First Impressions of the LG G7 ThinQ!:
When I first took the LG G7 ThinQ out of the box I was impressed. The device felt sturdy but still light weight and easy to hold for long periods of time. When I turned the device on for the first time I was impressed by the screen most of all. I wasn’t deterred by the LCD rather than OLED display and the notch didn’t bother me. After setting up the device I was excited to begin using the device and I wasn’t overly put off by the notch. If you read my initial impressions you would know I was excited about the notch. After spending about two weeks with the device let’s see what I thought about it!
Speed and Overall Usability:
I’m not going to list off the specs of this device here. I want you to understand how this device feels as the “LG G7 ThinQ” not “a phone with a Snapdragon 845, 64gb of storage….”. I feel there is a lot more to a phone than a specs list and in the case of this device the software is what really makes the G7 the G7. The device was snappy overall. Apps opened a little bit faster than I remember them opening on the V30+ and on my Pixel XL. The only application I ha a problem with was Google Play Music. The application was very slow to start but after that it was smooth sailing as usual. By slow to start I don’t mean a few extra milliseconds I mean, I could count to 1 and the application still wouldn’t be loaded. Very strange but probably just a software bug.
On the topic of software, the LG G7 ThinQ got 2 software updates on first boot of the device. I’m not exactly sure what those updates did because I couldn’t find much information on them. After that though I haven’t seen a software update since so the experience has been consistent. I immediately switched the launcher on the device to Nova as I realized from the V30+ that I’m not a fan of LG’s launcher but other than that I really don’t dislike LG’s software. My single complaint is the fingerprint scanner can’t pull down the notification shade. It takes a few days to get used to the button if you choose to add it but other than that, not too bad LG.
As for the build quality, it has the usual glass on glass construction the has become the norm of 2018. Whether you like this or not it’s there and it’s a slippery fingerprint magnet. It was difficult to get the fingerprints on camera so I’ll post a picture but take my word for it, it was pretty bad. I used it naked for about a day before putting on a thin silicone case. I was not about to drop this device and it felt like it could happen at any second without the case. Luckily for this device I didn’t feel any flex and I didn’t scratch the phone either! I’m not going to perform any drop or scratch tests on the device but if you run a little late getting a screen protector I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
The G7 comes with a 6.1 inch 19:9 3120 X 1440p IPS LCD display and let me tell you, it doesn’t disappoint. The screen gets really bright, even without the 1000 nit brightness boost mode. I play Pokemon Go a lot and I didn’t feel like I had to put the display over 80% brightness while on other devices I just put the brightness all the way to full. I enjoyed watching video on this device, however if you’re planning on watching at night the device does seem a little too bright when it’s at minimum brightness. Regardless though, it’s only a small detail and I wouldn’t let it deter you from buying the phone.
Something that might deter you from buying the phone though is the notch on the display. I had many people ask me what I thought of the notch. Each time I told them that I actually loved the notch. That extra, useless screen space is the perfect place for the notification bar. Don’t knock it until you try it. As most content is made for 16:9 displays you’re going to get black bars anyway and zooming the content in to fill the display makes you lose some of the content. The notch is the best option consumers have, aside from the Vivo Nex, for putting the front camera so right now it’s just something you’re going to have to learn to like or at least work around. As for the chin on the bottom, I don’t mind that either, it gave me somewhere to hold the phone while watching video. I wish they had put a front speaker down there, but all screen phones are personally difficult for me to hold. I understand I’m in the minority here but these aspects of the device actually made it more pleasant to use.
The display on the G7 would be nothing without a battery to power it. The battery on the G7 ranks in at a seemingly poultry 3000mah. The smaller battery is combatted by very aggressive application management through the software. I found applications were being killed in the background very quickly, sometimes after I’d opened 2 applications and tried to go back to the one I was previously using. This aggressive application management regularly gave me 4 to 5 hours of screen on time between charges. This was with the brightness typically at 80% and I played Pokemon Go for about 2 hours a day.
There were inconsistencies in my battery life with this device. There were times where I would get 3 hours of screen on time. The device quoted Snapchat as being the rouge application causing the decrease in battery life, however I still felt I should bring this up. No matter how well battery life begins in a device doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a just in case charger. Regardless, this device may not get you through the day depending on how heavy of a user you are. Get a feel for how long the battery lasts you before leaving your charger at home.
