LG G8X: LG’s dual screen solution. Can a case suffice? The review

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.
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LG’s new smartphone arrives on the Italian market. It is part of the G series and re-proposes the particularity of the double screen but with an ad hoc case. Powerful and with a minimal and elegant design, LG G8x has to make its way among the top of the range and it will not be easy even if the qualities have them all. Here is the review

LG G8X was previewed at IFA 2019 in Berlin last September and although the name could mislead it is not an update of the G8 but rather the company has thought of the X version as a version reinvented with a larger screen, a more robust battery and above all with the presence in the package of sale of a Dual Screen case completely new, more effective than the previous one and ready to change the cards on the table compared to the V50.

The new LG G8X is therefore another interpretation of a flagship, LG G8, excellent of which we have had the opportunity to appreciate many aspects in the past. Version X sees some important changes, one of which, certainly the most important, is support for Dual Screen. LG G8X is part of LG’s ThinQ range, i.e. those smart devices that, among other things, also include refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, speakers, cameras, air conditioners and more. Here we are talking about a smartphone which, however, introduces “intelligent” innovations thanks to an important development of the graphic interface by the company.

LG G8X is undoubtedly a premium smartphone both in appearance and performance. In design, the phone is very elegant with a resistant double Gorilla Glass and a 6.4 “P-OLED panel with a little intrusive drop notch. For performance, one thinks Snapdragon 855 while on the photography side there is a dual camera on the back with ultra wide sensors that promise well, at least on paper.

The key feature of LG G8X is however the Dual Screen which this time, unlike in the past, is placed in the package together with the device and therefore an all-inclusive price. LG’s solution for a foldable phone is quite simple, different, perhaps a little primitive and bulky but in some respects it also has advantages: the screen on the left is absolutely the same size, shape and number of pixels as the one on the right. No need to worry about the fragile hinge or folding screen protector, since it’s not there. The second screen can be deactivated at any time as well as removed at any time.

Clearly the new LG G8X is not G8: the screen has a lower Full HD + resolution and its drip notch is smaller because facial recognition technology is missing. There is not even a telephoto sensor on the back although users often do without this solution. There are some interesting additions though such as a larger screen size, an important battery and the new LG UX 9.0 already pre-installed which presents various graphic novelties and more. Moreover, LG has a habit of protecting its flagships very well and the G8X is no exception: the phone has a IP68 protection degree and complies with military standards such as MIL-STD-810G in 12 categories for shock, temperature, humidity, dust and more. Just like the G8.

unboxing

The black LG G8X sales package contains two separate boxes: the LG G8X smartphone and the LG G8X Dual Screen accessory. The phone box sees the presence of a USB-C cable and an 18W charger but also headphones with a high-quality fabric cable.

The Dual Screen package contains the Dual Screen case it’s a magnetic USB-C connector for charging and wired connectivity. In fact, if you are using the dual screen cover, you will need to connect it to the charger with the holder since the case connects to the USB-C port of the G8X. Having a magnetic charger is not so bad, the important thing, since it comes out a lot, is not to lose it around.

The LG G8X Dual Screen case is a bit different from that of the V50 and not only for the type of connection but above all because for the first time there is also a 2.1 “monochromatic external display for notifications and much more.

DESIGN: minimal to the limit

LG G8X could be mistaken for brother LG G8 since its design and construction remain practically the same. Both are smartphones that are beautiful to look at but also very resistant to use.

The LG G8X is a double-glazed smartphone with an aluminum frame in the middle: a combination that has passed the test for both beauty and strength. The front is protected by a Gorilla Glass 6 with thin 2.5D edge, while the back has a Gorilla Glass 5 but curved towards the edges. LG is known for making its phones very durable and the G8X keeps this tradition alive. The smartphone has IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, but it also passed 12 of the MIL-STD-810G military tests: low pressure, high temperature, low temperature, thermal shock, solar radiation, rain, high humidity, dust contamination, immersion in water, vibrations and impact tests.

