Conclusion & End Remarks

The G7 was an opportunity for LG to try to raise its build-quality and to offer a well-rounded smartphone to offer a viable alternative with the current fierce competition.

In terms of the design of the G7, I think LG did a good job and I don’t have anything to reproach the phone for in terms of its industrial design choices. In terms of ergonomics, LG went for a rounder bezel which feels slightly handier even though the G7 keeps the exact same footprint as the G6. Moving the power button back to the side is I think a good choice, as although it was unique in past LG devices, it’s something that I personally never got used to.

Obviously there’s a lot of drama around the new screen and the fact that it includes a display notch. Again, similar what I've found in my reviews of the Huawei P20’s and the OnePlus 6, the notch in the G7 doesn’t detract from the aesthetics of the phone, especially as LG offers sufficient customisations in terms of backgrounds for the notch “ears”. The display, although it’s an LCD, offers enough contrast to have sufficiently dark blacks to hide it up until the brightest conditions.

The screen itself is among the G7’s key advertised features, and here LG fulfills all its promises. The RGBW IPS display offers excellent viewing angles, contrast, and is the brightest display we’ve seen in an Android device as it reaches and maintains an eye-searing 1000nits. LG’s promises of 35% better power efficiency on the panel were tested and verified – we’ve never seen such an efficient screen on a mobile device before. The catch here is that the phone has an (unattributed) above-average base power consumption which up to certain brightness levels essentially eliminates the efficiency advantage that the screen brought to the table.

The biggest disappointment is LG’s repeated failure to provide an accurate colour calibration – and if that’s something you value, then the G7 is definitely not the phone for you as it sports the worst colour reproduction we’ve come to measure in a phone released in the last few years.

Performance of the G7 is very good. I would have been naturally surprised to see otherwise as every other Snapdragon 845 device this year has performed excellently. It’s to note that LG’s framework doesn’t seem to be quite as integrated as what we’ve seen from other vendors, and while performance is still great – this is likely the least “snappy” S845 device I’ve come to test this year. GPU sustained performance also behaved above average for S845 devices, as much as it overtakes Samsung and Xiaomi in terms of prolonged gaming performance.

But the biggest disappointment from the G7 ended up being the camera. Even though the G7 employs the same main camera sensor as on the V30, with the same optics, the G7 consistently underperformed its sister flagship. I have no idea what happened here but the image processing on the G7 was just atrocious and absolutely not worthy of a flagship device. LG’s heavy-handed and pointless usage of a harsh noise reduction filter – which creates a water-colour effect – essentially destroyed a large amount of detail in the vast majority of scenarios, defeating the purpose of having a 16MP sensor in the first place.

Cameras are usually the last thing that are developed for a new smartphone, but it feels like LG just forgot the calibration step in its entirety on the G7. I don’t have a sample device of the V35, but I’m really curious to see how that phone behaves and if it shares any of the same issues of the G7.

The saving grace in terms of camera capture is that the wide-angle lens is still a unique selling point for LG. I still find vastly more uses in a wide-angle module than a telephoto module. Wide angle with EIS video capture is especially a really nice feature on the G7 that I enjoyed.

Although AI was a heavily marketed aspect of the G7 – and I’m purposefully avoiding bringing up the “ThinQ” branding throughout the review – its practical uses are very slim. The added assistant button on the side of the phone is a new feature and is integrated with the Google Assistant. The drawback here is that the response time from pressing the button to the assistant actually starting to listen is quite long and unnatural in its implementation. I fear to say that Samsung’s Bixby button is far better in this regard.

The AICam on the V30 was a neat feature which could offer some improvements in colour representation in some scenarios. The same can’t be said for the G7 as in my experience almost any kind of change applied while in AICam mode has been detrimental to picture quality. I’m not even going into the fact that there’s very little machine learning going on and any of it that does happen is actually run on the CPU. LG needs to avoid catering to the latest trendy marketing buzz-words and concentrate on improving the core characteristics of its phones.

Lastly, the new “Boombox” speaker promised some big improvements in sound quality. Sure, if you’re the type to put your phone down and listen to music, then the G7 does compete quite well. Unfortunately a handheld device is, well, most often held in your hands, and here the G7’s speaker design underperforms in terms of sound quality. The positives here is that it does get very loud, and it’s one of the rare mono side speakers that actually manages to have surprisingly good frontal directionality.

