The LG G8X ThinQ is the latest attempt from the South Korean firm to take advantage of our multi-tasking tendencies while also trying to get a jump on the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, by offering up a sort of hybrid foldable phone.
Announced at IFA 2019, it's the second handset from the firm to pack LG Dual Screen technology, but things have been refined for the G8X ThinQ, making it a more attractive and usable feature over the V50 ThinQ.
The attachable Dual Screen case is thinner and lighter, has a screen which matches the display on the G8X ThinQ, and has another smaller screen on the front.
However, the LG Dual Screen may not be included by default, so you may find yourself having to purchase it separately depending on availability in your region.
Dual Screen support aside, the LG G8X ThinQ is a flagship phone which builds on the LG G8 (from February 2019) in some ways, but takes a step back in others. We've spent some hands-on time with the new LG smartphone to give you an early preview of what to expect.
LG G8X ThinQ release date and price
We currently don't have the LG G8X ThinQ price, as we were told it was still being discussed when we asked during our briefing about the handset.
However, it most closely resembles the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, which is one of the pricier options on the market right now and we expect the G8X ThinQ price to be similarly steep.
We're also in the dark when it comes to the LG G8X ThinQ release date, with LG telling TechRadar that the handset will be available before the end of year - but offering no further information for now.
Once we know more about the release date and price we'll update this article.
When it comes to the design of the LG G8X ThinQ there isn't much difference between it and its predecessor, the LG G8. There are a couple of differences of note though.
LG G8X ThinQ specs
Dimensions: 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.4mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.4-inch
Resolution: Full HD+
CPU: Snapdragon 855
Rear camera: 12MP + 13MP
Front camera: 32MP
Headphone jack: Yes
Firstly, LG has greatly reduced the size of the notch at the top of the display, freeing up space for additional notification icons and generally providing a more pleasing aesthetic.
Flip the handset over and the sleek, all-glass rear of the LG G8X ThinQ doesn't have a fingerprint scanner interrupting it. Instead, LG has shifted the digit reader to the front, under the display, allowing for an uninterrupted rear. Even the dual cameras and flash are flush with the body of the phone.
It looks and feels premium, and it sits relatively well in the hand. It doesn't feel quite as comfortable as the Huawei P30 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus however, as its rounded edges don't allow it to nestle as firmly in the palm as the tapered, curved edges of its rivals.
Like these rivals, and most flagship smartphones these days, the front and rear glass sandwich a metal frame and don't provide a huge amount of grip. However, with an IP68 rating it is dust and water resistant, and it also boasts military-grade durability - so hopefully it will be able to survive a little bit of rough and tumble.
Another new feature for the G8X ThinQ is the inclusion of "perfectly balanced stereo speakers at top and bottom", for improved stereo audio output. We were unable to test this during our hands-on time, but we'll fully assess them during our full review.
Something some will be happy to learn is the fact this handset still comes with a headphone jack - allowing you to plug in a traditional set of headphones without the need for an easily-lost/forgotten adaptor.
Display and Dual Screen cover
A 6.4-inch OLED display dominates the front of the G8X ThinQ, with a tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio, but only a Full HD+ resolution. That means this new handset has a lower resolution display than the G8 and V50 (both QHD), which some may find disappointing.
The good news is the display is still bright and vibrant, making for an easy-on-the-eye experience, and we didn't notice any quality issues with it. However, for those who watch films or play graphically intensive games on their handset, the lower resolution may be a slight turn off.
The real attraction here though is the option to pair the G8 ThinQ with the LG Dual Screen cover - instantly doubling the amount of screen real estate you have to play with. In fact, you technically take the screen count up to three with the display cover, as it also features a small, 2.1-inch dot matrix display on its front, so you can see the time, date, notification icons and caller ID when it's closed.
It's a handy addition, although the super-reflective mirrored finish LG has given the front of the cover (which is a fingerprint magnet) paired with a slightly dim display setting meant it wasn't always the easier to read - especially in sunlight.
Open the cover up however, and you're greeted by two identical displays. That's because the LG Dual Screen cover boasts the same 6.4-inch Full HD+ OLED display as the G8X. It even has its own notch (although no camera in it).
However, unlike the foldable Galaxy Fold and Mate X, this isn't one big display. You very much get two separate displays, with a sizable amount of bezel between them. That doesn't mean you can't use them together though.
There are a variety of use cases for this dual-screen setup, and LG demoed a few of them for us. A nice example is gaming, as any app on the Play Store which currently supports gamepad input can take advantage of the on-screen LG Gamepad.
This allows you to run the game in landscape on the top screen (the one that's part of the cover), while the bottom screen (the one of the LG G8X) is dedicated to controls. It means on-screen controls and your thumbs don't get in the way of the action.
Another example is using the secondary display as a viewfinder, allowing you to tilt the LG G8X up or down to get a different perspective to your shots while still having a perfect view of what's in frame.
