(Pocket-lint) - LG has been wrestling with the idea of folding phones in its own way: by releasing standard flagship phones, such as the LG Velvet, but with a case containing a second screen allowing for that more expansive experience.
That's all change with the LG Wing, a rotating-screen phone, which is the first release as part of the company's Explorer Project - which will see LG Mobile release different initiatives in the future.
The Wing has no folding panel, so no creases to worry about, it's just a typical-looking smartphone experience that then rotates into a landscape position to reveal a smaller, squarer screen beneath. It's really radical and unlike anything we've ever seen before. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Dual screens with a difference
- Main display: 6.8-inch POLED, 1080 x 2460 resolution, 20.5:9 aspect ratio
- Hidden display: 3.9-inch GOLED, 1080 x 1240 res, 1.15:1 aspect ratio
- Size: 169.5 x 74.5 x 10.9mm / Weight: 260g
- Finishes: Aurora Gray, Illusion Sky
The LG Wing takes the LG Velvet as its footprint. That means a 6.8-inch main display - the same size as LG's current flagship, with a 1080 x 2460 resolution - but in the Wing it's a plastic OLED panel, so how that'll handle reflections we'll have to see.
It's the second display, revealed by rotating the main display through 90 degrees, that is the Wing's big sell. This nearer-to-square format 3.9-inch screen is glass OLED - much like the external one on the Motorola Razr 5G - and positioned so you can forget it's there, or open the phone into its cross-like form, to make full use of it.
LG has shown a variety of compelling use-cases, such as watching YouTube full screen while handling live comments in the second screen; or GPS navigation where incoming calls are handled by the second screen. We're sure there'll be lots more examples too. However, as LG uses Google's Android operating system - with its own Q OS over the top - we wouldn't expect loads of apps will be able to use this space by default.
Having two screens means a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. LG uses a dual lock system to ensure a stable rotation, which is tested to 200,000 times to ensure longevity, along with a hydraulic damper and dual spring system to distribute the weight of the motion equally. That'll ensure the screen doesn't go flying around of its own accord.
But having two screens means the LG Wing is heavy. At 260g it might not sound like much - but when the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is 208g, that extra 42g makes the Wing a fifth heavier again. Not a surprise for a phone with two screens and such a large footprint, but something to keep in mind.
Hardware & Spec
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, 8GB RAM
- 128 / 256GB storage, microSD card
- In-display fingerprint scanner
- 4,000mAh battery capacity
- IP54 water & dust resistant
- 5G connectivity
It's 2020, so of course the Wing is a 5G-capable device. That's enabled by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765G platform, again echoing the spec of the LG Velvet. There's also 8GB RAM.
With 128GB and 256GB variants going on sale - although LG isn't saying where or how much just yet - there's also the surprising addition of a microSD card expansion option, which is a rarity in flagship phones these days.
While that Qualcomm chipset isn't the top-end of what's available, it makes a lot of sense on account of heat production, battery depletion time, cost savings, and the simple fact that the SD765 is more than powerful enough for most people's everyday tasks (and beyond, really). That said, with two screens to run, is this going to be enough?
Tucked behind those two screens is a 4,000mAh battery, which is fairly standard for such a device - and actually lower capacity than the LG Velvet (4,300mAh). There's fast-charging too.
We had originally wondered if the fingerprint scanner would only be on the main screen - something that LG confirmed in its official reveal - rather than also on the second hidden display.
An IP54 rating also means the Wing is dust and water resistant. That doesn't mean you can go dunking it into a pool, though, as the 54 standard means it's only resistant to spray from any angle. No worries for a rain shower though.
- Triple rear cameras:
- 64MP main
- 13MP ultra-wide
- 12MP ultra-wide (for use in swivel mode only)
- Pop-up front-facing camera: 32-megapixel
- Other features: Hexa motion stabiliser, dual recording, gimbal mode
Having a rotating screen means some interesting things are possible from the rear cameras. The triple lenses on the rear roughly translate to a dual system setup though: as there's a wide-angle for use when holding the Wing with the screen hidden (or 'basic mode' as LG calls it), and a second wide-angle for use when the screen has been rotated. Why that's the case we have no idea - the cameras on the rear remain in the same orientation after all.
On the front you'll see there's no notch or punch-hole, because LG has opted for a pop-up camera in the Wing. We've seen these before, in devices like the Xiaomi Mi Note 10, and it's a good way of keeping the design as screen-centric as possible.
But the thing that's perhaps most interesting about the cameras is the rotating-screen design's additional benefit: there's a gimbal-like system built-in, so you can hold the Wing and use the smaller screen to make motion/recording adjustments on that panel, while six built-in sensors work as a motion stabiliser.
Price & release date
- 14 September official reveal
- Regions and pricing TBC
So the 14 September reveal has happened, but LG didn't say a work about whether the on-sale date is imminent. Rumours suggest it'll be October - although in what regions is yet to be announced too.
Price wise it's still anyone's guess too. With flip phones and folding phones costing a small fortune - the Motorola Razr and Samsung Galaxy Fold being two such examples - we wouldn't expect a peanuts price here. There's a titter of it "costing $1600" floating around the rumour mill, though, but with no credible source at this time.
Interestingly the Wing isn't the only experimental product in LG's stables. The Korean company has what it calls the Explorer Project, with the Wing being the first device from this series. In LG's words "[the Explorer Project is a] new mobile category aimed at discovering new ways to interact with mobile devices, focusing on the evolving and ever-changing needs of today’s consumers and challenging established user norms."
This whacky yet wonderful looking phone could well turn out to be 2020 highlight. We do hope it'll come to the UK. And hopefully we can get out hands on a device too.
LG Wing (LM-F100N): What's the history?
14 September: LG's official reveal
The Korean company - along with a bunch of YouTubers - revealed the Wing in full.
8 September: New video leaks showing rotation mechanism
The most revealing video yet shows the Wing in-hand and how its rotating mechanism functions.
6 September: LG confirms LG Wing as the official name
It's no codename: the LG Wing will be called exactly that.
2 September: LG officially teases launch date
A video from LG Mobile Global's YouTube reveals the 14 September launch event, shows off a little of what to expect from the rotating-screen phone.
26 August: LG Wing rotating dual screen phone is real, here's the video
A leaked video from Korea shows the Wing in action, setup as an in-car system for GPS, music and calls.
25 August: LG Wing dual-screen phone benchmarks leak out: Is a launch imminent?
Benchmarks reveal expected specification, which is similar to the LG Velvet in some respects.
12 May: LG Wing leak suggests a swivel phone with hidden screen
The first leak of LG's swivel/rotating/folding/whatever-it-is phone.