The Good The second LG G8X ThinQ display accessory offers two displays, making multitasking simpler and more playful. The waterproof phone also has a headphone jack, expandable memory, wireless charging and excellent battery life.
The Bad The case makes the phone bulky and thick. When viewing the shared content, there is a thick loop in the middle of both screens.
The Bottom Line The LG G8X is an attractive and competitive phone in itself, if you can make a deal. A useful second screen also appeals to those who are unsure of the more expensive Galaxy Fold.
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When it launched on Oct. 30, you could have nabbed both the LG G8X ThinQ and its second-screen accessory for $700, $750 and $780 on LG, Sprint and AT&T, respectively. It was at this price that I reviewed and recommended the phone for people interested in the G8X and its novel dual-screen design. I thought that was a great deal for the price, and I was excited to recommend this best-of-both-worlds phone and case.
It’s come to my attention, however, that these deals are being offered only for a limited time, which throws a wrinkle in my initial endorsement. After Dec. 5, for example, AT&T will sell the G8X under its “AT&T Installment Plan” for $780 and the dual screen will cost an additional $199 — totaling $979. Sprint also confirmed that its offer of the G8X’s dual screen attachment as a free gift (with purchase of the phone) will be limited as well, though it did not confirm an end date to the sale.
That said, some retailers are still selling both for under $700, like B&H and Best Buy, but these deals may not last forever, and you’ll still have to sign on to a carrier separately for the phone to work. My opinion of the phone is still the same: The G8X is great and if you can get both the LG G8X and the second screen for $780 or under, it’s an affordable alternative to the fully foldable Galaxy Fold. Outside that price range, however, and I’d hesitate to recommend this phone.
Editorial Note, November 27: Updated pricing information from carriers. The original review, published on October 30, follows.
If you are interested in the latest trend of such complex phones as Samsung Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X , but you’re not ready to take on either the new design or the high price tags (both cost more than $ 1,000), the LG G8X ThinQ is a worthy alternative. Like other sophisticated phones, the G8X doubles the screen size, opening up like a book. But instead of having a flexible screen, the G8X is a regular 6.4-inch phone that connects to another 6.4-inch screen with a special case.
This is a similar arrangement for 2017 ZTE Axon M (if someone actually remembers this phone) and future Microsoft Surface Duo is that they are really just two phones or screens connected together. But the G8X gives you the ability to detach the phone and the case, leaving you with a standard premium phone if you wish.
LG created similar accessory for the V50 ThinQ , which launched in February. Unlike that release though, the G8X and its screen attachment are available in the US. The phone is available unlocked or through AT&T and Sprint.
It’s true that the G8X doesn’t have the extremely sleek and new design of the Galaxy Fold or Mate X. It’s clumsy enough to port, and you won’t be able to watch videos on a seamless, single tablet screen.
But the G8X is a durable, middleman solution. And the best part is the phone’s price. For a limited time, LG, Sprint and AT&T are selling the G8X for $700, $750 and $780, respectively. The carriers are also offering deals that lower the cost even more (for instance, Sprint has a plan that totals $270). That price puts it pretty much on par with, if not a tad cheaper than, most high-end phones these days. But LG and these carriers intend to sell the whole thing, second screen and all, at those prices during launch. International pricing isn’t yet available, but the $700 price tag converts to about £545 or AU$1,020.
Even without the second screen, $ 700 is a good price for the G8X, which is fast, reliable and takes good photos. But throw in two screens for the same price, and LG got a convincing phone.
LG G8X is dual-screen phone for only $700
LG G8X Design: Dual Screen, Dual Size
I drew some views using the LG G8X in the farmers market. I basically chalked it up to people, wondering why I was photographing great silver Nintendo DS products, but after a while, I got used to dealing with the G8X boldly in public. After all, people always buy clear portfolios for their iPhones. So in the end, I stopped feeling out of place.
Speaking of clumsiness, the G8X is so thick that it reminds me of what it’s like to use an ultra-durable Otterbox phone case. Putting my phone in my pants pocket or small clutch was no doubt if I just didn’t want to use the G8X myself. Pressing the volume buttons or the Google Assistant key on the left side of the phone when the second screen is open is also difficult as the hinge gets on my fingers.
The front cover, while useful for displaying time and notifications, captures fingerprints like crazy – I often find myself wiping it clean. Also, at first I thought I couldn’t charge the phone inside the case, but LG included a magnetic USB-C accessory that plugs out of the case and plugs into a charging cable.