Speaking of the charger this device supports up to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0. I was able to charge this device from 5% to full in about an hour and a half using the given charger. While the charge time is fast I would have preferred a slightly bigger battery giving me longer charge time then having a smaller battery and shorter charge time.
I had a mixed experience with the dual 16mp shooters on this device. The main shooter is a 16mp camera with OIS while the secondary shooter is a 16mp wide angle shooter without OIS. The OIS on this device did a good job with low light but image stabilization was unexpectedly weak. When the camera did work well it worked incredibly well. I was very impressed by its color reproduction and the clarity of pictures taken when they came out well. The quality of the wide-angle camera is far better than it was on the V30+ I used not too long ago. However, instead of me telling you all this, why don’t you look for yourself? I’ll have some pictures in many different scenarios. There will also be wide-angle shots and some using the AI mode. You’ll see many similar pictures; however, they will be using either different modes or the wide-angle camera. Look at the description of the pictures to better understand the differences. I look forward to hearing what you think of the camera.
I’m going to make this section short and sweet. The Google Assistant key is useful but definitely not necessary. I used it a few times but each time I used it I needed to manually tell it when to execute a command I’d told it to do. To initiate the command I would touch the screen, but while using the “Hey Google” command (like it says on the box) the command was executed immediately. I wish I could remap this button but I didn’t find myself accidentally pressing it too often. Manufacturers really need to give us some freedom with their extra buttons. I miss the old 2 stage camera buttons.
The last aspect I’d like to touch on is the device’s ability to hold a cell connection. I used this device on AT&T for the two weeks I used it and although AT&T isn’t officially stocking the G7 it still should have been compatible. During my usage I consistently got weak LTE connection even in places it was fairly strong with my Pixel XL. I mostly associated that with it not being an AT&T device, however even the HSPA+ connection was weak. While I use a microcell in my home as all cell carriers struggle where I live. Even with a strong cell connection right in front of it the G7 and full band support for AT&T’s HSPA+. I still had calls dropping occasionally and voices weren’t clear on either end with multiple callers. I haven’t spoken to LG about this but I hope to in the future and update this review once I do.
Other Device Aspects:
One of the G7’s major selling points was its Boombox feature. This uses the G7’s hollowed out insides as a kind of echo chamber. This feature would increase the volume of the phone’s speaker when you put it down on a solid object such as a table or even a cereal box. The feature itself worked well for the most part. I noticed about a 20% increase in volume (this is an approximation) however, I rarely put the device down. I normally used my phone’s speaker to watch videos which came with a problem. The problem is the phone vibrates uncomfortably in my hand. The louder the device gets the more annoying the vibration. I’ve determined this vibration is because of the hollowed body to use the Boombox feature. This vibration is probably what causes the device to become louder when put on a surface. This feature was nice when I used it correctly but with no way to turn it off it turned into more of a hindrance with my usage.
The G7 also has a 3.5mm headphone jack backed up by an amazing dac and amp. Although the device doesn’t come with headphones I hope the ones you get are good. I used my Audio Technica ATH M50X’s the whole time and it was incredible. I could never wait until the next time I’d get to plug them in and use them to their full potential. What the G7 lacks in speaker performance it more than makes up for in its wired audio performance. With all the new audio codecs supported by Android Oreo I can assure you its wireless audio performance will be right up there! If you’re an audiophile, keep this phone in your sights.
I truly enjoyed the time I spent with the LG G7 ThinQ. The device did everything I expected it to do, some aspects better or worse than others though. This phone looks mundane but sometimes you get the glimmers of a true champion. Other times aspects of its faults overshadow its amazing aspects. Unfortunately, LG doesn’t have the same opportunities to fail as the likes of Samsung and Apple although its devices are right up there with the S9 and iPhone 8. Unfortunately, for $750 no one will choose this device over either of those and that’s a large issue. By the time the G7 gets one of LG’s famous price drops it will be old news, if it’s even news to begin with but as someone who has used it I can tell you, the LG G7 is a contender, just not for $750.
I want to know what you thought now! Was I bit harsh on the G7? Will you be picking one up? What is keeping you from buying a G7? Let me know in the comments below!
We want to give a huge thank you to LG for sending us over the LG G7 to us for the opportunity to review their devices. Their support is always appreciated. We also wanted to let our readers know LG did not pay us a cent for this review. They simply loaned us the device.