Like Nokia and HTC, LG Mobile was once a formidable smartphone brand challenger. They introduced radical mobile innovation, like the curved display, 3D holographic display, tap-to-wake screen. The G-series had a fantastic run, reached its peak with G3. But G4 started to get into trouble, and when the G5’s modular design and “LG Friends” companion accessories tanked commercially (I liked it, though), they realised the consumers aren’t the adventurous type. Too forward-thinking perhaps, till today I still use the LG 360 CAM I bought 2 years ago. Today, 360 photography is barely picking up, but read my other article to understand how wonderful it can be in capturing life moments.
LG Mobile Development In Recent Years
LG continues to find new design elements to make their products a little different from the mainstream. The V10 started with being military-grade toughness, the G5 introduced dual lens ultrawide-angle camera which continued till today, allowing wide-angle photography in a smartphone. The V20 introduced a small second screen, continues to support removable battery, then added a quad-DAC permanently. The G6 became the first LG flagship that abandons removable battery but added IP68 waterproofing, made it smaller and longer that works well for one-hand operation. It’s also the first phone with 18:9 screen ratio. V30 is the slimmest 6-inch flagship smartphone and the first smartphone to support MQA audio format.
G7+ is launched outside the usual G-series Q1 timeline, which was definitely a good thing so that it can carry the latest Snapdragon processor and avoid the mistake made by G6. LG Singapore does not carry the basic G7 model which comes in 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. The G7+ 6GB/128GB is probably more appealing to the market given the hunger for more storage, regardless of the need. The G7+ retails at S$1198.
LG G7+ and the ThinQ Moniker
In recent months, LG adopted the “ThinQ” label to denote products with A.I. features. In this review article, I will refer G7+ ThinQ as simply “G7+”. The ThinQ “A.I.” that LG builds in the G7+ refers to the smart camera, smart battery, smart voice, smart UI, as well as smart inter-connectivity with other LG appliances. Many of these smart features are already found in earlier LG models, but with the recent A.I. craze, LG just lumps these smart functions together, like everyone else.
LG G7/G7+ vs. V30/V30+
The G7/G7+ carries a few new features and redesign elements compared to the V30/V30+.
Separate Power Button
LG has finally separated the power button from the fingerprint sensor.
Google Assistant Button
Following Samsung footsteps, LG has a new button to invoke Google Assistant (single tap), and Google Lens (double-tap).
G7+ can recognise scenes, show tags on-screen and apply smart filters. For each scene, user can select one of the 4 suggested filters. Super Bright Camera mode will also improve image brightness when shooting low-light scenes. I’ll touch on the camera quality difference between the 2 phones later in this article.
V30+ will also have this feature once the firmware is updated over-the-air to Android 8.0 Oreo.
Camera Portrait Mode
The G7+ supports portrait mode, which is to blur the background. During post-edit, user can adjust the blur amount, but unable to change focus like Huawei’s smartphones. Like most smartphones, the effect is not perfect in some situations.
HDR10 4K Video Mode
The G7+ can shoot HDR10 format in 4K resolution. You need HDR10 supported displays to playback the videos, else normal displays will make the videos look over-exposed.
G7+ can activate some phone-exclusive features through Google Assistant, like take a photo with wide-angle lens, capture video in Cine Video mode.
V30+ will also have this feature once the firmware is updated over-the-air to Android 8.0 Oreo.
Super Bright Display – 1000 nit
G7+ can deliver 1000 nit of screen brightness on demand, but after a few minutes, the phone will disable the boost mode to conserve battery.
G7+ has built a resonance chamber at the back of the phone. When held on hand, you can feel the lower frequencies vibrate, and when the phone is placed on a surface, it will also resonate the surface. It does not deliver that true subwoofer sound, but it does create an impression of a fuller audio effect, instead of sounding tinny.
DTS:X 3D Surround Sound
Touted as the first smartphone to feature DTS:X, turn it on when watching DTS:X-encoded content. There are 3 modes: wide, front, side-to-side. To experience 3D sound properly, please download DTS:X encoded files. The Digital Theater is a good place to start. Also, install DTS-supported players like VLC for Android. Do not use YouTube videos for reference as the audio might not be properly encoded with multi-channel formats.
Super Far Field Voice Recognition
G7+ can recognise your voice even from a distance up to 5 metres, so you can say the magic “OK Google” anywhere around the house to give commands. A Google Home Mini replacement indeed!
Here are some features to highlight on the LG G7+.
New Second Screen a.k.a. Notch
LG G7+ technically does not have a notch, because LG calls it “new second screen”. Unlike other brands, the second screen has a black background as a default, just like the V20. It is there to hold the row of phone status icons.
