LG G8 ThinQ – Great phone for driving?

LG has been somewhat covered in the last few years by the violence of the larger smartphone manufacturers. Yet the high-end phones that the company has released were not bad. The only problem is that you currently have to show exceptional things in the overpopulated smartphone market or relatively cheap to sell your phones.

With the G7 ThinQ the battery life was not great and the camera consistency was poor. As a result, the device is also lost in oblivion. Nevertheless, we recommend high-end LG devices in recent years, sometimes when they are out for six months or year, as the prices of these smartphones often fall even more robust than that of Samsung phones.

We do not want to spoil the fun right away, but the G8 ThinQ is not the most interesting thing that we will see at the Mobile World Congress. This does not mean that it is not a fascinating device, nor that it lacks special functions. The G8 ThinQ has a time-of-flight camera in front and thus can do a number of tricks.

Control without touching

One of the applications of the cool camera is that it should help with the portrait mode of the front camera. The cool sensor measures the time a photon takes to move from the phone to an object and bounce back. He simply measures how long the light does and therefore has precise depth information. It is therefore quite disappointing that the portelfelfies we have taken with the G8 were disappointing, as you can see below. The foreground is not well separated from the background and that surprises us when the depth information is used. According to LG, that is the case. However, the software is not completely finished, so who knows, it will still improve. Also interesting is the function where artificial background blur is created when filming.

Where the cool camera plays an interesting role, the operation of the G8 ThinQ with gestures. That works as follows. If you keep your hand fairly close to the screen notch, the gesture mode will take effect. Then you have to keep your hand a little further away from the device, as if you were simultaneously handling a rotary knob with all your fingers, like the one on your amplifier, for example.

Two shortcuts appear on the home screen when you make this move. You can then move left or right with your hand to start the left or right app. In the settings, you can indicate which apps that should be. You can also make a screenshot by pinching your fingers closer together.

When the music app or YouTube is in the foreground, you can make a rotating movement with your hand to adjust the volume, as if you actually hold the knob of your amplifier. You can also control music or videos by moving left or right.

This ministry with gestures is getting used to in the beginning, because you have to figure out at which distance you have to make the gestures. After a few minutes, we had it through and the controls went pretty smoothly. Of course, we had limited time to try the functions, but we can imagine that it is quite natural to use the gestures. However, you will probably only use gestures in specific situations. If you hold the phone, it is always much easier to use the volume buttons or the screen.

There are two situations that we can think of, in which the gestures can be practical. The first is when you are cooking and your phone is on the counter for example. You can then control your phone without getting dirty. A second obvious place to use it, which LG also mentions, is in the car. If you want to control music or a podcast, or want to start your navigation device, we can imagine that it is useful. To be honest, we also doubt whether it works fine in practice because you have to look at how far you keep your hand off the telephone and although it does not have to be extremely precise, there is of course only a limited area for that.

Unlocking and hardware

The cool camera has another function, in combination with the infrared sensor, which also houses the notch. You can unlock the G8 ThinQ with your palm. LG calls this, pretty uninspiring: Hand ID. Fortunately, the technology behind it is inspiring. Your veins are mapped with this palm recognition and, according to LG, this is safer than fingerprint protection. That would be because the vein structure of a hand is more unique than a fingerprint.

Unfortunately, we could not really try this unlocking. All G8 aircraft were set up to unlock when they saw a random piece of human flesh. The speed was now reasonably acceptable, although a fast fingerprint scanner is faster. Fortunately, he also has it on the back and you also have the choice to use the face release. It will probably be reasonably safe, because the cool sensor can see 3d, but it was also blocked on the demo phones.

Something that struck us positively in the hands-on was haptic feedback. It is difficult to explain, but we are going to do our best. With a more luxurious haptic feedback you can get a powerful short ‘tick’ if, for example, you pull a slider in the settings. With this G8 you feel a tap and then a short soft buzz, while the slider is pulled over. That is a surprisingly fine detail with this smartphone; after all, it sometimes concerns the details of high-end devices.