So does the G7 make the cut in terms of a worthy purchase? For me the camera is one of the more major deal-breakers. The good news is that the problem here appears to be software – it's the image processing that seems to be the problem rather than the optics or sensor – so LG can fix the problem, if they want to. But until LG resolves the phone’s processing calibration and at least manages to get the G7 back to the picture quality of the V30, I think it’s going to have a very tough time justifying itself. I can only think of a niche use-case where the G7 would beat other phones: prolonged usage in very bright usage conditions, thanks to its efficient screen.

For me the G7 just feels like a phone that has been rushed out and the designers just didn’t get to polish the details out. The two biggest concerns, display calibration and camera calibration, are both fixable by software. But as we’ve seen in the past, the chances of vendors addressing such issues after the fact are slim and are more of an exception to the norm. For now, I don’t see the G7 as a competitive offering versus a similarly priced OnePlus 6, or a superior product, the Galaxy S9(+).

Video Recording & Speaker Evaluation
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  • djayjp - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    Good thing we have speaker measurements because who could possibly want NAND benchmarks? You should stop including benchmarks in SSD reviews as well.
  • Dr. Swag - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    What happened to nand benchmarks? That was one of the big things I liked reading anandtech reviews for. It would also be nice if you didn't remove the display measurement comparison graphs so that we could actually compare different displays to see how they did against each other. I like the addition of speaker evaluations but that should be an addition, not a replacement...
  • faizoff - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    Will the LG V30 review not be done due to the lottery display situation?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    Phone reviews released before December 2018 were shelved as AT didn't have a mobile editor at the time before I rejoined, and it didn't make sense logistically to try to catch up with past devices when it was better to focus to be on time with the newer releases.

    Performance, battery, and camera evaluations of the V30 are included in all follow-up reviews from that date on.
  • lopri - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    December 2017, you mean?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Saturday, August 11, 2018 - link

    Yes sorry, I'm a year ahead >_>
  • eastcoast_pete - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    @Andrei/Anandtech: First, thanks for the review! Would it be possible to include the water-proofing as a line in the specs table in future reviews, as well as the hours of use (intensive) one gets out of a full charge. Lastly, please add a line in the conclusions on past record and promised future on OS updates of that phone maker. These three are key decision points, at least for me. I don't want to worry about getting the phone wet in a downpour, and having to take the charger with me, then look for and stay at a power outlet every few hours is really not exactly "mobile". Similarly, it's more than just annoying if a brand-new phone stays stuck two releases behind current Android versions for years or forever - I don't appreciate built-in obsolescence in $ 500+ phones.
    While I get the criticism of a too-blueish white balance, water-proofing (IP68, 67 or not), hours of intense use per full charge and keeping the OS current for the next 2-3 years are more important to me for a purchase decision than bluish screens, although I'd like a good white balance, too. The camera in the LG7 is a letdown, especially the video. Why still no EIS in 4K or at 1080 p60, and why not offer HEVC recording? The 845 is perfectly capable of all these. Not having those is just lazy, and not on flagship level.
    Regarding the hours of use, this is another disappointing result. LG, hang your head in shame!, Don't try to make an S9+ clone; instead, make a true alternative, and dare to be different. To all phone makers: I get it, thin is hip, but a. I don't use my phone to cut vegetables with, so don't need razor-blade thinness and b. I rather take a slightly thicker and larger (longer) phone with a 4000-5000 mAh battery over a slim phone that won't make it through the day.

  • Andrei Frumusanu - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    Added in the IP68 rating - somehow I missed putting that into the table.

    In regards to hours of usage of a full charge. That's an inexact metric and can't and won't post subjective numbers. The battery tests are reliable, reproducible metrics that I think are still extremely good. In my usage I found the web test largely correlated with overall device runtime - of course this will differ for most users based on screen brightness and cellular connectivity.
  • zeeBomb - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    Andrei reviewing phones again? Man I'm just so disappointing it has only 3,000 mAh...CLEARLY rushed and the display is tooo blue.
  • abufrejoval - Saturday, August 11, 2018 - link

    I had the same reaction when the OnePlus 5 didn't have a bigger battery either. On my older phones I could observe the battery counting down just reading an article like this.

    But the 835 and 845 or I guess anything done on that 10nm FinFET LPE process feels twice as power efficient as the 14nm LPP from the 820 and it's the first time I never worry about the phone battery any more. Even after a long day, I've never dropped below 70% remaining charge and I tend to panic below 50%, just seeing 15% on review pictures makes me sweat :-)

    But I'm not a smombie or a member of the look-down-clan and I guess others will want 12 hours with a non-stop screen full of Facebook action...

    And then QuickCharge gives you another day within minutes.

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