LG G8 ThinQ Review: An Affordable, Capable Flagship Smartphone

LG G8 ThinQ - A Sleeper Phone With Solid Features And Great Performance

If you are looking for a bit more intelligence in your "smart" phone, the LG G8 ThinQ may have a few additional tricks up its sleeve. LG is aiming to create a more intuitive and automated experience by embracing artificial intelligence processing care of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 SoC and their own in-house algorithms. The LG G8 ThinQ is more than just clever silicon and software, of course, and it boasts a premium build quality and expanded camera features to match.

lg g8 thinq lockscreen

Beyond its Snapdragon 855 mobile platform, the G8 ThinQ runs with 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 flash storage. If you record a ton of video or have other significant storage needs, you can also slot in a card like the 512GB Samsung EVO Plus we recently reviewed, or any other microSD up to 2TB. With top-end horsepower comes higher power consumption, so LG provides a reasonably stout 3,500 mAh battery with the G8 which is non-removable, as expected for a device with IP68 dust and water resistance in a form-factor just 8.4mm thin.

lg g8 thinq rear

Users will likely a fair degree of flexibility to shoot various types of still and video media with the camera setup on this phone. Up front, the G8 ThinQ offers an 8MP sensor paired with an f/1.7 lens which shoots up to Full-HD 1080p. It is paired with a 3D depth-sensing Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor to enhance selfies with a shallow depth-of-field effect. The rear camera duo consists of a 12MP sensor with an f/1.5 standard angle lens and a 16MP sensor with an f/1.9 wide angle lens. LG touts the low light capabilities of the standard lens, but we will see if the claims hold up in our camera section of the review. Check out the full specifications of the LG G8 ThinQ below and then we'll step through how things shake out in practice...

lg g8 thinq render colors
LG G8 ThinQ
Specifications & Features
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Display 6.1-inch 19.5:9 (3120 x 1440) QHD+ OLED Display; 564ppi
Memory 6GB LPDDR4X
Storage 128GB UFS 2.1
Rear-Facing Cameras 12MP f/1.5 Standard Angle + 16MP f/1.9 Wide Angle
Front-Facing Cameras 8MP f/1.7 Standard Angle + 3D ToF Depth Sensor
Video Recording 4K at 30/60 fps, 1080p at 30/60 fps, 720p at 30 fps (240 fps slow motion), HDR10
Battery 3,500 mAh Li-Po, non-removable
OS Android 9.0 Pie
Dimensions 5.98 x 0.35 x 2.83 Inches (151.9 x 8.4 x 71.8 mm)
Weight 5.89 ounces (167 grams)
Connectivity 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Radio, NFC, USB-C, 3.5mm Audio
Colors Black, Gray, or Red
Pricing $649.99 (Best Buy)

The LG G8 ThinQ greets us with a nearly edge-to-edge 6.1-inch OLED display with an extra tall 19.5-to-9 aspect ratio. The edges themselves are smoothly rounded away on all sides, but less dramatically than we find on Samsung's flagships. The screen does not fall away distorted in this regard and the minimal bezels provide a space to safely grip the phone without interfering with on-screen activities. Colors are bright, vibrant and accurately represented. There are also options to change the color profile in settings to better portray different content types and color gamuts, if you so choose. LG generally makes great smartphone displays and the G8 ThinQ is no exception.

lg g8 thinq show notch
Now you see it...
lg g8 thinq hide notch
Now you don't.

The notch will be a point of ire for some, but currently there is not a better solution to maximize screen space until in-display camera and sensor technology is realized or popup selfie cameras go mainstream. Samsung's hole-punch design hardly solves the issue either. While the notch here is on the larger side, we like LG's approach to customizing it. In the system menu, users can choose to black out the display on either side of the notch or set it to a custom look. While blacked out, this display region continues to display the time, notification badges, signal information, and battery status. It is a smart evolution of the Second Screen LG pioneered in their V10 to devote more primary screen space to content.

By default, the screen plays back video with the correct aspect ratio. For typical 16:9 format content, this can leave a significant amount of blacked out pillar boxes on either side. With a pinch, users can punch in to fill the display for a more cinematic look, at the cost of some pixels at the top and bottom of the frame.

lg g8 thinq video punch in

Regardless of how the Second Screen option is configured, however, the video expands to reveal the notch when punched in.

lg g8 thinq right side rear

On the right side of the phone we find the power button and a pop-out tray for the SIM card and a MicroSD. The power button is well-positioned two-thirds of the way up the side which makes it easily accessible for most hands.

lg g8 thinq left side in hand

The left side of the G8 ThinQ features the volume buttons opposing the power button with a Google Assistant button just below. While the volume buttons are in a good spot, the Google Assistant button is right where we want to rest our middle finger. It activates with a light touch and led to several accidental triggers in our first few days with the device. We did not find it to be an issue once we became accustomed to the design, however. Still, the single tap activation can be disabled in settings, if users prefer to opt for a long press or disable the button entirely.

lg g8 thinq bottom in hand

The top side is interrupted only for a microphone and two antenna band seams. The bottom also has a microphone and two antenna band seams, along with the USB-C charging port, speaker holes, and a 3.5mm headset jack. The G8 ThinQ's Hi-Fi Quad DAC audio solution supports 32-bit audio files and can up-sample lower quality audio to improve fidelity there as well. We have long admired the audio clarity from LG's phones and this is no exception.

lg g8 thinq rear closeup

Finally, the rear of the phone is encased in glass and has a mirrored finish, which does attract fingerprints somewhat. LG has positioned the flash off-center to the right of the dual-camera setup which is all blissfully flush with the phone - no camera hump here! The fingerprint sensor is located below and is easy to find. While it does not function as a power button, it does wake the phone when used to unlock.

With the physical glitz out of the way, we will turn our attention to LG's G8 ThinQ's software package...

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