The LG G7 ThinQ Gets It Right
The LG G7ThinQ Gets It Right
The G7ThinQ is LG’s newest flagship. How much has changed?
Every electronics manufacturer has the same goal: to create something new and start a revolution.
Otherwise, manufacturers know that they can’t survive the fierce competition in the electronics industry. This is the reason why they constantly strive to show off their capabilities by creating products that feature innovations that didn’t exist in previous generations.
LG Electronics’ LG G7ThinQ is the result of such innovation and effort.
This new smartphone takes the exceptional features and balance of the LG V30 and improves upon them with overall performance upgrades. There are significant improvements when compared to the LG G6 as well as noticeable differences to the V30. So let’s talk about the changes that can be seen in the LG G7ThinQ, LG’s latest flagship smartphone.
- Shoot, edit, and play with HDR
The biggest changes introduced in the LG G7ThinQ can be seen in its AI, Super Bright Camera, Super Bright Display, and the Boombox Speaker. These are features unique to this smartphone and can’t be found on either the LG G6 or the LG V30.
I believe that the LG G7ThinQ is a smartphone that’s been significantly improved thanks to these features. But what makes the LG G7ThinQ even more special is its ability to record, edit, and play video with HDR10.
The LG G7ThinQ has an expert video mode that allows it to record video in HDR10 as well as 10-bit color. It’s the first smartphone that supports this feature. Not even the Sony Xperia XZ2, which introduced HDR video recording to smartphones, can do this.
Technically, the Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) format used by Sony is better than HDR10, but it’s not as widely adopted as HDR10 nor is there a lot of content that supports it. All commercial HDR TVs, on the other hand, are made to support HDR10.
A HDR10 video file that has been automatically edited down to 15 seconds
The LG G7ThinQ can also edit HDR videos. If a video is longer than 15 seconds, the smartphone will edit it down to its highlights. Although cutting out unnecessary parts and linking different clips together are simple tasks, it is much better to do them on a LG G7ThinQ than on a PC that doesn’t have professional editing software such as Adobe Premiere or DaVinci Resolve.
Even if it is possible to do such simple edits on a PC, it’s still a lot faster to do them on the LG G7ThinQ thanks to the HEVC codec. The difference does not comes from the HEVC codec that is built into the media processor, rather from the CPU’s processor as the codec is only supported by the latest PCs.
The LG G7ThinQ is also exceptional when viewing HDR video. Instead of having to adjust your eyes to a dim 500 to 600nits display, you can view your video on a screen that can go all the way up to 1000nits of brightness. This reproduces light and darkness that is almost close to reality.
This difference was mentioned in a previous article and can be seen in the photo above. The photo shows the brightness of HDR videos can be different on two different smartphones.
- Brighter in the dark, clearer during the day
LG’s camera strategy is different from that of its competitors.
Instead of sticking to a 12 megapixel camera and enlarging the photodiode to increase light sensitivity like its competitors, LG’s strategy is to increase the megapixel count and utilize pixel binning to correct for low light sensitivity. Because of this the Super Bright Camera feature must be activated in order for the LG G7ThinQ to produce good quality images in low-light conditions.
This strategy was first introduced on the LG V30 and has been improved ever since. With the Snapdragon 845, the LG G7ThinQ’s ISP specifications have been upgraded and are almost perfect.
If we compare these photos taken in low-light conditions, the LG G7ThinQ’s Super Bright Camera produces a much brighter image than the V30’s Bright Camera which, in turn, produces a brighter image than the G6, which doesn’t have any image brightening capabilities. Without pixel binning technology, this wouldn’t be possible.
Of course, photos taken using pixel binning technology are lacking in detail when compared to photos taken with cameras that utilize sensors that are more sensitive to light. However, photos taken with pixel binning are better for resizing because there is less digital load. Photos taken with the Super Bright Camera will be more than sufficient to upload to the internet or social media.
The LG G7ThinQ’s Super Bright Camera has an added advantage because it allows users to take photos with both the standard and wide angle lens.
Because pixel binning technology functions differently depending on the CMOS image sensor, it was only applied to the LG V30’s standard lens. The LG G7ThinQ’s Super Wide Angle Lens and standard lens use identical image sensors, so it is possible to use Super Bright Camera with both lenses.
