The G8X is both the most boring phone that LG has ever released and one of the most experimental at the same time. The reason is the bundled Dual Screen accessory, a wallet-style flip case that adds a full secondary full-size OLED display to what is otherwise a competent but pedestrian device.
The resulting combination is not really a foldable phone, such as Samsung's $ 1,980 Galaxy Fold, but it can be pretty fun. And at a surprisingly low price of $ 699 for the bundle, it is LG & # 39; s most intriguing offering in the US in a while. There are certainly better all-round phones in its price range, but the G8X does enough differently that it might just find a niche audience.
Let's start with the phone itself. LG phones have faded into each other in recent years – the G7, V40 and G8 are all extremely similar devices that had the same advantages and disadvantages and occasionally a striking gimmick. True to the shape, the G8X ThinQ – yes, LG adds "ThinQ" to the name, and no, I'm not going to do that right now – is no more or less remarkable than all those models.
But although you expect the G8X to have a lot in common with this year's G8 in particular, that's not really the case. The headline function of the G8, the sensor array that allows you to control the phone with motion gestures or unlock it by scanning your hand, has disappeared. The G8X still looks like an LG phone and shares the G8's Snapdragon 855 processor, but the specification sheet is usually new.
The OLED screen has climbed up to 6.4 inches in size while bringing down a resolution to 1080p, which didn't bother me at all. The loss of the G8's sensors has enabled LG to handle the camera with a smaller notch, although the selfie camera has been upgraded to a 32-megapixel sensor. The phone remains 8.4 mm thick without a camera burst at the back, but LG has increased the battery capacity to 4,000 mAh. There is a 12-megapixel camera on the back and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide, a must-have 2019 feature that LG deserves for pioneering in 2016.
As a stand-alone device, the G8X is completely unobtrusive. Nothing stands out about the industrial design that stands out, and it doesn't even come in colors other than a glossy black that collects fingerprints. The most unusual thing about this phone is that it has a headphone jack – even Samsung has dropped that feature into its latest models – and LG continues to offer the best audio quality for smartphones thanks to the ability to activate a quad DAC when using a wired headphones.
However, another characteristic of LG has mysteriously disappeared. From the V30, the company distinguishes itself from other Android manufacturers with its top-class haptic feedback system, making its phones much more pleasant and responsive to use. Disappointingly, the G8X is a regression in this regard. It's not as bad as the can of pebbles you get from certain other companies, but I miss the ultra-precise vibrations. Keeping the backspace key down is simply not what it used to be.
There is nothing really wrong with the G8X, nor is there anything that is excellent. The camera is reasonable, the battery life is good and the software is a bit smoother than before. It is a solid phone that, if sold on its own at the usual price of $ 800 + from LG, would serve anyone who bought it well enough, but it would be very difficult to recommend something like a OnePlus 7T, unless you are deeply interested in wireless charging, a headphone connection and an official classification for water / dust resistance. (The G8X is IP68.)
But the G8X is not $ 800 + and is not just being sold. It is sold for $ 700 with a completely exaggerated accessory called the dual screen that adds not one, but two screens to the device. It is really the only reason to completely consider this phone.
The G8X slides in and out of the dual screen quite easily and connects to the second screen via a USB-C connector. This blocks the phone's own USB-C port, which means that you have to connect a somewhat cumbersome pogo-pin adapter to a power cable if you want to use wired charging. Luckily, wireless charging still works great when the dual screen is connected, and that's the way I use the phone.
When you answer the phone with the dual screen closed, you will see a small, low resolution black and white OLED panel that shows you the time, date, battery level, and some notification icons. The combination feels a bit big, especially since I don't normally use phones with covers, but I don't think it's considerably larger than a regular wallet cover and I had no trouble putting it in my pockets. Opening the case will wake up the main screen of the G8X and you can unlock the phone with an optical in-display fingerprint sensor, which worked reliably enough for me, but is not as fast as newer about Vivo technology and others.
