LG has been stuck in a rut for the last few years, similar to other OEM’s not named Samsung. The company has been trying out different tactics, starting with the LG G6 from last year.
In a move that shocked just about everyone, LG released its 2017 flagship, the G6, with 2016 specs, namely the Snapdragon 821 chipset. Sure, this was fine for awhile, but then as we saw the Snapdragon 835 released, the G6 fell to the wayside.
Moving into 2018, there were a lot of rumblings about what LG would be doing with its 2018 flagship. Instead of making its debut at MWC 2018, the LG G7 was delayed due to LG’s attempts to change the design and more.
The G7 was officially announced back in May, and actually carries the following name: “LG G7 ThinQ”. I’m not going to continue referencing this phone as the “G7 ThinQ”, so you’ll just see G7.
The device has been out since May, but we really wanted to take our time with the device since this is such an important release for LG. Of course, it’s time to reveal our thoughts on one LG’s latest and greatest.
In order to get started with the design, we’ll have to take another look at the G6. LG moved to glass on the front and rear, while an aluminum frame was sandwiched between.
Previous generations of LG flagships sported plastic builds, which was beneficial in some aspects. However, the introduction of an all-glass design has been a welcome addition for a flagship handset.
The G6 also sported more of a blocky design which was good for some and bad for the others. With the G7, we see some slight improvements, with more curves and less ridges.
The glass seems to melt into the metal frame on both the front and rear of the device. The rear glass is just slightly curved, which provides a very enjoyable experience when using the handset.
Also found on the back is LG’s latest attempt at a dual-camera system. We’ll touch on this setup more later on, but it is orientated at the top, with the LED flash placed to the left and fingerprint scanner mounted below.
Found at the bottom, we have the standard USB-C charging port, flanked by a microphone and bottom-firing speaker. This may seem a bit boring, but there’s a reason behind LG sticking to a single speaker.
Keeping with the frame, the left-side sports the volume rocker and an all-new button. This is dedicated to activating Google Assistant, similar to Samsung’s Bixby button.
On the right side, LG has included a standard power button, removing the button from the fingerprint scanner. Previously, LG integrated the power button into the fingerprint scanner for easy access. It seems that now the company is falling more in line with other OEM’s.
In terms of placement, these are placed quite nicely, save for the occasional accidental press of the Assistant button. Finally, the G7 sports a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top. So there’s no need to worry about losing a dongle in your travels.
All displays are great now. Sure, some are getting brighter or have deeper blacks, but the LG G7’s looks fantastic regardless of those buzzwords.
As for dimensions, we have a 6.1-inch IPS LCD display sporting a resolution of 3,120 x 1,440. With the notch and slim bezels, this equates to an aspect ratio of 19.5:9.
If you are someone who wants more control over what your content looks like, LG has you covered. Hidden in the Display settings, you can adjust the RGB and color temperature sliders, along with using different display modes.
Another neat feature included with the G7 comes in the brightness department. It can be annoying to use your phone in direct sunlight, only to have to squint or shade the display with your hand just to see part of the screen.
This complaint has been removed with the new Super Bright mode. This boosts your G7’s display up to 1,000 nits, making it extremely easy to see what’s going on, regardless of what you are doing.
You knew it was coming. LG is attempting to keep up with the trends, and it did just that with the LG G7. No, there aren’t six different cameras, but there is a notch on the display.
This notch is a little bit less intrusive than others found on the market, and actually blends into the screen quite nicely. However, if the #notchedlyfe is not your cup of tea, then LG has included a few software tweaks to actually “hide” this.
Instead of just calling it the notch, LG actually calls this portion of the display as the “New Second Screen”. From here, you can use a black wallpaper to hide the notch, or opt for a rainbow theme to have a more unique look.
The second screen is nothing new for LG as a similar feature was released starting with the LG V20. However, the difference is that instead of having two separate displays, the G7’s second screen is a part of the whole display.
For years, LG has been integrating a quad DAC system into its flagship smartphones. This brings a higher-quality sound, less distortion, and a better dynamic range.
However, the G7 turns things up to 11 with its new interesting and unique bottom-firing speaker. Instead of opting to use stereo speakers, sound from the G7 will be amplified just by placing it on a flat surface.
You can truly notice the difference when you start the music playing in your hand than placing it down on a table. While this is a neat trick, it’s nothing more than that, and it doesn’t even mimic stereo sound.
It was still a nice touch and something that could be improved upon in future iterations.
Before jumping too far, let’s take a look at what is powering the G7. LG decided to use the best processor, which is currently the Snapdragon 845 from Qualcomm.
In the RAM and storage department, we have a couple of choices. The standard model comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. However, there is a pricier model which sports 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
The storage space should be no concern, as the G7 is equipped with a microSD card slot compatible with a 2TB option. Of course, you can’t exactly get a 2TB SD card just yet, but 400GB should suffice. This is located next to the SIM card within the SIM card slot.
Now that the specs are out of the way, I have to say that the G7 is extremely snappy. I’m not sure if it’s due to “Samsung Experience”, but the G7 feels even faster than my S9 Plus.
Something LG did under the hood has really helped to improve the performance. Playing mobile games, including Fortnite/PUBG is a breeze, and multitasking is everything you could want and more.
The only complaint that I have in the performance department is the battery life. Including a 3,000mAh battery is a real disappointment nowadays, and if you are a power user, be prepared to have a charger handy. The saving grace here comes thanks to the wireless charging, along with compatibility with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0.
All-in-all, the G7 will definitely swing for the fences, but you may have to take a few hits in the battery department.
I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but I fell out of love with the wide-angle camera. Including one on the G7 is unique, as others are focused on providing “portrait” images with the secondary rear camera.
LG is doing the opposite and using a wide-angle 16MP secondary sensor. The lens has a 107-degree viewing range, which is slightly lower than that of previous generations.
Nonetheless, if you are trying to get as many people in the shot as possible, this is the camera for you. LG has really excelled over the last couple of years in the camera department, and this year is no different.
I’m not much of a selfie-taker, but the G7 doesn’t disappoint thanks to the crisp and clear photos. Plus, you won’t have to worry about extra gimmicks to make cartoons of yourself like AR Emoji or Animoji.
Overall, the LG G7 does an extremely good job at being the best camera you can put in your pocket.
For years, LG has wavered between Samsung and Motorola in the software department. It’s not quite a stock Android experience, but there’s not a boatload of extra bloatware onboard.
It seems that the G7 is a fine medium between the two, while still giving enough extra customization options. You don’t have a settings panel for every minute detail, but the main ones can be found with relative ease.
The stock LG launcher is something that I continue to use, even though you can throw the ported Pixel 2 launcher onboard. LG has really improved in the software department, giving the users more control over what they use.
You may have to dive deeper into the settings to add back the app drawer, but it’s still serviceable. Loading up the camera or Google Assistant is a breeze and getting your work done should pose no problems. It still has some overlays from LG, but this software is far from as buggy as others offered.
If I am 100% completely honest, it’s difficult to recommend the LG G7 ThinQ. This is in large part to the $750 retail price tag offered through your favorite carriers.
However, the wonderful thing about LG smartphones is the deterioration in pricing. In just a few months, you can already find steep discounts on the G7, even as low as just $550 from eBay.
Another hang up that I have is with that wide-angle camera, as I have become accustomed to using a secondary zoom lens. But to each their own, and your experience may differ from mine.
Overall, the G7 ThinQ is still a wonderful device which will power through your work, and allow you to get some gaming done. The notch won’t bother you, especially if you use the software tweaks to hide it.
You just may run into some issues keeping charged up throughout the day.