There’s a lesson to be learned from the tortoise and the hare, and it seems like LG took this to heart when it developed its 2018 flagship.
Launched today in New York, the LG G7 ThinQ comes two months later than what we’re used to. But it’s these two extra months that could have been exactly the right pace needed for it to finish first.
For us tech journalists, these two months mean time for LG to sort out its artificial intelligence strategy, work out supply chain challenges so that the phone ships with all the best parts and hits stores soon after its launch, and carve out the space for it to have its own moment in the spotlight.
For everybody else, this means extra time that’s allowed LG to produce a solid smartphone that ticks off many, if not all, of the important boxes that we consider when looking for a smartphone.
It’s built well, has a great camera, has a bright screen and loud speakers, and is backed up by artificial intelligence that simplifies all this tech for you.
2017 was a renaissance year for LG in terms of smartphone design. Both of its flagships were smashing, well-built smartphones, with each release being iteratively better than the last.
Earlier this year, reps from LG’s design team told me that the design of the V30 was so strong and so well received, that it could be one they could settle in for a few generations. And so it comes as no surprise that the G7 and V30 feel like they’re from the same family.
The G7 ThinQ is made mostly of glass, with an aluminum frame, soft rounded corners, and a subtle amount of curves. In the hands, it has just the right amount of heft giving it a more premium feel, fits well in the hands, and is slightly taller and squeezes in more screen.
And of course, because its 2018, it has a notch, which one might argue gives you more screen real estate. If that’s notch your cup of tea, you could turn it off completely, so that the part of the your screen that displays your signal bars and battery status are filled with black. LG also lets you adjust the amount of curvature of the inside corners of your display, a teeny tiny aesthetic change that we’ve nitpicked about in the past and are thrilled to see addressed.
The LCD display itself fills most of the screen apart from a small chin on the bottom of the phone. It’s super bright and has great outdoor visibility.
There are no physical buttons in front; instead, you rely on traditional on-screen buttons to go back, home, and dive into your list of open apps. There’s a fingerprint sensor on the back, a headphone jack on its bottom, wireless charging support, and an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. Yep, pretty much the essentials.
But what makes the G7 an upgrade is its new artificial intelligence-based features.
Earlier this year, LG launched its own AI brand called ThinQ, first seen on its lineup of consumer home appliances. That G7 is the final part of the ThinQ puzzle, hence it officially goes by a longer name.
The phone should be able to identify LG appliances in your living space and allow you to control them from the phone.
While ThinQ today represents only a small part of what LG wants to do in the area of artificial intelligence space, LG’s vision is to use these technologies to create a device that’s hyper personalized to your needs.
We like how LG’s not reinventing the wheel by forcing users on yet another (half-baked) personal assistant, and instead keeping its platform open, giving Google Assistant even tighter integration. There’s now a dedicated button to summon Google — just press and speak a command. Or if the “Okay/Hey, Google” hot word is more to your liking, they’ve also improved improved the phone’s ability to hear you from much father away.
Of course, the biggest AI changes come via the phone’s cameras, which have also been improved. It’s still got the same dual camera setup, one of which has a wide-angle lens. Both now shoot at 16 megapixels, meaning you don’t have to scrimp on quality if you’d rather shoot wide.
There’s a new image sensor that supposedly shoots better low-light photos, although I have yet to test those claims.
What I can tell you for sure is that, through AI, the phone can detect up to 19 objects and scenes and offer you four different filters that it thinks best match what you are taking a photo of. You can also choose to ignore any of these suggestions and shoot, just as the camera sees it.
There’s a new selfie camera too, one that’s usable, and I say that with plenty of thankfulness in my heart, as the selfie camera has long been a weak spot on a whole string of recent LG phones. Portrait mode is available on both the front and main cameras.
Another area where the G7 shines is its new BoomBox Speaker. They’re not stereo speakers unfortunately, but these bottom-firing speakers are sufficiently loud and of great quality. LG says they’ve utilized the cavity inside the phone as a chamber used to amplify the sound. We tried it, and are pretty impressed.
The phone also supports DTS:X audio for 3D surround sound and Quad DAC (on both Asian and North American variants and not just the former).
That’s a theme with the G7 ThinQ: The phone doesn’t compromise on specs, including a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 3000 mAh battery.
The LG G7 will come in four colors, namely Moroccan Blue, Aurora Black, Platinum Grey, and Raspberry Rose.
Prices will differ depending on region, but LG promises it will retail for less than the V30 and closer to last year’s G6 pricing.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
It sure is too early to tell, but as early as now, it’s safe to say LG’s built a great phone they can be proud of, one that you would enjoy using.
We particularly like LG’s approach to an ecosystem of AI devices. Because LG makes so many other home appliances, it’s in a unique position to provide tighter integration. And because it’s also embracing the open approach, you’re not locked in to a single platform.
There’s a lot of promise here, and it’s exciting.
Snapdragon 865 Hands-on: Top 5 Features
5G for all, 200MP, 8K, and more.
As we lean towards the second decade of the millennium, Qualcomm is ready to ship out their next flagship chipset.
Snapdragon has been running most devices people use today. Snapdragon 865 (together with the midrange 765) are two of Qualcomm’s chipset offerings for 2020. They offer more than incremental performance boosts.
