There are a few features that try to take advantage of the secondary screen With the G8X in landscape mode, you can turn one of the displays into a keyboard or custom gamepad, which you can design for yourself. It’s hard to draw conclusions from such a short demo, but the keyboard was a little too large to use with two thumbs, but too small for full-handed typing. I’m sure, over time, you’d get used to it, but I’d probably never write long emails with it.
Web browsing with Whale, LG and Navver’s custom Chromium browser that uses full use of both screens, makes a lot more sense. Open Google in one half, and you can click through individual links that are displayed on the other. You can do the same with Amazon, saving you the indignity of scrolling to find your place when you click in, and then back out of, an individual product listing.
There are plenty of other examples, like seeing a Google Map on one side, and Google Street View in the other. You can browse the web on one side while YouTube is open on the other – which is one way of avoiding having to pay for YouTube Music. And you can flick through the gallery on one screen, with previews popping up on the other.
You can’t watch video or browse across both screens, however, because it doesn’t look good. LG had a version of Chrome which did render across both screens and the line between the two displays was so thick as to make it difficult to read. The company would much prefer you use the secondary screen as a companion to the first, rather than its missing half.
As for the rest of the phone, the G8X has the same Snapdragon 855 and 6GB RAM as its predecessor, but with some key tweaks. The rear fingerprint sensor has been ditched for an optical model that sits underneath the 6.4-inch OLED display, which itself is bigger than the 6.1-inch screen on the G8. Battery capacity has been pushed from 3, 500 mAh on the G8 to 4, 000 mAh here, and it’ll ship with Android 9 and a new UI, too.
There’s a pair of cameras around the back: a 12 – megapixel standard angle lens with optical image stabilization (OIS), and a 13 – megapixel wide-angle camera. Up front, there’s a 32 – megapixel selfie camera, but those shots will be compressed to 8-megapixel images for manageability. LG says a combination of optical and electronic image stabilization on the main camera will help eliminate blur and shake from both images and video.
The G8X also features a new video enhancement mode to help users avoid eye strain at night. Normally, when watching clips in a dark room, you just turn down the backlight, but that can image video clips look unusually dim. When you turn down the backlight on the G8X, the video gamma is turned up, so you can see more of the image. Thanks to the tweak, this meant that while the backlight was off, the picture (a clip fromGame of Thrones, ha) was still pretty watchable.
LG also threw in an ASMR mode for YouTubers who want to trigger folks’ shiver responses in their clips. Select it, and the microphones will be turned up by 10 db for those clips you want to shoot of you whispering, rattling a paper bag or stroking a silken garment. I bet you just had a shiver run down your spine as you read that, didn’t you?
Soundwise, the G8X has the same 32 – bit quad DAC as in its predecessor, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, rejoice. LG said that the handset has “perfectly balanced” stereo sound, with a 1.2W driver on both the top and the bottom of the device – though it wasn’t something we could test during our briefing.
The Dual-Screen case doesn’t have its own battery, and is entirely reliant on the G8X for power and processing. LG says that the 4, 000 mAh battery will last 1.4 days with one screen, and 1. 15 days running two, although that’s dependent on use.
The path to a genuinely useful dual-screen phone is littered with a handful of not particularly good-looking corpses. Compared to the risky, expensive foldable phones, I wouldn’t be surprised if LG wasn’t a little nervous about building a phone with an integrated second display, and so stuck with this case as a half measure. But given the (relatively) low stakes here, a little daring might have made a big difference. You could forgive a line down the middle for reliability and a price that wasn’t bananas.
Instead, the G8X ThinQ looks and behaves like two phones that have been glued together down the middle. It’s certainly a useful idea, with plenty of practical use cases, like in-depth Google Maps directions, or messaging and browsing at the same time. But LG hasn’t been able to explain, or justify, why this compromise is the right one for practicality.
And we don’t know how much this thing is going to cost. There’s a risk that carriers will decide if it’ll be sold as a bundle or split apart, and that’s a problem. Make it too pricey and people won’t buy it, but unbundle it and people may wonder what the point is of it at all. In an era of unusual phones, perhaps this phone’s issue is that it isn’t unusual enough.
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