LG G7 ThinQ Review: A worthy rival to the Samsung Galaxy S9+

This flagship packs in a disappearing notch and AI features

LG G7 ThinQ / Photo credit: Chloe Becquet
LG G7 ThinQ Review
Bottom Line

The LG G7 is a worthy rival to the Samsung Galaxy S9+. Its optics, display, performance and software are all "top-notch" (pun intended). However, its design just isn’t that exciting.

Battery Life
Option to lose or use the notch
Super bright display
Excellent optics that produce natural and detailed photos
Outstanding performance
Free second-year warranty
Powerful Boombox speaker
Headphone jack, expandable storage
Mediocre battery life
Unexciting design
AI camera recognition doesn’t always work
Dedicated Google Assistant button can’t be reprogrammed

LG’s latest flagship, the LG G7 ThinQ has arrived and it’s heavily focused on AI, along with offering great optics and a kind of notch-less display.

With its slim bezels and sleek body – design-wise, the LG G7 ThinQ is no slouch. Yes, the glossy design of the LG G7 ThinQ makes it a fingerprint magnet, but that sort of thing has become more and more common with flagships in 2018, and it’s very forgivable. The actual build quality of the LG G7 ThinQ feels really sturdy and nice to grip in your hand, without being too slippery. We also appreciate that the fingerprint reader has been placed on the backside. That said, the weakest aspect of the G7’s design is that it’s not especially unique or exciting in any particular way.

LG G7 ThinQ's dual camera and fingerprint reader
LG G7 ThinQ’s glass body with dual camera and fingerprint reader on its backside / Photo credit: Chloe Becquet

The large 6.1-inch QHD+ FullVision LCD display on the LG G7 ThinQ is one of the best and brightest displays on a smartphone. It produces accurate colors that are easy on the eyes and not at all oversaturated, which is something we especially appreciate. That said, the blacks aren’t the blackest blacks we’ve seen on a flagship, but that doesn’t bother us much.

LG G7 ThinQ's top bar can be customised
LG G7 ThinQ’s top bar can be customized / Photo credit: Chloe Becquet

To be or notch to be. The notch on the LG G7 ThinQ can be switched on or off easily from the settings panel. You can even choose to “colorize” the notch if you want too. But even with the notch enabled, the G7’s notch is still smaller than the one you’ll find on the iPhone X.

The LG G7 ThinQ has a display that is rocking 1,000 nits. That is OUTSTANDINGLY bright. Realistically most people will only need to take advantage of the G7 ThinQ’s highest brightness setting via Boost Mode, when they are outside. That said, Boost mode does really help you see the display in sunlight, and it’s very useful feature to have.

We have been really impressed with the G7’s camera results. In general, photos taken in daylight are sharp, with lots of detail. Many shots we took came out looking near DSLR quality. The shots tend to produce more accurate colors than what we’ve seen from the likes of Samsung and Huawei’s flagships.

Portrait photos, in particular, come out brilliantly and the LG G7 ThinQ produces some of the most natural-looking portrait photos we have seen from a phone. That means the photos are less about beautifying (which is something the Huawei P20 Pro does) and the final result tends to be a more accurate, natural looking portrait. The camera also produces a bokeh effect with fewer artifacts and issues than what we’ve seen on other phones like the iPhone X.

As for lowlight performance, it isn’t the best out there, but it’s very solid, and certainly light years ahead of the iPhone X. The side by side comparison shot above demonstrates the LG G7 ThinQ’s superior low-light performance. With the iPhone X shot you can barely make out what’s in the scene, but the LG G7 ThinQ produced a shot with defined objects – it was actually able to see better into the dark than my own eyes could.

LG G7 ThinQ AI Cam in action
LG G7 ThinQ AI Cam in action / Photo credit: Chloe Becquet

The LG G7 ThinQ camera packs in AI hence the “ThinQ” in its name. This is something we’ve seen in Huawei phones, like the Honor V10. AI comes to play in a couple of areas. The AI can recognize whether the camera is pointed at a person, sunrise, pet, night sky, etc. It will analyze the subject in the frame and recommend the best settings for it (I.e. exposure, filters). This is designed to take the guesswork out of taking great shots.

The AI works much of the time but not all of the time, often struggling to identify objects. But when it does work, it does do a great job of enhancing the camera’s settings for the scene – so much so that we did observe a noticeable difference between photos that are AI enhanced and photos that aren’t.

For anyone serious about audio, the G7’s built-in DAC improves audio coming from your headphones. The speaker on the G7 is also very loud and is actually the most powerful smartphone speaker we can recall testing to date.

The LG G7 ThinQ is powered by Qualcomm’s latest and most powerful Snapdragon 845, so we were not surprised by its super speedy day to day performance, nor were we surprised by its solid benchmarks. We also really like LG’s Android overlay Android 8.0 Oreo which is clean and non-intrusive. The phone comes preloaded with minimal bloatware and in general feels super fast and responsive.

LG G7 ThinQ Benchmarks
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – Open GL ES 3.1 4236
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan 2674
AnTuTu CPU 65211
AnTuTu CPU 95639

AnTuTu ranks the LG G7 ThinQ’s performance below the Honor V10 and the OnePlus 5T, but faster than the Google Pixel 2 XL and Note 8.

With all of that said, we could not get the GeekBench benchmark to run successfully, and because we were testing a pre-production unit for this review, we wouldn’t consider these benchmarks final.

Unfortunately, battery life on the LG G7 ThinQ has been somewhat disappointing. On paper, the phone touts a respectable 3,000 mAh battery but we couldn’t get the phone to last through a full day of active use. Perhaps this is because we were testing a pre-production unit. We’re hoping that the final production model will offer better battery life.

Next Page: Bottom Line

Bottom Line

LG G7 ThinQ's notch perfectly blends in when using the hide option
LG G7 ThinQ’s notch perfectly blends in when using the hide option / Photo credit: Chloe Becquet

The LG G7 ThinQ is a really great high-end smartphone. It’s certainly a worthy rival to the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and other flagship phones. You’ll love its display, optics, software, and its performance. Its battery life could use improvement, but that’s not enough reason for you to not consider the LG G7 ThinQ (also for this review we tested a pre-production unit, the final production unit may offer better battery life). As long as you don’t mind that its design is not especially unique or exciting, it’s extremely unlikely that you will be unhappy with the LG G7 ThinQ.

Update 6/1/2018: The LG G7 ThinQ is now available to purchase in the U.S. for $750 from Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Project Fi, and U.S. Cellular, as well as Amazon, and Best Buy. AT&T customers are out of luck – but they can opt to purchase the very similar LG V35 ThinQ instead.

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