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Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff
Versatility of two screens
Dual Screen set up at this size is a lot
Some features seem superfluous
LG’s two-screen solution is useful and intriguing. While I don’t think the phone needed to be any larger and I can do without unnecessary features like 8K and 3D photos, I do appreciate the camera upgrades, addition of 5G and that huge battery. $899.99 (price varies depending on carrier) for both the LG V60 ThinQ 5G and Dual Screen is good price for great performance, beautiful screens, excellent photography and versatility you will not find with most smartphones.
How, exactly, did we end up in the world of nearly 7-inch smartphones? To put this size explosion in perspective, the new LG V60 ThinQ 5G is almost 2.25 inches taller than a classic iPhone 4. Now, I do not miss that old 3.5-inch display and I do love watching Netflix on a 6.8-inch OLED screen, but it does feel like things are getting a little out of hand.
When I reviewed the 6.4-inch LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen last year, I liked it, but also called the phone and screen/case combo “a brick.” With the V60 ThinQ 5G, which carries forward many of the G8X’s features and design, just in a larger chassis, I’m not sure we’re heading in the right direction.
Understand, this is a powerful and productivity-friendly Android 10 phone (especially with the Dual Screen case, which is sold with it). It’s just that the new phone is almost a full ounce heavier (11.5 ounces for the G8X versus 12.27 for the new V60 ThinQ) and is starting to feel a little unwieldy. However, despite having a larger screen, the LG V60 ThinQ (7.54 ounces) is slightly lighter than Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max (7.97 ounces). So, go figure.
LG took the smooth lines of the ThinQ GX8 and replaced them with a somewhat more industrial look. The brushed metal frame has sharper edges that connect it to a more dramatically curved edge Gorilla Glass back. Some will like this look better, but I think it looks a little cheaper.
On the front is the attractive, edge-to-edge 6.8-OLED screen. Though larger than the G8X, it only has slightly more pixels (2460 x 1080 versus 2340 x 1080). There’s a teardrop cutout at the top for the 10 MP front-facing camera.
On the back, there’s now a three-camera array:
There’s power / sleep button on the right edge. On the left are a pair of volume buttons and a dedicated Google button. The SIM and micro-SD storage upgrade slot is on the top (the base model has 128 GB, but you can add up to a terabyte) . On the bottom is a USB-C charging and data port, and next to it is a 3.5 mm headphone jack(!).
Just as I did with the G8X, I reviewed the LG V60 ThinQ 5G with the Dual Screen case. It’s includes a second screen and allows you to extend apps, use two different apps at once on each screen, set one screen as a game controller, and even use one as a virtual keyboard while you type. The screen is literally a duplicate of the V60 ThinQ’s integrated display, right down to the notch for the camera and thin cutout for the top-of screen speaker. I criticized LG for doing this on the G8X, but here it is again on the company’s newest dual-screen solution.
The V60 ThinQ 5G slips snugly into the Dual Screen case. There’s a capsule-shaped cutout in the back for the triple camera array and the bottom edge of the case uses a proprietary charge port (it ships with an adapter for your USB-C cable).
The thin second OLED screen closes over the main screen. On the outside of the case is yet another screen. This one is monochrome, not touch-enabled, and roughly three-quarters of an inch tall. It shows date, time, battery, and icons for apps with notifications. It does not, though, list the actual notifications.
The second touch screen can open to virtually any angle you prefer, including folding all the way around to the back of the phone (it never blocks the volume buttons on the side). I often used it at a 90-degree angle to the main screen. This was useful for Microsoft Word where the thin second screen served as my virtual keyboard and the large screen was my work display.
There’s a little software control that lets me swap screens, show the main screen on the dual screen and put the dual screen or the main screen to sleep.
That second screen is useful for viewing your photos in full screen while still taking new ones, tweeting while watching Netflix, and playing games while using LG’s GamePad app.
On the other hand, the screen can get in the way when you’re, for example, holding up the phone to take a photo or selfie. Folding the screen around to the back of the phone gets it neatly out of the way, but then what’s the point of having a second screen?
