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LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen Smartphone Review
Not a foldable phone, but not a gimmick either
When I first heard about the LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen smartphone, I was like, "Yes, I can't wait to get my hands on this."
Then I found out about what it really was, and I was like, "Not good."
Then I got my hands on it at the Consumer Electronics Show, and I was like, "All right, I'm kind of interested."
And now that I've had the chance to live with this phone for a week, I'm in love.
So why did I go from nahhh to ahhh?
Let's unfold all this unique smartphone has to offer.
Popular LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen plans
A closer look at the design of the LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen smartphone
Unboxing the LG G8X ThinQ is a little more complicated than your normal smartphone because what this phone isn't is a one-piece folder. You're actually getting a phone and technically an accessory in one box. Yes, the dual display portion of the G8X is basically a highly functional case with two built-in displays. Matter of fact, I'd go as far as to say, it put the "do" in dual display.
A tour of the LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen smartphone
As you can see in the video review, on the outside of the accessory display, you get a small third screen which is actually showing you information like the time, the date notifications, etc.
Along with the dual display case, you're gonna get the usual complement of charging cables, earbuds, manuals, and SIM keys. Add to that a Pogo pin adapter for charging the G8X when it's in its dual display case, and you have everything you need. The case does not cover up the headphone jack, but yay! it still has one.
The other speaker is located on the bottom. It does cover up the USB-C charging port, but that isn't an issue if you have or plan to purchase a wireless charging dock or pad for this phone. Yes, it supports wireless charging and that's a good thing because the Pogo pin adapter is a tad flimsy. It's a magnetic affair with a penchant for falling off, given the right amount of pressure. And by right amount, I mean not a lot at all.
Fortunately, that is one of the few shortcomings of LG's design where this phone is concerned.
Continuing the tour of the LG G8X ThinQ, the right side is where you'll find the power button and the microphone. On the left side, you'll find the volume rocker and the Google Assistant button. The top of the phone is where you'll find the SIM tray.
The front of the phone and primary display in the dual display is a 6.4-inch OLED, which is bright and beautiful with a well-hidden speaker grill (part of the stereo pair), a notch with a 32-megapixel front-facing camera with a 78˚ field of view for those group selfies, and below the display, you'll find a fingerprint sensor.
Around back you'll find cameras and no bump. These two flush cameras are a standard 12-megapixel cam with optical image stabilization and a 13-megapixel ultrawide shooter with dual-LED dual-tone flash.
HD video recording at 2160p but no 4K
There's no 4K video recording on the LG G8X ThinQ, but you do get 2160p at 30 or 60 frames per second (i.e., 2160p30 or 2160p60, respectively). I took some video for my Instagram feed of me failing a 400-pound deadlift, and the video looked great up until the point where it stopped recording right before my failed attempt.
The screen lock timeout interrupted the video recording. So if you're going to be recording video, keep that in mind.
I've gone through the phone's menus with a fine-tooth comb and have yet to find a way or feature that allows you to supersede any screen time-out when recording video.
If you're watching and you know how to adjust this setting, let us know in the comments below!
Do the dual screens affect battery life?
Under those cameras, you'll find a large 4,000 mAh battery that supports CalCom's QC 4.0 fast charging or 21-watt fast charging and nine-watt wireless charging. What that means in real world terms is that from zero, you should reach a full charge in 90 minutes, which also means that you're gonna get that battery a third of the way in roughly 30 minutes.
The LG G8X ThinQ supports 21-watt charging, but the charger that is included is rated roughly 16 watts. So if quick charging is important to you, you're gonna want to buy an aftermarket 21-watt charger.
Back to that battery and the dual screens, LG estimates that you're gonna see up to a 30% faster drain with the dual screen on all the time, which may make some users consider shutting it off when not in use. But call me crazy—I don't wanna have to think about whether I've been using it too much or not.
During my testing, I spent a significant amount of time with the phone on all day. And it definitely does make a difference for battery life. My days are long, so my phone comes off the charger around 4 a.m. and doesn't go back on until around 9 p.m. By that time, I had around 20% left on the phone, without placing it on a charger at any point throughout the day and with both screens on all day.
When I tested the LG G8X with no dual screen on, I regularly had around 40% battery left at the end of the night. Part of that is because the battery is so large. The other part is due to the lower resolution of the screen compared to some other flagship phones.
You can do a lot with the LG G8X's dual screens.
You know how the LG G8X doesn't compare to other flagship phones? My unexpected, unbridled joy with this phone.
I thought it was gonna be a gimmick, but I thoroughly enjoyed this dual screen setup. In a day when we're seeing folding phones that open up and are either very expensive or have some quirks, the LG G8X just works. It's a great smartphone for hundreds less.
You can even download a utility that allows you to push content across both screens. It's somewhat a novelty though, as you're gonna have your content stretch across a thick black hinge.
