LG G8S ThinQ

Cool factor 3/5
Usability 4/5
Value for money 3/5

LG seems to have dropped the ball in its smartphone division. Its latest flagship, the G8 ThinQ, will not be released in SA. Instead, it has just released the slightly more affordable G8S ThinQ.

The phones have similar specs, but the latter has a lower-resolution 2248x1080p screen and a slightly different camera set-up – it has a 13MP ultra-wide lens versus the 16MP on the G8.

The G8S is powered by the same Snapdragon 855 chip and has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, with a 3,550mAh battery. It has a USB-C charging port and two features that aren’t common in 2019: a 3.5mm audio jack and expandable storage.

From a design perspective, it is comfortable to hold and even though you can take one-handed selfies, you definitely need both hands to type.

On the software front, it runs Android 9 Pie with not-altogether useful features such as Hand ID and Air Motion. Hand ID lets you unlock the handset with the palm of your hand, but it needs to be positioned at a specific angle to work. Air Motion lets you use hand gestures to open apps and control music, calls or alarms. Despite setting it up, I simply could not get it to work.

I found that standard biometrics like fingerprint and facial unlocking worked better than Hand ID, which also looks a little weird in public if you don’t get it right the first time.

A triple camera set-up consists of both a 12MP standard and telephoto lens, and a 13MP super-wide lens. The dual selfie-cam offers 8MP and Z Camera, a time-of-flight lens as seen on the Huawei P30 that measures depth.

The G8S takes decent photos and offers the widest field of view on any smartphone at 137°, but it just can’t compete with Samsung and Huawei.

All in all, the LG G8S offers snappy performance, a great screen and battery life, an average camera, and features that are rather gimmicky. It sells for around R12,000, but at that price it is worth taking a look at the Samsung A80 or Huawei P30.