MWC 2018 has kicked off and major smartphone brands are launching their flagship smartphones for the year. Nokia, Sony and Samsung have made their respective announcements, and it was LG’s turn. While some were expecting the launch of the G7, LG instead unveiled the V30s ThinQ instead. The smartphone is basically an upgraded version of the V30 that was launched last year, and it comes with upgraded hardware and AI integration. I spent some time with the smartphone at MWC, and here are my first impressions.
Similar design, with a thinner profile
The LG V30s ThinQ comes with a similar design as the V30, but it is now a bit sleeker with a thickness of just 7.3mm. The smartphone weighs just 158 grams, and you literally feel like holding a feather in your hands. You get the same aluminum frame sandwiched between front and back glass, giving it a premium look and feel. However, the glass makes it a bit slippery, and attracts a lot of fingerprints too.
Upgrades to the hardware
With other manufacturers like Sony and Samsung are offering Snapdragon 845 SoC powered devices, LG is yet again stuck with last year’s Snapdragon 835 octa-core chipset. However, the company has upgraded RAM and on-board storage. You now get 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage, along with microSD card slot for further expansion.
Dual rear cameras with AI integration
At the back, you get a dual camera setup comprising of a 16-megapixel standard lens of f/1.6 aperture, along with a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens. The setup lets you capture standard and wide-angle photos. Up front, there is a 5-megapixel camera with support for wide angle photos – allowing you to capture selfies and group photos.
The key addition here is the AI capabilities. The camera app now comes with QLens, which is similar to Samsung’s Bixby Vision. Simply open the camera and point the smartphone towards an object. For instance, you see a cool new bag or shoes, a mug or a can of coke, and you want to know more about the product and where you can buy, the QLens will help. It also comes with a QR Code integrated QR Code scanner within the app.
It features object recognition that scans for similar products and brings up results from Pinterest and Amazon, allowing you to directly purchase it from the e-commerce website. The other option is called AI Cam, which uses machine learning to detect objects or people in the frame.
Simply open the camera app, tap on AI Cam and point the smartphone at a person or an object. LG has trained it on 100 million images, and when you point the camera on subjects, the keywords will surface on the screen after analyzing. For instance, you will see keywords like male, wearing specs, fair, tall, jacket and so on. I tried it and it pretty much works.
Other than these, the smartphone comes with Android 8.0 Oreo out-of-the-box with February security patch. The UI is fluid, and I did not encounter any issues when using the smartphone. The smartphone also supports DayDream VR, and will soon get support for AR Core, augmented reality-based apps. Overall, the AI additions are surely interesting, but it is still a software thing, and it will be interesting to see what LG does with its flagship G7 smartphone, or whatever it chooses to call it.