LG has this week announced it latest flagship smartphone, the G7 ThinQ. With a unique display, a focus on AI features and a helping hand from Google in the software department, LG claims it’s developed the G7 to be its “most convenient” phone yet.
The Korean electronics giant’s mobile division has been bleeding money since 2015, as Apple and Samsung cemented their duopoly in the premium market and a string of Chinese manufacturers — including Oppo, Huawei and Xiaomi — undercut LG with powerful but low-priced phones. After a series of gimmick-led phones which received luke-warm receptions, LG’s last few flagships have been very impressive — especially when it comes to audio and displays — but have struggled to stand out against Samsung’s more popular devices.
By attaching the “ThinQ” banner to the new phone (which ties it to LG’s growing line of connected appliances), the company hopes it can make AI its new point of difference when it comes to mobile devices. Algorithms in the G7 will select camera modes and optimise the display depending on what you’re pointing your lens at, or what kind of kind content you’re watching.
The phone will also feature smarts from Google, including the Assistant (as well as a dedicated button below the volume keys to summon her) and Google Lens. It will be able to hear and recognise your voice from five metres away, allowing you to use the phone like a Google Home. All together it doesn’t sound like that much more AI than you’d find in a rival phone from Google or Samsung, but we’ll find out how convenient it is when the G7 launches in June.
In terms of its hardware, the G7 borrows the familiar “glass sandwich” design of many current smartphones, with a polished metal rim between two slabs of Gorilla Glass 5. It’s rated IP68 for dust and water resistance and LG claims it’s “designed to endure impact”.
The device’s display is immediately eye-catching, not least of all because it features a very iPhone-esque notch at the top, with the front-facing camera and speaker sitting in a little island surrounded by display. In practice, the G7 uses this area like the “second screen” seen on LG’s V20, or the “floating bar” on its V30; a customisable menu and notifications area. The phone will give you the option to extend your content all the way to the top of the phone — for the “notch” look — or to apply a black bar across the top so the screen looks like a normal rectangle with information displayed above.
While the phone is essentially the same physical size as last year’s G6 the screen has been expanded vertically from 5.7-inches to 6.1-inches, further shrinking the top and bottom bezels and making for an unusually tall resolution of 3120×1440 and aspect ratio of 19.5:9. Like the V30 the G7 can display HDR content, and LG says the screen remains legible in direct sunlight thanks to its ability to hit 1000 nit brightness.
Also notable is that, while even audio-savvy companies like Sony are ditching the standard headphone jack, LG is doubling down with the G7 by including DTS:X for virtual 3D audio when using headphones, meaning up to 7.1 channel sound. It’s also once again including a Hi-Fi Quad DAC to make the most of your expensive corded headphones. Weirdly, LG is also touting a feature it calls Boombox Speaker, which uses the empty space inside the phone itself like a sub woofer.
Elsewhere the device features innards that are very powerful but not surprising for a flagship 2018 phone, with the Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal storage (plus MicroSD card support) and dual 16MP rear cameras, one standard and one super wide. Details of the device’s price are yet to be confirmed.