- The G8X has wireless charging, and you can also charge it wirelessly inside the case. (For some reason, my personal Qi charger didn’t work when I was charging the G8X with my case, but I used the charging pads of two other colleagues, and it worked great.)
- Like other LG phones, the G8X has a headphone jack – a rarity among premium phones these days.
- The phone has an in-screen fingerprint reader so you can it by scanning your finger right on the display. It works fast enough, but it doesn’t feel as instantaneous as the OnePlus 7T .
- The phone is rated IP68 for waterproof, but the second screen does not have that protection.
- Despite the drop folder on the second screen, it does not have a front camera. (LG used the same G8X display as the second screen to save money.) You can hide this notch with a black stripe in the settings.
Dual Screen Life LG G8X
Despite my initial claims that the dual screen was bizarre, the accessory was actually more useful than I thought. As the second screen folds back completely, I could adjust it at any angle as a rack. I bounced the phone sideways to watch the video and I put it as a book so I could take pictures at a distance. The second screen was also handy for multitasking. I can use it to navigate a restaurant on Google Maps, looking for other options on Yelp from another screen.
Playing games such as Call of Duty was made easier by the LG Game Pad mode, which turns the home screen into a separate game controller. You can choose from a variety of pre-controlled items, such as a steering wheel for racing games. Not every game in the app store will automatically work with these pre-installed controllers, so expect to set up your own controller for some games (I had to do it with Call of Duty to get it to work with the gamepad).
Several applications, though not all, have been configured to adapt to the dual screen. For example, text messages and Gmail put my message on one screen and the keyboard on another in landscape mode. This allowed me to type messages like the old days of the T-Mobile Sidekick. If the phone is too wide on the side to conveniently reach the letters in the middle of the keyboard, you can “pull” the keyboard to the side by sliding it with your fingers. There is also a “wide view” that allows you to extend one application to both screens (such as Chrome), but you have to deal with the dishonest hinge in the middle.
To navigate between screens, LG has added a removable hotkey on the screen that provides quick access to controls, such as “swap screens” and “dual screen home screen”. The controls are simple, but it still took me a while to use both screens smoothly and conveniently, and now there are times when I get a little stumped about what I want to do next after the menu is called.
You will not be able to watch videos on the seamless screen of one tablet through the hinge, nor will you be able to display both screens as you would with Axon ($ 154 on Amazon) M (which will allow me to share the same video with a friend sitting opposite me).
But the G8X has something that other phones don’t, and it’s – wait for it – flexibility. Whenever I didn’t think I would use the second screen, or was tired of wearing it, I popped the phone and left the rest at home. The fact that it’s optional and you won’t get hung up on it is probably the most attractive thing about the second G8X screen. Plus, as sleek as the G8X is, I don’t have to worry about its screens crashing against overvoltage. Samsung has stated that it solved the problems with the Fold display, but I have the added peace of mind that I’m not worried about the fragility of the G8X.
The LG G8X is great, but not exceptional
The G8X has two rear cameras: a 12MP standard camera and a 13MP wide angle camera. LG was one of the first handset makers to include wide-angle removers, and it was useful to capture more content in each frame.
There is a low-light mode called Night View, similar to Pixel 4, iPhone 11 and more. The G8X was able to take decent photography in an almost dark living room – I was able to distinguish in the photograph various furniture and objects that I could not see in real life in front of me. But compared to the Pixel 4, the low-light mode of the G8X is not so good. The Pixel 4 has a much clearer image with less digital noise and more accurate lighting and color.
However, with enough light, the G8X takes crisp, bright pictures with good contrast and great attention. Although the HDR effect does not make the pictures as cinematic or as bright as the Pixel 4, the colors and exposure are more accurate with what I saw before my eyes. The results may look “muted” in general, but the photos are real.
The front has a 32MP camera for ultra-clear selfies, and it can also take portraits. Photos with the portrait were fine, but not large. I noticed spots of spotting around my hair (expected) and hands (not expected). This made the bokeh effect look artificial and unnatural.
LG G8X Performance and Battery
The G8X is equipped with the Snapdragon 855 chipset. Everyday tasks such as browsing the Internet and running programs are done quickly and smoothly. However, there have been instances where applications have stiffened or sprayed and I will have to quit the program to restart it. This is mostly the case with game programs such as Call of Duty, and whenever I try to run a playground. I also noticed that there were times when the second screen could be hit two or two times to bring myself back to the correct orientation when I had the game open. In addition to these examples, the G8X’s performance was reliable. On paper, its benchmarks were comparable to other premium phones with Snapdragon 855. processors (Note: Galaxy S10 Plus and S10E have the same processor. We also failed to launch 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited on OnePlus 7T.)
