As the industry explores the expansion of mobile phone displays, LG has refrained from jumping too deep into foldable screens as it focuses on “tactical innovation,” which means that the company will only heavily invest in producing proven technologies.

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As we have seen recently, folding screens are an impressive feat, but not entirely proven as a product, yet. The commercial release of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the imminent arrival of the Huawei Mate X (“this year”) will unearth a wealth of real-world data to the industry.

LG has already launched a two-screen handset, the LG V50 (+5G) Dual Screen. It consists of a smartphone, which connects to a secondary screen, which also serves a phone case.

It is not visually as compelling as a phone with a folding display, and the phone isn’t usable when closed. However, it does double the display’s surface at a much more affordable price point. LG is known to master foldable/rollable OLED TV technology, so it’s not a technological roadblock.

Fast forward from March to IFA 2019 and LG just launched the LG G8x ThinQ Dual-Screen, a dual-display phone for the masses.

LG G8x

This time, LG is connecting the LG G8x handset to the secondary screen via USB-C (via the case), which is probably more cost-effective than the wireless connectivity of V50. However, it makes the setup a little chubby at the bottom bezel.

The good news is that LG has learned from its first attempt: when the phone is closed, you can at least see some notifications, instead of nothing. That’s not perfect, but it’s much better than having to open the phone more often for mundane tasks such as checking why it has buzzed.

Using it in landscape mode has a bit of a Nintendo DS feel, but depending on your task, it may help a lot.  Gaming with all the controls at the bottom is far better than having them on the main screen. The extended keyboard is another obvious one, with room for a trackpad, special characters and more.

Reading documents or pages could now be done on two screens and makes the text more readable and images almost twice as large (from portrait mode). Arguably, this is a scenario where a folding screen is visually better than two discrete ones. But dual-screen could even be great to hold during vlogging with the selfie camera.

Running multiple applications on dual-screen on is another obvious one: having your email and the calendar, or some notes along with Google Maps. LG has done some leg work to make things work, but Google has promised to support more of this in Android itself. We hope that app developers spend the time to update their apps to support multi-screen.

The two screens are actually identical (including the notch) which means that they are exactly the same model and produced at the same location.

LG G8x Specs Highlights:

  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 855 Mobile Platform
  • Display: 6.4-inch 19.5:9 FHD + OLED FullVision (2,340 x 1,080 / 403ppi)
  • Biometrics: In-Display Fingerprint Sensor
  • Memory: 6GB RAM / 128GB / microSD (up to 2TB)
  • Dual Rear Camera: 12MP Standard (F1.8 / 1.4μm / 78˚) + 13MP Super Wide (F2.4 / 1.0μm / 136˚)
  • Selfie: 32MP Standard (F1.9 / 0.8μm / 79˚)
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie
  • 3 x 75.8 x 8.4mm for 192g
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 5 / NFC / USB Type-C (USB 3.1 Compatible)
  • Color: Aurora Black
  • 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC / IP68 Water and Dust Resistance / HDR10 / Qualcomm Quick Charge™ MIL-STD 810G Compliance / FM Radio

Coming from the LG G8 ThinQ phone which we reviewed, there are a few things that stand out. First, the display is larger at 6.4” (vs. 6.1”). The battery has been bumped to 4000 mAh, which is great, but remember that it might have to run with two screens. LG says that the phone can last a day with dual-screen, but it depends on what you’re doing of course.

The first LG G8 camera hardware isn’t particularly impressive on paper, but our LG G8 Camera review showed that it does produce a very good outcome, especially in ultrawide photography.

The new LG G8x has a very different camera setup, and we would have to evaluate it as a brand-new camera to see how good it is. We list the best mobile cameras and update things regularly.

Without know the launch price, it is difficult to estimate the true value of the LG G8x, but the LG G-Series is designed to be affordable. For example, launched at ~$899 in March, the original LG G8 costs ~$500 unlocked today.

The LG G8x seems like an attractive large-display phone and can double as an affordable dual-screen handset. It may not be the absolute best foldable, but the best folding phone may yet be the one you can afford.

Going forward, if LG could somehow make the dual-screen more useful when it’s closed (by adding yet another screen?), that would really push the needle in terms of user experience. But there’s only one way to know for sure: try it for a while, so off we go.

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