It is tough not to feel sad about LG. The company has over the years brought in so many software innovations in the smartphone space, but does not get taken seriously in a country like India, where it otherwise has great brand recall. The company that gave us great smartphones like the LG G5 and V20 is now bringing in the LG G8S ThinQ, its latest flagship.
The LG G8S ThinQ is a phone you will immediately take notice of because of its very simple design and unique glass back with the iPhone like metal band around it. The triple camera module is a horizontal strip at the back with the fingerprint sensor placed just below. The power button is on the right — a bit higher on the frame than you are used to — while the volume buttons are on the left with a unique Google Assistant button below. The assistant button is very interesting and can make you use Google Assistant more, which seems to be an issue with most smart assistants now.
The LG G8S ThinQ comes with a 6.2-inch FHD+ (2248 x 1080 pixels) display, which is pretty good and works well even under the strong Delhi sun. For those consuming video content on the phone you have the option to switch on HDR video and the audio playback is pretty loud and clear to make this a good experience overall. This is also one of the brightest smartphone screens at 1000 nits.
The Snapdragon 855 processor on the LG G8S ThinQ might seem a tad outdated with other flagships pushing the 855+, but you will not feel that on the phone even a bit. Everything works well, browsing is smooth and photos save really fast even at high resolutions. The processing power also lets the phone tout some unique features.
On the software front, the phone lags a bit behind because it is still running Android 9. However, there are some additional features that give it an edge over some of the competition. And thankfully, the overall experience is still more akin to pure Android.
Putting the ToF camera to good use
The LG G8S ThinQ has a Time of Flight (ToF) camera in the front that lets it offer more than just face recognition for security. This is the first phone I have used with palm recognition to unlock the phone. The feature works well, though I think face recognition is more natural. This helps when you are to unlock the phone when, let’s say, it is resting on the table in front of you.
The ToF camera also enables AirMotion on the phone — this will interest those who are missing the Google Pixel, which has a similar feature using a radar chip instead. AirMotion lets you control music, enable shortcuts to open apps like YouTube or just capture the screen quickly. Yes, it works, but it too much works for someone like me. I’d rather do the old fashioned away.
The best use of the ToF camera, however, is in the selfie camera. The kind of controls the LG G8S ThinQ is offering with the front camera is insane. There is a full studio mode along with the regular portrait mode. Where the studio mode goes one step beyond others is in its ability to move the light source in the photo around to suit your mood. I loved this feature, though I’m not a big fan of selfies as such. This could well be the best selfie camera we have never heard about.
A camera that gives you more options
The LG G8S ThinQ offers a triple camera set up — 12MP (F1.8, 1.4 um) standard camera, 13MP (F2.4, 1.um) wide and 12MP (F2.6, 1.0 um) telephoto — which is become almost standard in mid and high-end phones now. However, where LG does something unique is in its manual mode which offers more controls than what we are used to. So along with the regular settings, LG offers a graphy add-on with some presets like street, night view and the like. Once you click these, the camera will suggest the settings change needed to get a perfect shot for the present. And this works very well.
The camera offers decent performance in low light. The portrait mode and AI camera work well. There are also some other camera features like cine shot you can play around with. Overall, this is a pretty good camera proposition with anyone over-saturation or extra beautification. The camera can be used to shoot 4K video as 60FPS and LG again offers a lot of preset modes to play around with.
At this price range, maybe LG could have offered a slightly larger battery. The 3550 man battery lasts a whole day without issues, but you will need to limit you screen brightness as well as 4K video recording if you know it’s going to be a long day.
Does it make sense to buy the LG G8S ThinQ?
Yes, for a unique smartphone experience that ticks all the boxes and gives some features which others don’t have. This is a smartphone that has maybe the best selfie camera, a good triple camera rig at the back, smooth overall performance and some gimmicky features that will make you standout.
While LG does not come top of the mind to lot of Indian smartphone users, it might make sense to take a look at this phone. In fact, with the phone listed at Rs 35,990 on Amazon, this could be a good option for those considering the OnePlus 7.
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