Hands on: LG G8 Review

The LG G8 feels a lot like the G7, just with with some well, strange, additions along with the usual array of spec bumps.

First Impressions

The LG G8 certainly isn’t going to be a memorable MWC 2019 launch, Especially with 5G, flexible displays and bombastic specs all the rage. It will, I suspect, be a good phone though and one that’ll likely undercut many of the competitors in price.

Key Specifications

  • 6.1-inch quad-HD+ OLED
  • Boombox speaker
  • ToF Z Camera
  • Hand ID
  • Touchless controls
  • Snapdragon 855
  • 3400 mAh battery

Trying to make your phone stand out in 2019 is hard. Unless you’re going the Huawei and Samsung way of unveiling a foldable phone, that is. Or doing a Nokia, and sticking five cameras on the back. LG G8 isn’t doing either of those things, actually quite far from it. The G8 feels a lot like the LG G7, just with with some well, strange, additions and the usual array of spec bumps.

LG G8 release date and price

LG was super coy on divulging any release or pricing details about the LG G8 and or its 5G LG V50. It should be coming soon to Korea, the US and UK, with Korean model sporting an extra camera on the back.

I’d except it to sit around the £699 mark, though I will update this article with further pricing details when they’re confirmed.

LG G8

LG G8 – Hand ID and Touchless control

Leaks before the release of the LG G8 painted it as something a boring, mundane update. After using it for an hour at the pre-briefing session with LG reps I can say this phone isn’t boring. It’s just that the, at times, frankly quite bizarre additions don’t always make a whole lot of sense.

Take the headline ‘Hand ID’ function, for example. This lets you unlock your phone by putting your hand in front of the camera above the display. Using the ToF (time of flight) sensor on the front, your hand is scanned and the veins in your palm read. LG actually used the term ‘Palm Vein Authentication’ during the unveiling and I am not sure how I feel about it.

Raising your hand high up to unlock just feels really unnatural and the (admittedly pre-production) unit I was using barely registered my movement at all. At least there’s facial unlocking and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor too.

LG’s tagline for this device is ‘The Touchless Phone’ and there are numerous things you can do without actually touching the display. You can alter the volume, capture screenshots, snooze alarms and control timers all by performing different hand movements. It sounds super gimmicky and apart from the specific use case of turning off a timer while you’re cooking with food-covered hands I can’t really picture anyone using it.

LG G8

All of these touchless features and Hand ID unlocking are made possible by the ToF sensor on the front, which, when combined with the 8-megapixel selfie camera is dubbed Z Camera. While the features themselves sound gimmicky, the actual tech is super-interesting. The sensor can read your unique vein patterns, add quality looking depth to selfies all by shining infrared sensors onto the subject.

LG G8 – Performance and Screen

Powering the G8 is the Snapdragon 855 mobile chipset, with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. It’s running LG’s heavily skinned, and rather ugly, Android skin over 9 Pie and packs a 3500 mAh battery inside.

The 6.1-inch screen marks a return to OLED panels for the G-series and it looks very good. Colours pop, brightness seems impressive – though whether it can reach the 1000 nits of brightness offered by the G7 remains to be seen – and it supports HDR playback. This is a very good mobile screen that just might able to give the Galaxy S10 a run for its money.

LG G8

The screen offers enough trick too as it acts as a speaker. Paired with a speaker at the top and bottom, this functions in a similar way to LG’s tvs a “Crystal Sound” OLED. The loud demo room wasn’t the best place to test this so i’ll reserve judgement on how it sounds until the the full review.

LG G8 – Design

What I think really lets this phone down more than the handful of gimmicky features is the design. It can only really be described as functional, with a kind of boxy look and nothing eye-catching. It retains the notch on the display and decides against using a hole-punch cutout like the Galaxy S10 or Honor View 20.

When you consider how even more affordably priced phones like the View 20 are pushing design forward, the G8 feels so safe. It does at least feel nice to hold, thanks to a fairly narrow build and slightly rounded Gorilla Glass 6 on the back.

LG G8

LG G8 – Camera

On the rear you’ll find two cameras. Though there’s also a version with three cameras, however it seems like that one might only see a release in Korea. In typical LG fashion there’s a main camera (12-megapixels) and a secondary ultra-wide sensor (16-megapixels), with that third one being a zoomed in telephoto camera. LG didn’t talk too much on what’s new here so we’ll have to wait for the review devices to arrive before we judge the quality.

LG G8

The LG G8 certainly isn’t going to be a memorable MWC 2019 launch, Especially with 5G, flexible displays and bombastic specs all the rage. It will, I suspect, be a good phone though and one that’ll likely undercut many of the competitors in price.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.