A feature we liked is the ability to have a chosen app automatically launch on the second screen every time you open the cover. If you're into your smartphone photography, you could opt to have the camera app launch each time you opened the Dual Screen cover. It means you'll always be ready to take a snap, while still having the complete smartphone experience available to you on the main display.
When it comes to generally using the LG G8X ThinQ, you can load two different apps, one on each screen, for ultimate multi-tasking - great if you're watching a movie, but also want to use a messaging app, for example.
The case has a 360-degree hinge, allowing you to fold it all the way back, effectively putting the second display on the rear of the handset - although use cases in this particular scenario are limited.
The LG Dual Screen cover still adds considerable size and weight (it adds 134g and 14.9mm of thickness) to the G8X ThinQ, even though its design has been slimmed down and made lighter from the one which came with the V50 ( you can't use the V50 Dual Screen with the G8X, and vice versa).
It's not something you'll easily slide into your pocket, or necessarily want to carry around for an extended period of time.
Of course, you can easily remove the cover for times when you don't want/need the flexibility of two screens. However, constantly switching between having the cover on and off makes us worry about something else.
The second screen gets all its data and power from the LG G8X ThinQ via the USB-C port. This means the cover has a USB-C connection sticking out of it, which you need to engage with the phone. It seems like a potentially weak point of the design, and constantly yanking it in and out could see the connection and/or port wear down over time. It's something we'll monitor when we get the G8X in for review.
LG has resisted the current trend of loading up the rear of a flagship smartphone with three, four or even five cameras, with the G8X ThinQ arriving with a more reserved dual camera offering.
The main 12MP sensor is joined by an ultra-wide 13MP snapper - a common setup, with LG having offered a standard and ultra-wide combo on a number of previous flagships including the G8 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ and LG G6.
A variety of additional features have been packed into the camera though, to keep budding photographers interested.
AI Action Shot is able to detect the movement of fast-paced subjects and adjust shutter speed and ISO for a clear shot, while the new ASMR video recording feature looks to take advantage of the YouTube trend by upping microphone sensitivity by 10db.
Other camera features include a portrait (Bokeh) mode, a steady cam mode which comes with impressive-looking (we'll put it to the test in our review) stabilized video capture similar to action cam footage, and 4K time-lapse video recording.
As we've mentioned already, the second screen display option provides you with an angled viewfinder giving you more flexibility when it comes to creative capture, but we found the Dual Screen case provided a simpler, but really useful function.
Fire up the camera app on one of the displays, snap a picture and it will be instantly shown on the other screen. There's no tap required to open it, and it means the camera app remains open and ready to snap more photos while you review your shot simultaneously.
Selfie lovers should also be happy, as the LG G8X ThinQ comes with a 32MP front-facing camera which should be able to produce Instagram-worthy snaps.
We only had a short amount of time with the LG G8X ThinQ during our hands on look at the handset, but we were able to snap some side-by-side photos with it and the Huawei P30 Pro.
There wasn't a huge amount to pick between the results from both camera phones, but the P30 Pro did have a slightly better level of detail and color. More testing in our review process is required before we can make a final judgement on camera quality though.
Interface and specs
The LG G8X ThinQ comes with Android 9 on board, and runs LG's brand new UX 9.0 interface which is lighter, brighter and generally more accessible than the company's previous interface. And yes, there's a Dark Mode option too.
An example of that accessibility is that if you swipe down from the notification bar and then again to expand the quick settings menu, it will position the toggles further down the screen, making them easier to hit when using the phone one-handed.
Apps loaded quickly, as we'd expect considering the LG G8X ThinQ has Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset under the hood, paired with 6GB of RAM. This gives you plenty of oomph and keeps it in line with the likes of the Sony Xperia 1 and V50 ThinQ.
The interface also works well across both displays when the G8X ThinQ is used alongside the Dual Screen cover, with some apps able to take advantage of both screens at the same time.
Examples include the gallery app showing photo thumbnails on one side and a single image enlarged on the other, messaging apps splitting conversation streams and a landscape keyboard, and LG's own Blue Whale internet browser providing open tabs on one side and your current tab on the other.
There's also 128GB of storage, providing plenty of space for your apps, games, photos and more, but if that's not enough you can expand on that with a microSD card.
LG has squeezed a sizable 4,000mAh battery into the G8X ThinQ, and it supports both fast charging and wireless charging, ensuring top ups should be hassle-free.
The LG G8X ThinQ is a flagship smartphone that doesn't follow the usual norms of high-end handsets. Its dual-screen party piece certainly makes it stand out from the crowd and it does have some interesting use cases - however, it could well add additional cost to the device.
We're still waiting to hear the price tag of the LG G8X ThinQ - get it right and we could have a dual-screen hit on our hands, but too high and the novelty of the second screen may wear thin, leaving you with a well-made, premium, feature-filled phone which still feels a little middle of the road.
IFA 2019 is Europe's biggest tech show, and the TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new TVs, wearables and other devices as they're announced.