Sure, it's hard to beat Huawei's and Samsung's feature-packed flagship phones but the LG G8 ThinQ sure does pack a punch. It's quite competitive in most departments and with adequate pricing (perhaps lower than its direct rivals), the G8 ThinQ might steer away some customers away from its main rivals.
The first one that springs to mind is the vanilla Samsung Galaxy S10. It fits perfectly in the size and price categories. Both phones start at $849 in the US and both have tons of features to show off. However, the Galaxy S10 easily earns our recommendation as it has a telephoto and ultra wide-angle lenses while the G8 ThinQ sports only the latter. Keep in mind, though, that depending on the market availability, you can get the version with three cameras - normal, ultra-wide and telephoto. The overall camera experience on the S10, however, is still superior. The screen quality is far better on the Samsung's flagship while battery is pretty much the same with the Galaxy S10 having a slight edge over its competitor.
The Huawei P30 is the other contender for the best mainstream flagship crown with its solid battery life, great OLED screen and impressive camera performance with its triple-camera setup. And the P30 comes at a slightly lower price too.
But there are a couple of key features these two don't have, like the piezoelectric screen or the 3D ToF sensor on the front for advanced facial unlocking and Hand ID. On the other hand, if you are planning on buying the LG G8 ThinQ only for those said features, you are in for a bad time. They appeared to be quite gimmicky (only the face unlock works properly) and even the gestures need more work. Assuming you are going to use them for something.
On top of that, the Crystal Sound OLED Speaker audio quality isn't on par with the competition's stereo loudspeakers and its only benefits stay in the telephony realm - hearing the other party in loud environments is a pretty cool feature to have.
We think that the G8 ThinQ's design is its main advantage over the others. It's a well-built device without any annoying bumps, protrusions or excessive curves. It's just enough to fit in your palm and the 6.1-inch panel almost feels like a 5.5-inch screen. The curvature of the front and the back panel is just right. And those Carmine Red and Moroccan Blue hues can make anyone drool.
Of course, assuming you are used to notches because there is a big one on this phone, which is a bit against the 2019 trends. We can partially let that one slide due to the 3D ToF module that needs its space.
A more affordable alternative comes from the Chinese camp - the Xiaomi Mi 9, as long as it's available in your area, of course. It packs a comparable OLED panel, it has considerably longer battery life and the same Snapdragon 855 behind the wheel. The G8 ThinQ has the upper hand in sheer photography skills, especially in low-light scenarios.
Another more affordable option is the iPhone XR. Yep, it feels strange to put "affordable" and "iPhone" into one sentence but the iPhone XR in the US, for example, is about $100 cheaper than the G8 ThinQ. But it misses on the dual camera action and the OLED panel but has higher screen-on time scores in our testing and arguably better overall camera experience, even with a single unit on the back. Selfies tend to be nicer too.
But if you wait a couple of weeks or a month or two, the G8 ThinQ's price will come down and tie up with the iPhone XR.
The LG G8 ThinQ has its pros and cons but surprisingly, the advantages we see in the G8 lie eslewhere from what LG marketing chose to focus on.
The battery life is dependable, the screen can get really bright outdoors so sunlight legibility is great too, and the piezoelectric screen sure does make the calls more pleasant in loud environments. We also noticed that the haptic feedback on G8 is among the best we've seen in the industry. It's up there with the iPhones and the Pixels.
The ultra wide-angle lens was a nice surprise - it's among the best we've seen in 2019. On top of that, the main camera turned out to be a great low-light performer as long as you don't mind the extra noise which is visible when examining the photos from up close.
Unfortunately, it's not all sunshine and roses. The Crystal Sound OLED panel's sound quality isn't the best we've seen. The 3D ToF-enabled features, except for the excellent portrait selfies and the Face Unlock, feels downright gimmicky. The Hand ID works really slow and it's unreliable, the Air Motion gestures need more work. And it's really hard to see any proper use case for those at all. It will be cool to show off to some friends but you will end up using the fingerprint reader, the Face Unlock and resort to tapping instead of waving with your hands when it comes to simple tasks like changing a track, capturing a screenshot and turning up the volume. Some kind of competitive fast charging tech would have been much more appreciated.