LG’s phones used to be one of the “cooler” phones to have when I was a kid. The Lollipop phones were all the rage back then with their LED light screens on the top of the flip phone, but LG hasn’t released anything really impressive recently in a smartphone industry dominated by Apple, Huawei and Samsung.
When LG announced that Kpop group BTS were their latest ambassadors, A.R.M.Y.S. went crazy. BTS kicked off their promotions with the latest LG flagship phone, the LG G7+ ThinQ which is supposed to be pretty impressive as it comes with the latest latest AI capabilities, super bright display and surround sound features. After a couple of months of using the phone, here’s what we thought of it.
BTS WALLPAPERS AND THEMES
When LG appointed BTS as their newest ambassadors, we didn’t know we would get more than ads featuring the boyband. The LG G7+ ThinQ even comes with exclusive BTS wallpapers and themes!
The annoying thing about downloading the BTS themes is that you have to get an additional LG x BTS phone case, which works through NFC technology. No phone case, no BTS theme. Through the LG SmartWorld app that comes with all LG phones, you can also download BTS theme packs, but those themes only consist of a home wallpaper background and a call background.
A.R.M.Y.s are going crazy over the BTS themes, even though it might not seem like such a big deal to those who aren’t fans of the Kpop band. Not only are there 8 different themes to choose from (each member has their own theme, and there’s a group theme too), you’ll be greeted by the different members whenever someone calls you.
The cutest thing about the theme is that if you don’t add a picture for your contacts, it’ll be set to Jungkook’s picture (or whichever member you chose) by default. Guess this would be an appropriate time to admit that I’m a closet A.R.M.Y., which made me more excited about trying out the phone.
DESIGN + INTERFACE
As an existing Samsung user, the Android interface felt very familiar to me. Unlike the Oppo phones which operate on an Android system but try to copy the interface of an iPhone, I was pretty happy that LG decided to stay within Android territory.
For those who have two SIM cards but prefer to use the same phone, the homebar has a button for you to easily toggle between the two SIM cards. If not, you can also use the additional SIM card slot for additional storage by inserting a microSD card. I liked how the SIM card slot is at the top of the phone, which means that I didn’t need to remove my phone case every single time I wanted to change my SIM card.
With a 6.1″ screen, the G7+ ThinQ is bigger than a Samsung S6, and is slightly wider than an iPhone 8. While it was comfortable to hold, it did feel a bit too long to fit into my back pocket. Good news for those who like to stick their phones down their back pocket too – the G7+ ThinQ is pretty resistant to bending.
To be honest, the camera on the LG ThinQ is probably the best thing about the phone. Dual cameras with a wide angle lens is nothing new for LG; the previous V30+ also had a wide angle lens although it was at a lower megapixel.
The vivid colours from the 16-megapixel cameras are a joy to shoot with, and I found that I didn’t really need to do much post-editing to bring out the colours. From cotton candy clouds to blue skies, the G7+ ThinQ was able to capture the mood of every scene. A couple of iPhone users were also surprised by the quality of the camera, and I quote: “Wow the colours on this Android is amazing!”
The amount of detail captured by the camera is also pretty impressive. Just take a look at these photos.
Up in the mountains on Mount Naeba
The Manhattan skyline at night
Having the option of a wide angled lens on my phone certainly came in useful, especially when I was travelling. I could be standing real close to an artwork in a museum or a wall and still be able to capture everything. There’s always an option of the panorama mode, but the wide-angled camera made capturing things like the skyline much faster. The only thing you have to take note of is that because camera is on automode, switching between the two cameras (on the same phone) might result in different pictures because of the lighting – you can see it in the two shots below that were taken at the same spot of the Manhattan skyline within a half a minute of each other.
The Manhattan skyline with the wide-angled lens (left) and the normal lens (right)
Just like every other wide angled lens, there was a bit of distortion that becomes more noticeable at the edges, especially if people are in the shot. But that’s just the nature of wide angled lens.
A function that all the new phone cameras seem to be boasting about is the AI camera capabilities. One of the AI functions is the Auto Shooting Mode where the camera will use recognition technologies to identify your subject and suggest the four best filters. I tried out the “Food” filter, and honestly I wasn’t very pleased with all the options. I guess if you prefer to use filters, this would come in handy.
The other AI function is the tagging of your photos so that you can easily search for pictures more easily when you have thousands of photos. It definitely came in handy as I’m a compulsive photographer who sees the need to document everything with photos and finds it hard to locate photos sometimes.
While the camera is pretty impressive, there were some things that LG could fix, When zoomed in, the background becomes a bit patchy (and not in a good way) even in bright light. Just take a look at this picture of a dragonfly.
The autofocusing in video mode can be tricky to figure out as well, and sometimes I would find the camera refocusing randomly, which can be a tad irritating when you’re trying to video unpredictable situations like videos.
The G7+ ThinQ also boasts a Super Bright Camera that could take up to 3.8x better quality photos in extreme low light conditions – and I managed to test it out in various situations.
Left: enclosed dark room with bright lights and a disco ball, Middle: open stage at night with bright lights, Right: open stage at night with dim lights and lots and lost of smoke
Here’s my verdict: while photos at night and in dark, enclosed spaces did turn out better, there had to be decent lighting. During Post Malone’s set, the dim lighting and smoke machines really diminished the image quality. It didn’t exactly live up to my expectations, but I was pretty happy with some of the low-light photos which my current S6 would have never been able to capture.
If you’re willing to splash a bit more for a better phone, the LG G7+ ThinQ might be the one that you’re looking for. Retailing at $1,198, it’s not exactly the most value-for-money phone out there, but it’s a pretty decent phone overall with a great camera, sturdy, and a good battery life. Plus, it’s still cheaper than a Google Pixel 2XL. It’s also a phone you would want to get your hands on if you’re a BTS fan (I’m a little bit sad I won’t see Jungkook’s face pop up whenever someone calls me after I’m done with this phone review).
Another thing I liked about the phone was that it’s pretty sturdy with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back of the phone to enhance durability (Slashgear even calls it boring since nothing interesting happens during their durability tests). Being a clumsy person, my S6 is riddled with cracks. With the G7+ ThinQ, I’ve dropped the phone countless times and even into a rocky gorge on a beach (by accident – not on purpose) and all I’ve done was scratch up the case more than the phone itself. Accident-prone people: this phone’s for you.
LG G7+ THinQ
$1,198, available at all authorised retailers now
Comes in Platinum Grey, Aurora Black and Moroccan Blue
The LG x BTS case is available as an add-on fore $142