LG G7 ThinQ

ALL THE LUX­URY AND PACE OF THE SAM­SUNG GALAXY S9 BUT AT A LOWER PRICE. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - BEN MAN­SILL & JONATHAN BRAY

It’s time to get your sun­glasses out, but hold the fac­tor 50 cream. You don’t need your shades to pro­tect your eyes from the sun, but from the bright­est screen I’ve ever seen on a smart­phone. While hav­ing a dis­play this bright is handy when the sun beats down, es­pe­cially if you hap­pen to be ski­ing, in everyday use it’s hardly es­sen­tial. That said we’ve all ex­pe­ri­enced mo­ments when glar­ing sun makes a screen un­read­able so it’s nice to have this op­tion to kick it up to 11 brie y.

So how bright is su­per-bright? Mea­sured with an X-Rite i1 Dis­play Pro col­orime­ter, the G7 clocked 951cd/m2 at its max. It won’t stay this bright for long: af­ter press­ing the Boost icon to the left of the bright­ness slider, it sears your reti­nas for only three sec­onds be­fore fall­ing to around 850cd/m2.

TEN BITS OF GOOD NEWS

The good news is that the bright­ness isn’t the only area where the LG G7 pushes the boat out. The screen is a ten-bit panel, which means it’s HDR10-com­pli­ant. Plus, as with most of 2018’s ag­ship smart­phones, its long, tall as­pect ra­tio of 19.5:9 means that there’s plenty of screen space with­out it be­ing too big to hold in one hand.

More speci cally, the G7’s dis­play mea­sures 6.1in across the di­ag­o­nal, de­liv­ers a near-4K res­o­lu­tion of 3,120 x 1,440 and is, ac­cord­ing to LG, 30% more power-ef cient (at a bright­ness of 500cd/m2) than the LG G6’s. It’s rea­son­ably colour ac­cu­rate, too, but only in the DCI-P3 colour space.

De­spite a list of colour pro les as long as your arm (Auto, Eco, Cin­ema, Sport, Game and Ex­pert), not one of them is tar­geted at sRGB. Still, for most folks the wider gamut of DCI-P3 will be more pleas­ing to the eye. It’s pretty good, too, cov­er­ing 95.7% of that colour space.

The dis­play also has a notch – just like nearly ev­ery other ag­ship smart­phone of 2018. This notch isn’t as wide as the one on the Ap­ple iPhone X but is a touch broader than that of the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro. LG of­fers the op­tion of “hid­ing” it us­ing a black bar, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously us­ing the ex­tra screen space ank­ing the notch for noti cations.

You can even make it pret­tier if you like: in the bizarrely ti­tled “New sec­ond screen” sec­tion in the set­tings menu you can choose to dis­play a gra­di­ent on ei­ther side, which soft­ens its edges. I say don’t worry; you’ll soon get used to it.

Other than that, the LG G7 is a pretty phone. It’s clad in Go­rilla Glass 5 on the front and back and will be avail­able in blue, black, plat­inum grey and a new “rasp­berry rose” colour, all with a glossy nish that at­tracts nger­prints and slips eas­ily from the hand. So much so that this is one phone that most de nitely needs a grippy slip-on plas­tic case, which po­ten­tially ru­ins its ne looks but is prob­a­bly es­sen­tial for most peo­ple be­cause it’s so easy to fum­ble and loose grip with the G7.

It’s also IP68 dust- and wa­ter­re­sis­tance certi ed and Mil-SPEC tested. A nger­print reader sits in the cen­tre of the rear panel below a ver­ti­cally ar­ranged dual-cam­era ar­ray, while the vol­ume but­tons are on the left edge and the power but­ton on the right. The bot­tom of the phone is home to a sin­gle speaker grille, a 3.5mm head­phone jack and a USB-C port for charg­ing and data trans­fer.

There’s also an ex­tra key: sit­u­ated just be­neath the vol­ume but­tons on the left edge is a dig­i­tal as­sis­tant but­ton, used to sum­mon Google As­sis­tant. Press­ing it once ac­ti­vates Google As­sis­tant, while a dou­ble press calls up Google Lens. Un­for­tu­nately it can’t be re-mapped to any other func­tion, which is a shame be­cause while it’s great for Google As­sis­tant, not ev­ery­one uses that ser­vice and it would be nice to map a dif­fer­ent frequently used com­mand. Far- eld mi­cro­phone tech helps the phone pick up your voice from over 5m away.

HIGH-END PER­FOR­MANCE

The LG G7 is pow­ered by a top-end Snap­dragon 845, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of stor­age. It’s a snappy feel­ing phone, and the bench­marks are on a level with all the ag­ship smart­phones of 2018. Over­all, it isn’t quite up there with the OnePlus 6 or Galaxy S9, but there isn’t much in it and in ev­ery re­spect the phone is a slick per­former. It un­locks quickly, whether you choose to use the rear­mounted nger­print reader or face un­lock; it tran­si­tions from screen to screen with­out de­lay; even its cam­era soft­ware, so slug­gish on the HTC U12+, is re­spon­sive.

Bat­tery life is ne, but noth­ing out of the or­di­nary. It lasted 13hrs 37mins in our video run­down bench­mark, which is bet­ter than the LG G6 but an hour be­hind the Sam­sung Galaxy S9 and the Huawei P20 Pro – and nearly four hours be­hind the OnePlus 6.

