After months of leaks, LG’s new G7 ThinQ phone is officially here. The company debuted the device at an event today in New York City, and the rumors are true. Yes, the phone features a dedicated button for the Google Assistant. Yes, there’s a notch, and yes, it has that ThinQ branding with AI camera features.
All of the phone’s cameras take advantage of LG’s AI technology, which it says should allow the cameras to recognize objects and then optimize the image through automatic contrast, saturation, and color adjustments. The device will vibrate a bit when it picks up on an item, like flowers, people, pets, or a sunset. The phone detected flowers when I tried taking a photo of them, but I didn’t notice much of a difference in the image quality.
This was a quick test, though. LG claims the photos and videos are four times brighter than the G6, too, and users can enable a bright mode to take low-light shots. Depending on whether you already love how LG does smartphone cameras, that might not mean much to you. Dieter Bohn’s review of the LG G6 sums it pretty easily: “The cameras won’t let you down; I just also think that they’re not going to impress you.” Both the front- and rear-facing cameras can handle portrait mode. These features were implemented in the update to LG’s V30 phones earlier this year, as exhibited by the V30S ThinQ.
LG cares about its device’s audio quality, so it’s bringing over its 32-bit quad-DAC from the G6 and V series. It says the quad-DAC should provide a clearer sound for wired headphones, which is likely why the company continues to preserve the headphone jack. The physical connector also allows LG to incorporate DTS:X virtual surround sound. This is the first time the technology, which virtually creates 7.1-channel audio, has been incorporated into a phone. You’ll need wired headphones or a speaker to get the benefit of its object-oriented positional sound.
Although the G7 is IP68 dust and water resistant, LG has devised a new Boombox speaker, which uses the inner space inside the phone as an echo chamber. The company says this speaker should be 39 percent louder than its predecessor. It’s hard to judge the quality of the speaker without extended use, but my colleague Chris Welch found it to be almost too loud; it vibrates the entire phone significantly when turned up, he says. Louder is not necessarily better, but we can conclude that more thoroughly in a full review.
The two most interesting features on the LG G7 are its notch and Google Assistant button. The notch can be turned on or off if you prefer a full bezel at the top of the phone, and you can also customize the bezel, so that it isn’t entirely black. You can pick a rainbow gradient, for example, which looks terrible but will inevitably be used.
As for the Google Assistant button, it cannot be reprogrammed, although LG hinted that that might change depending on user feedback. The button is similar to Samsung’s Bixby assistant button on its Galaxy phones: you press it once to activate the assistant.
LG hasn’t announced a price or availability of the G7 yet — it’s leaving that information for the carriers to specify.