LG has announced a new phone for 2019, pulling forward the G series with the LG G8 ThinQ. It launches alongside the LG V50 ThinQ, with LG saying that the G series would be 4G, while the V series picks up next-gen connectivity with 5G

But that doesn't mean that the LG G8 doesn't get its fair share of attention; quite the contrast, in fact: the LG G8 ThinQ gets more new features than the rather safe V50.

Similar design

  • 151.1 x 71.8 x 8.4mm, 167g
  • IP65/68, MIL STD 801G
  • Carmine Red, Morocco Blue, Aurora Black

The LG G8 ThinQ looks very similar to its predecessor, the LG G7 ThinQ. The new device makes some slight refinements that result in a more seamless design overall, but LG hasn't opted for a redesign this year like Samsung did with its Galaxy S10.

Instead, it's incremental changes in the G8, just like the Galaxy S9 was from the Galaxy S8. The LG G8 ThinQ sticks with the lovely premium metal and glass combination finish we saw on the G7, but it makes a couple of changes on the rear.

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Firstly, the G8 ThinQ loses the camera bump for a smooth and interrupted finish, which looks great. One sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass 6 covers the body and camera lenses, something we don't see often in flagship smartphones these days. Apple and Samsung both offer camera bumps, as does Huawei.

Secondly, the rear camera lenses switch from a vertical positioning, as they were on the G7 ThinQ, to a horizontal arrangement. LG is launching two models of the G8 ThinQ, one of which has a dual camera, while the other has a triple rear camera. We were told carriers will be able to pick which model they choose to offer.

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Beneath the rear camera module on both models is a circular fingerprint sensor - LG has chosen not to opt for an in-display fingerprint sensor like some competitors, though it does have a new unlocking method - Hand ID - which we will talk about in more detail a little further down.

On the front of the G8 ThinQ, things remain as they were from a design perspective. There's a large display with a notch at the top - just like the G7 ThinQ and devices like the Google Pixel 3 XL.

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LG has made no moves to reduce the size of the notch to waterdrop like the OnePlus 6T for example, or remove it altogether as Samsung did with its S10 by opting for a punch hole camera instead.

There are a couple of changes to the sensors and the panel though, so while the G8 ThinQ's appearance remains similar to the G7 ThinQ from the front, things aren't always as they seem. LG hasn't jumped on many of the 2019 trends, placing its focus elsewhere with more advanced gesture controls - more on that in a minute - but while the G8 ThinQ's design isn't the most exciting we've seen this year, it's still a quality, solid device that's lovely to hold.

OLED display

  • 6.1-inch, OLED, Quad HD+, 564ppi
  • 19.5:9 aspect ratio
  • HDR 10

The LG G8 ThinQ has the same size display as the G7 ThinQ and it offers a similar notch too, as well as the same aspect ratio at 19.5:9, pushing the display into the corner. Not everything is the same though. 

The new model switches from a mLCD+ panel to an OLED panel, like the V Series has long offered and does so again in the 5G V50 ThinQ model.

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The FullVision OLED display on the G8 ThinQ is bright, punchy and it looks great based on our first impressions but we'll need to spend more time with it to let you know if it's the "best OLED" smartphone screen out there, as LG described it as.

Resolution remains at Quad HD+, the same as the G7 ThinQ and the new LG G50 ThinQ, and the G8 ThinQ continues support for HDR 10 - there is no move to HDR 10+ as Samsung's Galaxy S10.

Flagship hardware

  • Qualcomm SD855, 6GB RAM
  • 128GB storage, microSD
  • 3500mAh battery
  • Quad DAC, DTS:X 3D Surround Sound

The LG G8 ThinQ might not opt for many of the 2019 trends but it does offer the same hardware as many of its competitors. Under its hood, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 is running the show, supported by 6GB of RAM.

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There's only one model offered in the dual camera variant, unlike Samsung with its multiple Galaxy S10 models, and that model has 128GB of storage with microSD support up to 2TB. For comparison, this is the same as the base model of the Galaxy S10e.

In terms of battery capacity, the LG G8 ThinQ has a 3500mAh cell, which supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0. No mention of wireless charging or reverse charging despite that lovely glossy back though, a feature both Samsung and Huawei are offering on their latest handsets.

