The LG G8 ThinQ is expected to go on sale April 11, and LG is already teasing its 5G-capable V50 ThinQ earlier than expected, most likely to take advantage of the excitement surrounding the new highspeed network.
Early reviews – for the LG G8, anyway – mostly express ambivalence towards its familiar aesthetics while doling out cautious praise for its more envelope-pushing features like Air Motion control. From a repair perspective, it doesn’t look too different from the LG G7, but we’re here to make sure.
So far no one’s cracked open an LG G8, but let’s take a look at the its most prominent features and what they may mean for future repairs.
LG wants to make it abundantly clear that its new flagship phone is pretty tough. Staying in line with other flagships, the G8 touts the following:
- IP68 dust- and waterproof rating
- Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on the back
- Anodized aluminum frame
To prove its point, LG isn’t shy to embrace military-level standards of ruggedness, saying the G8 is MIL-STD-810G complaint for shock resistance. That means LG dropped the G8 onto rough concrete from anywhere between five to eight feet and it survived, but this sort of test is mostly for show. It might be best to let the Gorilla Glass speak for itself. Cracked glass find a way.
Durability Where You Least Expect It
So far, so 2019. The G8’s overall construction aligns with competing flagships, but what’s more interesting is where extra durability has been snuck in.
No earpiece speaker opening: Generally, the mesh-covered earpiece speaker opening is one part the modern smartphone just can’t shake. Now, LG figured out a way. The G8 is equipped with what’s called the Crystal Sound OLED Speaker, which uses the screen as an amplifier to create clearer, more robust sound, thus removing the need for an additional earpiece speaker. We’ll see what people think after the phone comes out, but the durability bonus is built right in: no more mesh opening. It’s a small improvement, but it eliminates one of the best invasion points for water and dust.
No back camera lens bump: The dual back cameras on the G8 are perfectly flush with the back glass, meaning they’re protected by the back glass, too. No need for a separate lens or protruding bump, which is typically more vulnerable to scratches. Granted, a cracked lens will require a full back glass replacement, but at least it’s that much harder to scratch in the first place.
Old School Vulnerabilities
While LG moves ahead with device performance and an immersive experience, it hasn’t forgotten the folks who just want a darn headphone jack and charging port. Both are present and accounted for, meaning both parts are still vulnerable to damage (and the inside of the phone vulnerable to water and dust).
Speculations on New Features and Repairs
While we mainly concern ourselves with the phone construction in these posts, we like to consider how performance may be affected by direct or indirect damage to applicable parts. Sure, the G8’s back cameras may fizzle out, but realistically, a cracked back glass is more likely to spoil the cameras’ functionality. The LG G8 got us thinking about a couple of things.
Air Motion control: The G8’s hand-scanning vein recognition technology is pretty cool. According to LG, you can use it to set an alarm or timer, create app shortcuts, take screen captures and selfies, and control media. It’s also one of three ways to unlock your phone, aside from Face Unlock and Fingerprint ID.
How might a scratched screen affect its usability? What will the replacement part look like? We’re used to seeing biometric scanners around here, but we’re curious to see how this component comes packaged and what it will take to repair one.
Crystal Sound OLED Speaker: We echo the same concern here. How might a scratched screen affect the sound of your speaker? Might it ruin the sound altogether, or will it be unnoticeable? We suspect it would depend on the extent of the damage, but it’s worth wondering about if you think you can live with a cracked screen for awhile.
A Brief Word on the LG G8S and LG V50 ThinQ 5G
Our thoughts on the LG G8S generally fall in line with our thoughts on the G8. This cheaper alternative to the G8 makes up for its lack of performance with an extra tenth of an inch to the screen and an extra camera on the back. The biggest durability concerns? It’s only got Gorilla Glass 5 on the back and a big three-camera lens bump to boot.
The LG V50 ThinQ 5G is exciting early adopters eager to test out its 5G capabilities, but that performance likely comes with a big price tag. It boasts a 4000mAh battery, but 5G is expected to suck up tons of energy. The V50 should come close to matching the G8 in terms of durability, but it also might toast your battery a lot faster. Something to think about before the first teardowns make their way online.
The updates present on the LG G8, G8S, and V50 aren’t world-changing, and if you’re familiar with recent LG smartphones, they shouldn’t be too big of a leap. Familiar construction and the presence of a headphone jack, charging port, and back-facing fingerprint scanner mean not too much has changed inside.
While we wait for these phones to drop, let’s concentrate on fixing the ones that are already out there.