I often forgot to activate the camera first, and would sit in front of the phone making clawing motions with my hand trying to figure out why the display wasn't responding. This makes a person look extremely cool, in case you were wondering. To get the G8 to recognize that you're trying to activate Air Motion, you have to put your hand from 2 to 5 inches in front of the camera to wake it up, then make a claw with your hand, then pull the claw back so your hand is 6 to 8 inches away from the camera.
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I would rather take a screenshot by pressing two physical buttons than by calculating the distance from the camera to my hand and then making a claw and pinching my fingers together. When Air Motion works, it's pretty cool. But it's all just way too much work.
The G8's front-facing camera also enables advanced selfie effects, thanks to the time-of-flight sensor. LG says the G8 can fine-tune the background blur with more precision due to the new sensor. Two new selfie effects, Studio and Spotlight, are designed to make your photos look better with colorful backgrounds and natural lighting. Studio portraits are just plain bad. The camera cuts out around your basic shape, but the details around my hair look like someone hastily cut with scissors to add a photo of my face on some weird collage.
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Spotlight is a little prettier. You can angle the spotlight to create the perfect lighting conditions, sort of like being on a set with a professional photographer. You can also use two sliders to adjust brightness and white balance to make the effect more natural. I wish I could combine Spotlight with Portrait mode to create a truly perfect selfie, like the iPhone XS does, but alas, the G8 doesn't allow it.
The design remains the same
The G8's dual-lens rear shooter doesn't offer any new features from the G7. Both sport an ultra-wide-angle and standard lens, though the G8's main camera is 12 megapixels and the G7s is The G8 has the same artificially intelligent-powered photography software as the G7 for recognizing objects and adjusting camera settings, and it's mostly great. In this photo of a cast-iron pan of green shakshuka at an Israeli cafe, I used the G8's AI Cam which remains separate from the default camera in the Camera app. The camera recognizes that it's looking at food and optimizes the settings accordingly to capture a more beautiful image.
I compared the results to the Galaxy S10 and Pixel 3, and found the G8's image more colorful, with better contrast on the crisped edges of the pita. This time the camera categorized the scene as city. The Pixel 3 eked out a win here with a bluer sky and more contrast between the branches and the blossoms, but the G8 performed capably.
Portrait mode is where the G8 loses its edge. The camera can't seem to tell where the subject ends and the background begins, as you can see in this portrait of me against a park backdrop.
It needs to just work
The G8 confuses the green of the shrubbery with the green of my jacket and brings it all into focus. The Pixel 3's software-based portrait mode better blurred the background and was more color accurate. LG's smartphone cameras tend to run cool. LG introduced a new Night View mode in the G8. The G7 offered pixel-binning for better low-light photos, but not a separate setting designed for nighttime shots.
We compared the results to the Pixel 3's standout Night Sight mode to see which smartphone reigns supreme. With the Pixel 3, I had zero control over the exposure, so it looks like the dim bar has florescent lighting. In a photo of a statue in a Brooklyn plaza, I again selected a mid-exposure on the G8 to avoid blowing out the statue. You can shoot videos in portrait mode on the G8 thanks to the phone's rear dual lenses, which separate the subject of your video from the background and apply a bokeh effect.
Frankly, every portrait video I shot looked awful. You can shoot portrait videos of people, objects or animals. The video of the juggler was a disaster: Sometimes he's in focus, but then it would blur him into the background and focus on someone else, even as I tapped his face to keep the camera locked on him. The effect worked better in the video of the flowers, because I was able to get up close and personal. The G8's portrait video mode requires you to be incredibly close to the subject of the video in order to blur the background, and it will often switch between "portrait mode enabled" and "you need to be closer," even if you haven't moved while shooting.
I can't imagine any candid moment I'd be able to capture in video portrait mode without getting uncomfortably close to the subject, which makes the G8's new feature more problematic than useful.
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One area where LG has continued to innovate in a useful way is audio. The effect not only streamlines the phone's design, but also makes it much easier to take calls. LG stripped out the phone earpiece that is at the top of a smartphone and put a vibrator behind the OLED display.
This works sort of like bone conduction, amplifying the sound so you can hear the voice on the other end of the line no matter where your ear is. The sound radiates from behind the screen.
I loved this feature when making phone calls, because New York is always so noisy, even when inside. But I'm not one to blast music from my phone anyway; I prefer a high-quality pair of headphones for quieter listening sessions.
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LG streamlined the G8 ThinQ design, although at first glance it doesn't look all that different from last year's G7. LG also eliminated the phone earpiece from the top of the G8's screen for an altogether more seamless design more on that later. But still, all three devices are glassy slabs that sport a notch that can be hidden with a software setting. LG says it reengineered the G8 with a four-side-bending method for a simple, curved feel.
The phone is indeed simple and curved, but the New Aurora Black model I tested was plain and completely forgettable. The glass front isn't quite as durable as the back, in my testing. I tossed the G8 in my bag with my wallet, sunglasses case and two other phones, the Galaxy S10 and Pixel 3. When I emptied my purse at the end of the day, the G8's screen was scuffed. The other two phones remained pristine.
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There are unique camera features in the G8s ThinQ. The triple shot mode helps you snap pictures using all the three rear cameras at once and let you pick which one you want to keep. Then there is the Cine Shot Mode, which captures cinemagraphs - GIF like videos where the subject is in motion while everything else is stationary. One thing that I absolutely love about the LG smartphones is their user interface.
You can customize every aspect of an LG phone using the extensive set of controls that the company offers. The G8s ThinQ takes advantage of the company's this extraordinary UI, giving users the freedom to experiment.
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This phone has some really cool features. While one screen displays your latest conversations, the other gives a detailed account of all your recent activity on your phone, whether it is an email that you have opened or a web page that you have visited. You can customise the apps that you want to see in your second screen.
You can also customise the look of the second screen to pick between a notched look and a bezeled design. Then there is the Eco Playback feature that dims the overall brightness of the phone as you listen to the music. There is also a Comfort View icon that adds a shade of warm to your phone's display for reading during the night time. Apps are bunched together in folders, depending on their functionality. LG has extended the same cleanliness and orderliness to its Settings apps as well. All the elaborated controls are neatly tucked under their respective sub-sections, which is easy to access and use.
This means you can wave your hands in front of the phone to skip a song on it or for answer or rejecting calls. This Z-camera also powers the phone's Hand ID based bio-authentication system.