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LG G8s ThinQ Review: Best Overall Smartphone In Sub-40K Price Point
The Indian smartphone market has grown exponentially in the last three to four years. A recent report by IDC suggests that India's smartphone market grew 7.1 per cent year-on-year (YoY) despite the global market falling by six per cent during the same period.
This is one major reason several leading smartphone brands now prefer to introduce a new product first to the Indian market and then to the home-grown market.
- Most Durable Design In Sub 40K Price
- Vibrant OLED Display, HDR10 Certified
- Offers 3.5mm Headphone Jack And MicroSD Card Support
- Best-In-Class Audio Performance Via Headphones
- Feature-Packed Camera App- Manual Video Mode, Cinematic Effects
- Camera Captures Crisp Shots And Videos
- Lag-free Multitasking And Gaming
- Air-Gestures Are Gimmicky
- Competitors Offer 90Hz/120Hz Displays
- Snapdragon 855 Plus Powered Phones Available In Similar Price Bracket
- Disappointing Software Update Cycle
- Low-light Camera Performance Could Have Been Better
And then we have the veteran smartphone brand LG which takes its sweet time to launch its premium flagship handsets to the Indian shores. The latest victim to the company's shoddy launch strategy is the LG G8s ThinQ.
Like most of LG's premium flagship smartphones, the G8s ThinQ has arrived late to the party; however, it still packs some neat tricks under its sleeve. The handset is priced competitively at Rs. 36,990 for the fact that it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset and features a penta-lens camera setup.
LG G8s ThinQ takes on the recently unveiled and the widely popular OnePlus 7T. We have done a detailed comparison of the two handsets which can help you decide the right value flagship smartphone for your kind of usage. Today we are going to focus on the LG G8s ThinQ in the following review. Let's understand how the LGs 2019 flagship performs as a daily driver.
Design- Most Durable Value Flagship Smartphone
LG G8s ThinQ isn't going to win any design pageant; however, the smartphone beats the competition in terms of durability and practicality. Like the previous LG G-series devices, the G8s ThinQ body is MIL-STD-810 compliant making it much more durable. The robust body of the LG G8s ThinQ can withstand far more damages than its contemporaries like the OnePlus 7T.
LG G8s ThinQ features 2.5 glass finish with metal sides. The phone is also IP68 certified for water and dust resistivity. As far as ergonomics are concerned, the G8s ThinQ can be used with one hand without much discomfort.
The fingerprint scanner is conveniently placed at the back panel and unlocks the device instantly. However, LG has positioned the power button an inch higher than the comfortable spot. Your thumb would face difficulty in reaching the power button to lock the handset. It will take some time to get use to the odd placement of the power button.
MicroSD card Slot, Stereo Speakers, 3.5mm Headphone jack
Additionally, the G8s ThinQ also features the good old 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot. These features alone make the G8s ThinQ a better handset than some of the best affordable flagship smartphones in the market.
Overall, the LG G8s ThinQ is a neatly designed smartphone. It is well-built and also offers basic features that give it an edge over the competition. If you prefer practicality over looks, LG G8s ThinQ is the device you should go for.
Display- 60Hz OLED Display, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 402 PPI
The G8s ThinQ is the first LG G-series handset to flaunt an OLED panel. The smartphone sports a 6.21-inch OLED screen with 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The OLED panel offers 2248 x 1080 pixels resolution that translates to 402ppi.
The screen is vivid and offers impressive contrast levels; however, it runs at the conventional 60Hz refresh rate. The OnePlus 7T at a slightly higher price-point offers a 90Hz OLED panel, which makes it much more responsive and fluid to use. If your priority is a fluid display, the OnePlus 7T is the phone you should go for.
HDR 10 Certified, Several Color Modes
The OLED panel on the LG G8s ThinQ is also HDR10 certified making videos and games look punchier and livelier. You can also customize the screen's color output depending upon the content streamed. The ‘Screen Colors' section offers several display modes and color temperature settings to help you derive the required color output.
