliver the "Super Bright" part of the deal, boosting the display to 1000 nits on demand, so you can see it in the brightest sunlight. It's also HDR compatible to really boost your Netflix viewing.
All the G7 variants also offer the same Quad HD+ resolution, that's 3120 x 1440 pixels, for a sharp 564ppi. That's spread across this notched display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
So, there's no difference here - which ever phone you pick, you get a great display and this is likely to be one the top selling points of the new devices.
A big difference in hardware and power
- G7 ThinQ: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, 4GB RAM, 64GB + microSD, 3000mAh
- G7 Fit: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, 4GB RAM, 32/64GB + microSD, 3000mAh
- G7 One: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 32GB + microSD, 3000mAh
Now we come to the crunch: it's in the core hardware that LG is really differentiating between these models. Rather than stepping down to a lower tier of Snapdragon platform, all the devices use Snapdragon 800 series hardware.
The G7 ThinQ uses the latest, the Snapdragon 845, so it's the most advanced of all these devices - something you'd expect as LG's flagship phone. It's a good performer too and in our review of the G7 we found that it was more than powerful enough to keep up with other flagship rivals. It's a quality 2018 experience.
The LG G7 One takes a step down to the Snapdragon 835. This is 2017's flagship hardware, packed into many great devices in the previous year. It's similar to the Snapdragon 845, as both use a 10nm architecture, but it's not quite as advanced. Certainly, it's powerful enough to fulfil most demands without worry.
The LG G7 Fit steps back to the Snapdragon 821. This was the platform that many 2016 flagships used, using 14nm architecture. It's not as advanced as the 835 or 845 of the other G7 models.
However, what's really happening here is that LG is choosing not to use Snapdragon 600 or 400 platforms (found in mid-range and lower tier devices) and sticking to Qualcomm's 800 series instead. It means you get top-level hardware, just a little older - which is something reflected in smartphone buying habits - people are happy to buy a flagship model from a year ago (if the price is right), but might not want a mid-range device because of the power limitations.
All the devices share the same 3000mAh battery, all offer microSD card for expansion of storage.
The G7 Fit's positioning should be reflected in the price (which hasn't yet been confirmed), but experience suggests that all these devices will have plenty of power and snap.
A totally different camera experience
- G7: Dual 16MP f/1.6 rear with 16MP f/1.9 wide angle, 8MP front
- G7 Fit: 16MP f/2.2 rear, 8MP front
- G7 One: 16MP f/1.9 rear, 8MP front
- AI Cam on all
In recent times, LG has become known for its wide-angle camera, a unique offering giving photographers a different perspective on the world. In the G7 it has a f/1.9 aperture and it's good quality, paired with a capable 16-megapixel f/1.6 main camera.
The LG G7 Fit has a 16-megapixel main camera, but the aperture is smaller at f/2.2 - a substantial difference to the f/1.6 of the G7 ThinQ. That means it's going to be less capable in low light, unable to get as much light to the sensor. There's also no wide-angle camera, it's a single lens only, so it's a good step down from the flagship.
The LG G7 One has a slightly stronger offering than the Fit, but doesn't quite reach as far the flagship G7 ThinQ. The rear camera on the G7 One is also a 16-megapixel sensor, but here has an f/1.9 aperture. It should neatly sit between the Fit and the ThinQ in terms of performance - and it could be pretty good - but there's also no wide-angle angle camera offered.
But there's a lot more to a camera than just the technical specs. For LG, AI Cam is a big part of the offering, letting the camera detect what it can see so it can boost the photos for more pleasing results. It works (to a degree) based on our experience, for example boosting blue skies or giving green lushness to grass, although it can change the visuals of a scene quite dramatically. Still, you can turn it off.
All the G7 models appear to have the same 8-megapixel f/1.9 front camera, so we'd expect a similar experience for selfies across all these phones.
Clearly, however, the original LG G7 ThinQ has the strongest camera offering.
A big change in the software
- LG G7 ThinQ and G7 Fit: Android Oreo
- LG G7 One: Android One
In software, again, there's a big difference when it comes to the LG G7 One. This is LG's first Android One phone. What does that mean? It means it offers Android without all the LG additions, so no extra apps, no duplicated services and no changes to things like the settings menu.
For Android fans, this is actually really exciting. When we reviewed the LG G7 ThinQ we questioned why LG was making changes and adding its own apps that really don't add anything to the experience. Well, Android One is for you: this is a software experience that's as close to Google's Pixel phones as you'll get.
Android One has the advantage that it should be fast to update too. That's been the experience of Nokia phones (also all Android One), so we're excited about the LG G7 One - it could be a really good experience. On Android One phones, only the camera app can be changed, as well as adding controls for other hardware - like the enhanced sound offering in these LG phones.
What the G7 ThinQ and the G7 Fit offer is a lot more LG software. LG has its own store and apps that offer an LG twist on things. If you've long been a fan of the look and feel of LG's phones, then you might prefer them, but there is now an LG alternative in the LG G7 One.
All offer boosted audio
- 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC
- DTS:X 3D surround sound (virtualised)
- 3.5mm headphone socket
One of the things that came out of the LG G7 ThinQ reviews was the quality of the headphone experience. There's a Quad DAC on the G7 models, all of them, so you get that same great sound quality from all of these phones.
That means they're all good if you want to use it as your primary music device, with the convenience of a 3.5mm headphone socket. Just plug in and go - or use Bluetooth instead.
There's also DTS:X 3D surround sound to boost the offering, widening the sound stage which is great for things like movies.
Perhaps the only downside to the audio offering from these phones is the single speaker: it's not great as a loudspeaker, and although there's a "BoomBox" to boost the bass output, the speaker performance isn't as dynamic as some rival devices.
Conclusions and prices
- LG G7 ThinQ: £599
- LG G7 Fit: £TBC
- LG G7 One: £TBC
It's clear that from a hardware point of view, the flagship LG G7 ThinQ still sits in that top position. The newer devices won't offer the power, although the performance of the LG G7 One could be close, as the hardware isn't hugely different.
The G7 ThinQ will also be the camera champion. It has that unique additional second lens on the rear and a more capable main camera, so if photography is your main interest, then the G7 ThinQ should appeal.
However when it comes to experience, the LG G7 One is appealing. Yes, the hardware isn't 2018 flagship level, but pure and unsullied Android Oreo in LG's great body with that lovely display - this could well be a great phone - especially if the price is right. It's also likely to be the first to update to Android Pie. The plastic back is a slight downside, however.
The LG G7 Fit slips into a lower tier, but again, price will be hugely important, because you're still getting great design and display on this device. What could have been a confusing move from LG is actually really interesting: it's leveraging some of the great elements of the G7 to produce these new devices and we're particularly excited about the G7 One, if the price is right.
We'll update as soon as we have confirmed prices.