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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  • johntmosher - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    My LG G4 died from Boot Loop a little over a month after the warranty expired. Verizon and LG did not offer anything to make up for the fact that it was sold to me at a time when they already knew about the Boot Loop failure rates. LG and Verizon are both on my shit list and will stay that way for quite some time.
  • takeshi7 - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    I don't care about waterproofing on my phone. LG needs to bring back removable batteries. That's the whole reason I bought their phones. If I want waterproofing I'll go out and buy a waterproof case.
  • UtilityMax - Friday, August 10, 2018 - link

    Just buy a power bank. Removable battery as a run time extender is as inconvenient as it gets. Also, some of those low-end smartphones with A53 CPUs as their main cores can get an amazing run time. I can forget to charge my honor 6X and it can still last through the day with just 40% in the morning.
  • jabber - Saturday, August 11, 2018 - link

    Yeah I have a LG G4 which has been a great phone but this September I am coming up for three years with it and was going to replace it (probably a G6). However, I remembered I could change the battery and really the G4 still does everything I need so I just got a new battery. Sorted for another year at least...
  • Dragonstongue - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    so even higher specs with a low Mah battery, for shame..."modern" smartphones IMO especially the ones that have high to very high end (for phone) specs should not hamper them with "normal" size batteries that tend to be in the range of 2200-3200 they should be targeting a minimum of 3200-4200 range, especially when they have the space to cram a larger battery in there (which many of them do)

    I just don't get t when "knock off" brands manage to often use a better display AND larger battery, shame of the bigger companies expecting as much $ as they can think to get away charging and using a dinky little battery....example even lower spec G4 Play had a 2800Mah battery REMOVABLE, this is much higher spec but barely any increase in battery capacity, I do not give a crud what OS version it is using, the capacity of the battery matters very much >:(
  • Xex360 - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    The notch again no innovation especially from LG, I had the V20 and the second screen can be very useful and didn't ruin the whole experience, the G6 were nearly perfect beside the decision to use a year old SOC plus no wireless charging.
  • hirschma - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    The LG V35 is what should be the flagship. Better specs, better display, more memory, plus the audio, wide angle camera and 845 from the G7. I've had mine for a week, and it's definitely the best phone I've ever had.
  • Hubb1e - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    I got this phone after some bad experiences with Samsung and this is the most accurate review of it I've seen to date. The biggest downside for the G7 is the unreliable camera. Some shots are okay, some are downright bad. And most reviewers don't shoot pictures of moving subjects, but the G7 consistently misses focus on moving subjects. All the issues with the camera in this review I've seen in my use. Most of it I think is related to it's inability to auto focus on the correct subject. When using manual focus, the camera actually takes good pictures.

    The rest of the phone is actually really great. I don't notice the color calibration in regular use, and the speaker is great even if other flagships also offer great speakers. The size of the phone is the best out there. It is comfortable and has a large screen without feeling too wide to hold and use in one hand. While I do mostly use BT headphones, I have a range of wired headphones and when I use them they sound amazing on the G7 in comparison to other phone's weak headphone output.

    And the last great feature, but one that was not touched on in this review, is the outstanding idle battery life of the G7. Even with the always on display enabled, the G7 barely loses any charge when idle. If I don't use my phone very much, I can end the day with 80% of my battery life left. Most days I have 40-50% of battery left over even taking pictures, making calls, watching videos, and browsing the web. In comparison to Samsung phones I've had that can lose 5% an hour at idle, the idle power use of the G7 makes it outlast every other phone I've ever used.
  • SkyBill40 - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    I have a V30 after having upgraded from a V10 a while back. Personally speaking, I'd rate the V series above the G series but that's just me. I can say that I've been quite satisfied with my V30 and given how close to each other these phones happen to be, it wouldn't be worth it to "upgrade."

    LG has come a long way with their phones (that boot loop issue was a killer) and are genuinely competitive with every other high end device out there.
  • Lavkesh - Thursday, August 9, 2018 - link

    Its amazing how average these so called Android flagships are when compared to the iPhone where every details is thought out. The worst thing is that they arent cheap either.

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