CAM­ERA AND AU­DIO

Speed isn’t the only no­table thing about the LG G7’s cam­era soft­ware, though. It’s also “smart”.

In a move that apes Huawei and Asus’ in­tel­li­gent cam­eras, the LG G7 can recog­nise ob­jects and dif­fer­ent types of scene and make ad­just­ments to the cam­era. As you point the cam­era at a scene,

words fade in on the screen, float­ing above recog­nised el­e­ments in real-time, show­ing the in­ner thoughts of the al­go­rithm as it goes about its busi­ness; af­ter a sec­ond or two, it set­tles on an over­all theme: sky, per­son, flow­ers or city, for ex­am­ple.

Al­though it works well, don’t ex­pect

100% ac­cu­racy: frequently, words that are dis­con­nected with the sub­ject mat­ter will float across the screen. In one ex­am­ple, the cam­era iden­ti­fied the side pod of a For­mula-E car as

The G7 is avail­able in blue, black, grey and “rasp­berry rose” a flip-flop, the front wing as peo­ple and the wheel as “sport”.

Still, there’s plenty about the soft­ware that’s pos­i­tive. The man­ual mode, in par­tic­u­lar, is bril­liant and, un­like pretty much ev­ery other smart­phone on the planet, al­lows you to man­u­ally ad­just and lock ex­po­sure and white bal­ance for video as well as stills.

The cam­era hard­ware isn’t bad, ei­ther, fol­low­ing closely in the foot­steps of last year’s LG G6. You get twin 16-megapixel rear cam­eras, both with op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion. One of the cam­eras shoots a reg­u­lar 77-de­gree view of your scene while the other cap­tures a 122-de­gree wide-an­gle view.

The sec­ondary cam­era is also em­ployed to pro­duce blurred back­ground por­trait pho­to­graphs, and it’s good to see LG push­ing the bound­aries a lit­tle here: it ap­plies the blur in real-time so you can see how suc­cess­ful your shot is likely to be with­out hav­ing to cap­ture shoot, re­view and then cap­ture again. With a slider to ad­just the amount of blur ap­plied, it’s the best UI for a por­trait mode I’ve come across.

There’s also a spe­cial low-light mode that uses four-to-one pixel bin­ning to cap­ture scenes in dark en­vi­ron­ments down to a sin­gle lux. I’m not a fan – it pro­duces over-pro­cessed, un­nat­u­ral-look­ing images – but that’s no great loss since the cam­era is a de­cent per­former in low light. You have to zoom in close to see its de­fi­cien­cies, which are a slight over-sat­u­ra­tion and over-keen com­pres­sion.

It’s a fine video cam­era, too, de­liv­er­ing footage at up to 30fps in 4K that’s packed with de­tail and rea­son­ably sta­ble. You can record in HDR10, too, with­out video footage turn­ing into a slideshow as it did on the Sony Xpe­ria XZ2.

The last key im­prove­ment for the LG G7 is in au­dio. With a “sound box” 25 times larger than the LG G6, sit­ting in the bot­tom-right cor­ner just be­hind the speaker grille, the G7’s Boom­box speaker is ca­pable of kick­ing out au­dio at im­pres­sive vol­ume lev­els. It can also use sur­faces it’s placed on as a res­onator, boost­ing lower-fre­quency sounds. There’s still no bass to speak of, but pop­ping the phone on a wood table im­proves the au­dio’s rich­ness. The au­dio cav­ity also comes in handy by adding a pal­pa­ble rum­ble when the phone rings or a mes­sage comes in – mak­ing it more likely you’ll feel it if it’s tucked into the pocket of some heavy jeans.

The LG G7 is a big im­prove­ment over the LG G6, which is a re­lief. While the LG G6 ini­tially looked like it would be one of the best phones of 2017, it was swiftly over­taken by the rest of the mar­ket. This year, LG’s flag­ship ar­rives later in the year, with far more ca­pable in­ter­nals, and it’s all the bet­ter for it. It isn’t the bar­gain that the OnePlus 6 is, but in re­turn for the ex­tra $200 you’re get­ting a wide-an­gle sec­ondary cam­era and flex­i­ble video cap­ture. And, at $1,099, it’s more rea­son­ably priced than the Sam­sung Galaxy S9.

In short, the LG G7 is a great phone at a very rea­son­able price. If you want more of a flag­ship fea­ture set than the OnePlus 6 can of­fer but can’t quite stretch your funds to a Galaxy S9, it’s an ex­cel­lent al­ter­na­tive.

KEY SPECS

Octa-core 2.8GHz/1.7GHz Qual­comm Snap­dragon 845 pro­ces­sor • 4GB RAM • Adreno 630 graph­ics • 6.1in IPS screen, 1,440 x 3,120 res­o­lu­tion • 64GB stor­age • mi­croSD slot (dual SIM model only) • dual 16MP/16MP rear cam­eras • 8MP front cam­era • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Blue­tooth 5 • NFC • USB-C con­nec­tor • 3,000mAh bat­tery • An­droid 8 • 71.9 x 7.9 x 153mm (WDH) • 162g • 1yr war­ranty $1,099 • www.lg.com/au

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