The LG G8 new high-volume flagship handset has just been announced alongside the LG V50, LG’s first high-end phone. Typically, the G-Series is the high-end model with a milder price, while the V-Series holds nothing technologically, but costs a premium over the G-Series.
Both phones are powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 platform, which is currently the best option available for Android phones.
LG G8 ThinQ
The LG G8 ThinQ is a very sleek-looking phone that seems smaller than its 6.1” display would predicate. It has a unique industrial design which is entirely flush, including the camera modules that are tucked behind the protective back cover glass. It looks stunning and is a rare exception in a high-end handset world where camera bumps are the new norm.
You will not see any speaker grill on the LG G8. That’s because LG has replaced the earpiece speaker and the main loudspeaker with Crystal Sound OLED, a sound technology that uses the glass as a speaker by vibrating it with actuators. Such a technique was already used in TVs (including LG’s), but LG now introduces it to phones.
Next, LG has added a ToF (time of flight) camera alongside the RGB selfie cam of the G8. Its role is to perceive depth, and it’s manufactured by an LG subsidiary. With it, LG can perform 3D scans of the environment which can then be used for selfies Bokeh (background-blur) or secure face unlock.
The LG G8 is also capable of shooting videos with depth of field, which is a new capability partially made possible by the Snapdragon 855 computing power.
But that’s not it: LG has added a unique contact-less wake-up and control mechanism, based on gestures. Working just like a Kinect camera would, the LG G8 can wake up and securely unlock the phone based on your palm print (by looking at veins using infra-red).
Once unlocked, select apps such as YouTube have gesture-based controls for volume, play, etc. A fascinating feature if you have dirty hands from adding that grub onto the ribs.
In the back, LG has a dual-camera system with a primary lens (~26mm) and an ultrawide lens (~16mm), which is LG’s signature configuration that has inspired the rest of the industry.
The LG V50 is a phone designed to compete at the very high-end, and it is also a platform for new technology introduction. As such, it is LG’s first fully-featured 5G handset with a real 5G modem in the form of the Qualcomm X50 5G modem which is dedicated to the new 5G frequencies (mmWave) that 4G LTE modems do not support.
We already know that the X50 5G modem will be supported by a lot of OEMs, but LG is among the first to come with 5G out of the gate. This is very important because wireless carriers worldwide are seeking introductory phones to launch their 5G networks.
The LG V50 may have an updated industrial design to match the 2019 style introduced by the LG G8, with flush cameras (it’s beautiful!). It is however not an entirely new technological design.
You can think of the LG V50 as an LG V40 updated with Snapdragon 855 and the X50 modem. The camera system is very similar to LG V40, if not identical. As it stands, it is one of the lightest 5G phones that has been announced. The Galaxy S10 5G is significantly bigger, so they might not even compete for the same users.
Last but not least, LG has a dual-display version of the LG V50. It may not be as fancy as the foldable OLED phones from Samsung and Huawei, but it does get the job done, if you want a clamshell device that nearly doubles the thickness.
The LG V50 5G will be available on Sprint and Verizon networks “this summer” (Verizon) or “later this year” (Sprint).
LG’s announcements at MWC 2019 are well within our expectation, and the leaks about the LG G8 or about the LG V50 were accurate once again.
The new phones are competing in a fierce worldwide market, but LG already has established channels with wireless carriers and retail partners in the USA, the world’s largest market.