The OLED panel on the LG G8s ThinQ offers impressive viewing angles and good sunlight visibility. The color accuracy is also to the point. The display is also protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
Big Notch For An Additional 3D ToF Sensor
The OLED panel on the LG G8s ThinQ has a big notch at the top. It gives the phone a dated look and feel and leaves the device with an underwhelming 80% screen-to-body ratio. However, it serves a very important purpose. In addition to the regular 8MP selfie camera, the notch also houses an additional 3D ToF sensor and an infrared illuminator.
It helps in making face unlock more secure and also allows you to perform some intuitive air-gesture functions. The ToF sensor can better recognize the scene to create a 3D model to capture better depth-of-field information.
Camera- Feature Packed Triple-Lens Rear Camera Setup
The LG G8s ThinQ features a triple-lens camera setup at the rear panel. The camera array comprises of a 12 MP primary sensor + 13 MP wide-angle sensor + 12 MP telephoto lens. The 12MP primary lens is OIS stabilized. The 13MP sensor on the LG phone captures the industry-leading 137-degree field-of-view. The 12MP telephoto lens supports 2X optical zoom and is also OIS enabled.
Daylight Camera Performance- LG G8s ThinQ Captures Crisp And Vibrant Shots
The LG G8s ThinQ captures crisp shots in daylight with all three sensors. The images captured on the 12MP primary lens show impressive contrast levels and vibrant colors. The closest rival -- the OnePlus 7T couldn't match the LG G8s ThinQ's camera performance in terms of sharpness and dynamic range even though it is equipped with a 48MP primary lens.
Impressive Monochrome Results
The LG G8s ThinQ's camera autofocus is also snappier than the OnePlus 7T as it is backed by a laser autofocus setup. The wide-angle camera ensures maximum field-of-view and captures stunning shots. We also captured monochrome shots and they looked absolutely stunning. Overall, the LG G8s ThinQ is a very capable daylight camera smartphone that beats the OnePlus 7T and other sub 40K handsets by a fair margin.
Low-Light Camera Performance
The 12MP primary lens on the LG G8s ThinQ works on an f/1.8 aperture and a large pixel diameter of 1.4 microns. The combination allows for better light intake and ensures well-lit shots. A dedicated night mode is also provided to improve the low-light camera performance; however, it failed to impress us. Overall, the LG G8s ThinQ is not a star performer in low light situations.
Best Video Camera On A Smartphone In Sub 40K Price Point
The LG G8s ThinQ can record 4K videos at 60fps and 30fps, 1080p videos at 60fps/30fps and 720p videos at 30 fps. The video output looks crisp and vibrant. The footage comes out very stable once you enable the Steady recording feature in the settings.
There's a Cine mode in the camera app that offers some really exciting video modes to shoot pro-grade videos. If you are a content creator, you will simply love LG's camera app as it gives great control over the camera's hardware.
Like previous LG devices, the camera app on the LG G8s ThinQ also offers a dedicated Pro video mode that you won't find on any other handset. The Pro video mode is essentially the manual video mode that allows you to change ISO, exposure, focus, white balance, and shutter speed even while recording videos.
What this means is that you can control the video output as per your requirement in real time without depending upon some video-editing software for post processing jobs.
Overall, the LG G8s ThinQ is our camera pick in the sub-40K price bracket despite an average low-light camera performance. It's a great camera smartphone that leaves the competition behind by fair margins, especially in the video shooting department.
Audio- LG G8s ThinQ Offers Dedicated DAC
LG takes audio very seriously and the trend continues with the LG G8s ThinQ. The smartphone feature stereo speakers, one at the top and one at the bottom. The earpiece on top doubles as the secondary speaker. The audio produced by LG's device is balanced and does not distort even at maximum volume levels; however, they do not sound as loud as the speakers on the predecessor.
