LG on Monday formally introduced the G7 ThinQ, acknowledging those numerous leaks were on the nose. Think of this year’s release as a combination of LG’s V and G lines; the company said it aimed to bring its best ideas into one flagship device. And, yes, it has a display notch, just like the many other Android devices announced this year.
After a short presentation in San Francisco last week, we got to spend a few hours with the G7, and I came away pleasantly surprised. The screen looked terrific and the design was wonderfully balanced, while the software offered plenty of helpful features, including a Floating Bar concept borrowed from LG’s V line.
We’ve broken the G7 announcement down into seven things you need to know.
You’ll love the hardware
As you’d expect from a flagship device in 2018, the G7 is packed with powerful hardware, from a Snapdragon 845 processor to a dual-camera setup, the latter of which includes a 16-megapixel sensor with f/1.6 and a 71-degree field of view and another 16-megapixel camera with f/1.9 and a 107-degree field of view. The G7 also sports a 6.1-inch QHD+ FullVision display (more on that below), 4GB of RAM with 64GB of expanadable storage on the base model, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage on the Plus model, and a 3,000mAh battery.
As with most premium flagships, the G7 features an all-glass design that allows for wireless charging. The rear is slightly curved for supreme comfort, with a flat front (as opposed to the iPhone X’s slight curve), which I happen to like because it makes the device easy to grip.
The narrow width (71.9mm) also helped to accentuate the taller display, which features an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The physical volume and power buttons gave nice tactile feedback, while the rear fingerprint sensor was easy to reach. The fingerprint sensor, by the way, doesn’t double as a physical button, for what that’s worth.
There’s a notch
For better or worse, the G7 features a display notch, which is becoming increasingly popular among Android manufacturers. The good news is LG will allow users to hide the notch through a software setting. Like the iPhone X, the notch pretty much disappears once you start to use the device, so it isn’t really an issue during daily tasks, though notches are still a little funky on Android.
If you do decide to hide the notch, you can customize what the experience looks like. Instead of a black bar, you can choose different colors, some of which really bad. It’s essentially a background for that space up at the top.
Dedicated Google Assistant button
Below the volume rocker on the left side lives a dedicated hardware button for Google Assistant, which LG said cannot be reprogrammed. LG didn’t justify why it won’t allow people to customize the hardware button, though the company did say that’s it’s open to changing this approach in the future. At launch, however, it’s only for Google Assistant.
The camera is really smart
LG introduced smart features into the camera of the LG V30S, giving it the ability to recognize objects and people. Driven by advanced machine-learning, the G7’s camera is said to be even better, capable of identifying up to 18 different categories, including landscape, sky, beach, lowlight, and more.
The premise behind LG’s AI camera software is to help the average user take better pictures. For example, if the camera recognizes it’s looking at fruit, it will dynamically adjust settings for the best possible shot of fruit. It’s like using the G7’s pro mode without having to make manual adjustments.
In addition to smarter AI, LG said the G7’s camera uses “pixel binning,” which combines four pixels into one super pixel. The technology should allow for improved detail and better low light performance. LG said the G7 will take photos and video that are 4x brighter than what the G6 was capable of.
It has an LCD display
It seems ludicrous the G7 used LCD technology instead of OLED, but after seeing the display in person, my worries have been put at ease. Simply put, the G7’s 6.1-inch QHD+ screen looks fake, it’s that pretty. And it gets incredibly bright thanks to a new boost mode that will crank the screen to 1,000 nits brightness.
Seeing as last year’s V30 came with a beautiful OLED display, it’s unclear why LG jumped back over to LCD. But the G7’s screen really does look good. And when you black out the notch, the blacks look very black. OLED would have been preferred, of course, but after seeing the display for myself, I get why LG was so excited to talk about the technology ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.
Pump up the jams
The G7 does not feature stereo speakers. However, it does feature something LG is calling Boombox, which utilizes a resonance chamber within the G7 to amp up the bass. Combined with DTS-X surround sound certification, the G7’s pumps out great audio with a sound that’s crisp and rich. The device also comes with a 32-bit Quad DAC, something that has become a staple for LG devices.
The software is feature packed
I’ve always viewed LG software as tacky, but I liked what I saw during my time with the G7. There are a lot of customization options (app grid size, swipe transitions), and the design isn’t as garish as we’ve seen from LG in the past. And I appreciate that Google Assistant is front and center, rather than unproven AI from LG (ahem Samsung). There is a Smart Bulletin feature, but that can easily be turned off. And, as mentioned above, the AI camera features are really helpful when all you want to do is point and shoot. In other words, I wouldn’t rush to throw a launcher on top of the G7’s take on Android 8.1.
LG didn’t say when the G7 would be available, or even how much it’ll cost, so we’ll have to wait for carriers to chime in with that information. For what it’s worth, LG said the device will be around the price of the G6 when that phone was first made available early last year.
Although we only got to spend a few hours with the G7, it left a favorable impression. It’s as straightforward as you can get with flagship releases. Rather than leaning on creating its own AI, it puts Google Assistant front and center. And it didn’t attempt to copy Apple’s Animoji features. Instead, it sports the typical LG staples (great design, focus on audio) and powerful machine learning.
When the G7 started to leak, I was very underwhelmed. But after spending time with the device, I’m a lot more excited. The design is fantastic and the screen looked spectacular even though it’s LCD, and I can’t wait to spend more time with a review unit.