LG G8X Hands-On Review – I gotta be honest, after the flop that was the LG G8, which combined forgettable design with, um. I didn’t have high hopes for the company’s next smartphone. And that didn’t really change when I finally got to put it in my hand here at IFA 2019 in Berlin. Until that is, it sprouted a second screen.
Okay, so technically these are two separate products, the LG G8X smartphone and its dual-screen case. But it’s only when you use them together that they become exciting. Now, the part of me that still misses the bold LG designs of yesteryear with their pioneering curved screens. Can’t help but point out that the G8X and its dual-screen case looks kind of… goofy.
The big bezels and big hinges, the twin notches, even though there’s only a camera in one of them. There’s nothing sexy about this product, and I don’t think it represents the future of smartphones. But as Samsung very publicly learned with its Galaxy Fold fiasco, riding the bleeding edge has its price. So LG is carefully to say that this isn’t competing with folding phones, even though it’s trying to do the same thing.
Fit more screen real estate into the same space. In our Berlin briefing, the company kept using the word practical. It’s not a phone for the future, it’s a phone for today. And, you know, the more I use it, the more I think LG might actually have something here.
The software makes a lot of sense and gives you a tone of options. You can run two different apps at once, of course. LG gave the example of YouTube and a game at the same time with a custom audio mix between them, but God does that sound exhausting. So I’d probably stick to email and a browser. That could be Chrome or a particular preloaded browser that lets you keep multiple tabs open across screens.
If you go the gaming route, those gamepads are totally customizable. But the thing I could genuinely see myself doing every day. Popping this thing open in mini laptop mode with huge touch keyboard on the bottom and a full-size smartphone display up top. I’m happy to say the weight distribution works out, too. There’s no wobble, and it’s actually pretty comfy to type on.
When closed, this thing is a bit of a choker. But as my Android Central buddies pointed out, no more so than a big phone with a case on it. If there’s something to complain about here, it’s the glass finish on the exterior. It just seems to me that if you’re going to make a case that folds in on itself to protect those displays, coating the front in glass kind of defeats the purpose.
It also makes it impossible if there’s any sun out to see that small OLED display that lives upfront to give you essential notifications. Again, though for most of this, LG seems to have gotten it right. The screens are identical OLED panels, so they’ve got the same colour temperature. Something that rivals ETE totally whiffed on with it’s Axon M.
The screen switching is done through the extended display functionality already built into Android. So there’s not a lot of custom LG software to trip upon. And the interface that is here has finally gotten a fresh paint job. Pricing and availability of the G8X and its case are TBD since LG usually lets its carrier partners announce those details. And also TBD, TBH is whether I’m going to try to review it.
I mean, as much as I value the practical approach here. If the most exciting thing about your new smartphone is an accessory. Well, it’s not always a great sign. LG is going to need more than an iterative rehash of a poorly received product to get back on the map in a big way, and I hope that’s something we see come next year.
If you enjoyed this article, hit that subscribe button and follow us on Social Media for daily tech information like this. And I’ll see you in the next one!