LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen Review
It’s 2019 and somehow flip phones have come back into our lives. No, not the small compact ones. We’ve been seeing foldable phones popping up more regularly and I can’t help but be brought back to my middle school days. LG’s new G8X ThinQ Dual Screen approaches the concept of a foldable phone in a slightly different manner.
Rather than build one screen and rely on foldable screen tech, LG has revisited the concept of a phone case, with a second screen built-in. We’ve seen this with LG play around with this idea with the V50, and now the G8X is following suit. At first blush, I thought it was a bit of a weird, oddball sidestep to where smartphones are headed. However, the more I toyed around with the device, the more comfortable I got with this prospect.
The Power of Two
The device isn’t without its flaws and that’s made apparent the more you try to experiment with the phone. It’s a device made for multitasking and social media buffs that want to capture content and share it without having to navigate between separate applications. It even means to draw some attention from the mobile gamer. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using the G8X ThinQ. For many of us, we’ve used to using one app at a time. Having a second screen that’s able to run a separate app simultaneously feels like we’re taking the training wheels off of our bikes. That hurdle takes some time to cross, but once you do, you’re almost felt wanting a bit more.
When you look at the G8X ThinQ as a standalone product, you’ll find a perfectly sufficient smartphone. It’s very comparable to many mid-tier devices. When you look at the specs, you’ll find that the G8X features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chip with 6GB of RAM and 128GB memory. Running off Android 9, the phone is in line with many standards seen in 2019. It’s the added screen case that really sets it apart from the competition. The 6.4-inch FullVision OLED displays are only capable of running 1080p. However, the colour and brightness are incredibly rich. When you factor in the second display, the slight comprise in quality is a lot more digestible. The secondary screen is equal in almost every way. It’s a spitting image of its counterpart, down to the quality and form factor—even the notch. You’re able to adjust the brightness of both displays individually or match the two, which is my recommendation.
The beauty is that the case and second screen are all working off the tech built into the G8X device itself. The case has no battery and is working entirely off the primary phone so you’re able to choose when to use it on its own and when to attach the case for some added support. This was a great quality of life feature as the G8X ThinQ is bulky when using the case. Although the device and attachment are quite stylish with a notification screen on the front, it’s thicker and heavier than most phones with a sturdy case in tow. The downside is that operating the case is going to drain your battery a bit faster. The G8X is working off a considerable 4,000mAh battery. I was typically able to squeeze more than a full day of use out of both screens before needing to charge it. Packed with the phone are the USB-C charger and a MagSafe-like adapter for use when charging in the case.. The magnetic adapter is incredibly finicky which makes using it a hassle as it will almost always disconnect if you are charging and using the phone simultaneously. I found it’s easier to take the phone out of the case and charge directly through the USB-C port. Removing the case and placing the phone back in, I was initially worried about possible wear and tear. It seems that LG has put a lot of their resources into a long-lasting accessory. As you’ll likely be opening, closing, and folding the screens into different angles with the 360 Freestop Hinge, it appears you won’t have to worry about it cracking or damaging the unit.
A Phone Made For Many Users
The most important aspect of this device is how functional both screens are for everyday use. As mentioned, I had to train myself to use both screens. For a few days, I’d open up my email, Spotify, or the web, only to remind myself that there was a blank home screen staring back at me to my left. After so many years of using only one screen, I had to make up creative excuses to use the secondary display. LG makes that incredibly easy. You can open two separate apps—or three if you use the multi-screen snap function.
One of my personal favourites is opening up YouTube or Netflix on one screen and being able to scroll through Twitter on the other. I could binge through Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner while not having to close the Netflix app anytime a text or an email came through. Even if you don’t want to use the second screen, you can fold it behind your primary as a kickstand. At a certain angle, the second display will turn off to conserve battery life.
Unfortunately, there are very few apps that can be used on both screens simultaneously. Chrome, for instance, can open two separate tabs for you to navigate through at the same time, or spread an individual tab across both screens. The latter is a nice feature to have in a web browser, but the hinge dividing the screen can detract from the overall experience. I found it’s much more pleasant to keep the windows separate and navigate those individually. When texting and emailing, you can use one of the displays as an on-screen keyboard, with larger keys. Although I never found it exceptionally useful, if you’re responding to emails all day you may find more use out of this feature.
The G8X ThinQ is being positioned for many different users. For the mobile gamer, LG has put thought and effort into their approach in gaming hardware. As mobile games are increasing in visuals and mechanics, the hardware has to support them adequately. Due to games becoming more demanding and the G8X ThinQ having space to spare, LG has incorporated its digital Game Pad software for controller support. The Game Pad incorporates a selection of pre-made control schemes, designed by LG to mimic many control styles. The stock control schemes are fitting for a number of games and genres such as Asphalt 9 and Modern Warfare 5. For simple platforming and puzzle games, the controls are a spectacular addition. However, because Game Pad is developed by LG, not every game will support the controllers natively such as Activision’s Call of Duty: Mobile. The advantage here is that you can customize your own controller and make preset inputs based on your favourite mobile titles.
For community managers or those heavily invested in social media, making use of two separate apps and functions is incredibly useful. Although you won’t be able to access the same profile on both screens, you can manage two profiles on the same app ie: Twitter, Instagram, etc., side by side. The built-in tools and functions between apps and the camera allow you to take a picture and share it on social media without the extra hassle.
Made For Media
The cameras themselves are fairly standard, shooting 12MP with a traditional f/1.8 aperture on the rear and a 13MP super-wide-angle lens, with a 136-degree FOV. The front-facing camera is a surprising 32MP camera. With the secondary display, you can preview each photo taken without having to search through your gallery in between. You can also get a bit creative when taking overhead or low angle shots by positioning the display at a more comfortable angle. The main rear camera is able to capture beautiful colours and maintain quality pictures in both indoor and outdoor settings. Pictures produced from the super-wide-angle can seem washed out, however. For selfies, the pictures come in incredible crisp with adequate lighting. There is a built-in reflector tool so you can adjust brightness and warmth in your photos if need be. The G8X ThinQ does struggle to compare in picture quality when put next to its competitors. When you factor in the device’s price tag, that pain point isn’t too much of a detractor. In addition, the camera has a stellar stabilizer to capture crisp 4K video, even when in motion.
LG has always gone above and beyond in providing users with exceptional audio engineering. The GX8 ThinQ continues to deliver thumping audio that’s balanced accordingly. Whether or not you use the headphone jack, or use the built-in speakers, the phone produces some of the best audio quality on a smartphone.
LG shows some great promise with their take on dual-screen smartphone technology. As many companies are going in the direction of developing tablet-like foldable phones, it’s refreshing to see a device that leaves the option of having more screen up to the users. If you’re not in the market of purchasing a $2,000 device suitable for multitasking, the GX8 ThinQ is a very worthy alternative.
The G8X ThinQ is suitable for many different users. Though it does take a bit of getting used to, the dual-screen functionality can open up a myriad of new possibilities on mobile. However, the caveat here is that LG hasn’t quite reached its potential with this device. I believe that in order for a more elegant model to exist, the G8X must exist as well in order for LG to pinpoint areas in need of extra polish.