Watch more to know the top 5 promising features of the new chipset.
Realme X2 Pro Master Edition hands-on: Tough looks, solid performance
It’s made of a soft-frosted glass but feels like cement
The Realme X2 Pro has gotten fans really excited. Touted as the new flagship killer, it has quad cameras, Snapdragon 855+, and other flagship-level features at an affordable price tag.
While the regular Realme X2 Pro is already pretty awesome, what we got here is even more intense. We have the Reame X2 Pro Master Edition to check out, the Concrete edition to be exact.
The Master Edition of the Realme X2 Pro also comes in a Red Brick design. I’m not too big a fan of that look, so I got the Concrete version instead.
The Realme X2 Pro Master Edition is designed by famous Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa. It comes with a signature of the designer on the back panel.
The texture is pretty similar to the Sandstone feel of the older OnePlus devices — just less rough and more matte.
Realme says this is a soft-frosted glass although it’s hard to tell to be honest. The finish looks and feels like concrete cement even if it’s soft-to-touch.
Apart from the differences in design, it’s pretty much the same exact Realme X2 Pro inside. It packs 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.
The Realme X2 Pro has a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a waterdrop notch, and a high 90Hz refresh rate. It boasts a 91.7 percent screen-to-body ratio and an in-display fingerprint scanner that works really fast.
Making it an even better media device is a pair of stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
There’s also a vapor chamber liquid cooling, a superconducting carbon fiber multi-layer scheme, multi-layer graphite sheet and other heat-dissipating materials so the phone can definitely game without heating issues.
This is all backed up by a massive 4000 mAh battery with 50W SuperVOOC Flash Charging technology. It can fully charge the phone from zero, in just about 35 minutes.
This super fast charging is definitely something anyone would appreciate. Imagine waking up in the morning and charging your phone while you’re in the shower. It’ll be ready and full just before you head out.
The Realme X2 Pro has a quad-camera setup, with the Samsung GW1 64-MP sensor with a fast f/1.8 aperture as the main camera. There’s also a 13MP telephoto lens with support for up to 20x hybrid zoom, an 8MP ultra-wide with a 115-degree field-of-view, as well as a 2-megapixel depth sensor to help with portrait shots. Up front is a 16MP selfie camera.
In China the Realme X2 Pro is priced at CNY 3299 (US$ 469). In India, it will be going on sale around Christmas time for INR 34,999 (US$ 490).
What do you think about this version? Should phone companies make more special edition phones in a similar design? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
5 reasons to invest in a gaming laptop even if you don’t play
They can do more than just game
If you’re a professional in need of a powerful laptop, you might find it difficult to find something that meets all of your needs and preferences. While you’d rather have something that’s sleek, sometimes what you need are on a gaming laptop that’s bulky and just screams gaming too much.
While it’s easy to look for a reason to buy a gaming laptop if you’re a gamer, there are still a few good reasons to invest in a gaming laptop even if you don’t play games.
Work anywhere you want
Brands are redesigning gaming laptops by making them slimmer and more compact. Gaming laptops have started looking like real laptops and not a clunky machine that will be tough to carry around for most people. They’ve trimmed the weight and now a lot of them fit in most backpacks with a dedicated 15-inch laptop sleeve. Think of it as bringing a laptop with the power of a mobile PC wherever you go.
Stay ahead of the game (no pun intended)
A lot of laptops launched this year carry the latest processors and graphics card meant for the future. For instance, the Lenovo Legion Y540 has a 9th-gen Intel i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, 8GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage.
With that much power, that’s more than enough for your work and daily usage. Imagine running multiple tabs without any hiccups, or even when using power-hungry apps like Netflix, Spotify, and Google Chrome simultaneously.
Show-off a personality
Most gaming laptops nowadays are designed stylishly to reflect different personalities. The ASUS’ ROG line roars like thunder, screaming power, and strength. It’s also unafraid of coming out too loud and daring.
On the other hand, Lenovo’s Legion laptops remain true to their motto of being “stylish on the outside, savage on the inside.” A lot of their laptops look discreet and classy, but are powerful on their own right and oftentimes, they let their work — and performance — do the talking.
Since I have a hint of narcissism and vanity, I enjoy showing-off from time to time. However, I resonate most with the Legion lineup since I prefer astounding the world with the quality of my output.
Choose when to be untethered
A lot of people prefer being mobile so they can work remotely. Gaming laptops may be humongous but they’re portable and have multiple ports for you to stay connected. It’s difficult to pass on this kind of convenience. Additionally, gaming laptops aren’t limited to USB-C ports, unlike most business laptops. Furthermore, you don’t have to be tied down with cables compared to when you opt for a desktop PC.
Get the extra features to make you more productive
While your needs for a work laptop sometimes are limited to the basics, switching to a gaming laptop lets you enjoy extra features. Case in point: near-borderless display, better visuals, a 144 Hz refresh rate allowing a smooth and seamless, immersive sound experience, antiglare screen, and unique cooling system.
With all these nitty-gritty details, gaming laptops can make your workflow easier since these machines do most of the work for you. It’s just a matter of you taking advantage of all that power.
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