LG shook up the G8X’s camera system, doubling the sensor pixels from 32 to 64 for the main camera and replacing the 13 MP super wide camera with a 117-degree field of view 13 MP wide angle. The third camera isn’t really a traditional camera. Instead it’s a Time of Flight (ToF) camera that, among other things, lets you take trippy 3D photos.
These 3D images not only give depth to photos but allows them to change as you move the phone around. When I took a photo of my baseball cap, I could see some of the sides and top that would not exist in a standard 2D image. The effect is striking, but also limited. In some areas, the 3D object smeared into part of the background. There’s also no way to export the photo and maintain the effect. So, what’s the point?
The remaining cameras are quite good. Image quality from the 64 MP sensor can be excellent, especially if you choose to shoot, as I did, in 16 MP HDR 4:3 quality. This takes the pixels four-at-a time for better color, light, and overall image quality. As with virtually all Android phones I use, the color information is a little too rich for my taste. I mean, I love a really blue sky, but I’d prefer my photos reflect reality and not a technicolor fantasy.
2X optical zoom looks good. The phone can also use the 64 MP of information to improve 10X digital zoom shots. In my tests , though, I saw limited improvement. Honestly, I’m growing frustrated at handset manufacturers efforts to cheat their way into higher zoom numbers. For me it will always be optical or nothing (I’ll say this until I see an algorithm that can truly conjure more useful image information out of a digital capture).
Night mode capture is good, as is portrait mode from either the front facing 10 MP or the rear camera array. You can only edit the blur effect, though, on portraits taken with the rear camera. And that’s where I discovered a bizarre bug.
Every time I tried to edit the blur on one of these portrait shots, the image would distort as soon as I moved the slider. I couldn’t fix it, so I would have to cancel the operation. Yes, this is a repeatable bug and LG is investigating; I assume a software update should fix it.
I can shoot 4K video (even a 4K time-lapse, which is kind of cool, though playback stutters), which looked good on my 4K TV. I can also shoot 8K video. I don’t have an 8K TV (do you?) or even an Android app that lets me edit it, and the playback of 8K video on the phone didn’t look great. There’s good reason to beware check-box features.
As far as security, I can unlock the phone with a pin, swipe, pattern ,or my fingerprint. The fingerprint reader is under the screen. It’s not the best. I had to press pretty hard, hold my finger still for an extra beat, or put my thumb in just the right position to get it to unlock.
I can’t say much about the 5G support on this phone because, through no fault of LG's, I could barely test it. T-Mobile 5G in my neighborhood is almost nonexistent and, because of social distancing and the current COVID-19 Stay at Home order, I can’t really go anywhere to test it. I will say that I had a pretty solid experience with T-Mobile’s 5G on Samsung’s Galaxy S20 5G and do recommend it.
Inside the V60 ThinQ 5G is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 + Qualcomm’s X55 5G modem and 8 GB of RAM. Geekbench benchmarks were more or less in line with those I got on the Galaxy S20, with the LG handset lagging behind the S20 a bit on OpenGL graphics scores.
Even so, this is clearly a powerful phone. It can handle virtually any task you throw at it including video editing, word processing, gaming, and streaming. By the way, the audio quality on this device is exceptional. The stereo is not just loud and clear but with LG's 3D audio, it can sound like the audio is surrounding you.
The phone also now has a 5,000 mAh battery. In my testing it provided at least 15 hours of mixed use per charge, but it did run down significantly faster when, for example, I played PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The phone does support Qi wireless charging that will even work through the Dual Case.
It is iP68 rated for dust and water, which means it’ll survive a drop in the toilet.
LG’s two screen solution is just as useful and intriguing as it was in the G8X. While I don’t think the phone needed to be any larger and I can do without unnecessary features like 8K and 3D photos, I do appreciate the camera upgrades, addition of 5G and that huge battery.
$899.99 (price varies depending on carrier) for both the LG V60 ThinQ 5G and Dual Screen is good price for great performance, beautiful screens, excellent photography, and versatility you will not find with most other smartphones.