The LG G7 is the next Android smartphone from LG, and it comes with a unique notch design twist at the very top, according to our reporting.
Update: Don't expect another OLED display from the LG G series. That's being saved for the V series, the latest being the LG V30. This one is an LCD, according to new reports.
Haven't seen it yet? That's because LG's new Android smartphone wasn't officially unveiled at MWC 2018 in February, with the South Korean company leaving the stage to the Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9 Plus and Sony Xperia XZ2 instead.
However, the LG G7 was there behind closed doors, and its current design (which could change at any moment up to the actual launch) has us intrigued.
So what's in store for the LG G7 flagship? It'll be a bigger overhaul compared to the incremental LG V30S ThinQ that's for sure, so don't worry.
We're just weeks away from a LG G7 release date, but there have been a number of leaks and rumors, giving us a good idea of what it could offer.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? LG’s 2018 flagship smartphone
- When is it out? April/May launch date expected, with a May release
- How much will it cost? The G6 was $729 (about £568, AU$967), but G7 could be more
LG G7 release date and price
The LG G7 launch date will be towards the end of April or beginning of May, with shipping commencing in May, according to the latest release date rumors.
LG passed on holding a big press conference at MWC, which chimed with a report by Gearburn that claimed an LG exec had hinted that the G7 would be "a little bit late."
This isn't too surprising, as apparently the company recently started redesigning the phone from scratch. We've heard from another source that it won't be unveiled until March, or hit stores until April.
Whenever it lands it won't be cheap. In line with other LG flagships, we expect it to cost at least $729 (about £570, AU$970), the price of the LG G6. If you believe some LG G7 price rumors, it may even rise in price by $90 (£70, AU$120).
LG G7 optional notch display
The LG G7 is getting a notch, according to a leaked video of the handset at MWC 2018. Only, it's incorporating a software trick to make the notch optional.
The blacked-out notch can protrude into the screen, as on the iPhone X, or it can be concealed within a flush on-screen bezel, as on the Samsung Galaxy S9. It's your choice.
This is done through the settings menu, not seen in the edited video. The advantage here is that the notch gives you about a half inch of extra screen space at the top right and left sides. It's enough room for the time, battery life and notification icons.
Google's forthcoming Android P update is moving this top-line information to the top right and left corners of its mobile OS in anticipation of more notch-bearing phones, so LG's proactive idea makes a lot of sense.
Other LG news and rumors
So we have a good idea of the release date, price and the optional-notch screen, but just about everything else about the LG G7 remains a mystery.
We have heard one source suggesting that the LG G7 could be rebranded, but we're thinking that the popularity of the name will ensure that doesn't happen.
While we know about the notch display, we don't know for sure if it'll be an OLED or LCD. Reports claimed that LG would switch to OLED screens in its late 2017 flagships, and we did see that in last year's LG V30, but the G series has had IPS LCD screens. That could be the key differentiator between the two phones.
The most recent reports say LG will stick with LCD, to keep costs down and that makes sense. LG's V series of smartphones seem to be the ones touting OLED screens. It's a way to differentiate to two smartphones lines.
That would make sense, since many criticized the G6 for its use of the dated Snapdragon 821, and LG won't want to make the same mistake twice.
LG's earnings for 2017 have shown that the LG G6 has been slow to sell, likely a result of that phone launching in the midst of the competitive release season alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.
However, its internals, which we noted were slightly behind the times, could have been part of the issue. Knowing that phones with the Snapdragon 835 were coming put an obstacle in front of the G6 before its launch.
You can bet that LG will be gunning to have the most powerful phone around this year, or to at least be on a par with its competitors.
All that said, LG has apparently recently started over from scratch with the LG G7, potentially ditching whatever progress had been made, so much of what we've heard previously may no longer be true.
There’s a lot about LG’s 2018 flagship that can probably be gleaned from the G6, though. Considering that it was the first major smartphone to release with small bezels and a 18:9 aspect ratio, signs point to the next phone keeping in line with that general design philosophy: a large, tall screen in a compact build.
However, exactly what it will look and feel like is, right now, a complete mystery. Today’s best practices in flagship smartphone manufacturing aren’t likely to change all that much going into 2018, so expect to see a fair share of curvature and metal dashed around the device, with more focus directed to the screen.
What do we want to see in the LG G7? We’re so glad that you asked.
What we want to see: a curved screen
The LG G6 opts for business (flat) on the front and party (curved) on the back, but we’d like to see LG mix up the formula for the next iteration of its G series.
After seeing how well Samsung’s curved edge screen experiment turned out – it's made the core S product even more refined – the LG G7 would be the perfect test bed for a brand new curved look, with the hope being that the learnings will feed into making future G phones even better looking.
Plus, who doesn’t love a bit of curved screen? It feels really good in the hand, and looks futuristic. And if LG can build in some utility, as we’ve seen from Samsung, then all the better.
The latest Snapdragon chipset
The Snapdragon 821 inside of the LG G6 is no slouch. It’s perfect for everyday use, only slowing down under the immense pressure of Daydream VR in the Google Pixel (the G6 doesn’t support Daydream – we’ll get to that later). But even with its performance pedigree, it’s old news.
When the G6 launched, one of the main talking points was that it used old technology – not the takeaway you’re aiming for with your brand spanking new flagship smartphone. Not just that, the S8 showed it up with the next-gen Snapdragon 835 shortly after its release.
While LG's current flagship appeals to those looking for a well-built smartphone with a ton of features, LG is going to have to work to get back the hardcore audience that cares about raw performance capability. Adopting the Snapdragon 845 would be a good way of doing just that.
A removable battery
LG is familiar with making phones that have removable batteries. Take the LG G4, LG G5, LG V10 and LG V20 as some recent examples. So there’s little to no reason as to why its next flagship shouldn’t have this sought-after feature.
Of course, a slimmer design requires sacrifice somewhere around the device, so while it’s understandable that LG removed the ability to swap batteries in its latest smartphone, the feature is a real crowd-pleaser.
After last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 7 battery fiasco, the benefits of a removable battery explain themselves. Fortunately, LG’s reputation in the battery department is iron clad, but even so, power users love being able to keep the experience going with swappable batteries, and we’re in the same boat.
Quad DAC and wireless charging in all regions
The LG G6 is the jack-of-all-trades – well, depending on where you live. If you’re in the US you’re treated to wireless charging, but not the quad DAC hardware that makes your audio sing at audiophile-grade quality.
And while those elsewhere in the world might have been treated to quad DAC, they missed out on wireless charging. As a result, there's no ideal version of the LG G6.
In its quest to give each region what users are clamoring for, LG has abandoned a chunk of their audience that has likely moved onto a different phone this year as a result.
We talked with an LG spokesperson about the challenges of making the 'perfect' phone, and he stated that the company is always listening to consumer feedback. Given the feedback for the G6’s regional split of hardware features, we’ll see how closely LG has been listening when the LG G7 arrives.