LG has been making tank like smartphones since the G6 and that legacy lives on in the G8. Smartphones these days seem to need a gimmick to get positive reviews. The Huawei P30 Pro is the smartphone to beat. I don’t want to take away from its industry-leading chops but the insane zoom and usable photos in pitch dark conditions are amazing, but I’ve noticed that when people show of their phone this is the party trick they pull out. If you’re looking for the best camera, you should stick with the P30 Pro. But the truth is that not everyone needs this in their smartphones.
LG understands that and has made a very solid yet boring smartphone with a gimmick of its own, that was a fail. The Hand ID and Air Gesture using the Time of Flight (ToF) camera. The ToF camera and infrared sensor work together to map out the veins in your palm. This map is unique and cannot be spoofed or faked. It’s really secure James Bond-like stuff. Training Hand ID takes patience. You have to start with your hand about a foot over the phone and slowly move it down toward the top edge, which is where the ToF and IR sensors are. You have to move your hand slowly and deliberately, it does not feel natural and only 20% of the time and it’s slow to use. The fingerprint reader is far faster and more reliable, as is Face ID.
Building on this Air Gestures lets you control certain apps using your clawed fingers in one direction or the other. You can silence an alarm or rotate your fingers I a circular motion like you’re dialing a massive volume knob. Air Motion also lets you capture a screenshot by pinching your fingers together, basically making a snake with your hand. Seriously, don’t do this in public.
Now that we’ve addressed the unless elephant I the room, let’s move on to the solid features the G8 offers.
We like the headphone jack, most of my headphones are bluetooth but I do have a number of fantastic headphones with a headphone jack. I’m usually carrying a pair anyway, because I like to use wired headphones when I’m editing video. It’s nice to have the option there in emergencies when my headset runs out of battery.
The fingerprint reader is just where your finger expects to find it on the rear of the phone. Like most conventional readers, it is simple to train and store multiple prints. It’s a touch slow, but it got much better after an update, hopefully we see it get just a tiny bit faster, your finger is there a half second too long every time.
The G8 doesn’t have a traditional earpiece speaker. Instead, it boasts a — wait for it — “Crystal Sound OLED.” Fancy, right? The phone’s OLED display itself serves as the speaker diaphragm. An exciter behind the glass causes it to vibrate in such a way that the display emits the sound. It works quite well, the call quality is solid.
When sharing a video or song with friends the Crystal Sound OLED works in concert with the bottom-firing speaker to create two-channel stereo sound. It’s loud enough to share something with friends on a noisy street and at home I don’t mind using it for podcasts or listening to music while moving around my apartment getting ready in the morning.
The G8 supports a 32-bit HiFi Quad DAC and features a High Quality DTS:X 3D Sound System. These are specific to the 3.5mm headphone jack. The DAC can up-sample most audio files to improve their fidelity. Moreover, it includes presets, user-adjustable controls for sound balance, and filters to clean up your streamed music. The DTS:X is meant to improve the movie experience.
The display is stunning.
6.1-inch Quad HD+ OLED FullVision
3,120 x 1,440 resolution, with 564ppi
19.5:9 aspect ratio with a notch
LG Display continues to make excellent screens for its mobile phones. It’s got HDR10 for rich colors and deep contrast. Colors look lush, blacks look inky and deep.
When out around town the OLED pumps is bright enough for direct sunlight if you watch Netflix on your phone, you’ll be extremely pleased.
The LG G8 is a solid performer.
Exposure levels seem correct, photos are crisp, and colors are nice and vibrant, but we do find plenty of issues with the shadows, which goes to show this phone may not be the best at dynamic range, even though Auto HDR was turned on. The shadow detail is there, but it is a bit darker than we would prefer. I do like that the more lit areas are not blown out, though.
Overall, these daylight images are nice, but nowhere close to what we have seen from other flagships.
Some phones go for enhanced, yet natural colors, the G8 goes for punchy and vibrant. We don’t mind it, but I can look a bit artificial.
The LG G8 ThinQ offers good but not outstanding detail.
Low light photos are solid, again, not the best but competitive. We find it falls behind other handsets in detail and speed when taking the photo in low light.
SelfiesLG’s beautification features are on by default. While you can reduce these effects, they are still slightly noticeable when turned off.
It is really nice to be able to shoot 4K at 60fps. You can definitely see smooth motion in the scene. Detail is crisp and colors are vibrant but you don’t want to walk around using the highest quality, the stabilization isn’t great, if you lower the setting you’ll get a better result.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855, its premiere chip with excellent chops. We haven’t seen the phone stumble once in three months.
At first we thought the battery life was weak, we had to top up if we were going to have a late night. However, once I reduced the screen resolution to Full HD+ resolution (rather than the native Quad HD+) I had no problem making it through the day, getting home at 1am I was nervous but still had 10% left. That was maps, calls and location sharing over the course of my night out.
I didn’t notice much of a difference when I lowered the resolution, some people might say they notice, but I have to check the settings to see if what resolution the phone is set to.
Charge times are also solid. With Quick Charge I went from 50 percent to 90 percent in less than 30 minutes.