LG G8 ThinQ: Old Dog, New Tricks

LG G8 ThinQ: Old Dog, New Tricks
By Sarvjit Rangra / April 15, 2019

LG, as usual, is incorporating a mixed bag of tricks — some that were once considered gimmicks many moons ago — that help you handle the phone efficiently and in style.

LG has been known in recent years as an ambitious pursuant of unique approaches to the flagship concept. They've tried everything from retaining a removable battery after Samsung jumped ship into sealed juicers, introducing modules that alter the phone's functionality, and they've now tucked not one but three biometric scanners in their newest handset. There are new control schemes as well, namely Air Motion, which you might remember from as early as the Galaxy S4 and S5 before it was scrapped in more recent models of Samsung's devices. Unfortunately, it was largely received as a gimmick back then much to the disappointment of those who actively used it.

LG did well to pack considerable power into the G8 ThinQ ("think-cue"), which managed a higher AnTuTu than the base S10 model. Keep in mind that benchmarks don't measure real-world performance, a matter made even more trivial since speed has become a largely antiquated concern with the sheer power of our phones these days. For a reasonable cost, you're getting a traditional flagship that doesn't fall short of any particular mark. It might not be the hardware hotshot that the S10+ is, but we've got news: You don't need that much power.

With that said, let's see what's new with the G8 ThinQ.

Biometrics

There are three forms of biometric scanning that the G8 ThinQ offers. All three can be used simultaneously if you're paranoid about someone picking up your device, but you probably don't need that much security given the sheer complexity of biometric information, especially in 3D space.

1. Fingerprint

There's not much to say: It's the standard biometric tool that can be found on all but the cheapest phones. It's reliable and quick as ever on this device, but do note that it's been mounted to the back like traditional scanners. That means that no, LG didn't opt for an in-screen fingerprint scanner. We're not so quick to disagree with this move considering the cost and unreliability of an in-screen variant, so for the sake of a scanner that just works, this was a smart move.

2. 3D Face

LG is bringing Face ID-like functionality to the G8 ThinQ, allowing you to securely unlock your handset with the front-mounted "Z Camera" sensors, which are designed to pick up depth. Since it captures the contour of your face in three dimensions, it can't be tricked with a simple photo of you, and it can even see past glasses, beards and other natural changes to one's face over the course of days or weeks. However, wearing hats and scarves may throw the sensor off. Fortunately, you have the option to "Improve Face Unlock" so the camera can recognize you in these conditions. Overall, this feature was found to be highly reliable with a narrow miss rate.

3. Palm

Who says palm readers have to be psychic? The aforementioned Z Camera can pick up your palm when hovered a distance from the front of the device, allowing you to unlock it without even touching it. This sounds great in theory, and the security is even better than the 3D facial scanner, but it seems that we're not ready for palm scanners in their current state given the hit-or-miss functionality of it in the G8 ThinQ. It's even more likely to miss if you've just washed your hands or gotten dirt on them, which means your hands must be clean and dry for a semi-accurate read.

Air Motion

This is a nice touch; really, it is. The principle is the same as it was on Samsung's flagships back in 2013: You wave your hand in front of the Z Camera, and it should pick up gestures that allow you to remotely control your device without touching it. Soe of these gestures include pinching your fingers together to take a screenshot or turning your hand to change the media volume. While these are cool, the irritation is how long it takes the Z Camera to recognize your hand prior to making these gestures.

You have to start by holding your palm over the camera, then forming a claw as if to grip a rotating knob. From here, you can scroll pages and open apps in addition to the aforementioned features, which is nice. However, we think the reason this feature never really "blew up" is thanks to the tiny screen, which forces close interaction between the user and the device. Motion guestures work for TV sets and arcades, but when you're dealing with a device that's held inches from your face to so much as distinguish the screen contents, you may as well use the touchscreen.

With that said, if you enjoy finger food or want to feel like a Jedi, Air Motion can help with that. Unfortunately, it's a little slow and weird at times, so it's not a make-or-break feature of the G8 ThinQ.

Hardware

The LG G8 ThinQ is packed with a Snapdragon 855, 6 GB RAM, a 6.1-inch OLED screen at 1440 x 3120, IP68 ruggedness and a 12 MP rear shooter that can pull 4K at 60 fps. There's 128 GB of inbuilt storage plus microSD support, a sealed 3,500 mAh juicer to keep it running, and a standard-issue metal-and-glass chassis that's slick but easy to hold thanks to its bulk. While the whole shebang seems a little uninspiring compared to its competitors, they've managed to slim down the Android Pie experience to make the G8 ThinQ run smoother than the basic Galaxy S10 model, which is noteworthy for a device that's sold on its specialized functionality.

Overall, we recommend the G8 ThinQ to those who prefer a flagship of traditional expense that offers high-end hardware while specializing in efficient handling and navigation of the device. LG is one of the best out there, so don't feel like you need a Galaxy for a premium Android experience.

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