Testing the 4000 mAh battery was great. When I played the video continuously in Airplane mode, the phone itself lasted an average of 17 hours 49 minutes. That’s about equal to the Galaxy S10 Plus (9 pm) and the OnePlus 7T (16 hours, 11 minutes). However, when both displays are activated, the battery life is significantly reduced to an average of 9 hours, 2 minutes. Although I don’t imagine people using the dual screen LG G8X 24/7, it would still be great if the G8X could listen to the second screen for at least 10 hours. Let’s say the Folder Gallery, for example, worked an average of 16 hours, 30 minutes full screen.
The LG G8X ThinQ compares to other sophisticated phones
LG G8X vs Galaxy Fold A: Let’s start with the obvious – Fold looks a lot cooler, more innovative and pushes the phone industry further than the G8X ever did. But are you, the person reading this sentence now, about to throw a steep grand on him? Some of you will, but most will not. If you’re even a little curious, the G8X is a waterproof, durable and affordable alternative.
LG G8X vs Huawei Mate X: Assuming you can get your hands on the Mate X (Huawei equipment banned in US and other countries) The FCC is looking for ways to get carriers to replace their Huawei gear), however, the phone costs expensive at 16,999 yuan ($ 2,400, 1,860 pounds). It may not be as exciting or cohesive as the Mate X, but the G8X has a similar amount of screen for almost a third of the cost.
LG G8X Vs. Surface Duo: We don’t know much about the future of the dual-screen phone, except that the Duo should run Android and be bigger and more sophisticated than the G8X. This should also be expensive (at least $ 1500) and we assume that you will not be able to disconnect the two screens as you can with the G8X. Still, if you can wait, it might be best to see what Microsoft has in store. The duo is scheduled to launch “Holiday 2020”.
LG G8X vs ZTE Axon M: Although this phone is virtually unknown, the Axon M is the most similar and noticeable comparison to the G8X. About $ 180 on Amazon, the phone is cheap; but when it launched in 2017, its features are already outdated and it has a winning design. It’s safe to say that you should miss the Axon M altogether.
LG G8X ThinQ specifications
|LG G8X ThinQ||Samsung Galaxy Fold||Huawei Mate X||ZTE Axon M|
|Display size, resolution||Two 6.4-inch OLED; 2,340×1,080 pixels each||4.6-inch Super AMOLED; 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED||6.6-inch (2,480 x 1,148 pixels); 6.38-inch (2,480 x 892); 8-inch OLED (2,480 x 2,200)||Two 5.2-inch; 1,920×1,080 pixels each|
|Dimensions (Inches)||LG G8X: 6.27×2.98×0.33 in Dual screen: 6.53×3.33×0.59 in||Folded: 2.47×6.39×0.62~0.67 in Unfolded: 4.64×6.34×0.27~0.3 in||TBD||5.9×2.8×0.5 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||LG G8X: 159.3×75.8×8.4 mm Dual screen: 165.96×84.63×14.99 mm||Folded: 62.8x161x15.7~17.1 mm Unfolded: 117.9x161x6.9~7.6 mm||TBD||150.8×71.6×12.1 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||LG G8X: 6.77 oz; 192g Dual screen: 4.73 oz; 134g||9.7 oz; 276g||TBD||8.1 oz; 230g|
|Mobile software||Android 9.0||Android 9.0||TBD||Android 7.1.2 Nougat|
|Camera||12-megapixel (standard), 13-megapixel (wide-angle)||12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)||40-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 8-megapixel (telephoto), depth sensing camera||12-megapixel|
|Front-facing camera||32-megapixel||Two 10-megapixel, 8-megapixel 3D depth||TBD; at least one confirmed||12-megapixel|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Kirin 980 processor||2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821|
|Expandable storage||Up to 2TB||No||No||Up to 256GB|
|Fingerprint sensor||In-screen||Power button||Power button||Power button|
|Special features||Dual-screen accessory case; wireless charging; water resistant (IP68, phone only)||Foldable display, wireless charging, fast charging||Foldable display, fast charging||Dual screens|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$700 (unlocked), $780 (AT&T), $750 (Sprint)||$1,980||Converted: $2,600 ($2,299 euros)||$725*|
|Price (GBP)||Converted: £545-£605||£2,000||Converted: £1,986||Converted: £538*|
|Price (AUD)||Converted: AU$1,020-AU$1,135||AU$2,950||Converted: AU$3,725||Converted: AU$953*|
*prices at launch