The LG G8 is a good phone that can’t escape some of the bad ideas behind it
Right now, the dominant pattern in flagship smartphone design is one of refinement. Instead of aiming to promote consumers on the enchantment of methods like modular hardware, or overloading a handset with gimmicky sensors, a success telephones are as an alternative attempting to reach the platonic best of mainly current as little a couple of large display screen. That’s pushed fresh efforts like the proliferation of in-display fingerprint sensors, pop-out selfie cams, and the evolution of the notch to hole-punch designs. But you would not know a lot of that, to have a look at the LG G8 ThinQ.
LG helped lead the means with extra-tall, face-filling monitors on telephones like the G6, however since then the producer’s let development get a bit clear of it, and in some ways the G8 looks like a phone that would slot in larger with 2018’s crop. While a transparent evolution from the G7, the G8 does not appear to do sufficient to face out by itself, and although it’s nonetheless a good-looking, solidly provided powerhouse, will consumers to find sufficient of the refinement that’s behind some of the G8’s fiercest festival?
Design, hardware, what is in the field
LG was once obviously happy with the glance it got here up with for final yr’s G7, as the G8 does no longer fall a ways from that tree. The handset helps to keep the similar fundamental design, sandwiching a curved-edge steel body between entrance and rear glass. And whilst the total construct does not stray a ways, principally tightening issues up with a somewhat shorter frame (via means of shaving down the screen-bottom bezel), LG’s execution is relatively stepped forward, and the ones curved edges really feel even nicer, missing the G7’s sharper screen-edge transition.
While good-looking, the G8’s rear glass is unfathomably slippery.
Button and port format is kind of the similar, retaining the similar discrete quantity controls and devoted Assistant button as the G7. Really, the greatest trade right here is transferring the SIM/microSD tray from the phone’s peak edge to its proper facet, below the energy button.
More important adjustments arrive round again, the place digital camera orientation does not simply go back from the G7’s vertical to the G6’s horizontal association, however LG manages to take away its digital camera bump completely, mounting all of this yr’s hardware flush with the rear glass.
I can’t say with entire self belief that this a direct result of the newly flat again panel, however someplace between that trade and the total smoothing-out of this yr’s design, the G8 turned into the slipperiest phone I have utilized in fresh reminiscence.
While I usually believe myself a more-cautious-than-usual phone proprietor, the G8 has nonetheless controlled to careen off of tables to the ground underneath at least a dozen instances since I unboxed it — it came about once more simply now, as I am describing the conduct. To LG’s credit score, none of those drops has but to visibly injury the G8 (secure with Gorilla Glass five in the entrance, and GG6 in the rear), however that day looks like it’s very a lot in my speedy long run. I hate phone circumstances with a interest, however I might haven’t any different selection if I wish to save the G8 from destruction.
Up entrance, LG delivers two large adjustments. Instead of every other LCD panel, this yr the G8 strikes to an AMOLED display screen. Brightness does not get any place close to the G7’s insane boosted-mode output, however I nonetheless had little downside seeing the display screen even in direct daylight.
The new AMOLED panel fights for visibility in opposition to intense daylight.
LG additionally fiddles about with what is going on up on in the screen-top notch, and finally ends up the use of the house the place you would in the past to find the same old earpiece speaker for a new time-of-flight digital camera and IR illuminator, enabling some fancy selfie results and serving to with face-unlock safety. Without that earpiece, LG makes use of a tech it calls Crystal Sound to successfully flip the exhibit panel itself into a speaker.
I did not be expecting a ton from Crystal Sound audio high quality, however it’s actually no longer that bad, and whilst I think a conventional speaker would sound extra balanced, particularly when mixed with the G8’s bottom-edge speaker the output right here is first rate sufficient for relaxing media intake.
Water resistance is as soon as once more provide with an IP68 ranking, and beef up for wi-fi charging is again to offer customers an alternative choice for retaining the phone’s very ok three,500mAh battery crowned off.
LG applications the G8 with a USB Type-C cable and a newly matte-finish wall charger, however that’s mainly it as far as in-box equipment pass. OK, so there may be additionally the great bonus of a cleansing fabric, however not anything so extravagant as headphones.
Software, efficiency, and battery lifestyles
The gadget application on LG telephones hasn’t ever been a large draw for me, however neither does it get in the approach to the level the place it negatively affects my enjoy — a minimum of after a little while of preliminary configuration. Instead of residing on the G8’s Android nine Pie implementation, as an alternative I would like to seem nearer at how neatly the application behind some of the phone’s extra “gimmicky” options works.
LG needs so bad to make Air Motion paintings however it stays awkward at very best.
Easily the maximum discussion-worthy one there is LG’s Air Motion gadget, which faucets into the depth-sensing skills of the front-facing digital camera package deal to let customers regulate the G8 by the use of in-air hand motions. In idea, you merely dangle your hand in entrance of the phone, carry out LG’s prescribed reputation gesture, after which slide your hand back and forth to quick-launch apps or regulate media playback.
This function turns out plagued from the get started, and I simply can’t perceive what is pushed LG to focus on it so closely. The preliminary educational is tough to practice, a state of affairs no longer helped in the least via the truth that the phone helps to keep prompting you to place your hand in entrance of the display screen, obscuring the instructions it’s providing you with in the procedure.
