5 months after launch, here’s what I still love about LG’s notched G7+ ThinQ

It’s a phone that will stand up well for the next two years, at least.

The LG G7+ ThinQ launched for about US$870 in Singapore this June to an advertising blitz with Korean boy band BTS that got buyers fawning over the cute K-Pop band members as much as the phone itself.

But to be sure, some of that magic and musical influence accompanying the launch has rubbed off on the device.

Along with a very decent wide-angle camera, its “Boombox speaker” was pegged as another product differentiation that would allow you to enjoy a loud and rich music experience.

And that’s certainly stood the test of time. Even compared to something like the Pixel 3 with its dual front-facing stereo speakers, the LG still sounds great five months on.

Moreover, this is one of the few premium phones in 2018 that still ships with a headphone jack (along with phones by Samsung). Good news if you can’t do the dongle life!

LG’s G7+ ThinQ on display at the Singapore launch event back in May/June.

Notch life, LG-style

Obviously we can’t get far into any hands-on this year without talking about notches – and yes, the LG G7+ ThinQ has a 6.1-inch notch display.

But unlike the new Pixel 3 XL which I wrote about recently, with this device LG has gone for a more understated and slimmer notch that is much closer to the iPhone X’s.

But LG is giving you the option to turn the notch off by blacking it out entirely, in which scenario it becomes the exclusive terrain of the status bar/notification area without being available for use in apps or multimedia.

By default, LG actually ships the device with the notch hidden.

But after two minutes of fiddling about in settings, I reverted it to my preferred mode of allowing the home screen and apps to bleed over into the notch area.

I personally like that edge-to-edge look, but to each their own.

Five months later, this is still a great phone – now available at a more affordable price point

Five months after launch, you can pick up the LG G7+ ThinQ in Singapore for about US$570.

That’s a fair bit less than something like the US$800-900 Pixel 3, but it’s also a lot more expensive than the likes of the US$120 notched OPPO Realm 2 that I wrote about earlier this month.

With that in mind, I can say this: the G7+ ThinQ is much closer in overall specs, build quality, and experience to the Pixel 3 than OPPO’s entry-level Realm 2, which was aggressively targeted at Asia’s emerging markets.

At the price it retails for today (US$570), it’s a tall, slim, elegant, and very well built Android phone that, as of late-2018, sits firmly in the mid-market price range – but still leans very much to the premium end of the market in overall user experience and specs.

Wide-angle camera with in-viewer bokeh mode for portraits

We’ve got a rear-facing, dual-lens 16-megapixel (f/1.6) camera that achieves an edge over some of the competition thanks to its second wide-angle (f/1.9) lens.

The LG G7+ ThinQ with the notch area blacked out.

In day-to-day use, this is a more-than-capable camera that can capture an awful lot in the frame when you switch over to wide-angle mode.

It also does portrait mode on both the rear and front cameras very well, producing a live in-viewer bokeh rather than processing the image post-snap, which can be helpful in determining whether you’re getting the right shot before you take it.

The front-facing selfie camera is an 8-megapixel (f/1.9) shooter that holds up well in general use, though doesn’t support a wide-angle mode.

Compared to some of the cameras we’re seeing on flagships launching in late-2018, I think it’s fair to say this is a solid mid-market shooter that won’t disappoint your Instagram account.

The LG G7+ ThinQ with the camera open.

Also worth noting is that LG rolled out 4K video recording at 60 FPS in late-June via a firmware update, though I must admit I haven’t used the video-recording rigorously as I tend to use my phones primarily for photos.

A vivid, super bright display

The LG G7+ ThinQ has a vibrant and bright LCD display with a high pixel density (564 PPI), meaning the screen is sharp and pixels are impossible to distinguish with the eye.

Blacks are nice and deep and whites are really white, even compared to some newer OLED panels I’ve seen lately.

Oh, and this display gets really, really bright. Viewing angles are great, too. It’s definitely not a display you would call “washed out” or muddy.

Though as with Samsung’s screens, colours can be quite saturated. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s more about personal preference. Personally, I like it.

Software & performance

I’m pleased to say that LG’s skinned version of Android 8.0 Oreo is so much more usable, fast, responsive, and bug-free than it was in its early years.

It’s actually a very nice interface that is powered under the hood by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa-core with a generous 6GB of RAM.

The 3,000mAh battery supports Quick Charge 3 and wireless charging, and in my experience holds up well through a typical day.

The 128GB of internal storage (again, quite generous) is expandable up to 2TB with a microSD.

The fingerprint scanner round back is fast and responsive, unlocking in tenths of a second, and in general daily use this thing flies – as you would expect of a premium offering by LG in 2018.

Hardware & build

Available in gray, black, and blue, the G7+ ThinQ is feels fairly solid (not exactly light) but slim in the hand and is housed in a metal chassis with a glass backing.

Like a lot of the premium devices we’ve seen this year so far, it’s IP68-rated for water and dust-resistance.

A button on the side of the phone button launches Google Assistant and cannot be remapped. Double tapping the button launches Google Lens.

I found both use cases to my preference over an LG-proprietary AI like Samsung has attempted with Bixby and its corresponding hardware button on the side of its phones.

Concluding thoughts

To conclude, this is a sleek little phone that most buyers would be happy with, especially at the lower price point as we head into late 2018.

It’s a phone that will stand up well for the next two years, at least.

It’s also worth noting that the G7 ThinQ was given Editor’s Choice by The Verge in July – a much coveted award that it can be proud of.

That was well earned, and should be fairly obvious of the G7+, too, for anyone who decides to take a closer look.

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