MWC 2019: LG's G8 and V50 ThinQ have powerful specs but plenty of gimmicks

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

LG has announced the two new devices it'll be showing off at this year's Mobile World Congress (and bringing to Australia later this year).

First up, the G8 ThinQ. Picking up where last year's G7 ThinQ left off, the new handset runs on a Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of ROM and a 3500mAh battery. As for cameras, the LG G8 ThinQ features a triple lens rear camera consisting of a 16-megapixel super wide (f/1.9) lens,a 12-megapixel (f/1.5) standard lens and a 12-megapixel (f/2.4) telephoto lens. There's also an 8-megapixel front-facing camera and a 32-bit Quad DAC

Though the 6.1-inch 19.5:9 QHD+ OLED display on the G8 ThinQ does feature a notch, this space isn't used to house any sort of speaker. Instead, the G8 ThinQ's screen is itself a speaker. Similar to the acoustic surface found in Sony's OLED TVs, LG say this allow for a more minimalist design - though there is a still a notch here, so it's not really clear what the actual gain is.

The G8 ThinQ has also time-of-flight (ToF) camera on the front of the device, integrated into the camera array, which allows you to unlock your G8 ThinQ using vein recognition by holding you hand over the top of the device. This ToF camera can also be used for 3D face unlock and several gesture controls like app swapping or volume control.

In theory, this sounds kinda cool and sci-fi. In reality, our experience with the G8 ThinQ's fancy new feature at the demo stand was more than a little iffy. It didn't always work and even when it did, it didn't feel super-responsive or useful. It doesn't help that the problem that the feature seems intended to solve already exists in the form of voice assistants like the Google Assistant. Hopefully the final product irons out some of the wrinkles and adds a little bit more value.

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

Moving on, the new LG V50 ThinQ is set to be LG's first 5G phone. As with previous V-series handsets, it's envisioned as a powerhouse handset for content creators. Unlike previous V-series devices, however, it'll also offer 5G connectivity.

The V50 ThinQ features a Snapdragon 855 CPU, 4000mAh battery, 6.4-inch OLED display,a 32-bit Quad DAC, a new heat dissipation system (270% larger than that of the V40), 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It also features the same triple-lens rear camera configuration found in the earlier LG V40.

There's also an accessory available for the LG V50 ThinQ that allows you to add a second display. LG say that this will unlock new multitasking and gaming possibilities. Visually, the add on makes the V50 ThinQ look akin to something like a Nintendo DS. Unfortunately, as far as the actual value of the accessory goes, it seems like a bit of a gimmick.

LG say that the LG V50 ThinQ 5G and LG G8 ThinQ will be available midyear from Telstra with pricing to be detailed closer to launch.

Disclosure - PC World Australia's coverage of this year's MWC in Barcelona was sponsored by Oppo who covered the costs of our flights and accommodation.

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