Forget foldable screens; LG's V50 ThinQ gives you two detachable displays to play with.
The smartphone industry is always searching for the next must-have innovation to justify the increasing costs of mobile hardware. In 2019, smartphone manufacturers have seized upon two key technologies for the future of their devices: 5G connectivity and foldable screens.
LG is one of these manufacturers. At MWC 2019, LG revealed the LG V50 ThinQ, a 5G-compatible smartphone that takes a different approach to foldable screens than many of its competitors.
Optional dual-screen attachment offers a different take on foldable screens.
5G support for higher data speeds.
At first glance, the LG V50 ThinQ looks much like any other modern smartphone. Its 6.4-inch screen is impressively large, and the OLED technology powering it promises crisper images than your standard LED screen, but that aside you're still staring at the standard curved smartphone design with a notch carved out for the front-facing camera.
Where LG shakes things up is in the V50 ThinQ's unique response to the foldable screens of phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X. Instead of incorporating a flexible screen on a hinged frame, LG has built a detachable second screen for the V50 ThinQ. This optional screen works much like a traditional smartphone cover case, attaching to the side of the V50 ThinQ on a hinge that supports both 180-degree and 104-degree viewing modes.
This second screen is effectively identical to the LG V50 ThinQ's main screen. A 6.2-inch OLED display, it can be used independently for playing a movie while you browse the Internet on the other screen. It can also act as a virtual controller in compatible games. Just keep in mind that it runs off the LG V50 ThinQ's main battery, so power drain will be notably higher than when using the main screen alone.
The other distinguishing feature of the LG V50 ThinQ is its support for 5G networks. Using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 chipset and Snapdragon X50 modem, the V50 ThinQ will be able to connect to high-speed 5G networks once they start rolling out later in 2019. In the meantime, the V50 ThinQ also supports the older 3G and 4G networks, so you won't need 5G coverage to use it.
Outside of its two defining features, the LG V50 ThinQ continues LG's legacy in the audio department by incorporating stereo speakers, DTS:X surround sound support and compatibility with Qualcomm's aptX standards for higher quality audio over Bluetooth. The 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) that has featured in many recent LG smartphones also makes its return, enabling clearer digital audio at high volumes.
Rounding out the LG V50 ThinQ's many features is the inclusion of IP68 water and dust resistance. The IP68 certification means the V50 ThinQ is both completely dust-proof as well as fit for survival in 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes.
Triple 16MP/12MP/12MP rear-facing camera array.
LG's flagship smartphones tend to perform reasonably well in the photography department. They may not have the same chops as Samsung or Huawei's top-of-the-line handsets, but they're typically more than capable of quality shots the average person will be quite happy with.
This remains true for the LG V50 ThinQ. Sporting a 16MP super-wide lens, a 12MP telephoto lens and a 12MP standard lens at the rear, the V50 ThinQ should have no trouble capturing everything from sweeping vistas to sharp portraits. The same goes for the selfie camera, where LG has packed in an 8MP standard lens with a 5MP wide-angle lens for cramming more people into your group selfies.
Snapdragon 855 promises heaps of power.
Vapor Chamber heat-management for lower temperatures.
Like most high-end Android smartphones releasing in 2019, the LG V50 ThinQ is built atop Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 mobile chipset. It packs 6GB of RAM and supports HDR10 for displaying a greater spectrum of light and colour in compatible HDR content.
This combination of hardware should give the LG V50 ThinQ plenty of oomph, resulting in a snappy experience whether you're watching high-resolution videos, playing demanding games or multi-tasking across the V50 ThinQ's dual screens. You shouldn't have to worry about the V50 ThinQ burning up your hands during extended gaming sessions either, as LG has outfitted it with a Vapor Chamber cooling system designed to control internal temperature more efficiently than the heat pipes used in most modern smartphones.
Support for Quick Charge 3.0.
With its hefty 6.4-inch screen, the LG V50 ThinQ needs plenty of battery to keep it going. LG has delivered here, cramming a 4,000mAh battery into the phone's slim frame. 4,000mAh is a whole lot of battery, and it should be more than capable of seeing the V50 ThinQ through a full day of use.
For comparison, Samsung's Galaxy Note9 also features a 4,000mAh battery and a 6.4-inch screen, and it achieved some of the best results we've seen when we tested it in our Galaxy Note9 review. The Note9's processor is slightly less powerful than the Snapdragon 855, but that's unlikely to have a dramatic effect on the V50 ThinQ's longevity. Put simply, all-day battery life should be well within reach with the LG V50 ThinQ.
When it comes time to recharge the V50 ThinQ, you shouldn't be out of action for long thanks to its support for Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 charging standard. Quick Charge 3.0 can charge some devices from dead up to 80% in as little as half an hour, though speeds vary depending on the specific device.
Pricing and availability
LG has not set a release date nor a price for the LG V50 ThinQ yet.
Matt Sayer is a writer for Finder, covering all things technology and telecommunications. Along with reporting on events like CES and Mobile World Congress, he has produced comprehensive guides for popular products like smart speakers and graphics cards. He has a Bachelor of Computer Science from RMIT University and is passionate about helping Aussies leverage technology to better their lives.
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