The G7+ has improved lens specs, with 16MP F/1.6 on the standard 71-degree rear cam, 16MP F/1.9 on the wide angle 107-degree rear, and 8MP F/1.9 80-degree front cam. I am a little disappointed that the G7+ angle of view is reduced, compared to 120-degree on the V30+. Similarly, the front camera is less wide than the predecessor. This is a critical factor that will made me contemplate if I prefer the newer LG smartphone.
Generally, the V30+ captures a warmer tone, while G7+ normal camera mode appears to capture a more accurate white balance.
Under low light, the G7+ improves in the exposure levels.
As I test the AI Camera mode, I find that I do not like the outcomes. The images appear a tad too blue, so the first impression is that they appear old. Perhaps the camera is calibrated to favour Korean tastes?
In some cases like food, the colour contrast is increased for the better.
Once a scene is detected, there are 4 effects to choose from. But as you can see the previews below, they do not appeal to me. In other scenes, like text mode, a slider is shown to adjust the contrast to mimic a scanner.
Note that once the photo is shot in AI Cam mode, it is not possible to undo, unlike Honor 10.
As for the Super Bright Camera mode, the output compared to a normal mode is sharper and noisier.
In most cases, there is lacking in details, understandably so, since the pixels are combined to favour brightness rather than details. When light levels are so low, the camera even fails to focus properly, resulting in out-of-focus images.
Basically, for the Super Bright Camera to work well, there must be sufficient nightscape light (e.g. street lamps, house lights) to deliver positive results.
Like almost all the latest smartphones, LG G7+ comes with AR stickers to create funny and cute faces.
LG G7+ is one of the best smartphones that is capable of handling advanced audio functions. It supports all popular Bluetooth audio formats – SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC. The phone can connect to 2 Bluetooth audio devices at the same time. When wireless audio is connected, there are options to swap the audio path and access audio settings.
When the headphone supports Hi-Fi audio, there will be option to stream in normal mode to improve stability.
Comparing the Quad-DAC to V30+, the G7+ delivers a brighter treble output with closer sound stage. Overall, I feel the V30+ delivers a warmer and more spacious audio.
Moving the 3.5mm audio connector to the bottom is a great move, so it does not stick out like an antenna when holding the phone.
One of the lesser-known features on LG smartphones even before the G7+ is context awareness, where the phone will trigger actions based on location or when it detects accessories.
Android 8.0 Oreo onwards supports picture-in-picture mode, but only on limited apps. LG’s QSlide allows selected apps to exist as floating windows. Again this feature is present in all recent LG smartphones.
The floating bar was introduced in V30+ in replacement of the V20 second screen. Similar to Samsung apps edge, you can set up the floating bar with shortcut apps, contacts, control music.
Screen Colour Adjustment
The G7+ user-friendliness shows in the ability for user to calibrate the display with presets and manual adjustment of saturation, hue, sharpness and temperature.
The G7+ MLCD+ display (RGBW pixels) looks better than the V30+ POLED where it appears blue at off-angles. Thanks to the additional white pixel, the display will consume less battery when displaying content with mostly white background.
At 3000 mAh, the G7+ is not exactly long-lasting. If you use it sparingly under office settings, it will last the entire day, definitely better than G6 and slight improvement over V30+ thanks to better app management. If you bring it for vacation and use it extensively, it will not last till dinner time. Thanks to the wide angle camera, I love taking vacation photos with the G7, though I would certainly prefer the V30’s wide angle perspective.
I believe this is a new feature on the G7+, where it encourages user to restart the phone once a while.
LG smartphones have some features that no other (or very few other) phones possess, and that makes it a lot easier to decide if you want those features – dual wide-angle camera, quad-DAC audio processor, MQA audio codec, 3.5mm audio connector. I am blessed to have the support of LG Singapore who extended the loan periods of all the LG phones so that I can use to my heart’s content. and despite trying out dozens of phones over the period, I still return to LG as my experiential benchmark.
The G7+ is the latest LG smartphone which contains the latest technology. While it might not be hard for early adopters to buy the V30, I feel that the V30+ contains features that I would prefer, particularly the wider camera angle, and the overall app stability compared to the G7+, where I encounter more app restarts. I do not find the AI features anything exciting to own, nor am I keen on the dedicated Google Assistant button.
However, I have to agree that the G7+ camera captures improved exposure and more accurate white balance. While on the V30+ I find images a tad underexposed, the G7+ delivers accurate and well-balanced saturation, and I do not need to edit any of my photos after my recent vacation. Plus, the G7+ display looks better without the blue tint that plagued the V30+.