With the G8X unlocked and the dual screen activated, you see what looks like two identical but separate phones. The second screen is indistinguishable from that of the G8X – it even has the same recess, despite the lack of camera – and comes with its own layout and app drawer. This is not like the Galaxy Fold where the extra pixels give you more screen space. Most of the time, apart from the ability to expand Chrome on both screens, just two ordinary phone apps run side by side.
This is a bit cool or a little unhappy, depending on your perspective. The gap between the screens is frankly too big to ignore when content spans the two, and I find it more useful to run two apps at the same time. For example, it's great to be able to keep track of #NBATwitter along with the actual NBA. Or you can simply run a YouTube video on one screen while doing other things on the other, so you don't have to pay for a YouTube Premium subscription.
There were times when I used the G8X when I felt enormously more productive than on almost any other phone. It is extremely useful to just keep a Slack conversation while you delve into Chrome, Google Drive or Twitter for research. And because it's one phone with one clipboard, it's easy to copy information between two apps at the same time. It is not far from two iPad apps side by side in split view on an iPad mini, except that the multitasking user interface is much easier to understand with standard Android navigation buttons on each screen.
But it feels like the two screens of the G8X are not really aware of each other, which turns out to be difficult in practice. For example, why is there no option for a shared home screen? Why do I have to deal with the notorious way in which LG arranges apps twice in a drawer? Usually the only thing you can do to determine what's on each screen is to press a small floating shortcut and swap the contents. The built-in apps from LG have a number of neat functions, such as the possibility to send a full-size photo thumbnail to the other screen, but there is no support from third parties and there is little feeling that this is a device on which software is designed for its form factor.
Take typing. It would be great if a larger keyboard appears on both screens when entering text in one app. Instead, you just get the normal-size Android keyboard on one screen, which is almost impossible to type due to the clamshell form factor of the G8X. I noticed that when I had to type, the second screen was folded back 360 degrees, which is not the end of the world, but feels rather ridiculous. Why am I carrying this bulk again?
The only part of the G8X software that works to make the two screens work one after the other is the Game Pad app from LG, which occupies the entire screen with a virtual game controller. It works as a standard external controller for every Android game with built-in support and you can create your own custom assignments for titles that are only touched. But without triggers, shoulder buttons or other additional physical inputs, the utility is limited. The only real advantage is that you do not cover the action with your thumbs, but even then it is often easier to play directly on a single screen, since most games are designed that way.
Other elements of the software experience feel less like they are not yet well thought out and more that they are not yet ready. A bizarre mistake, for example, is that you cannot use the G8X's evening mode, which causes the screen colors to become warmer, with the dual screen confirmed – and a message appears to tell you so much. This is not a function that everyone uses, granted, but it is a function that I use and I want to tell you that last week it was not fun to use the G8X & # 39; evening. Of all the screens in my life, including my LG TV, these are the only two that shoot aggressive blue light into my retina after the sun goes down. Maybe I shouldn't be acting like a multitasking user at that time of the day, but come on.
A part of the G8X that I have no complaints about is the battery life. I was a bit worried about this, given that recent LG phones don't have the best endurance records and the G8X has twice as many full-size OLED screens to feed, but it turned out to be better than expected. Yesterday I had almost six hours of screen time with both screens turned on, one of them constantly streaming different live sports while using the other for general telephone matters. That is better than most Android phones with flagship that have only one screen. One thing worth mentioning is that the dual screen turns itself off with 10 percent charge and you don't let it turn on until the phone has more juice.
The LG G8X does not offer a sleek, futuristic experience. However, it is still a phone that can do things that no other phone can do, and if those things sound useful to you, it's a good deal for $ 699. The multitasking setup is the best I've ever had on a phone had, first of all, even if LG comes with brute force.
However, you really want the dual screen to be useful as your daily phone, which means you really have to be fine with a bulky device that takes some effort to get the most out of it. The G8X is not competitive like a traditional smartphone, and I can't recommend it with a OnePlus 7T from $ 599, an iPhone 11 from $ 699 or even a Galaxy S10 on sale.
But that's because I don't know if you, the reader, are someone who would have any use for a crazy two-screen wallet. If you know that you are, I think you will like the LG G8X.
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