Ultimately Air Motion does paintings, however getting it to take action constantly looks like extra of a chore than maximum new G8 homeowners will make a choice to topic themselves to. Even if it functioned completely, I simply do not assume there may be sufficient enchantment right here to attract customers clear of more uncomplicated touchscreen controls.
New notch hardware contains a ToF digital camera — however not more earpiece.
The similar ToF digital camera that powers Air Motion additionally helps two biometric authentication schemes: Hand ID and 3-D Face Unlock. Hand ID works no longer in contrast to Air Motion, solely right here the phone’s scanning your hand form and vein patterns in an try to establish its proprietor. Face Unlock in a similar fashion employs that depth-sensing hardware to map the contours of the consumer’s head. In follow, each paintings positive, however neither is speedy nor constant sufficient to be awesome to the phone’s rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.
Powered via a Snapdragon 855 chip, the G8 is as fast a smartphone as you’ll be able to to find presently, however its 6GB of RAM is on the decrease finish of the flagship vary. I can’t bitch about the 128GB inside garage, although, which particularly when augmented via a microSD card provides the G8 almost all the house it is advisable hope to want.
The three,500mAh battery LG provides the G8 feels about proper for this hardware package deal, placing a great steadiness between capability and phone dimension. I simply were given greater than a day of operation on a price, and between stressed out and wi-fi charging choices, it’s no headache to stay the phone powered. Well, that’s assuming it does not slide off your table whilst charging — I have even had it slip proper off rubber-topped (and reputedly degree) wi-fi charging pads.
Much like G8 itself, the phone’s digital camera package deal is put in combination effectively and plays fairly neatly, but nonetheless can’t appear to shake off the specter of some needless gimmicks. The hardware itself makes a few adjustments from the G7, shedding the number one digital camera’s answer to 12MP (wide-angle remains at 16MP) but in addition bringing OIS to each sensors.
And to your same old point-and-shoot operation, that all works nice, tackling difficult exposures with out a lot bother and simply most often generating some actually gratifying photographs. The flexibility of the wide-angle lens stays nice, and autofocus is speedy and in large part actual.
We get extra of the similar type of AI-assisted picture enhancement we noticed with the G7, and although it stays an easy approach to stylize your photographs, it’s nonetheless no longer handing over a ton of actual worth.
New options this yr come with a video-bokeh mode that actually did not want to exist, and a low-light Night View mode. That one is clearly looking to seize some of the Pixel Night Sight magic, and whilst it does produce brighter photographs than capturing with out it, we are a a ways cry got rid of from Pixel efficiency right here.
The 8MP front-facer is a identical tale, in that it additionally produces some nice straight-up footage, however flounders a bit when looking to do extra — right here, to make use of the phone’s depth-mapping hardware for its personal bokeh mode. Even with that more help, I am getting the similar types of edge-detection issues that you’ll be able to see with software-only answers.
Should you purchase it?
Maybe. It actually is a premium-feeling phone, with the efficiency and contours customers be expecting from a flagship. It’s were given all the energy it wishes, plentiful garage, and some new hardware like the Crystal Sound display-speaker provides a next-gen hook. The cameras are very succesful, LG’s superb beef up for stressed out headphones returns, and the G8’s simply total a beautiful first rate piece of equipment.
But for all I really like about it, it’s simply means too conservative an effort. Instead of pushing the envelope in smartphone design, it’s as an alternative extra of an LG G7.five. Some firms may just coast via with a handset like that, no downside, however LG is no longer recently in a place that offers it that luxurious. And in comparison to efforts like Samsung’s Galaxy S10 sequence, the G8 felt behind the instances earlier than it even hit retail outlets.
Then there are the issues that do not paintings neatly, like Air Motion — or even the biometric options that are solely OK finally end up feeling like negatives in comparison to some better-executed methods from friends. Though it most probably turns out foolish for me to be speaking about how impossibly slippery the G8 is up to I’ve, I am satisfied this phone has a dying want and would possibly not be at liberty till it’s shattered on the ground.
Left to proper: The LG G6, LG G7, and new LG G8.
Little problems like the ones all remove from the G8’s polish. As a end result, I actually would not suggest paying a super-high value for the phone. Luckily, you’ll already to find the handset discounted right down to $650-700, neatly underneath the $850 MSRP. At that vary, it’s price bearing in mind, and the decrease it drops the more uncomplicated that choice will get.
Ultimately the G8 looks like a phone that’s operating out of ideas. It’s larger than its predecessor in maximum of the tactics that topic, however it lacks the type of path that I actually be expecting to look from a major-brand flagship in 2019. LG does not want extra hardware gimmicks, and as an alternative will have to take a seat down and actually take into consideration the place it needs to look phone design pass over the route of subsequent decade. Bring us a G9 that embraces that imaginative and prescient, after which we’re going to have one thing to speak about.
Buy it if…
- You cherished the G7 and need extra of the similar.
- You hate touching your phone’s display screen nearly up to you hate earpieces.
- You to find it to be had at a steep bargain.
Don’t purchase it if…
- You’d love to ever have the ability to put your phone down on a flat floor with out it sliding off.