As the LG G8s ThinQ also offers a 3.5mm headphone jack, you can use any standard headphones with this device. The audio through headphones is not as immersive as the original G8 because the G8s ThinQ features a 32-bit HiFi DAC rather than the quad DAC audio hardware that powers up the LG G8. Still, the G8s ThinQ is one of the best sounding smartphone in the sub-40K price bracket.
A plethora of audio settings are offered with the LG G8s ThinQ. You can enable DTS:X 3D Surround sound, normalize the volume, select audio presets or customize your own within the feature-rich equalizer.
Hardware- Snapdragon 855 Plus 6GB RAM Plus 128GB ROM
The LG G8s ThinQ is backed by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (standard version) chipset with Adreno 640 GPU. There's 6GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 flash internal storage. The flagship-grade hardware ensures smooth and lag-free performance throughout the day.
Multitasking And Benchmarks
Multitasking works without a glitch and you can play the most graphics-intensive games on the LG G8s ThinQ without worrying about any performance slowdown. The LG G8s ThinQ feels very responsive and fluid no matter how many applications are active in the background.
We also ran some benchmarks and to our surprise the LG G8s ThinQ scored better in some tests than the OnePlus 7T and the Asus ROG Phone II. Both these devices are backed by the SD855 Plus whereas the LG handset runs on the standard Snapdragon 855 SoC.
Software Experience- Still Stuck With Android 9 And LG UX 8.0
LG has always struggled to offer updates on time and the same continues with the G8s ThinQ. Our LG G8s ThinQ is still running on the Android 9 which is a disappointment. The smartphone runs on the LG UX 8.0 UI which is very colorful and feature-rich; however, it lacks the fluidity and ease of use of the stock android and the Oxygen OS.
The settings menu is very organized. The UI is very clean and intuitive. The app drawer is not enabled by default; however, you can enable it from the settings menu. The notch, which is called the ‘Second Screen' is highly customizable. The phone also features a dedicated Game launcher, Theme engine, File manager, LG Mobile Switch app and a Smart Doctor that optimizes phone by deleting unnecessary files, cache, etc.
Surprisingly, I also experienced less number of stutters and app crashes on the LG G8s ThinQ than the OnePlus 7T. While the latter is faster and snappier, the OxygenOS 10.0.3 running on the OnePlus 7T is much buggier than LG's custom UI. The camera app on the OnePlus 7T is the buggiest of all, especially the portrait mode that crashes and freezes very often.
Overall, LG's UI is clean, lag-free and intuitive. The only problem is the slow update cycle where brands like OnePlus and Samsung take the lead.
3,550 mAh Battery Unit With QC 3.0 Support
The LG G8s ThinQ is powered by a 3,550 mAh battery unit. Despite the average battery cell capacity, the phone performed well in the battery tests. LG G8s ThinQ can easily survive a day with moderate to heavy usage. It is only under heavy load that you would need to refuel the battery during a day. The G8s ThinQ ships with a fast-charging adaptor that supports QC 3.0. The phone gets fully charged in less than 2-hours.
Besides securing the face unlock, the 3D ToF sensor also brings some nifty air-gestures that allow you to control the LG G8s ThinQ with just hand movements. The hand gestures make it possible to unlock the device, control the music volume and open apps like YouTube. The trick is quite neat; however, the implementation is poor. They are gimmicky and don't always work as advertised. However, LG has informed us that the company is working on OTA update that will improve the air-gestures functionality multifold in the coming months.
Should You Buy The LG G8s ThinQ?
The LG G8s ThinQ is by far the best overall package in the sub-40K price segment. It brings a durable design, crisp OLED screen, impressive audio, secure face-unlock, and a capable camera that possess best-in-class video shooting capabilities. The software performance is also good but the slow update cycle is a disappointment.
If LG manages to address the sluggish software update process, the G8s ThinQ will give the competition a run for their money. It still does. If you are still confused between the OnePlus 7T and the LG G8s ThinQ, read our detailed comparison between the two budget flagship smartphones.