Hands-On

LG G7 ThinQ Hands-on: Ticks all the boxes

It’s never too late

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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.

LG G7 ThinQ (left), LG G6 (right)

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.

Design

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.

Artificial Intelligence

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.

Cameras

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.

BoomBox Speaker

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).

Specifications

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.

Accessories

PH3 wireless headphones is a wearable Filipino pride

A limited-edition offering that gives back

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Electronics manufacturer H-Audio has been providing quality products to its market when it comes to audio solutions. While they have a select lineup of offerings, it caters to different types of users.

What we have here is the PH3 that screams Filipino pride as soon as you put it on. Read on and find out if it performs as good as it looks.

It has a straightforward design

Red and blue stripes signify colors from the Philippine flag

Three stars and a sun on each earcup

Can’t get any more Filipino than this

Solid build quality

Headband has a good flex to it

Clasps comfortably on the head

Doesn’t come off easily

Comfortable ear cups

Earmuffs are made of memory foam

What I personally like about the PH3 when it comes to design is how it has a minimalistic kind of approach with just the three stars, sun, and stripes of red and blue. Apart from these Philippine flag-inspired colors, everything else is white. Sure, it might require extra effort to keep it clean, but it’s just something that works aesthetically.

Build quality feels durable and not flimsy which is what I look for next to sound quality. This is made possible by using stainless steel for the headband support and hard plastic for the rest — making it light, but tough.

It has a nice fit around the ears and wearing it for extended periods of time was still comfortable thanks to its memory foam earmuffs. I’ve used it a couple of times while running on the treadmill and the earcups remained snug and in place.

All-around performer

When it comes to sound quality, let’s get to the point — the PH3 delivers. It’s got warm and distinct mids, decent highs, and impressive lows. The overall sound is what you’d expect of closed-back headphones and leans on the muffled side of the sound spectrum.

Active Noise Cancellation option

One thing I noticed, though, is that sound leaks a little to the outside world so you might want to keep that in mind when you’re in an elevator with other people or something.

Connection via Bluetooth was easy and automatically pairs to the phone each time the headphones is turned on. That alone is a big check for me.

Micro-USB port for charging

The company says it has up to 20 hours of battery life. While I was not able to continuously use it, the headphones lasted me about five days with ANC off and mainly using it for music at the gym, walking around the neighborhood, or even just at home.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

H-Audio’s PH3 is a reliable pair of cans with minimal drawbacks. It might require extra care to keep it clean and sound leak at full volume might be an issue for a select few. Looking past those, however, you have a good set of headphones that not only performs well but also looks attractive with its touch of a local theme.

Additionally, its features like wireless connectivity and Active Noise Cancellation make operations easier and add to the overall music-listening experience.

Priced at PhP 7,480, proceeds will go to platforms to raise funds and help the underprivileged Filipino youth. The PH3 is available in select The Loop by Power Mac Center branches. For more list of stores carrying their products, visit their Facebook page.

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Hands-On

Professional home: Panasonic’s ES-LV6Q premium men’s shaver

‘Powerful, reliable, and easy to travel with’

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Are you a fan of a fresh, clean shave? For most, professional gentlemen, an electric shaver is one of their most important grooming tools. Maintaining a look that’s both clean and professional is quick and easy with a good, electronic shaver. Panasonic’s new premium tool — the ES-LV6Q — promises a job done well enough as if a professional did it by hand. So, we put it to the test.

We asked for the help of Sergio, 32, who works in sales here in Germany. He goes to a good number of meetings every week, representing their company. So it’s no wonder that he spends a lot of his mornings, shaving to keep a clean appearance.

“I’ve been using an electric shaver for years but the one I’ve had never really got the job done quickly. I have to keep going over the same spot a couple of times before I get a smooth shave,” he shared with GadgetMatch.

The shaver’s head is flexible and moves up to six directions, making movement along the curves of the face practically seamless. The five blades can also get as close as possible to the skin, without hurting the person using it. One of the blades is shaped like a comb, making it easier to catch each strand. Each area of the face is also clean after going through it just once — no more razor burns. Even during a dry shaving session.

Great for travel

The ES-LV6Q also travels well. An hour’s worth of charging will give you up to 45 minutes of use, making it perfect for business trips. It also comes with a travel pouch and has a blade protection clip that can help keep it safe in your suitcase while traveling.

“With the powerful motor and the blades that get every hair, it takes me a minimum of four minutes to shave. If my hair has gotten a bit longer and it needs a bit of trimming first, I go no longer than six minutes,” Sergio added. “At the speed that I can go with the ES-LV6Q, a full charge can last me up to two weeks,” Sergio added.

The shaver is also completely waterproof making it perfect for wet or dry use. Despite shaving as close as possible with the power of the 14,000 CPM Linear Motor, Sergio reported no irritation on his skin.

Another feature that Sergio liked a lot was the clipper that can be used for sideburns. It’s also great for people who just want to trim their facial hair. “It’s great for weekends or when you want to keep a little stubble,” he added.

Cleaning is also a breeze. It’s easy to do after every shave under the tap. All Sergio has to do is add some hand soap and activate the sonic vibration cleaning mode. This, by pressing the power button for more than two seconds. Removing the gadget’s outer foil section is also an easy task and putting it under running water makes for a thorough rinse. A gentle shake plus a quick wipe down and you’re done for the day.

Sergio’s always ready for a client presentation using Panasonic’s ES-LV6Q shaver. “This Panasonic 5-Blade Men’s shaver has all the features I require in a grooming gadget and more. It’s powerful, reliable, and easy to travel with. I’m really satisfied with the results! ” Sergio concluded.

The Panasonic ES-LV6Q currently retails at EUR 245,99 at Saturn.de and Mediamarkt.de. For more information on the product, visit Panasonic’s website.

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CES 2020

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite Hands-on

For those who want a Note 10 on a budget

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It hasn’t been a year since Samsung released the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+. They even had a Star Wars x Note 10+ collaboration.

In this year’s CES, a Lite variant of the Galaxy Note 10 has been announced — but it’s not lite on features at all.

You can watch the video above to know more. If you’re having a hard time viewing it, click this link to watch our hands-on.

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