A detail that currently only LG and OPPO can achieve in the design of their smartphones concerns the photographic compartment flush with the rear body. In fact, there is no hump on the G8X, the two rear sensors are located behind the Gorilla Glass 5 and have additional protection. A not indifferent detail because whatever the design of a smartphone, having an important hump at the rear certainly can never be liked by anyone unlike a completely smooth back.

One of the first changes compared to the G8 is the screen: here it is larger or equal to 6.4 “and with a smaller drop-shaped notch (also because of the absence of facial recognition). It is still a P-OLED panel but with a lower Full HD + resolution. inside the notch is a brand new 32 MP selfie camera, which relies on pixel-binning for promising 8 MP shots.

The screen has obvious black bars above and below the screen, thicker than those of the industry leaders. Clearly no problem in viewing the contents for the frames indeed but in fact we are not dealing with a truly borderless terminal as other competitors already have. LG was the first to put the fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone and it was still there on the LG G8. Here instead it has disappeared and has been replaced by a reader under the display with an optical solution now widespread. The configuration is simple even if the scan is not always effective and above all not as fast as other devices.

Aesthetically beautiful the very thin grid above the screen, between the frame and the glass. The LG G8X has two speakers for stereo sound and the headset acts as a second speaker when playing music, games or videos. There are no notification LEDs while the second speaker is located at the bottom of the G8X, next to the USB-C port and the audio jack.

The rest is a practically normal phone with all the physical buttons on the sides. On the left are those of the volume and a dedicated one for Google Assistant. On the right is the on and off switch. Finally, the dimensions of the smartphone see 159.3 x 75.8 x 8.4 mm which is equivalent to a smartphone rather less compact than the G8 which is 7 mm higher and 4 mm wider. The weight of the G8X is 192 g (without the Dual Screen case), 25 g heavier than the G8.

DISPLAY: excellent unit even in direct sunlight

Let’s talk about displays because the new one LG G8X sees the presence of a 6.4 “P-OLED panel with rounded corners and a drop-shaped notch for the selfie camera. The screen resolution is 1,080×2,340 pixels with a pixel density of 403pp which is actually quite common even if clearly lower than the G40’s 1440p.

The display is protected with the latest Gorilla Glass 6. The OLED panel benefits from 100% DCI-P3 coverage and support HDR10as long as you have access to HDR video content, of course. Screen measurements captured 330 nits of maximum brightness on the G8X’s main screen. It’s not the brightest we’ve seen but the good news is that the screen almost doubles in Auto mode and reaches 600 nits in sunlight, so readability on the outside isn’t really a problem.

The screen on the Dual Screen case can be configured via the classic settings and its maximum output is 371 nits. There is no automatic brightness option for this dual screen but speaking of the dual screen we found that both screens have an identical color presentation. The whites are slightly bluish but apart from this we can say that they are mostly precise in the DCI-P3 color space. If you opt for Cinema customization, you get even more precise screens with a much more natural shade of white and gray.

HARDWARE: Snapdragon 855 for maximum

LG G8X ThinQ is powered by the latest chip Snapdragon 855 (non plus) of Qualcomm. It’s the same SoC that LG G8 and V50 had under the hood. It is based on TSMC’s 7-nm manufacturing process and the chip employs an octa-core processor with 1 + 3 + 4 configuration – there is a single Kryo 485 Gold core (a Cortex-A76 derivative) clocked at 2.84. GHz; three other Kryo 485 Gold cores clocked at 2.42 GHz and a cluster of four Kryo 485 Silver cores (derived from Cortex-A55) that operates at 1.78 GHz. The GPU is Adreno 640 and it’s Qualcomm’s top-of-the-range graphics processor capable of handling just about anything you launch. Finally, theLG G8X has 6 GB of RAM and offers 128 GB of UFS2.1 memory.

