LG V60 ThinQ 5G hands-on: It won’t break the bank, or when you fold it

In the endeavor to unify LG’s G series and the V series, two become one in more ways than one with the LG V60 ThinQ 5G. Without a proper G series predecessor, which typically comes first in the year, LG’s giving us a huge, dual-screen device that has most of the things you could ask for in a flagship device, and then some.

Packing an included Dual Screen case, the V60 ThinQ is a good-looking, well-equipped flagship. But it offers a more compatible (and durable) split-screen experience than other folding phones we’ve seen.

Design

Before we talk about the included LG Dual Screen case, let’s not forget about the design of the actual phone, as I’m glad to report LG didn’t either. The colors are flashy yet classy, coming in a shiny blue with gold edges and accents, or a shimmery white that looks pearlescent in the light. It’s a big phone even without the case, so if smaller devices are your thing, this likely isn’t the phone for you.

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The display had to look good, and the 6.8-inch P-OLED, while slightly tall with a 20.5:9 aspect ratio, and a bit lower on the resolution scale at FHD+ (2460 x 1080), still does the trick.

The dual screen experience

Snap your V60 ThinQ into the Dual Screen case, and you’ve now doubled your already large screen experience. The case itself isn’t particularly drool-worthy – in fact, quite the opposite, as it only has a small black and white display in the front and a hard, rubbery back. The case does have a proprietary magnetic connector for charging while the phone sits docked within.

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The real money-maker is the secondary display. It’s a carbon copy of the V60’s, and you can use it to either extend certain apps across the two screens, or multitask like a pro between the two full-sized displays. Only seven apps currently work in the extended mode, including Google Chrome, Gmail, and YouTube, but any combination of apps can be used to multitask. 

Like we saw with LG’s G8X ThinQ, you can swipe across the two displays with three fingers to swap the apps between the two screens. That’s great if you’re using the phone in landscape and want one of the apps switched from the top or bottom. There’s also a pop-up menu that can be accessed to change screen modes, including the Wide View for extending the screen. 

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These are features we saw on the G8X, the only addition being support for more Google apps in Wide View mode. It’s disappointing LG hasn’t included more new functions, like app pairing, which Samsung devices use to enable dual-launching apps. In fact, with two enormous screens, I’d love a shortcut to open four apps at once.

Performance

Intensive multitasking could benefit from a healthy serving of RAM chips, but we’re looking at just 8 GB here. That’s paired with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 865 flagship processor, which offers plenty of power, plus the 5G capability. A large 5,000 mAh battery powers the phone, which gives me hope it’ll last a day’s use.

Using the V60 ThinQ in my limited time felt as smooth as any flagship should, whether it was in or out of the dual-screen case. While I’d like to see more RAM in here, I’ll have to put it through more intense testing to see if the V60 ThinQ gets along just fine without it.

A universal gamepad

Multi-tasking is a big sell for the V60 ThinQ. It’s done in a way that isn’t possible on other phones, whether they fold or not. But but my favorite feature may be the gamepad. Even if the game you’re playing doesn’t support a third-party controller support, you can use the built-in software to map controls for it.

This can be a big deal for gaming, as many Android games still don’t support Bluetooth peripherals. As for me, I can’t wait to play my guilty pleasure, Gods of Boom, with a controller.

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Getting the controller up and running is a little awkward, however. You have to first open LG’s GamePad app, then the game you want to play. It’s sometimes oriented incorrectly, but once you’ve figured out the order of tasks, you should be good to go.

8K video and a 64 MP camera sensor

LG’s taken the hint that many companies have, and upped the camera game in a few key ways. First is the sensor size. Jumping up to a 64MP main sensor from the V50’s 12MP, LG’s dropped the telephoto camera but held onto the 13MP super wide-angle camera. There’s also a 10MP front-facing cam for selfies.

It may seem counter-intuitive to upgrade a camera by losing something, but LG’s banking on the 64MP detail capture to improve crops on pictures for anywhere from 2x-10x zoom, and negate the loss of the telephoto lens. Generally, the difference between 2x optical and 2x digital zoom on high-end flagships like is negligible, so I’m more than fine with this decision, especially if it was made to help keep costs down — something LG made clear it wanted to do.

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Inspired by the 3D photo effect on Facebook, LG brought the feature in as a new camera mode which takes photos of subjects which you can tilt for a parallax effect. In doing so, I noticed a strange blurry silhouette left behind the subject when tilted to different angles — a rather unpleasing look which, if not fixed, would discourage most from using this new mode. You still have LG favorites like manual photo- and video-capturing modes, too.

Last, and certainly not least, is 8K video recording. Paired with the steady cam optical and digital hybrid stabilization, this could produce some very pleasing content. We’ve seen a killer combination of this on Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra this year already and if LG delivers similar results here it could be doing so at a significant price discount.

Price and availability

LG told us it wants to make a dual screen experience “more universal,” and at the same time, highly compatible. To that end, it’s pledged to keep the cost under $1,000, but the official pricing hasn’t yet been announced at the time of writing this post. It will be available through Verizon, U.S. Cellular, AT&T and T-Mobile.

The LG V60 ThinQ might not be the best-looking device to ever fold open, but without the included Dual Screen case, it’s actually a pretty beautiful phone. Plus, it has the flagship components you’d expect and some top-level camera features like 8K and super steady recording. Throw in the case, and you have two huge screens hinged together to create a multi-tasking machine, all under the $1000 mark.

How many phones, folding or not, can you say that about?

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