Along with the switch from LCD to OLED, LG also introduced a speaker module to the G8 ThinQ's display called Crystal Sound OLED. The module sits on the display panel itself so if you crack the Gorilla Glass 5 that protects the panel, the display speaker should still function, we were told.

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Sound is produced from the entire screen, removing the need for the traditional call receiver. LG claims it will deliver optimal, clear sound with no distortion, and it is said to offer great bass and treble, alongside a stereo effect when combined with the Boom Box, a feature that is also on board like the G7.

We'll be sure to test this feature out properly when we come to review the G8 ThinQ in full but we liked Boom Box on the G7 ThinQ so we're looking forward to playing with the latest technology. There's also a Quad DAC on board the LG G8 ThinQ, as well as DTS:X 3D Surround Sound technology.

Focus on cameras

  • 16MP + 12MP rear /
  • 8MP front with ToF camera
  • Triple rear camera model 

The LG G8 ThinQ will be offered in a dual rear camera model and a triple rear camera model, depending on region and carrier. The dual rear camera variant of the G8 ThinQ is made up of a 16-megapixel super wide angle lens with a 107-degree field of view and an aperture of f/1.9, coupled with a 12-megapixel standard lens offering an aperture of f/1.5 and a 78-degree field of view.

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The triple camera model adds a 12-megapixel telephoto lens to that dual setup, offering a f/2.4 aperture and a 45-degree field of view. These are the same camera specifications as the LG G8s ThinQ, which was also teased at MWC.

AI Cam is on board and there are several new features, including bokeh for video, all of which we will test out fully when we come to review the G8 ThinQ in full.

LG has also introduced a new Spotlight mode that offers a range of lighting and shadow control, but it's the front camera where the real focus has been placed. Both models of the G8 ThinQ have an 8-megapixel wide angle sensor on the front, alongside a new Time of Flight sensor.

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LG is calling the ToF sensor the Z Camera - referring to the Z axis in geometry that relates to depth. The Z Camera measures distance and depth using a laser to and from the subject. There are also infrared sensors on board to isolate background and capture true 3D images.

LG claims the new camera will offer "next level seflies" but it also allows for the Hand ID unlocking function we talk about in software and the portrait and Spotlight modes from the front camera.

Interesting software

  • Android Pie with LG's skin
  • Hand ID
  • Air Motion

Typically it is the design of new devices that tends to be the more exciting aspect but in the LG G8 ThinQ's case, the company has placed a big focus on the software side of things. The G8 ThinQ runs on Android Pie and it features LG's skin over the top but it's the new gesture controls that are interesting.

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Firstly, the G8 ThinQ offers three levels of biometric security - Hand ID, Face Unlock and fingerprint - two of which are possible thanks to the Z Camera on the front. The Hand ID feature uses palm vein authentication to allow you to unlock your device by holding your hand over the top of the display's notch.

It's a little unnatural, and it certainly isn't as flawless as Apple's Face ID (though we weren't testing a final model), but it's different for sure and it does work, even if it takes a little getting used to.

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There are also new gesture controls on the LG G8 ThinQ, which LG calls Air Motion. Air Motion allows you to control media playback and volume, answer or dismiss incoming calls, turn off or snooze alarms, turn off timers and capture screenshots using your hand above the device.

You don't have to touch the LG G8 ThinQ, you just have to make sure you mimic the right gesture. Imagine Harry Potter and the way he waves his wand - it's kind of like that but with your hand above a smartphone.

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The optimal distance is around 15-20cm and different gestures relate to different controls. It's not something we got used to during our hands on - we struggled to get the gesture controls to appear when we wanted them to - though we suspect it could be something you will get used to in time with the G8 ThinQ.

We just can't think of a real-world situation where they might be all that useful. 

First Impressions

The LG G8 ThinQ concentrates on software features and camera updates, rather than a total design overhaul, though that isn't to say it isn't still a luxurious looking device. The Moroccan Blue is fabulous.

It doesn't offer many of the new features we've started to see appear in 2019 though, such as in-display fingerprint sensors and punch hole cameras, instead opting to create its own features. Despite its lack of ambition though, the G8 ThinQ remains a solid, premium handset.

The new software features are interesting too, we just aren't yet sure if they serve a real world purpose, putting them in danger of being gimmicky rather than great. We'll let you know when we review the G8 ThinQ in full.


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