 

LG G8X Dual Screen
OS (at launch) Android 9.0 Pie with LG UX 9.0
Processor Snapdragon 855 Octa-Core at 2.84GHz
RAM 6 GB
Display P-OLED 6.4 “Full HD +
Resolution 2340×1080 px
Storage (at launch) 128 GB + MicroSD up to 2TB
Rear camera Dual Camera:
Main
12MP (f / 1.8) OIS +
Ultra Wide Angle 13MP (f / 2.4)
4K UHD video @ 30fps
Front camera 32MP (f / 1.9)
Extra 4G LTE Cat.20 with 2.0Gbps
NFC
Fingerprint sensor below display
IP-68 certification
Ports USB Type-C + 3.5mm jack
Battery 4,000 mAh + Quick charge
dimensions 159.3 x 75.8 x 8.4 mm
Weight 192 gr without cover – 326 gr with the cover

 

The GeekBench CPU test still paints that Snapdragon 855 processor as champion for multi-core activities. But as far as single-core performance is concerned, Samsung’s new custom core does a lot better. The GPU benchmarks are surprisingly spectacular: Adreno 640 is among the best GPUs on a smartphone and offers unprecedented performance on a 1080p screen.

In Antutu, the LG G8X has not yet reached the same numbers as the OnePlus 7T Pro, which sees the presence of the Plus version of the S855 chip. However, it scores excellent numbers with excellent value in this test.

LG G8X offers top performance across the board and still has one of the most powerful and current chips on the market. Moreover, with that 1080p screen, it certainly does not need the Plus version. So, as far as performance is concerned, it is very fast without doubts even when using the Dual Screen case which does not see any slowdown whatsoever even in anomalous situations of true stress.

GRAPHIC INTERFACE: new LG UX with many changes

LG G8X sees the default presence of Android 9 Pie as already done with G8 and V50. But it is the first phone that arrives on the market with the LG UX 9.0 new graphic interface, which is not only a minor update compared to 8.0, but a massive revision of the entire interface.

LG UX 9.0 looks a lot like Samsung’s One UIintentionally or unintentionally. And that’s not a bad thing: new minimalist looks based on refined graphics and more defined characters and a no-frills Settings menu. Surely there will be many users who will prefer this to LG’s old UX. New icons, refined menus and looks, a brand new notification center with efficient quick toogle and an improved Settings app in practically everything.

Everything starts clearly from the main screen where you can opt for the now ubiquitous option, namely theAlways On Display AOD. LG’s AOD implementation is quite detailed, with various options for skins, music controls, AI AI information and even low and high brightness. You can post a timeout interval as usual, for example do not show AOD at night and do it all day instead.

The fingerprint scanner is located under the display and lights up when you lift the phone or touch the screen. It is reliable and fast, even if its precision will have to be improved because sometimes there are slowdowns in the scan which also delay the unlocking of the device.

There is no app drawer for apps on LG UX 9.0 by default, but you can still set it from the home screen settings. The notification area has a new look but has the same logic and turns on / off as before. The Task Switcher behaves the same way, but now it has 3D graphics. And the Settings menu loses its categories and is intuitively repositioned to make everything easier to find. The new font has also improved with greater comfort for the eyes.

Android navigation is performed with the keys on the screen by default (Back, Home, Activities), but you can opt for the Gestural navigation or even with i buttons similar to those of Android Stock. Finally all LG apps and functions have also been brought to the LG UX 9.0. LG has also dealt with multimedia content and there is a music player, a Gallery, there is also an FM radio app and the LG Heath app and the famous ubiquitous QucikMemo + is now available.

DUAL SCREEN: LG’s dual display

The Dual Screen case looks a lot like what we saw in the first version with LG V50, but there are two crucial differences. First of all, the accessory for sale with LG V50 is powered by magnetic pins on the back of the phone and therefore left the USB port free to be used. The one for the G8X instead uses a male USB-C port where the phone is connected, and you are left without an adequate USB-C port and an external adapter is required. Secondly, there is a new Cover Display on the front of the case: it is an OLED panel 2.1-inch monochrome for notifications and for keeping track of time. This was one of the biggest complaints from the user in the first version and therefore LG has decided to resolve positively with this new cover.

