LG G7 ThinQ
ALL THE LUXURY AND PACE OF THE SAMSUNG GALAXY S9 BUT AT A LOWER PRICE. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
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.
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.
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