LG G7 ThinQ First Impressions! [Hands-On]

Here’s my first impressions of the new LG G7 ThinQ, I had some hands-on time at the LG G7 event in San Francisco. I’ve also included camera low-light test vs. Galaxy S9+ and Pixel 2 XL, 1000-nit brightness test, Boombox speaker test, demo of how to remove/hide the notch, and comparison vs. Galaxy S9+.

Note: This is a pre-production unit, I should have a full review/camera comparisons with retail unit soon.

LG G7 ThinQ Specs

The LG G7 will come with latest Snapdragon 845 processor, 4 gigs of RAM, 64GB of storage, 3000mAh battery, and a whopping 6.1-inch OLED screen, which boasts brightness of 1000 nits. The resolution is at the highest in the industry at 3120×1440 pixels with 19.5:9 screen ratio and 563 PPI pixel density, edging out the Galaxy S9. We will compare the final retail unit against the S9 but for right now, LG G7 looks purrrrfect on paper.

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 w/ 4GB of RAM & 64GB internal storage for U.S. market, international markets may get 6GB of RAM & 128GB internal storage option
  • Screen: 6.1-inch POLED 3120×1440 pixels, 19.5:9 screen ratio, 563 PPI, HDR10 compatible
  • Camera: 16MP F1.6 & wide-angle 16MP 1.9 rear cameras + front 8MP F1.9 front camera, capable of shooting HDR10 video format
  • Speakers: BoomBox Speakers – Loudest speakers on the market today for an Android smartphone
  • Battery: 3000mAh
  • Water-proof rating: IP68
  • Security: Fingerprint sensor & Face Unlock
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Amp: 32-bit Quad DAC, can power most headphones without an external amplifier.
  • Charging: USB Type C, Quick Charge 3.0 support, Fast Wireless Charging supported.

Design & Feel

LG G7 has opted to follow LG V30’s design, almost feels like a slightly narrower version of LG V30.  It definitely feels great, especially considering this year’s screen size has gotten bigger from last year’s 5.7-inches to 6.1-inches.  LG has certainly made their flagship more appealing to users who prioritize design over function.

Camera

Screen has gotten brighter and so has its low-light camera performance.   The G7 also has much-improved low-light performance camera that combines pixel binning, the process of combining four pixels into one for super bright photos in low-light along with a new sensor. Upon testing against with my Galaxy S9+, LG G7 seemed to outperform S9+ in certain low-light situations.  Even comparing with the king of smartphone low-light photography Pixel 2 XL, G7 also seemed to do well in making dark areas very bright.

There is two cameras as usual, this year’s G7 ships with a 16MP wide-angle and regular camera. I noticed that the regular camera is much wider than last year. While many smartphone manufacturers have gone with a zoom lens, I feel that wide-angle is more useful as a second lens and glad that LG has kept it. This year’s wide-angle also features 16MP camera instead of last year’s 13MP, it should give you more pixels to work with.

The LG G7 also comes with many camera modes including its manual camera and video modes, which I love. Of course, after fiddling with the camera, I also found an HDR video recording mode. Yes, this is the first smartphone in the world capable of recording HDR video! I didn’t have much time to test it but I will definitely give you a detailed review soon.

Dedicated AI button for Google Assistant

The G7 also comes with an extra AI key this year, similar to Samsung Galaxy series. Now, I love that LG didn’t try to come up with their own AI like Bixby instead simply integrated existing Google Assistant, which I love.

Fan of Notch?  How to remove/hide it?

Does the LG G7 come with a notch? Yes but fortunately you can easily hide the notch or even customize it to your liking, I don’t think it is a big deal so long as you can hide it.  You can simply remove it or even customize your notch with different colors.  As an added bonus, you can even control amount of curvature on your display corners.  Don’t like the notch?  Problem solved.

Fingerprint

Fingerprint position has always been optimal with LG flagships in the past and LG G7 is no exception. It is easy to unlock your phone although there is no other forms of security.  While Iris-scanner can be good addition, it does add up to the cost of the smartphone and I rather pay less and not have iris.  Besides that, since Android 7.0 Nougat, all Android devices support Face Unlock feature, which you can also use on the LG G7 ThinQ.

BoomBox Speakers

Probably the biggest improvement and coolest feature this year is its new speakers dubbed, “Boombox Speakers”, which feature 38% bigger speakers than last year’s LG G6 along with much bigger resonance chamber. Basically, LG G7 uses its inner space within the phone as resonance chamber. And although this is not stereo speakers it is really, really, really loud.

In terms of decibals, the LG G7 is 9 decibals louder than LG G6 and 6 decibals louder than Galaxy S8. Now, the louder speakers complemented by its efficient use of inner space of the smartphone allows it to really “boom”. LG has used a sealing ring that seals the entire space of the inner space and use it as resonance chamber similar to how subwoofers work. In fact, when you listen to music, you can literally feel the whole phone vibrate in your hands.

In my testings with the phone against my Galaxy S9 Plus, I found I could put the Galaxy S9 speaker to my ear within about an inch while with the LG G7, it was so loud, I could only put it near about 3 inches. Here’s a quick demo.

Now, this will work out great for listening to music while walking my dog plus the speakers are on the bottom end, meaning the sound could still be heard while in your pocket.

Headphones + Amp

LG has always been top of the sound game and this year is no exception as it comes with 32-bit Quad DAC so you can power your headphones without using an external amplifier allowing you to maximize sound whether you are using a cheap $20 earbud you bought at the airport or even 800 Ohm headphones. I can definitely say LG phones are the best for hardcore headphone users as I use it on my Sennheiser HD800S without an amp no problem.

LG didn’t stop there though, they added DTS-X Surround Sound that will give you 3D sound so you can feel the sound in a 3D space as if there were 7 speakers around you.. Now, I didn’t get to really try this out but definitely will give you a detailed demo once I get the retail unit.

Enhanced Microphone for Google Assistant

The G7 also features enhanced microphone dubbed “Super Far Field Voice Recognition” that will allow you to get 35% increased voice recognition. This will mean that you may be able to use your phone as Google Assistant even if your phone is in the other room or far away in a big room.

Display 1000 Nits Brightness Test (LG G7 ThinQ vs. Galaxy S9+)

(You can see the LG G7 much brighter on the right side while Galaxy S9+ on the left struggles to keep up in this sunlight brightness test.)

Now, how bright really is it? I got to test it out against my Galaxy S9+ in their bright sunlight test lab and indeed it is a bit bright than the Galaxy S9+, which leads in brightest screens. I will do another test once the final retail version is out but definitely LG has topped Samsung this year with a much, much brighter screen. However, I found the viewing angles were slightly better with the Galaxy S9+.

The secret to such bright display?  LG has added additional white pixels to make the screen brighter.

Overall, I do really like LG G7, I think LG took their time this year and instead of launching a flagship with an older processor like last year, it seems like LG purposefully took a few more months and get everything right. Better screen, speakers, cameras, what else do you really need? I should have a full review eventually but for right now I give it a big thumbs up, very good smartphone, muy bien.

 

 

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.