The small display is not always on but it lights up every time you lift the phone or when you take it out of your pocket or bag. The screen shows the time and date and app icons with new notifications. LG G8X fits into the case easily, first at the bottom by connecting it to the phone’s USB-C port. In this case the case does not have its own battery and consumes energy from the phone. Clearly with the door occupied by the cover The G8X can be recharged wirelessly or using the supplied adapter that is coupled to the pins on the bottom of the Dual Screen case magnetically.

The case has the same 6.4 “P-OLED screen as the smartphone. Strangely, it also has the notch although it is not necessary because it does not have the front camera on this side. There is a thin hole at the top to allow sound to pass through the headset during calls. Some users may complain of the strangeness of the second notch without the need given the absence of the camera, but somehow it could instead make sense from a production and aesthetic point of view with a continuity of the Dual Screen.

Inevitable not to declare how the accessory makes everything a little bulky. With the case, the product measures 165.9 x 84.6 x 15.0 mm when closed. Moreover, there are as many as 134 grams more that add up to those of the device for a total of 326 grams, which also makes everything heavy during mobility. The two hinges click well and allow you to rotate the screen at any angle up to 360 degrees.

But is it really necessary? The housing for the Dual Screen is really good for games (the on-screen controls outside the main screen are really a healthy touch for the game), multitasking, watching movies and text messages and other features. But most of the time the phone will do just fine without a cover. And that’s what we like about this accessory: you only put it on when you really need it.

The LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen is quite easy to use. The second screen (on the left) is deactivated by default, but it will be enough to activate it through a small mobile button on the main screen. This is controller for the whole Dual Screen behavior. The second screen has an App Drawer and from there you can populate the screen with the app shortcuts as well as the various widgets that are supported. Through a shortcut you can also change the settings of the dual screen: here you can adjust the brightness, set the backgrounds, enable or disable the mobile key of the Dual Screen or opt to disable or not the cover display.

So what can be done with this Dual Screen? Multitasking is its main function. It is possible to open any app on both screens and work with two apps simultaneously: it can be a messaging app and a video, a document editor and a Web browser, navigation and maps. There is also the so-called wide view, which extends an app on both screens. It is not total clearly since the distance of more than 15 mm between the two screens remains but in case of need it can still be done.

Another thing you can use the second screen with is that of a gamepad. LG has designed a proprietary on-screen game controller: it’s called D-Pad and it has two pads, triggers, 4 action buttons and everything you need to play immensely. The Android operating system recognizes it as a connected Bluetooth hardware controller, which greatly expands its compatibility. If a game supports any Bluetooth gamepad, this second screen works perfectly. Moreover, LG also allows you to customize the Gampad and create one to your liking with the positioning of the buttons according to the game and your comfort. It’s not a physical gamepad, of course, but it’s the best thing closest to it.

A second screen therefore useful and appreciable in several use cases and where surely many people might appreciate it. Clearly it adds a lot of weight but being a case it can be removed and set aside without problems.

CAMERA: only double but excellent

LG was the first manufacturer to make the ultrawide camera a mainstream feature with the LG G5, and has been around since. LG G8X has a dual camera configuration quite similar on the back with a wide recovery sensor to which is added also the ultra wide angle sensor.

Specifically the main camera is a 12MP sensor (1 / 2.55 “, 1.4 μm pixel) with 27 mm f / 1.8 lens and OIS. It also uses dual pixel phase detection autofocus. 13MP ultrawide sensor, camera with 14mm f / 2.4 lens, 1.0 µm pixels and fixed focus. There is no OIS for the ultra-wide camera, but it is not really necessary with this short focal distance. Finally the selfie camera it’s pretty promising: it’s a Quad Bayer sensor 32MP that takes 8MP photos. The focus is fixed, as usual.

The camera app is quite simple: swiping left and right switches between camera modes, including Portrait, Auto, Night View, Manual Camera and Studio, the latter imitating a studio setting that allows you to optimize lighting as if it came from different sources.

