We won’t dwell too long on the fact LG has lost considerable ground to its fellow Korean phone-maker, Samsung, in the great smartphone race. Even if Sammy sells more units, LG still makes some very good phones.
After the failed modular G5, the G6 was a sparkling return to form and was one of the first phones on the market with a tall 18:9 aspect ratio display – a trend now in full force in the industry. It’s latest phones include the V60 and G8X, both of which offer an optional dual-screen attachment as a budget-friendly alternative to the expensive foldables offered by Samsung and others.
LG can often be given short shrift in comparison to other Android manufacturers these days but it’s quite unfair – although it can sometimes be hard to track down stockists, as the company’s influence dwindles. That said, if you go for one of these phones, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
1. LG G8X ThinQ
If you’re not sold on the Dual Screen attachment, then the G8X is a fairly dull 2019 flagship – decent specs and drab design combine for a handset that shouldn’t disappoint but won’t do much to excite, either.
For those intrigued by the possibilities of a second screen however, the G8X Dual Screen proves that LG might be onto something here. The bigger panel, better hinge and front-facing notification display fix almost every pain point from the original design that accompanied the V50, meaning there’s less to get in the way of getting on with two things at once. It’s great for multitasking and productivity, helped by brilliant battery life.
The camera is undeniably a disappointment – especially the blurry, borderline broken ultrawide lens – but fast performance, great audio options and two beautiful screens pick up the slack. Throw in wireless charging and waterproofing and the $700 price point (that continues to drop) begins to look like a steal.
Read our full LG G8X ThinQ review
2. LG V60 ThinQ 5G
A niche hit, the V60 ThinQ 5G excels in areas like battery life, video capture and audio but lacks mainstream appeal, with LG’s ‘quirky’ user interface and the love-it-or-hate-it optional Dual Screen accessory.
LG has made some surprising decisions compared to the competition but a little thought does reveal that such choices collectively make a lot of sense. There’s no high refresh rate display, for example, instead, the V60 actually sports a lower resolution (Full HD) panel compared to its predecessor, but as a result, it offers great longevity – even when using that second screen. There’s also something to be said for the phone’s raw speed, courtesy of a Snapdragon 865 chip and 5G connectivity.
The only other challenge is its availability, with just three major US carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon) being the only places you can pick the V60 up (at the time of writing).
Read our full LG V60 ThinQ 5G review
3. LG V50 ThinQ 5G
Taken on its own, the V50 ThinQ is basically just a 5G V40 with a processor upgrade. That means both good and bad: faster internet speeds and processor, balanced out by a thicker body and slightly reduced battery life, with the exact same triple-lens camera setup.
We loved the V40, but almost a year on the V50 doesn’t feel as competitive – the rest of the market has moved on faster than the V-series, so while this is competitive on internal specs it already feels slightly dated in design and other small features, which makes the steep price tricky to justify.
Then there’s the Dual Screen attachment. This is, to be blunt, a gimmick for most people, and a fairly silly one at that – which might explain why it isn’t even available in the US. But it’s also a surprisingly novel way to bring the foldable experience to a much lower price point, and if you’re a devoted multi-tasker then it actually works better than you might expect, if you can forgive a few niggling design flaws.
Read our full LG V50 ThinQ 5G review
4. LG V40 ThinQ
At one point, this was the best LG phone you could buy. Its sleek design, versatile cameras, outstanding DAC and full waterproofing still make it great value.
The display is a highlight too, plus it has wireless charging. Performance is still slick and LG’s Android skin is more conservative than in previous incarnations, even if it’s not our favourite.
Read our full LG V40 ThinQ review
5. LG G8 ThinQ
The G8 ThinQ has plenty going for it, but unfortunately not in the areas that count for most consumers.
The OLED display and 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC audio are both among the best in the industry, while the Snapdragon 855 and 6GB of RAM will keep up with just about anything you can throw at them.
Bland design and a so-so camera let it all down though, and for most people these are likely to be two of the biggest factors when picking a phone – especially when they’re being asked to throw down $800 for a premium product.
LG seems to hope that gimmicks like Hand ID and gesture controls will set the G8 apart from its rivals, but if they do, it won’t be in the way the company wants. Neither will change the way you use your phone, and before long you’re likely to forget they’re even there.
What you’re left with is a phone that’ll appeal to audiovisual nerds (myself included) but doesn’t offer much for anyone else. At a couple of hundred dollars less it’d be an easier sell, but at full price this isn’t the phone for you unless you already knew what 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC meant before you started reading this.
Read our full LG G8 ThinQ review
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