Artificial intelligence continues to be the buzz phrase of the year, adorning everything from cars to speakers. This week, LG debuts it new flagship smartphone, the LG G7 ThinQ, touting its own use of AI – as if it weren’t smart enough already.
Like most AI you hear about, it isn’t so much real artificial intelligence as it is a set of improved algorithms with a touch of machine learning to help automate certain functions. In this case, LG is embracing AI to help it improve automatic camera settings (such as recognizing a face versus a landscape and making changes accordingly). There are 18 automatic camera recognition scenes now, for example.
In terms of look and feel, the LG G7 ThinQ compares well to Apple’s iPhone X, with a smooth-as-silk chassis and solid construction. LG is bragging about the 6.1-inch, 3120 by 1440-pixel LCD screen of the new phone, which the company says is significantly brighter than most screens (up to 1,000 nits compared to a peak brightness of about 700 nits in other phones). It should make it easier for those us who find ourselves squinting at tiny screens to see what’s on the display in broad daylight. A “nit” by-the-way has nothing to do with head lice, but is a term for the measurement of screen luminescence!
But the real question when it comes to the display is, to notch or not to notch? Apple’s iPhone X made a design faux pas by leaving a black bump around the front-facing camera, marring the screen with a so-called notch at the top. The idea was to utilize every square centimeter of the screen, but it gives the phone an asymmetrical look. So LG allows you to have it either way on the LG G7 ThinQ: make the default a straight black area across the top of the screen where the forward camera is, or give it the notch effect with a little extra display real estate either side of the camera.
On the audio side, the LG G7 ThinQ has a standard mini headphone jack (hurray!). And LG is claiming the AI software will help with voice recognition features–including Google Assistant integration–allowing it to better understand commands like, “Take a photo with low light mode” (another new feature of the phone).
While we haven’t been able to test all these features yet, we can vouch for some other impressive audio abilities of the phone we experienced during some preliminary handling. For example, the LG G7 ThinQ supports MQA, which is a high-resolution audio standard for streaming music services like Tidal. And LG has improved the speakers in the phone by essentially turning its interior into a ported mini subwoofer. It gives soundtracks more depth, although it’s not what anyone would call deep bass–and the associated vibrations while holding the phone can be a little annoying. (You may be able to turn off the bass feature and kill the vibrations, but LG hasn’t made a final decision on this yet.)
Pricing for the LG G7 ThinQ hasn’t been announced – speculation is for more than $650 – but some basic specifications have been released. The phone will use a zippy Snapdragon 845 octa-core system on a chip and come with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of ROM. The battery is not removable, but the phone can accommodate microSD cards for additional storage.
Expect the LG G7 ThinQ to be available on all the major carriers nationwide when it becomes available later this month.