Disclaimer: this is not a review of the LG G8X ThinQ smartphone. Our full review will be coming soon to our website and YouTube channel.
After getting a taste of the LG G8X ThinQ with Dual Screen, I’ll just say this: I found my perfect work phone, and it really helps me be more productive!
When LG announced the V50 ThinQ 5G, and its Dual Screen accessory, on February 24 this year (at MWC 2019), everyone raised an eyebrow. The Korean company decided to take a different approach, and, instead of delivering a foldable, it launched a device with a secondary screen that many considered to be a gimmick.
But LG believed in the project, so much so, that on September 9, launched the G8X ThinQ with a second-generation Dual Screen accessory, improving on the first model, and not only by the addition of a third, external, display for ticker notifications. Needless to say, more eyebrows were raised.
…and not only because of LG’s decision to stick with the Dual Screen, but the LG G8X is not an upgrade over the LG G8. It has a larger screen (but lower resolution), and a beefier battery, but the rest of the specs match the original G8. The G8X ThinQ is basically a reimagined G8, and more over that below.
What we like
We’re going to refer to the experience using the Dual Screen accessory, as we’ll deal with the phone separately.
If you’re anything like me, juggling several accounts with hundreds of emails, contacts, apps, documents, and basically your entire office should be able to handle mobility, this is definitely the phone to consider. Is it a laptop replacement? Of course not. Is it much smaller and more portable than even a tablet? Of course!
The Dual Screen accessory, while still doesn’t contain a battery (so the phone will have to power the secondary screen both from a computing power, and a battery standpoint), allows you the flexibility you need while multitasking.
Having the ability to display two apps on a display at the same time is a productivity and multitasking boost by itself. But having another identical display at your disposal, to which you can throw anything, is a blessing. Whether you browse and chat on one screen and compose an email on another, or listen to some music while tweeting and finding a restaurant nearby, the usage scenarios are endless.
Probably the best feature I love about the LG G8X ThinQ with Dual Screen is its ability to become a laptop impostor. Throw your email client on the second display, switch to landscape mode, and the entire main display becomes a keyboard, so you can easily type while the phone is on the table. Sadly, this feature only works with LG’s own keyboard.
I’ll admit, and those who follow me for a little over the past decade since I’ve been talking about tech know, that I’m not a huge gamer. The amount of gaming I do is strictly to assess the performance of the smartphones I’m reviewing. But, if you are one, you’ll love this feature of the Dual Screen where you play your game on the secondary display, and your entire main display becomes a controller. Oh, and you can build your custom controllers too!
The fact that the two displays are identical (OLED panels, at 6.4-inches, FHD+ resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio), and that you can opt to sync the brightness of the two, or have them separate, is a real blessing. LG even walked the extra mile to emulate the waterdrop notch on the secondary screen, to match the main display, even though there’s no hardware there.
Last, but certainly not least, if you’re creative and you take a lot of pictures, the secondary display can assist you in so many ways. You can have it mirror the viewfinder, so you can experiment with different shooting angles. In selfie mode, it can act as a flash, and you can also customize the color temperature of it, or you can flip it back to show your subject the composition of the future photo.
Talking about flipping, the Dual Screen can be completely flipped around, 360 degrees, in which case, if it’s not in use, it will turn itself off, preventing accidental touches.
Moving to the front, there’s a 2.1-inch OLED Cover Display, which shows the time, date, battery status and notifications without having to flip open the phone. It’s activated by the accelerometer inside the phone; you simply nudge it and the Cover Display will show you all the information you need for 10 seconds.
There are many more things we like, and we’ll cover those in our upcoming review. For now, I’ll just say this: I found my perfect work phone, and it really helps me be more productive. But not everything’s roses and rainbows…
What we’re mixed about
There are some features LG included software-wise that make little sense to us. One such feature is the Wide Mode, where a single app can be shown on both displays, as if they were one. That’s a total of 12.8 inches, if it weren’t for the huge gap between the two that make this feature almost unusable.
There’s no content missing (the software is wise enough to pick up one screen where the other left off), just a huge black stripe which breaks the user experience completely. Rarely will you find an app, or a website, which displays well in this mode, let it be portrait or landscape. Luckily, our own website’s new theme deals with this like a champ!… Sometimes…
…then there’s the artificial notch on the secondary screen, which doesn’t even have a cutout. While we understand the design reasons behind it, having a cutout on the display that is otherwise cutout-free make no sense to us. You can get used to it though, it’s not a dealbreaker.
What we don’t like
This is a phone you can’t easily conceal or even carry in your pocket. Let it be shirt, jacket, pants, or jeans, this thing is big, and heavy. According to LG, we’re handling 326 grams, comprised of 192 grams for the phone alone, and 134 grams for the Dual Screen accessory. Our own scales was showing 329 grams, but what’s 3 grams when we’re talking over 200 anyways?
Another thing we don’t like is that, while you can charge the phone with the Dual Screen accessory attached, you have to do so via an adaptor. Don’t get us wrong, it’s included, it’s magnetic, and it’s small, but it’s another “thing” you have to worry about losing at one point, complicating your life.
While still complaining, we’d like to express our dissatisfaction towards the shiny, mirror-like finish of the Dual Screen on the front. Many can find it useful as a mirror for fixing the small imperfections a long day leaves on your makeup, but it is really a fingerprint magnet. And, since we don’t carry around a shammy, nor do we want to, we wish LG made part of the device’s front matte. Like most, if not all of it.
Bonus complaint: not really a complaint, but the world of technology spoiled us with so many cameras that we look at dual-camera smartphones in a weird way. There’s a 12MP standard, and a 13MP Super-Wide shooter on the back of the phone (while there’s a 32MP unit on the front), and we just wish there was a telephoto lens included as well…
The LG G8X ThinQ with LG Dual Screen already changed my work habits, while on the go. I’ve been using it for the past two weeks, and, every time I am not at the office, I carry it around. Yes, it’s big and bulky, but the multitasking and productivity alternative would be to at least carry a tablet, if not a laptop.
I just have to change my paradigm a little bit to look at this more like a miniature tablet or laptop, rather than a large and heavy smartphone.
We’ll report back in our full review!
Post scriptum: the above review was entirely written on the LG G8X ThinQ with LG Dual Screen, over the past 4 days. Excuse the typos. It was fun though!