The G8 is equipped with the Snapdragon 855-soc, but does not have a 5g modem, as the V50 ThinQ has. We know from that aircraft that, for the same reason, it is unlikely that it will come to the Netherlands. That is part of our motivation to preview the G8 and not the V50. The G8 feels smooth with the sd855, but that’s no surprise.

There is good news in the field of screen technology. The G-series has finally switched to OLED technology. We were already surprised that LG did not do it last year, as LG Display already delivered OLED screens to Google for the Pixel phones. Perhaps LG wanted to wait for the teething problems first. Anyway, the 6.1 “-oled screen of the G8 looks nice and of course rich in contrast.

G8s most likely to the Netherlands

Incidentally, that part of the phone may still be slightly different when it comes out in the Netherlands. According to a spokesperson for LG, not the G8 ThinQ, but the G8s ThinQ will most likely come to the Netherlands. Too bad, because we could only look behind glass. Still, he does not deviate too much from the G8 ThinQ. To make the confusion complete, there is also a version of the G8 ThinQ with two cameras, but that is for the American market and so we can quickly forget again.

The difference between the G8 and the G8s is that the oled screen of the latter is 6.2 “slightly larger and has a lower resolution of 1080×2248 pixels, which is still above 400ppi and in principle sharp enough, although we still have to Of course he also has a 3550mAh battery and that is marginally more than the G8 ThinQ, another difference is the camera, the ultra-wide-angle camera is one of thirteen instead of sixteen megapixels, or we do not know if there is a decline. The primary camera and the camera with telephoto lens are therefore the same.

Camera LG G8 ThinQ
Primary 12MP, f / 1.5, 27mm, 1.4μm, PDAF and laser autofocus, OIS
Wide angle 16MP, f / 1.9, 16mm (ultrawide), 1 / 3.1 “, 1.0μm, no autofocus (G8s 13MP, further specs unknown)
Tele 12MP, 52mm, f / 2.4, 1.0μm, 2x optical zoom, PDAF, OIS

We have taken pictures with the G8 in the wide-angle, regular and telephoto, and have sent a few to ourselves. You can see them below.

There is not much to say about the camera quality without comparison material, with only one photographed situation and with software that is probably not yet complete. What is striking is that the right picture with the regular camera and digital zoom seems to have been made when we look at the exif data. That is probably because there was not enough light and the G8 then switches to the regular camera. The camera with telelens is after all not as bright as the regular ones.

It is also striking that the white balance estimate of the camera at the middle picture is different than the one at the left. We have seen that before at the dual cameras from LG and we had hoped that it would be solved by now. Furthermore, we will wait with our judgment to the review.

Something that the G8s misses compared to the G8 is that the screen acts as a second loudspeaker. The G8s simply has a loudspeaker in the notch and therefore also has stereo sound. LG sticks to the high-end audio functions and a well-known component of this is a high-quality 32bit quad-dac from Saber. Fortunately, there is a 3.5mm port on the G8. The Boombox function is also back, with the phone transmitting vibrations well to the surface on which it lies. For example, if the G8 is on a wooden table, it significantly amplifies the bass of the telephone. This was also apparent during the hands-on.

Finally

LG has done its best again with the G8 to put a smartphone that brings something new. The manufacturer does this more often and we can absolutely appreciate that. Just think of the modular G5 with its wide-angle lens where other manufacturers often chose a telephoto lens. Meanwhile, a number of high-end telephones have a tele- and a wide-angle lens, including the G8 (s). And so there are other features, such as the audio functions, that give LG phones their own character.

Yet we wonder whether the gesture control will be a big hit. We fear that it is a feature that, although the idea and technique are interesting, leaves most users to the left. We want to test it as soon as possible, because secretly we hope that we will use it daily, because it can be useful, for example in the car. The new unlocking methods of the G8, however, may be more practical, although this depends, among other things, on their speed and we have not yet been able to test them. The OLED screen is also a great upgrade, but whether the G8 is recommended depends largely on the final price, which has not yet been announced.

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