LG G8X ThinQ

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

There is nothing like having a shiny new gadget to start the year with. The G8X ThinQ from LG is an unusual phone thanks to a second screen that comes bundled with the handset.

It offers a new way to interact with the device, sort of like an inexpensive version of a folding screen, though not quite as elegant, but perhaps more practical — and a lot more durable.

The second screen comes built into a cover. When you choose to use it, you will fit the handset into the cover, which places the two screens side-by-side. The cover has a hinge that lets you view the screens at any angle, like certain laptops.

The user can toggle between both screens at the same time; move what’s showing on one screen to the other; or launch an app when the dual screen is turned on.

The G8X is a niche device, aimed at multitasking through social content consumption, gaming by using one screen as a controller, or being productive. It’s not exactly the folding screen technology that everyone is waiting for, but it is close enough to offer more than a regular smartphone.

The phone has a bigger display than previous versions, a larger battery and an in-screen fingerprint reader.

The rear camera, which has three lenses, cannot compare to rival flagships, though its 32MP selfie-cam is a step up from other versions. That said, close-up pictures are slightly blurry because of its fixed focus.

The second screen accessory comes with a connector to charge the phone while plugged in, however, it’s flimsy and needs to be placed flat on a surface to charge. If you pick it up to check notifications, it disconnects instantly. It is also bulky; at times I found it too heavy to pop into my handbag and head out.

The handset has a 4,000mAh battery capacity but the second screen does not offer any additional battery capacity. The battery will last over a day.

The G8X, which costs R16,000, is a niche handset aimed primarily at multitaskers or gamers. But remember, you’re not buying it for the camera.