A solid but unin­spired ef­fort

LG G7+ ThinQ

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST - By James Lu

Done ex­per­i­ment­ing with mod­u­lar com­po­nents and curved de­signs, the LG G7+ ThinQ takes more of a com­ple­tion­ist ap­proach. IT has a 6.1-inch LCD IPS dis­play with a 3,120 x 1,440 pix­els res­o­lu­tion (~564 ppi) and a small notch at the top. It doesn’t have the same per­fect blacks and con­trast you’ll nd on an OLED dis­play, but it still man­ages vivid col­ors and is Dolby Vi­sion HDR cer­ti­fied. The phone has an alu­minum frame with a glass rear that is slightly curved at the edges for a com­fort­able and er­gonomic feel in hand; a safe and proven de­sign.

On the back, the G7+ has an easy-to-reach fin­ger­print scan­ner that sits be­low the ver­ti­cally ori­ented dual rear cam­era setup. Un­like ev­ery other LG de­vice in re­cent mem­ory, the fin­ger­print scan­ner doesn’t click to dou­ble up as a sleep/wake/ power but­ton. In­stead, LG has re­turned the power but­ton to the right side of the phone.

There are in­di­vid­ual vol­ume up/down but­tons on the left side, and a new ded­i­cated Google As­sis­tant but­ton. On the bot­tom of the phone, there’s a sin­gle down­ward ring speaker, a USB type-C port, and a 3.5mm head­phone port.

With­out any stand­out unique fea­tures, LG has fallen back to pro­mot­ing fea­tures like screen bright­ness for the G7+, which, let’s be hon­est, isn’t tremen­dously ex­cit­ing. While it can get very bright

- max­ing out at 1,000 nits, it’s not the only phone to hit the four-digit mark. In fact, Sam­sung’s Gal­axy S9 and S9+ peak at 1,130 nits.

The G7+ fea­tures a new ‘Boom­box’ speaker, which uti­lizes the in­ter­nal space of the phone as a res­o­nance cham­ber to de­liver more bass than con­ven­tional smart­phones. Ad­di­tion­ally, when placed on a solid sur­face, the G7+ will uti­lize its res­o­nance cham­ber as a woofer to am­plify the bass ef­fect even more. The G7+ also sup­ports DTS:X 3D sur­round when you have ear­phones con­nected. The sep­a­ra­tion ef­fect is quite good, al­though per­son­ally I thought the Dolby At­mos sur­round sound on the Sam­sung Gal­axy S9 was a lit­tle bet­ter.

The G7+ is pow­ered by Qual­comm’s top-of-the-line Snap­dragon 845 pro­ces­sor with 6GB RAM. Bench­mark per­for­mance was ex­cel­lent, with only Ap­ple’s A11 Bionic-pow­ered iPhone X beat­ing it in a few tests.

The G7+ has a pair of 16-megapixel cam­eras on its rear, one with a f/1.6 nor­mal fo­cal length and OIS, and one with a f/1.9 wide-an­gle lens with­out OIS. Those are im­pres­sively wide aper­tures, which should make the G7+ cam­era one of the best around - but it’s not. For some rea­son, LG used a Sony IMX351 sen­sor in the G7+, which has a smaller 1/3.1-inch sur­face area with 1μm size pix­els. For com­par­i­son, the S9’s cam­era has a 1/2.55-inch sen­sor with 1.4 μm size pix­els. LG says it doesn’t need larger sen­sors to achieve im­pres­sive re­sults, but it’s sim­ple physics: the smaller sen­sor and pixel size on the G7+ mean that it can’t cap­ture as much light, re­duc­ing the bene ts of its larger aper­ture lens.

Join­ing the likes of Huawei and ASUS, the G7+ cam­era also in­cor­po­rates AI to try to en­hance your pho­tog­ra­phy. Launch­ing the AI cam­era soft­ware will trig­ger a urry of oat­ing words as the cam­era guesses what it is look­ing at: per­son, an­i­mal, food, etc. and some­times it even tries to guess the ex­act species of plant or an­i­mal. Some­times it gets it right, and some­times it gets it com­pletely wrong - for some rea­son it thinks ev­ery­thing is a poo­dle.

The cam­era also in­cludes a new Su­per Bright Cam­era mode, which au­to­mat­i­cally de­tects low-light sit­u­a­tions and ac­ti­vates ac­cord­ingly. Su­per Bright Cam­era claims to be able to brighten pho­tos by up to four times. It does this by us­ing pixel bin­ning to com­bine mul­ti­ple im­ages into one well-lit photo. How­ever, pho­tos are re­duced to just 4-megapix­els, so while they’re brighter, you end up los­ing a lot of de­tail.

LG doesn’t have a great track record with bat­tery life, and un­for­tu­nately the G7+ didn’t do much to change that. The G7+’s 3,000mAh bat­tery lasted just seven and a half hours, shorter than last year’s G6.

The G7+ is a rea­son­ably good, but un­ex­cit­ing and risk-averse smart­phone. It feels al­most like LG has been burned one too many times try­ing out-of-the-box, ex­per­i­men­tal ideas, and now it’s gone com­pletely the other way, play­ing it as safe as pos­si­ble. Ev­ery­thing from the typ­i­cal alu­minum and glass de­sign, to the notched dis­play, and even the Boom­box speaker and AI cam­era fea­tures are things we’ve seen be­fore in other phones.

A safe but un­ex­cit­ing phone with­out any stand­out fea­tures to jus­tify its price tag.

There’s now a ded­i­cated Google As­sis­tant but­ton on the left side of the phone.

Like ev­ery other 2018 phone, the G7+ has a small notch at the top of the dis­play.

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