But what LG gives you natively is highly functional and goes far beyond being novel. You have an onscreen utility to help you activate and deactivate dual screen, change which screen is the primary display, and swap screens.
When you turn on the Screen Rotate feature, you can use the dual-screen keyboard function, which will allow you to have an app open in one screen and the keyboard opened up on the second screen. So far, I've found this only works on apps which support landscape orientation, but typing in this mode is fast.
LG GamePad on the LG G8X
The other mode this phone supports is LG GamePad for a more traditional gaming experience. This turns the main screen into a virtual console gaming controller. Complete with a few different styles of controllers, you get the traditional console style like your PS4, a racing style with a steering wheel, an arcade-style joystick, a basic controller, and a space for a custom controller setup.
I played Asphalt 9, and, as you can see in the video, the graphics without lag were beautiful on that second display. The controller on the second screen was responsive, and the overall experience is consistent across the board.
How good is the LG G8X ThinQ's processor?
At no time did the dual screens ever feel like I was using an accessory. The LG G8X never feels like it's underpowered and can't keep up, or that it was a good idea with lackluster execution. Every time, in all the use cases I've tried so far, the LG G8X ThinQ just works.
Part of the reason for this consistent experience is the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor, six gigabytes of RAM, and an Adreno 640 graphics processing unit. These are all top-shelf components, and mated to a 1080p screen, or in this case two of them, at no time does the user (me or you) feel like the phone needs more power.
Are the LG G8X's audio capabilities good?
Well, there is one area where the LG 8GX needs more power, but it has nothing to do with graphics processing.
It's the digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
The G8X still has its audio jack, and like its predecessors, it has a built-in DAC that reproduces a stereo image that leaves little to be desired. Highs, mids, and lows were all reproduced from audio tracks with great detail. Even in my car, hooked up to the aux jack and taking advantage of the premium speakers, the sound was superb.
But this is where I first noticed how low the sound was out of that jack. Even with the quad deck activated, I had to crank my stereo up to 50, whereas around 30 is average for my commute to and from work.
Good thing you won't be disappointed by the output of the built-in stereo speakers though. The bottom speaker on the G8X outputs mostly bass and mids, while the earpiece is responsible for the highs.
Is the LG G8X's software good?
The LG UX 9.0 software sees major changes from version 8.0. The settings app has been refined and improved over version 8.0, and generally icons and menus are much improved. With the fingerprint scanner under the display, you'll get a faster way to unlock your phone, which does produce some misses from time to time, but it is reliable overall.
The wallpaper is more customizable than the icons.
You can customize the icons and add new ones, though the options aren't many. I counted 11 icon packs to choose from.
Fortunately, you get many more options for wallpapers for this dual-screen device from the LG SmartWorld store. There are some really cool dual-screen wallpapers you can purchase, though I'm a huge geek and having two screens for me means the ability to have two different superhero anime or fantasy wallpapers at one time. It's a pretty customizable interface, so you'll definitely want to take the time to get into it and play around.
Are the LG G8X's cameras good?
I know you wanna know about these cameras, so let's take a look.
The main camera shoots beautiful pics that produce accurate colors with solid sharpness and contrast. The ultrawide-angle lens does a respectable job when it comes to color accuracy, contrast, and sharpness.
The low-light photos are impressive. As you can see in the photos I shared in the video, the contrast is solid, and the separation and color between the grass and sidewalk is sharp, with the color accuracy very strong. You do get some noise or grain in the sky, but given how balanced the exposure is and the admirable color reproduction, I'll give that a pass.
One of the things I noticed when using Night View is that the difference between the photos I took with it on and with it off were negligible. That says a lot about the stock shooter you'll probably end up using most of the time.
I always try to warn users about these ultrawide-angle lenses because they're gonna get lower quality when it comes to night and low-light photos, but that wasn't quite the case with the G8X. Its ultrawide lens produces photos that are serviceable, keep the colors accurate, and produce grain that is passable, all things considered.
The LG G8X is a really solid low-light shooter for a wide-angle lens.
Conclusion: Is it worth it to buy the LG G8X?
Let's wrap things up.
The G8X and its dual screen option are unexpected. This is not a foldable phone, but it is far beyond being a gimmick. If you're after a foldable phone, this device may scratch that itch while we wait for prices to come down and the tech to improve on true folding phones. In the meantime, you'll have a capable multitasker, an excellent gamer, and a camera phone that takes solid photos at more than half the cost of a phone like the Galaxy Fold.
Buying the G8X unlocked directly from LG will cost you $949, but Sprint has the LG G8X with the dual screen accessory free for a total cost of $749 up front or $15 a month on their Sprint Flex 18-month lease.
Will the LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen be everyone's cup of tea? No, but much like matcha, it's strong, energizing, and those looking for what it has to offer won't be let down by its performance. It'll definitely keep you going all day long, just like that cup of matcha.