LG had earlier teased the TOF cameras on the G8 ThinQ, touted to enable greater resolution in its depth-sensing capabilities, amongst other potential applications. Recently launched, the LG G8 ThinQ bears great similarities to its predecessor the LG G7 ThinQ in form and in function, but with a few additional features that push the capabilities and possibilities in the mobile world.
Outwardly, the G8 is nigh on indistinguishable from last year’s G7 with a prominent notch up top along with a thick chin at the bottom. Bezels around the phone are noticeably thicker than its contemporaries, especially the edge display technology shown off by Samsung on its S10 devices.
On its back, the G8 has eliminated the camera bulge entirely, with its twin cameras residing flush beneath its rear glass back. This lends to a more sleek overall form factor.
Within, the G8 has the upgrades we have all expected. Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 chipset, alongside 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There’s a 3,500mAh battery within, which would require lengthy testing to determine longevity.
It’s not the largest capacity for a battery on a flagship device, but its 6.1-inch 19.5:9 aspect ratio OLED FullVision display should keep battery life in check.
The LG G8 boasts a few main features over its processor. The first concerns the aforementioned TOF front-facing cameras on the device. Referred to by LG as the Z Camera, it is contained within the notch up top alongside its regular 8-megapixel selfie camera.
The Z Camera fires infrared light and uses the time for light to be reflected to measure the depth and distance of objects in front of it. This allows for better selfie portrait mode performance, but LG had other more unorthodox applications of this technology.
With the Z Camera, LG has also implemented Hand ID, which uses the infrared sensing capabilities of the Z Camera to read the unique patterns of veins beneath your palm. With the absence of on-screen fingerprint-reading technologies on the G8, this makes for a fine addition that could technically provide hands-free unlocking should you hands be greasy, dirty or otherwise not fit for contact with the screen of your phone.
This works in conjunction with AirMotion, accessible by holding your hand above the Z Camera after unlocking the phone. Drawing back, a visual prompt displays a wireframe of your hand as the Z Camera sees it. Sliding it left and right enables quick access to apps from the home screen, and access to app controls like volume, play/pause and next track if in-app.
These might provide a glimpse of how we will interact with our devices in the future, but still require polish in terms of firmware and user interface upgrades. Preliminary reports indicate the biometric sensing is still prohibitively slow in some circumstances, and that physical contact with the device is still required for reasonable function, otherwise eliminating the hands-free advantage the technology offers.
Another interesting feature on the LG G8 ThinQ is the absence of the front-speaker grille at the top edge of its display. LG had utilised piezo-electric motors to vibrate the display itself to convey sound, which enables the phone to retain its IP68 rating with fewer points of ingress. This technology had also been seen implemented on its TV line, and it is great to see it make its way to the mass market.
Lastly, the LG G8 ThinQ boasts a last feature that had flew in under the radar of many other reviewers. With their constant focus on video, LG has introduced depth control while recording video on the G8. This revolutionary feature essentially puts professional video visuals, otherwise only available on expensive, large-sensor video cameras, into your pocket.
Despite these forward-looking quirks, the LG G8 does have several throwbacks to the G7 from last year.
The limiting of its flagship devices to two rear-facing cameras is bold move by LG in 2019 against strong showings by Samsung and Huawei’s triple camera devices and its very own V40 triple-camera set-up released late last year. On the G8 instead are a 16-megapixel camera with a wide 107-degree field of view and a 12-megapixel 78-degree field of view cameras.
Making a return on the G8 is also the Boombox speaker, which uses vibrations on the chassis of the phone to produce a fuller, bigger sound especially when set atop a hollow or resonant surface. The Assistant button, along with the 3.5mm headphone have also made a comeback.