With the LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen officially launching in Canada on Nov. 1, Canadians who don’t want to drop around $2,600 on a fragile foldable phone (from the U.S.) will soon have another option.

The LG G8X ThinQ inherits much of the hardware of the original LG G8 ThinQ: A Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. It also features a 12MP standard wide camera, a 13MP Super Wide camera, and a 32MP front camera. On the software side, the G8X ThinQ runs the LG UX based on Android 9 Pie.

The right half is the LG G8X ThinQ smartphone, the left half is the Dual Screen display.

Just two features really set it apart from the LG G8 ThinQ. First, it has a larger 4,000mAh battery; a necessary upgrade to feed power to the Dual Screen attachment, which LG says draws about 20 per cent more power. Second, its display got stretched from 6.1-inch on the original to 6.4-inch, but has its resolution bumped down to FHD+.

Dual Screen attachment

LG’s take on a Dual Screen phone was first revealed in September at IFA 2019 held in Berlin. Rather than a single flexible OLED display, it’s merely an extension accessory for the LG G8X ThinQ smartphone. The 6.4-inch OLED touchscreen connects through the USB-C port in the snap-on case and is powered by the phone’s battery.

The second screen can act as a viewfinder for the phone’s rear camera.

When turned on, the second display can act as anything from a gamepad, to a presentation controller, or even as a digital viewfinder for its camera. It can also open two full-screen apps side by side, useful for viewing documents on one screen and taking notes on the other.

When the display is folded, it activates a 2.1-inch cover display at the back for notification previews and displaying the time. The display sits flush in a mirror-finished front that attracts a ton of fingerprints.

Availability

The LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen will be available from major carriers including Bell, Freedom Mobile, Koodo, Telus and more starting Nov. 1. LG says that the pricing will depend on carrier and plan options.

Currently, the dual Dual Screen attachment is only available as a packaged offer with the LG G8X ThinQ. LG has not commented on whether the display can be purchased separately.

The race to bend

While the camera war in the smartphone space is still white-hot, manufacturers are hopping on another bandwagon: foldable displays.

I first encountered the LG Dual Screen at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. While LG had a bristling booth, its Dual Screen attachment case was drowned out by the hype from the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X, both of which featured spectacular folding single-panel OLEDs. I was convinced that innovation-wise, Samsung and Huawei had completely trounced LG.

The elusive Huawei Mate X.

That belief is still firmly rooted today, but LG’s simplicity is what gave it the lead in releasing an actual functional product. Marred by a fragile display and hinge at launch, the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s initial release didn’t even make it past reviewer’s preview, and its re-release still had dust and scratch resistance issues. On the other hand, while Huawei took more time to ensure its Mate X’s durability, it has maintained radio silence for a global release. The phone is already available in China for around US$2,400, but because it lacks Google Apps due to the U.S. ban, whether it’s fated for the Canadian market is still unknown.

With one competitor being a delicate snowflake and the other potentially segregated to half a world away, LG technically won gold in the race to release a widely-available, functional dual-screen phone in North America. However primitive it may be relative to the others, a win is still a win.



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