LG just took the wraps off its brand new Android flagship smartphone despite us originally thinking it would skip one for this year. The long-rumored LG G6 successor is official in the form of LG G7 ThinQ with no hybrid smartwatch alongside it. Despite new G7 ThinQ branding meant to represent AI that “thinks,” this is LG’s next iteration G Series smartphone, the seventh installment. The South Korean company unveiled the phone in NYC for a change rather than MWC 2018 earlier this year as it usually does. If you rather read our roundup, here’s everything you need to know.
LG’s MWC tradition ended with the company holding its LG G7 ThinQ for longer before announcing it in front of the media. As we waited, the company showed off new color shades of past models and the LG V30S ThinQ. This may have been due to the immense competition of those announcing cell phones of their own at the trade show back in February. One major player being Samsung, LG’s homeland competitor, who showcased Galaxy S9 and took much of the spotlight in Barcelona. It’s May, and after thinking we might not get a new LG flagship for this year, the company has gone ahead and unveiled all the details including specifications, design and features of its latest model. Though LG’s teasers just about confirmed everything ahead of the mini event, there were a few surprises left that we’ll go into.
By taking its time this year, LG was able to implement more changes, especially in exterior design. The LG G7 ThinQ takes cues from the LG V30S ThinQ that was the first with ‘ThinQ’ branding and launched earlier this year while LG was at work with what was just announced. The phone said to have been begun from scratch has the ‘ThinQ’ branding which originates from the company’s accessory line. I don’t particularly think this was the best choice, but LG thinks otherwise. We’ll have to wait and see for sure if it helps revive the series as LG hopes. The new phone is a sizable upgrade over last year’s LG G6 and should have owners of old LG phones looking to upgrade. Despite producing good phones, LG hasn’t changed a lot over recent years, which has caused the company’s mobile division to struggle quarter and quarter. Many smaller Android OEMs are struggling, but LG’s newest strategies are yet to be tested full-scale. LG is in need of a comeback device and to do that, it made a lot of changes and gave the people most of what they wanted. It’s a sexy modern-looking device that looks much like the competition by adopting modern trends in technology. LG is really moving away from its past and starting fresh now with its new handset for 2018, hoping it’ll do better in the crowded market of high-end Android phones. Here’s how the company plans to get back on track.
LG G7 ThinQ’s design was inspired by phones that came before it, but upped the game to a new level. There’s a 6.1-inch QHD+ curved glass display. The display is of an IPS LCD technology rather than POLED, which was having some issues. To play things safe, LG has used IPS LCD. Despite this, colors will look true to life thanks to high contrast, support for HDR 10 and improved outdoor visibility with an insane peak brightness of 1,000 nits, the highest of any smartphone to date. Best of all, the screen will still be power efficient, 30% over recent LG phones. Gone are all the unnecessary elements like the home button, tinker displays and enlarged bezels. Full Vision, which set the tone for the market in 2017 with LG G6, is back and better than ever with an even higher screen to body ratio thanks to narrowed bezels along all sides. When compared to modern-day Android smartphones and past LG models, the LG G7 ThinQ will be even taller and narrower at an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The trend has been 18:9, so this is getting to be a whole new form factor for more space on-screen.
LG’s new design is compromised a bit because of the display notch it has put up top that takes up a bit of space. LG is the biggest company to do it yet, which is a move to be more like the competition. This does, however indicate LG’s movement into more modern and trendy smartphone design. In fact, LG and OEMs are not the only ones embracing the notch, Google’s Android P software overhaul adopts it and lets users tinker with different notch styles. For those who don’t appreciate it, LG is among the first to include a software setting allowing users to disable it. Users can also customize it to their liking.
Powering the handset is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, a step up from the older chipset found in LG G6. Returning is Dolby Vision for enhanced graphics and image-quality, faster camera zooming, and richer colors. There’s 4GB of RAM, a slightly smaller 3,000mAh battery, wireless charging, and Quick Charge 3.0 via USB Type-C. As for storage, there’s 64GB, which is great, and the option to add more with a microSD card is present (up to 2TB).