The LG G7ThinQ take brighter images than other smartphones even when using the wide angle lens, as can be seen in the image above.
During the day, while the sun is out, image quality from different cameras is determined by the number of pixels but here, there isn’t enough of difference to notice. The images differ in file size but the difference in terms of resolution isn’t obvious. Unless examining super close-up photography, most people can barely tell the difference between regular photos.
However, there is a noticeable difference in photos taken with the LG G7ThinQ’s 16megapixel Super Wide Angle Camera. Since taking a photo with a wide angle photo angle stretches out the image, a higher number of pixels results in a clearer image, as can be seen in the image below.
Image resolution isn’t the only difference that is noticeable in daylight conditions. Cameras produce differing amounts of lens flare, which occurs when an image is backlit or if there’s a strong light source within an image, depending on their lenses’ performance rather than their image sensors. In severe cases, lens flares can be problematic because they cause light streaking.
LG didn’t specifically address the lens flare issue, but the LG G7ThinQ appears to have been significantly improved over the LG V30 based on comparison images taken with their cameras’ standard lenses. The LG G7ThinQ does a little worse when compared to the LG G6, but we have to take into consideration that the G7ThinQ’s photo was taken with an F1.6 lens. Either way, this should be good news to those who worry about lens flare.
There is also a new feature available on the LG G7ThinQ.
It’s a photo sticker feature that functions like AR, where the selected sticker automatically adjusts to the direction and position of the user’s face and saved as a photograph.
There are 34 stickers in three categories, with eight types of crowns, 12 types of glasses, and 14 stickers that depict different animals and locations.
The stickers work with the standard lens, Super Wide Angle lens, and the front camera. The LG G7ThinQ also includes a new portrait mode, which introduces depth-of-field features to blur photo backgrounds.
The LG G7ThinQ’s background blurring feature isn’t a physical depth-of-field effect. Instead, it blurs the area around the subject through the camera software so the effect isn’t perfect, but it isn’t as inconsistent as the effect on the Sony Xperia XZ2 which uses a similar software technique. The blur effect can be adjusted by slightly moving the phone around.
Speaking of selfies, the LG G7ThinQ’s front camera has been upgraded to 8 megapixels, up from the 5 megapixel front camera featured on the LG G6 and LG V30. This eliminates the “watercolor effect” where the image quality gets crushed.
Some users use their front camera’s selfie function to brighten their skin tone and to hide blemishes. But since other users don’t, this upgrade will be especially useful.
- Sharing the joy of listening
LG smartphones are regarded as having the best audio performance thanks to the incorporated Hi-Fi Quad DAC.
The feature was first introduced on the LG G5, an aborted attempt at producing a modular smartphone. LG collaborated with ESS Technology to beef this up into the Hi-Fi Quad DAC, which is a USP that is only available on LG smartphones.
However, there are limits to how much the Hi-Fi Quad DAC can be improved and DACs, in general, have reached a technological plateau.
LG, which leads smartphone sound innovation, had to go back to the drawing board. The LG G7ThinQ introduces a new kind of listening experience: Boombox Speaker, an improved internal speaker. Boombox Speaker broadens the individual listening experience to create a shareable listening experience.
LG consistently increased the interior speakers’ maximum volume and audio balance in previous smartphones, but was having difficulty making meaningful improvements due to the compact size of smartphones.
LG increased the LG G7ThinQ’s internal resonance chamber to be at least ten times larger than that of other smartphones to harness the power of vibrations. When the phone is placed upon a flat surface, these vibrations travel through the surface to project an even louder sound.
The video that I took (above) provides a comparison of the tones of different smartphone speakers.
The LG G6’s internal speaker sounds flat and balanced while the LG V30 speaker produces clear audio that emphasize vocals. The LG G7ThinQ combines these features to create an entirely different audio quality that focuses on mid-tones.
The internal speaker’s volume is already very loud, but if the smartphone is placed on something like a large and empty box, the vibrations will create an even richer sound.
The LG G7ThinQ provides an incomparable audio experience when listening through earphones or headphones but the Boombox Speaker will also provide an excellent alternative for when you want to enjoy your music with others.
