ThinQ is a name you should expect to see on more LG products in future. Pronounced ‘think’, it’s the umbrella term for the company’s artificially-intelligent consumer electronics, including televisions, smart speakers and, now, smartphones.
These new smarts will mostly be seen in the G7’s camera, but that’s not the only area where LG has made clever improvements. The G7 also has a new ‘Boombox’ design, using the phone’s internal chamber to boost bass power.
LG is known for being innovative when it comes to sound – perhaps most famously with its G5 smartphone, which came with a Hi-Fi Plus DAC module and won a What Hi-Fi? Award in 2016.
We hope the G7 will follow in its footsteps, and while we only had a short amount of time with LG’s new smartphone, this is how it performs so far.
On the surface, the G7 looks like many other premium Android smartphones on the market. There’s a notch at the top – Android designers can’t help copying the iPhone X now – but a ‘chin’ at the bottom, disappointingly falling short of the full-body display that Apple offers.
But when one door closes, another opens in the form of the headphone jack at the bottom of the phone. There’s also a USB-C port for charging, while on the back is a fingerprint scanner and the G7’s dual camera.
There’s a dedicated button for Google Assistant on the side, similar to how Samsung phones have a button for the Bixby personal assistant. Pressing it brings up the voice assistant, while a long press summons Google Lens – a camera mode that can scrape data from the subject of your photo.
Take a snap of a business card and you can save the phone number or address to a contact; point it at a painting and you’ll get more information about the artist. It’s a clever feature, and shows how focused LG is on getting you to use AI (and collecting your data as you use it).
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But even without Google Lens, LG’s camera is still analysing your photos. With 19 presets to make your photo look better, its two 16MP lenses work well with the software. We take a photo of a sandwich and the G7 recognises a foodstuff and changes the look of the photo accordingly.
This function works, albeit rather poorly. During our short demo, words fly up all over the screen, highlighting objects and telling you what the camera thinks it’s looking at. However, the scattergun approach suggests that it can’t yet handle complex objects.
Photographing a table of drinks and food, the numerous classifications that popped up include: ham (there was no ham); swimwear; the beauty of nature; sky; poodle; and musical instrument. LG says this will improve with use, but for now it’s not particularly impressive.
Other aspects are more promising, such as its specialised ‘Super Bright Camera’ mode that turns on when the lights are off. This works well, with some quick snaps of flowers in a black room having a satisfyingly colourful and detailed image, despite the darkness.
The G7 is powered by an SMD845 CPU with 4GB of RAM. There’s 64GB of storage too, which equates to approximately 15,000 songs.
More after the break
If you’re playing those songs through headphones, you have the option to use the DTS:X 3D setting – which gives a wider rendition of music, similar to Dolby Atmos.
There’s also a toggle in the settings for the G7’s Hi-FI Quad DAC, too, where you can change the digital filter and the EQ.
However, headphones are not provided at the demo event, so during our time with the G7, we listen without them. For a smartphone, playing music without headphones leaves a good first impression. To our ears, the ‘boombox’ design adds extra solidity, depth and punch to a track.
Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You has a greater kick than we’re used to from such small speakers. We will reserve full judgement for when we get it into our testing rooms, of course, but it’s off to a promising start.
While we didn’t have a chance to properly test out the display, our first impression is that the G7 looks satisfyingly sharp and colourful.
Its 6.1in, 3120x1440 screen is certainly impressive on paper, and LG claims the phone will be able to display HDR10 content too.
The company also says that the G7 is capable of putting out 1000 nits, and while this is technically true, you’ll rarely see it. Full brightness is reached by hitting a toggle on a slider, which boosts the display for 30 seconds.
Much as we’d like the option to have this on all the time, it would burn out the phone and kill the battery, so we’ll have to make do with the 850 nits provided without the boost.
But for all the G7’s laudable qualities, we can’t help but feel our time with it is rather inconclusive. There are a number of Android phones out there that have covered similar ground, whether that’s having a notch, dual cameras or cameras featuring AI.
Things we would otherwise be excited about, such as improvements to sound quality, require a longer amount of time to test before we can properly assess them.
Hopefully we will have more to be excited about when we spend longer with the phone, but our brief introduction has yet to blow us away with what the G7 can really do.
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