LG’s G7 ThinQ preserves the headphone jack and introduces a notch

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.

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