The Video option also offers an ASMR switch (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) to capture relaxing clips that massage the brain. It is literally a feeling of relaxation, sometimes accompanied by a tingling sensation at the base of the head and other parts of the body. Maybe what you feel at the hairdresser, or in case of loving scratchers. A call to forgotten sensations, from when you were little. It is very fashionable among youtubers who whisper to microphones, often young girls, in a subconscious of peace, where the stress remains out of listening. LG G8X is the only smartphone to offer it in recordings.

The LG G8X’s main camera takes excellent 12 MP photos. The details are numerous, the sharpness is right, the colors are very precise and the contrast is exceptional. The dynamic range is above average but it’s not impressive, which is why Auto HDR activates often. From this point of view to improve their HDR process, as the competition makes better things from this point of view. Finally, noise levels are mostly low, but it is still possible to see traces in areas of uniform color and shadows.

The 13 MP ultrawide images are among the best we have seen. There are enough details in the center, while the automatic distortion correction does an excellent job at the corners at the expense of greater softness. The images are contrasted, the colors are slightly lighter than they should be, and there is more noise here, but taking this into account, the 13 MP ultrawide lens does an excellent job keeping the quality more than decent.

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The LG G8X takes good pictures even in low light conditions. The main camera produces well-lit 12 MP shots with more than enough detail, very balanced exposure, low noise and once again very precise colors. Note the automatic willingness of the G8X to take shots with the HDR inserted in most of the times in low light conditions. Using Night View on the ultrawide camera introduces more noise and doesn’t improve photos that much. For this reason we recommend using it only on special occasions if this will really produce benefits.

Click to enlarge

LG G8X has a 32 MP selfie camera with Quad-Bayer color filter, which means it will save 8MP photos after shooting. The photos are normal with a lens that is not exciting but still makes good shots.

Video side LG G8X can make recordings up to 2160p in 30 and 60fps, and the same goes for 1080p mode. The ultrawide camera supports video capture in all modes except 4K @ 60fps. Extended dynamic range is available in all 30 fps modes. As for the quality, the 4K videos of the main camera proved to be good: the dynamic range is satisfying, the noise is low, the colors and contrast are excellent.

AUTONOMY: excellent thanks to the processor and the operating system

LG G8X is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery, a 15% increase over the G8’s 3,500 mAh battery. The phone supports Quick Charge 4.0 even if its supplied charger has a power of 16.2 W, which means that you can buy faster compatible chargers, for example 18 W or 21 W. Anyway, with the adapter supplied is possible recharge 33% of the discharged battery of the G8X in 30 minutes.

The smartphone still achieves excellent performance within autonomy. In our usual tests G8X can easily reach over 14 hours of web browsing and over 18 hours of loop video playback. By proposing a test with the evaluation of the DualScreen we can have a 20-30% drop in battery consumption but assuming that the second screen will not be used daily the battery undoubtedly surpasses the stress day like most of today’s phones.

CONCLUSIONS

LG G8X ThinQ is a really excellent and original smartphone: it has a nice-looking OLED screen, an elegant and durable design, exceptional processing power, a capable camera and a good-sized battery. Even better the new LG UX 9.0 which improves its functionality.

The most publicized part of the G8X is not the phone itself, but its optional dual screen accessory. An accessory sold together with the smartphone that could make the experience with the new LG G8X even richer. It makes sense for LG to advertise the smartphone as a “foldable” device. Finally, by using it with the cover, you actually have a dual screen, primitive in some ways, but in fact a dual display that could also be “forgotten” at home if not necessary.

LG G8X ThinQ is a powerful smartphone which could be interesting in the mass. The Christmas season is now near and who knows what you can’t think of the smartphone as a Christmas gift. Its price is high, it is true, it costs 949.90 Euros but in fact it comes with a first class hardware compartment and above all with a double display, removable, but always double. And this will also amuse.

PRO

  • Elegant design, durable body, no camera thickness
  • A large P-OLED screen, support HDR 10
  • Snapdragon 855 chip at the top
  • Excellent battery life
  • Excellent dual camera in Ultra Wide Angle shots
  • Good dual screen experience

VERSUS

  • High price in Italy
  • Unimpressive 4K video recording

 

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