LG, again and again, is able to improve its camera tech to offer one of the best experiences across all smartphones. The company has not disappointing this year, but innovation when it comes to camera tech is beginning to slow just a bit with nobody being able to beat out Google’s Pixel 2. LG G7 ThinQ has LG’s best camera yet, a 16MP with f/1.6 + 16MP wide-angle with f/1.9 dual rear camera combo with laser auto-focus, dual-LED flash, new AI features, and manual mode for creators and photographers. When it comes to camera features and capabilities, there’s none better, and the front camera is no slouch either with 8MP, wide-angle, portrait mode and more. Camera quality will be put to the test, so we’ll save our impressions before making any claims. From the way LG spoke about it, I would expect a top five landing.
The LG G7 ThinQ rocks Android 8.0 Oreo for software, and the phone will also be first in line for monthly Android security patches and Android system updates like Android P, once arriving. This may be as soon as this year because of the company’s new Software Upgrade Center for providing fast over-the-air updates. Some of the features from Google in Oreo include new notifications, performance and battery improvements by further restricting background data, picture-in-picture mode, new adaptive icons, and system-wide auto-fill. Since few LG phones have been updated to Oreo, it’s reasonable to suspect that LG G7 ThinQ will skip Android 8.1 and jump on Android P later this year.
Also on board will be two AI digital voice assistants, Google Assistant and LG’s own companion assistant. These are designed to help you get things done, when and where you desire, and will improve with time and use. There’s even a dedicated hardware button on the side of LG G7 ThinQ to launch the Google Assistant with a press. LG has also included a much-needed overhaul of its software skin which includes new but useful software functions including the company’s new AI set of features. This is a ‘ThinQ’ device after all, meaning all of LG’s AI and machine learning functions are on board to utilize. These first came out on LG V30S ThinQ, but have since rolled out to some other LG models. We’ve outlined them here. The upgraded interface is improving, slowly, bringing emerging software trends, a flat and cohesive design with refined app icons, improved performance, and useful features to take good advantage of LG’s ‘Full Vision’ screen. However, many will still consider LG’s skin too heavy, a downside of the device that still has room for improvement. Progress is something.
LG is upping its game even further with the audio experience on LG G7 ThinQ. LG already offers some of the best sound quality with past flagship devices, but the desire to innovate did not end there. The Hi-FI Quad DAC is back with this model and overall quality has been improved once again. LG calls its improved speaker ‘Boombox.’ Expect one of the best multimedia experiences out there with LG G7 ThinQ.
LG G7 ThinQ includes advanced safety features as well as IP68 and MIL-STD 810G ratings, just in case some water or dust comes in contact with the device. Around the device we have the charging port, side-mounted volume controls, a bottom mic, and a bottom stereo speaker grille. The power button has moved to the side, a change from recent LG flagships. There’s also the assistant key opposite the power and volume buttons. A fingerprint scanner has also been included, but on back. It no longer doubles as a power button. Maybe next year, we’ll get the in-display scanner many have been hoping for. Other specs include Bluetooth 5.0, NFC for mobile payments including LG Pay in select regions, and a good old 3.5mm jack for those who prefer it over USB or wireless. Even with all this good stuff, the LG G7 ThinQ manages to include one of the more premium and durable metal builds on the market. LG has come a long way since only last year, and it’s showing up big here with lots or reasons to consider upgrading.
LG G7 ThinQ, like past LG flagship phones, will be sold in Korea initially with more countries to gain access soon after. This will include the US, where retailers and carriers will sell variants of the phone. June 1 has been set as the date for the unlocked model, with several carriers including Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile getting access around then too. Color options will include Platinum Gray, Aurora, Moroccan Blue, Raspberry Rose, but availability will vary based on a number of factors like location and carrier.
Pricing has not been made clear yet. Though, I would expect to pay a shiny penny for this one no matter where you reside. Once the handset goes up for pre-order later this month, we will update you with the product links and all you need to make a purchase. For now, those interested can register for updates over at LG.com. Be sure to let us know your initial thoughts in the comment section.
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