LG Wing hands-on: really flipping fun

Jacob Enderson Jacob Enderson 18 September
LG Wing hands-on: really flipping fun

First off, this is a pre-production unit. It's not a final product. We will have a full review coming later, but it does give a really good idea of what it's like to actually use this thing. And yeah, I know looking at the pictures, it looks weird and wild, but it's actually really nice.

The hardware here is super polished. LG has done a great job and just flipping it open and closed is incredibly nice. It's also way thinner and lighter than you would expect from something with two screens and a weird flipping hinge like this.

In terms of size and weight, it's actually roughly the size of a Galaxy S20 Ultra. Now it's obviously not small. It's still an Android phone with a 6.8-inch display, but it's not unreasonably large, which is something that we've seen from plenty of other foldable or dual-screen devices. LG hasn't just taken two phones and glued it together here. They've actually put some real thought into this, and there's also this device that's just really nice to hold in your hand.  I also cannot emphasize enough how fun it is to do this little flip out thing. It makes like this, this like swooping noise when you slide it up, this super satisfying snap when you close it. And it is just incredibly like satisfying from a tactile level to hold in use.

One thing the wing doesn't do is look like a regular smartphone. And there's a really good reason for that. That's because the wing is the first phone in LGs, new Explorer project series of smartphones, which is meant to, you know, explore new ideas, new ways of building a phone beyond just, you know, a glass slab with a screen on it. This is his first attempt and it's pretty neat. LG has also already started teasing what comes next. It has an idea for an expendable one, which might come out at some point, but focusing back on the wing, it's a really neat idea. Is it gonna work? Are people gonna buy it? I have no idea, but holding it in my hand and watching a YouTube video while reading an article underneath or having Google Maps up while easily being able to control music in a car or take a call. That's pretty cool.

How does it actually work in practice? Well, if you're holding it like thisLG Wing hands-on: really flipping fun it works like a regular Android phone, literally identical to any other major Android phone you'd ever used and hold, it runs Android, works like Android, but when you do this LG Wing hands-on: really flipping funall sorts of weird things happen. So it launches into this weird macOS 10 cover flow style scrolling doc that you can launch your favorite apps from. The bottom screen still works mostly like a regular Android home screen. You can actually pair apps together to launch at the same time. There's a lot of options.

Now there's two ways that you can actually run apps on this. LG Wing hands-on: really flipping funThe first is extended apps, which really is just a couple LG apps, media apps, and the camera right now. But the way that works is that whatever you're running works on both displays. So if you're watching a YouTube video, the entire top display shows the video and the play pause controls volume and brightness on that bottom screen. LG Wing hands-on: really flipping funIf you're using the camera, the whole top screen is a viewfinder and the bottom screen is your camera controls or if using LG's built a note-taking app. LG Wing hands-on: really flipping funYou can actually flip it around, use the top screen as the view for your notes and the entire giant bottom screen as a widescreen keyboard, which is actually really great. LG Wing hands-on: really flipping funThere's also this super wacky thing where you can actually use the top screen as a screen and the bottom screen as a trackpad complete with an actual mouse pointer. LG Wing hands-on: really flipping funIt is bizarre, but also kind of cool.

The other way that you'll use apps, which realistically is the way you'll probably use it a lot more is by running them side by side, because less the developer's gone out of their way to specifically optimize your app for this. You're probably not going to get that extended screen kind of experience. But running app side by side is also really interesting because you can run two apps at once.LG Wing hands-on: really flipping fun But LG isn't just letting you run apps side-by-side like you would on, you know, it's dual-screen Android devices that it's done, or, you know, a foldable where you're running it on two screens Because LG also thought a lot about how you hold it. So you're not just running a big widescreen app on top, and then a small little square screen on the side, you can turn the phone sideways, run a regular Android app, and its regular portrait orientation. And then have like a little friend over here or you can flip it upside down, completely, you know, play a game on the bottom screen and then have, you know, your Twitch chat or whatever on top.LG Wing hands-on: really flipping fun There's a lot of different, interesting use cases LGs thought up here, but just playing around with it and exploring is half the fun holding it right now.

LG isn't only using this weird form factor for extending apps or running things side by side. There's also a super interesting gimbal mode that they have built-in. Now, the way it works is, you know, like a gimbal, but there's actually a second dedicated ultra-wide sensor that's rotated 90 degrees so that it can shoot in this, you know, landscape orientation. LG Wing hands-on: really flipping funAnd it lets you use it like a gimbal. You can use a digital joystick on the bottom screen to pan around. There's a dedicated Hexa Motion Sensors, which LG says should help prevent interference from other parts of the phone and it looks interesting. We're gonna have to put it through a lot more test to see if it actually works. Especially once we have final hardware in our hand, but it's a creative idea.

The other interesting camera thing is that there is a popup selfie camera because LG apparently decided that there weren't quite enough moving parts in this phone yet so it threw a couple more in. LG Wing hands-on: really flipping funThat gets to one of my biggest concerns about the Wing, which is durability. Now I've only had this thing for a couple of hours and it feels fine. And LG promises that you know, it will last, but there's a lot going on here. And it's really easy for me to imagine, you know, getting the wrong piece of dust or dirt or something caught between these and everything just grinding in a way that I don't want.

So we'll have to wait and see, honestly, it might be fine, it might not. But right now you can't really tell.

Looking past the screens, which again are easily the most interesting part of this phone with the 6.8 OLED and the 3.9 OLED and the twisting and the cool stuff. The rest of the wing is actually a pretty average Android phone. It's got a Snapdragon 765G processor with an integrated Qualcomm X52 Modem, which means that it will support 5G. LG says that it will be out on AT&T Verizon and T-Mobile, although we still don't have any idea of price and release date or, you know, anything related to that, or even what kinds of 5G is going to support the US. Although the Verizon support would indicate that at least one model will support millimeter wave.

Ram is eight gigabytes, storage at least in the US is 256 gigabytes. There's a 4,000 milliamp-hour battery. There's an integrated fingerprint sensor. There is obviously with this many moving parts, absolutely no waterproofing to speak of. It's 10.9 millimeters thick, which is just under half an inch. It's not substantially bigger than any other major flagship.

So that's an early first look at the LG Wing. Now we'll have a lot more on this phone when it actually comes out, which again, LG hasn't said when that will be, or how much it's gonna cost, but I'm really excited about this device. I have no idea if this is gonna work? If people are going to buy it? If developers are going to embrace it? But it looks so cool. And it's so new and in a world where we've just had smartphones that are glass slabs and glass slabs, and two glass slabs glued together. It's something new and interesting, exciting. And even if it completely flops it at least tried something new and that to me is worth a whole lot. Hey, it's time with verge and this, nope. And this, that was bad. And this, hold on. And this, nope. 

Comments (1)

  1. I love the fact that phones are getting weird again.

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