LG isn’t quite the smartphone force it used to be, but don’t discount the impact the LG G9 could make in 2020. South Korea’s second biggest manufacturer retains the ability to surprise and innovate the way few others can in the modern mobile space.
While we weren’t overly enamoured with 2019’s LG G8, the likes of the LG G8X genuinely have us excited for what the brand has in store for us next. Here, then, is everything we’ve heard about and expect from the LG G9.
LG G9 Release Date – When will the LG G9 be released?
LG hasn’t been super consistent with the release of its flagship LG G series, but there is a loose trend of announcing the phone at MWC in late February and launching it in April. The company’s home audience occasionally gets the phone a few weeks earlier, while last year’s LG G8 didn’t even officially come to the UK.
That’s why we’re expecting the LG G9 to be announced in February 2020, with a global rollout in April 2020.
LG G9 – How much will the LG G9 cost?
The LG G8 didn’t see an official UK release, but its US price of $819 could prove instructive when it comes to the LG G9. This was a notable price hike from the LG G7 before it, which cost just $599/£599.
We haven’t heard any rumours to this effect, but it’s a safe bet that the LG G9 will cost in the region of £800 to £900 – unless LG is planning to take a radically different approach.
LG G9 Design
Back in August 2019, Dutch website LetsGoDigital uncovered LG patents pointing to a slinky new smartphone design.
The proposed phone would have no physical buttons whatsoever, which would be an interesting approach. Especially if it’s allied to a near-bezelless design (but for a dewdrop notch), as appears to be hinted at.
The prospective next-generation LG phone would appear to have an in-display fingerprint sensor, as there’s no such feature on the back of the phone.
Also notable is the presence of a quadruple camera module arranged in a distinctive cross pattern.
It’s always dangerous to speculate too much off the back of patents, as few end up manifesting directly into products. But this could be an indicator of LG’s design thoughts for the LG G9 in 2020.
LG G9 Specs
Picking out the LG G9’s processor is a bit of a no brainer. The line tends to pack Snapdragon’s latest generation SoC, with 2019’s LG G8 running the Snapdragon 855. This would mean that the LG G9 will run on the Snapdragon 865 – just like almost every other flagship Android phone launched in the first half of 2020.
We’re also expecting to see some impressive audio technology in the LG G9. It’s an often-overlooked factor, but the LG G-series tends to have among the best sound output of any phone line. The LG G8, for example, packed in a Quad DAC and DTS:X 3D surround sound support.
Talking of audio, the LG G8 included a pretty interesting (conceptually at least) ‘Crystal Sound OLED Speaker’. This enabled the phone to output higher sound frequencies directly through the display, with lower frequencies handled by a downward-facing ‘Boombox Speaker’. And it worked pretty well.
Whatever features the LG G9 includes, then, expect it to retain its audiophile credentials – which will hopefully see it retaining the 3.5mm headphone jack.
One thing we’re pretty sure the LG G9 will not have is 5G. Back at MWC 2019 in February, an LG representative told Android Authority that the G-series would be 4G-only going forward. It will be left to the V-series to pack in 5G connectivity.
There is a chance LG has changed its mind, but there’s hardly been an unexpected uptick in 5G adoption since the company made these comments.
LG G9 – How can Google make it better than the LG G8?
1. Drop the price
One of our biggest criticisms of the LG G8 was that it was overpriced. There was a massive price jump from the LG G7 to its successor, without an obvious accompanying hike in quality.
We get that LG is trying to differentiate itself from the mass of highly competent but relatively bland rivals. But such innovation really needs to come with an accompanying price drop.
It’s no longer competing directly with local rival Samsung on a global scale, so it can’t really go blow for blow on premium pricing. Rather, we’d suggest that LG needs to measure itself against the likes of OnePlus and become a player in the growing affordable flagship/premium mid-range tussle.
2. Jazz up the design
One of the main reasons the LG G8 felt so overpriced was down to its forgettable design. It felt like a simple update to the previous year’s LG G7 – and that phone was hardly a head-turner.
There was a certain symmetrical elegance to the LG G8, and we appreciated the lack of a camera bump. The build quality was on point too.
But the phone critically lacked distinguishing features, wearing all of its interesting elements on the inside. If LG wants to stand out with the G9, it needs to regain some of its design sparkle.
3. Improve the camera
LG used to be one of the best smartphone camera makers in the business, but it’s lost its lead to the likes of Google, Samsung, Huawei and Apple.
The LG G8’s dual camera wasn’t bad by any means. But like the rest of the phone, it lacked a certain sparkle, and felt like a bit of a rehash of the LG G7’s.
It’s no longer enough for a flagship phone to offer merely decent photography chops. The LG G9 needs to big on the camera improvements, which a prospective doubling of the sensor count (see above) might indicate.
4. Rediscover the quirk
LG is at its best, we feel, when it’s shooting for the stars. That’s not to say that its experimental spirit always leads to success. The LG G5’s modular concept was a bit of a flop, while it remains to be seen whether the LG G8X’s dual-screen implementation has any legs.
But one thing you definitely can’t say about either of these phones is that they were boring. Conversely, that’s precisely the word we’d use for almost all of the G phones in between.
The LG G9 needs to rediscover the brand’s quirkiness if it’s to win back people’s interest – not to mention some precious column inches.
5. A UK launch
We’ve mentioned this one before, and it seems like an obvious point to make. But as a UK-based tech website, we’d kind of like to see LG’s next piece of mobile tech released in our home country. Call us demanding, but that’s how it is.
LG hasn’t been anywhere near the top mobile spots for some years now, but it’s unlikely to return if its flagship phone only launches in select markets.
Don’t leave us hanging, LG.