Once again, LG is mixing up its launch. Instead of the announcing the latest entry in G series later in the year, the LG G8 ThinQ was announced at Mobile World Congress 2019, shortly after Samsung's Galaxy S10 event. And instead of trying to match what other OEMs are doing, LG is once again trying to be different.
LG needs a win this year. Despite their overall success, the mobile division has been struggling to turn a profit for several years. And this struggle can be seen in the latest phone release, the LG G8 ThinQ. Because foldable phones and over 90% screen to body ratio are expensive, they ignored them. Instead, they focused on being unique by implementing features you probably won't find on any other phone this year. But the trouble is, you probably won't find them compelling, either.
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The LG G8 ThinQ brings several new technologies to the series including a Crystal Sound OLED panel which turns the screen into a speaker and a Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor which allows for gesture controls without touch the screen, 3D facial scanning for Face ID-like biometric authentication, and a new biometric authentication method, Vein ID.
The LG G8 ThinQ was announced on February 24, 2019, during Mobile World Congress. It was announced alongside the LG V50 ThinQ. Preorders and official release dates have yet to be announced.
- Release date: Spring 2019
- Preorder date: Spring 2019
- Announced: Feb. 24, 2019
The G8 ThinQ comes in only one storage option, 128 GB. This can be paired with a microSD card for additional storage up to 2 TB in theory, but the largest available microSD card is currently 1 TB.
- Storage available: 128 GB
- Expandable storage: yes, up to 2 TB microSD
No official pricing has been announced for the G8 ThinQ. We know the G7 ThinQ came in last year at $750, so we expect at least a minimum $50 price increase. However, with the new ToF sensor and the Crystal Sound Display, we are expecting LG will probably price this phone around $850–900. We will update this article when we learn more.
- Price: Unknown
The G8 ThinQ has a glass back which is protected using the latest from Corning, Gorilla Glass 6. With this glass, your G8 will be able to survive 1-meter (3.28 feet) drops onto rough surfaces fifteen times in a row before breaking. This is two times better than the Gorilla Glass 5 which covers the front of the phone. The G8 ThinQ comes in three colors: Carmine Red, Aurora Black, and Platinum Gray.
- Frame: anodized aluminum, Gorilla Glass 5 (front), Gorilla Glass 6 (back)
- Finish: carmine red, aurora black, platinum gray
The G8 ThinQ is nearly identical to the dimensions of the G7 ThinQ, with only minimal differences in height weight, and depth. This also means the same narrower display is still present, a look not everyone likes. As with its predecessor, LG has included IP68 protection and MIL-STD 810G certification. The latter is a certification created by the military for devices which can survive the most treacherous environments.
- Height: 5.98 inches
- Width: 2.83 inches
- Depth: 0.33 inches
- Weight: 5.89 ounces
- Dust/water resistance: IP68 and MIL-STD 810G
- Supported carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint
- Infrared blaster: no
- Version: Android 9.0 Pie
While we are not sure the skin version number, we do know that LG G8 ThinQ will run the LG UX skin. While it isn't the lightest of skins, it's not as heavy as other OEMs such as Huawei and Samsung. LG does offer some exclusive enhancements such as accessing a group of apps anywhere and the ability to control the Hi-Fi DAC.
- Version: LG UX
For the first time in the G series history, the G8 ThinQ will use an OLED panel. This is a 6.1-inch display with a QHD+ resolution. The same notch from last year's G7 ThinQ makes a return (for better or worse), and the screen does support HDR 10.
However, what's different about this phone is the new technology LG developed known as Crystal Sound. With this panel, the OLED panel acts as a diaphragm, vibrating the entire surface of the screen to produce sounds. Using this feature, LG has improved the water and dust resistance, as it removed the earpiece speaker and replaced it with the sound-producing display.
- Screen size: 6.1 inches
- Screen resolution: 3120 x 1440pixels
- Total pixels: Unknown
- Pixel density: 538 ppi
- Screen type: POLED
- Notch: yes
- Screen-to-body ratio: 83.5% percent
- Aspect ratio: 19.5:9
- Minimum brightness: Unknown
- Maximum brightness:600 nits
- Refresh rate: 60 Hz (60 Hz for touch-sensing)
- Color temp: Unknown
- Color gamut: Unknown
Similar to storage, there is only one RAM option for the G8 ThinQ, 6 GB. While this isn't as "sexy" as the Samsung Galaxy S10+ and its 12 GB of RAM, it is more than enough for Android, allowing you use all apps on the Play Store without any significant slowdowns. And just like every other non-Apple and non-Huawei flagship phone in the US, it runs the latest from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 855. This is Qualcomm's first 7 nm SoC and is about 40% faster than its predecessor.
- Memory: 6 GB RAM
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- Chip size: 7 nanometer
- CPU frequency: 2.84 GHz (Gold) + 2.42 GHz (Gold) + 1.8 GHz (Silver)
- CPU cores: 8 (4 Gold + 4 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 640
- GPU cores: Unknown
The battery capacity has been increased by 500 mAh to 3,500 mAh. This should provide a noticeable improvement over its predecessor when all the upgrades are considered. With a display that has a lower max brightness, a more power-efficient SoC, and Android Pie's Adaptive Battery feature, G7 ThinQ users should see at least another hour or so of screen time when performing similar tasks on both phones.
- Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion
- Removable: no
- Capacity: 3,500 mAh, 3.87 volts (13.5 watt-hours)
- Wired charging: yes, Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
- Wireless charging: yes, Qi charging
On the front, LG has a single 8 MP lens. However, next to it is what LG is calling the "Z Camera." This "camera" is a ToF sensor which enables many of LG's new features, starting with a secure Face Unlock.
It also allows for a new biometric authentication, Vein ID, where you unlock your phone with your palm.
However, the feature LG really pushing is Air Motion, a set of gestures which let you control your phone without touching the display. So far it appears to be more gimmicky than practical as it hardly works, but when it does work, solves the age-old problem of how to use your phone when you have food, water, or other gunk on your hands.
- Resolution: 8 MP
- Aperture: ƒ/1.7
- Pixel Size: 1.22 µm
- Zoom: no
- Flash: no
- Image stabilization: no
- RAW support: no
- Object detection: Unknown
- Formats: Unknown
The G8 ThinQ has a dual camera variant and a triple camera variant, depending on your market. They didn't specify which markets are getting which device, so for the sake of being through, we listed both models. Both variants use the same primary and secondary camera. The triple camera variant gains a telephoto lens for 2x optical zoom. LG also managed to eliminate the camera bump on the G8 ThinQ for a cleaner look.
- Resolution: 12 MP + 16 MP (dual camera) + 12 MP (triple camera variant)
- Pixel size: 1.4 µm + 1.0 µm + 1.0 µm
- Aperture: ƒ/1.5 + ƒ/1.9 + ƒ/2.4
- Zoom: no (for dual), yes (for triple) 2x optical
- Flash: yes, LED
- Image stabilization: yes, both 12 MP lenes
- RAW support: yes
- Lens cover: sapphire crystal
- Object detection: Unknown
- Formats: JPEG, RAW
Full manual mode videography returns with the G8 ThinQ. The biggest change is the new Portrait Video mode which lets you shoot video using the bokeh effect in real time. It doesn't work well, but is something different to try out.
- Resolution: 720p, 1080p, and 4K
- Max frame rate: Unknown
- Slow motion: Unknown
- Time-lapse: Unknown
- Photos: Unknown
- Zoom: Unknown
- Flash access: Unknown
- Image stabilization: Unknown
- Object detection: Unknown
- Autofocus: Unknown
- Audio: Unknown
- Formats: Unknown
One of the standout features is the new Crystal Sound OLED panel. Developed by LG, this technology turns the screen into a speaker by vibrating the surface similar to a diaphragm. This "speaker" works in tandem with the bottom-firing speaker that fills the bass. Additionally, the resonance chamber from last year's G7 ThinQ makes a return, using the internal space of the phone to amplify volume. The result is a loud phone with stereo speakers.
The LG G8 ThinQ will be one of only a handful of flagship phones which still has the 3.5 mm headphone jack. Unlike Samsung's Galaxy S10 lineup, this port is enhanced thanks to the Quad DAC which provides clear sound that can drive the more expensive headphones with higher resistance. There is also support for DTS:X 3D Surround Sound which allows either the speaker or headphone to emulate a 7.1 surround sound system.
- 3.5 mm headphone jack: yes
- Stereo speakers: yes, display and bottom firing speaker
- Mics: Unknown
- Max speaker volume: Unknown
The LG G8 ThinQ supports the usual audio and video file types which Android supports.
- Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WAV, FLAC, APE, OGG, MID, M4A, IMY
- Video: MKV, MOV, MP4, H.265(HEVC), AVI, WMV, TS, 3GP, FLV, WEBM
LG G8 ThinQ includes the usual set of sensors. It does include a barometer to improve elevation reading for the GPS.
- Accelerometer: yes
- Ambient light: yes
- Barometer: yes
- Color temperature: no
- Compass: yes
- Gravity: no
- Gyroscope: yes
- Hall: no
- Infrared: no
- Laser: no
- Pedometer: no
- Proximity: yes
For location services, the G8 ThinQ supports GPS, aGPS, Glonass, and BeiDou sensors.
- GPS: yes
- aGPS: yes
- Glonass: yes
- BeiDou: yes
- Galileo: no
- QZSS: no
Surprisingly, LG didn't include support for Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11 ax) which the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 does support. Outside of that omission, LG G8 ThinQ supports the usual set of connectivity sensors such as Bluetooth 5 and NFC.
- Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth: 5
- NFC: yes
- Cellular: nano SIM
- Port: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C
- Other: FM Radio
We currently don't know the bands supported by the G8. However, we can comfortably say it will probably support T-Mobile's LTE Band 71, a band they helped launch with the V30.
The G8 ThinQ has not one, not two, but three different biometric authentication methods. There is the capacitive fingerprint scanner on the back. Then, thanks to the new "Z Camera," you can also use 3D Face Scanning to unlock your phone (similar to Apple's Face ID). For this method, LG is waiting on Google to add the necessary support so that this method will work with mobile payment services (this should come with Android Q).
Finally, there is Vein ID. With Vein ID, LG uses the ToF sensor to detect your blood and use that to figure out your vein pattern. This pattern, which is unique, is then used to authenticate you and allow you to access your phone. While the process isn't the most convenient, it is nice to see LG think out of the box and try to create unique experiences.
- Fingerprint scanner: yes, rear-mounted
- Face scanner: yes
- Iris scanner: no
- Other Biometrics: Hand ID
- Manual authentication: password, PIN, pattern, swipe
Currently, we don't know what will be in the box but will update when the information becomes available.