South Korean technology giant LG is best known for its TVs, home appliances, and other electronics. It is however struggling in today’s fast growing smartphone market. Reasons for this vary from its own unpractical custom UI, camera setup on previous smartphones, and poor price tags. But now in 2019, LG has put a lot of efforts to leave a mark in the flagship segment. It recently introduced the LG G8s ThinQ smartphone in India. The smartphone comes with a powerful SoC, a large OLED display, ToF camera and more. Although its arrival in the Indian market is a tad late, can this feature-packed device leave its mark? Let’s find out in our LG G8s ThinQ review.

Design

Let’s start our LG G8s ThinQ review with design. At first glance, the G8s ThinQ looks quite attractive. The back of the smartphone features a Mirror Finish glass which gives it a striking look. That said, it does attract fingerprint and smudges quite often. It seems like the company is well aware of this issue, and hence provides a piece of microfiber cloth. For better grip and overall protection, LG bundles in a good quality transparent silicone case in the box.

Up front, the phone features a wide notch and a thick chin which do not quite compliment the overall look. Power button, volume rocker and the Google Assistant quick key are on the side edges. Their placement however leave a lot to be desired. While using the device, I accidentally pressed the power button when actually wanting to call upon the Google Assistant.

Great display, but with a giant notch

LG has yet again done justice to its reputation of offering excellent display to its product. The LG G8s ThinQ sports a 6.21-inch display and a G-OLED panel. However, its screen-to-body ratio is only 82 percent because of the generous bezels on all sides. This display comes with 1080×2248 pixels resolution, and has a pixel density of 401ppi. To protect the screen from scratches and minor drops, there is Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.

The display of the smartphone is quite sharp and has good color reproduction. Furthermore, the company has also added many preset options to adjust the color in this smartphone. This allows users to adjust the white balance of the display screen themselves.

The G8s ThinQ display also comes with HDR10 support and Dolby Vision, which improve the video or movie watching experience. But, the large notch does tend to mar the overall experience a bit. That said, this can be avoided by using the ‘second screen’ feature. Apart from this, the smartphone also offers the ambient color feature which tweaks the color tone as per the lighting conditions.

Hardware and performance

LG G8s ThinQ features Snapdragon 855 SoC, which is a flagship-grade processor. This 7nm octa-core processor comes with Adreno 640 GPU and 6GB of RAM. There is enough power on offer, and multitaskers will find this smartphone to be smooth. Apps take close to no time to open and close, which is another positive thing about the device.

The smartphone is good for gaming, and the second screen feature further enhances the overall gaming experience. While using it, users are likely to encounter a problem with the placement of the headphone jack and charging port. Gamers may have a difficult time in handling the functions with both the charger and headphones plugged in at the same time.

There is 128GB internal storage on offer, which is expandable up to 1TB by using a microSD card. The setup is however hybrid in nature, which means dual-SIM users will have to sacrifice a SIM card for expanding internal memory. The phone sports a 3.5mm audio jack and the company also offers a pair of LG earphones in the box. The earphones offer decent sound quality, which can be further enhanced by using the DTS: X 3D surround feature.

Talking about security, LG’s ‘Knock Code’ unlock feature is interesting to use, and feels secure as well. Other options include rear fingerprint sensor, and Hand ID. The latter can unlock the device by recognizing your palm through the selfie camera. There is also the Face Unlock feature, which is fairly accurate, but slow. The ToF camera sensor helps read a face accurately even in bad lighting conditions. The G8s ThinQ comes with an IP68 rating making it resistant to water and dust. Overall in terms of hardware and performance there is nothing much to complain about.

Cameras

The LG G8s ThinQ boasts a triple-camera setup at the back. This includes a 12-megapixel primary sensor, a 13-megapixel wide-angle sensor, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. An interesting feature is the ability to use all three sensors simultaneously in manual mode. In ideal lighting, the primary camera captures great shots with rich colors and detailing. However, photos shot in bright outdoor conditions come out to be slightly overexposed. On the other hand, photos shot in low light are under-exposed, pixeleted and dull. The hardware alone however cannot be held responsible, and the camera software too takes the blame. Check out some camera samples below.

The wide-angle and telephoto lenses, on the other hand, do their jobs well. Usually, smartphones with similar lenses aren’t able to capture photos with natural colors and sharpness. But that isn’t an issue with the LG smartphone. Both the sensors capture very good pictures in all modes.

On the front, the LG G8s ThinQ has an 8-megapixel sensor. The built-in ToF camera is however a huge plus point. It helps the camera create accurate and sharp depth of field in selfies. It also enhances the bokeh effect in selfies and video recordings. Overall, the camera setup of the smartphone is quite impressive.

Software and Battery

The G8s ThinQ runs LG’s custom Android 9 Pie-based UX 8.0. Some preloaded apps and inclusion of bloatware put significant impact on performance. The UI is also not up to the mark, though it is far better than some of the Chinese UIs out there. There are loads of features in the Settings app, but many of them aren’t useful. G8s ThinQ also has an Air Motion feature, which can open apps (maximum two apps) by hand gesture and turn the volume up or down with just twisting your hand in air. However, to make it work properly, users will have to keep their hand close to the sensor.

The UX 8.0 also has a native optimizer and gaming mode, which helps optimize mobile and improve gaming experience, respectively. LG in infamous for rolling out software updates later than its rivals. For instance, our review unit was running July 2019 Android Security Patch. In comparison, rival smartphones are currently running the October Security Patch.

The device is backed by a 3,550mAh battery with support for 18W charging. Despite the support, the smartphone is bundled with only a 10W charger in the box. Charging speeds, unsurprisingly quite slow. With normal usage, the battery is unable to survive till the end of the day. With a more judicial usage, you can get through an entire day on a single charge.

LG G8s ThinQ Review: Should you buy it?

LG launched the G8s ThinQ with a price tag of Rs 36,990, but it is now available for around Rs 35,990. On paper, there is quite a bit on offer when it comes hardware and software features. But an under-optimized software, large notch and poor performing battery pull this device a step back. The camera performance too is largely inconsistent.

To sum up the LG G8s ThinQ review, it is a decent device for its price. If marketable features are your first priority, then you can go for the smartphone without hesitation. However, if strong performance, long lasting battery and timely software updates are priority, then the closest competitor is the OnePlus 7.