- Google Assistant works even from a distance
I rarely use Google Assistant or use the “OK Google” command. It feels awkward to talk to a device and it’s not a feature that is needed at all times.
However, there are times when I need to use the feature while I’m driving. But Audio Video Navigation systems still aren’t very practical for making phone calls, especially when I’m supposed to be focusing on the road.
In these situations, Google Assistant would come in handy in situations such as this but, maybe because I keep my smartphone in my pocket, my phone doesn’t often recognize it when I say “OK Google”.
Because of this, I had high hopes for the LG G7ThinQ’s Super Far Field Voice Recognition (SFFVR), which seems to perform better than other types of voice recognition. I can’t really make a judgement because I only ever used the voice recognition feature while driving, but, like in the video above, the phone seems to better recognize voice commands across further distances than the LG G6 and V30.
Not a lot of people use voice recognition the way I do, but if you use voice commands like “OK Google” or “Hi LG” fairly often, you will appreciate SFFVR.
- Snapdragon 845 provides the best performance
You have to experience the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in order to appreciate it.
Simply reading about its performance, especially the response time and app launch speeds, don’t do it any justice. You will expect some improvements based on benchmark scores but there are aspects you won’t fully comprehend by simply knowing the numbers.
Using the Snapdragon 845 is like going from an HDD to an SSD on a PC. Apps launch as soon as you tap on them and they perform with a speed that has never before been seen in a smartphone.
I think you will get a better understanding if you take a look at the video above, which shows some speed tests, using Asphalt 8, edited together.
- Battery life and heating issues
There are some issues with the Snapdragon 845, which is produced using 10nm Low Power Plus (LPP) Process Technology instead of 7nm LPP. According to a test conducted by ANADTECH earlier this year, it consumes more power than a Snapdragon 821, which is produced using 14nm LPP.
Although the Snapdragon 845’s performance per watt is the best among all processors in terms of actual performance, the truth is that is consumes much more power than other current generation processors.
LG should have been well aware of this fact but still reduced the LG G7ThinQ’s battery by ten percent in comparison to its predecessor. We have to use an enlarged screen and a power-hungry Snapdragon 845 with just a 3000mAh battery. A lot of people were worried about battery life because of this but, thankfully, the LG G7ThinQ’s actual battery life seems to be similar to, or even slightly better than, that of the LG G6.
When watching movies or playing games, the LG G7ThinQ’s battery lasts about as along as that of the LG G6 or even about 20 minutes longer. However, when web surfing, the LG G7ThinQ lasts much longer. The 3000mAh works well with few issues, but I still think a 3300mAh battery would have been much better.
The LG G7 ThinQ does pretty well in regards to heat. Compared to the Sony Xperia XZ2, which has the same processor, the LG G7ThinQ was three degrees cooler and one degree cooler than the LG G6, which has a Snapdragon 821.
Also, a Galaxy S9+ that I briefly used heated up to around the same level as the Sony Xperiz XZ2, so heating won’t be an issue if that is something you’ve been worried about.
This doesn’t mean that the LG G7ThinQ won’t get hot, but that it doesn’t get as hot as other smartphones.
For your reference, the FPS Shadowgun Legends was used when measuring heat. All graphic settings were at their highest and the game was run at 60fps. This produces a lot of heat due to the rendering load, especially in comparison to casual games like Asphalt 8.
- A smartphone optimized for high speed and HDR10 shooting
The LG G7ThinQ is a smartphone with lots of charm.
In addition to the Hi-Fi Quad DAC optimized for listening to music, it also features the Boombox Speaker that you can use to enjoy listening to music with others.
HDR10 allows you to take clear and vivid images without the need for costly video equipment or professional editing. In addition, the Snapdragon 845 processor means that the LG G7ThinQ has performance speeds few can match.
Also, there isn’t any other smartphone like the LG G7ThinQ when it comes to physical design. It is even the thinnest and lightest smartphone in its class.
Of course, the LG G7ThinQ is lacking some trendy features like AR Emoji or Super Slow Motion. There are also negative reviews in regards to the display’s notch.
However, I think that that the LG G7ThinQ is a very well-made smartphone because, instead of copying these experimental designs, LG did everything it could to build upon the lessons it learned with previous smartphones to create a smartphone that focuses on getting the fundamentals right.