Folding phones are a thing now. What was once a sea of single screen devices, smartphones are entering an era where a larger folding screen might be the future. While companies like Samsung and Huawei are embracing a the folding screen technology, others are taking a slightly safer route by introducing an add-on that turns one screen in to two. I’m talking about the LG V50 ThinQ and its Dual Screen Case. This is basically a regular smartphone that with the help of a case with its own screen, becomes a two screen smartphone, that folds.
Before I get started, let’s just get a few things out of the way. For starters, this is a Korean market LG V50 ThinQ as well as the optional Korean market Dual Screen case. While the LG V50 ThinQ is available here in the U.S. (as a Sprint and Verizon exclusive), it was never offered with the Dual Screen nor does it have the hardware necessary for it. So why am I looking at an accessory that you can’t even get here? It’s because LG will soon be releasing the LG G8X ThinQ here in the U.S. that will have a new and improved Dual Screen case. That means that whatever issues I might have with this LG V50 ThinQ and its case, will most likely be addressed when the LG G8X ThinQ is released. LG sent me this so I could get a preview and a feel for what the U.S. will be getting in the next few months.
This review isn’t going to be about the LG V50 ThinQ. That’s not the main focus of the review, but I will comment on a few details that make the LG V50 ThinQ a very good, overlooked smartphone.
The LG V50 ThinQ isn’t a revolutionary device. In fact, it shares quite a lot with last year’s LG V40. The body is almost near identical with the same dimensions, buttons, and layout. The only major difference is the fact that the LG V50 ThinQ loses the rear camera hump. It completely does away with it and the three cameras on the back are now sitting underneath the rear glass panel. This is quite a feat seeing as I can’t really think of one flagship phone that doesn’t have a camera hump. This completely cleans up the rear of the LG V50 ThinQ and makes it one of the sleekest and nicest looking phones on the market.
Not only that, the LG V50 ThinQ is also one of the last remaining phones out there with an audio jack still. The front screen utilizes Gorilla Glass 5 while the rear uses Gorilla Glass 6 and in-between them is an aluminum frame.
Other than that, it’s just a really nice, clean design. Nothing too crazy or flashy about it.
Now on to the LG Dual Screen case. This is probably what you really want to know about and again, this isn’t available here in the U.S. right now but the LG G8X ThinQ version of the Dual Screen case will be. They are very similar though there are some differences that make the LG G8X version better and more refined. the LG V50 ThinQ version however does give a really good example of what the experience will be like.
The Dual Screen case itself is a bit less premium than the phone. It’s primarily made of plastic, though it’s a thick gauge plastic. The part that snaps on to the LG V50 ThinQ has pogo pins on the inside that line up with the contacts that are on the phone. This is how the phone transmits the data to the extra screen as well as powering it. There’s a huge rectangular cutout for the cameras and the fingerprint reader. The LG V50 ThinQ snaps into the case quite firmly and seems like it would give decent protection. The cutout could probably be a bit smaller, but all-in-all, it’s not bad looking. The case even has its own buttons for the volume and Google Assistant.
On the other part of the case is the folding section which acts as a cover when its shut. The front is made of glass and while it looks like a screen, it isn’t. There’s writing on the front that says LG Dual Screen and there’s a slit up top for the speakers to show through. On the inside cover part is the actual second screen which at first looks huge, but isn’t due to the large top and bottom bezels.
Aside from the fact that the screen is smaller than the main screen, it also seems to have a screen protector attached to it. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to remove it or not, but I’m not since it does provide some protection for the screen.
As for the folding mechanism itself, the case really only opens up in three positions. It opens at about a 95°, 180°, and fully folded back at 360°. Each point clicks into place while filly open is held in that position with a magnet. The magnet also seems to let the software know to turn off the Dual Screen.
This will be quick. While the LG V50 ThinQ may look like just an updated LG V40, its internals have been updated to current 2019 specs. It uses the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 quad-core processor with an Adreno 640 GPU. It’s got 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory. You still have the option of using a microSD card too to expand the storage up to 1TB. It also has a 4000 mAh battery. Basically, all of these specs are up from last year’s LG V40.
Other flagship features include Qi fast wireless charging, stereo speakers, built-in Quad-DAC, DTS: X Surround Sound, three rear cameras, and dual front selfie cameras. The LG V50 ThinQ is rated IP68 for dust/water proof (up to 1.5m for 30 mins) and is MIL-STD-810G compliant.
Let’s not forget that the LG V50 ThinQ was also one of the first 5G devices on the market here in the U.S., though I’m not able to test the speeds since AT&T does not have 5G in my area. It works perfectly fine on 4G though so I’m okay with that.
On the LG Dual Screen case, the only thing we really need to address is the size and resolution of the screen. It’s a 6.2-inch screen as opposed to the 6.4-inch on the main screen. It’s also only a FHD+ OLED display and not a QHD+ OLED display. The screen however is still about as bright as the main screen so at least that’s consistent.
What allows the screens to work in conjunction with each other is the Dual Screen Tool that’s baked into the software. It only shows up when the Dual Screen case is detected. This brings up a little icon that attaches itself to the side of your home screen. tapping on it brings up a menu that allows you to turn on and off the Dual Screen, swap apps between the two screens, and allows you to dim the main screen if needed.
You’ll also want to download an app called Wiz Lock from LG that allows you to use both screens at once. Usually what happens is that the app not being used will be paused. This app makes it so you can use both apps at the same time. This doesn’t work for all apps, but most. Not sure why this wasn’t just part of the main Dual Screen app but it’s something that you’ll want to download.
Aside from the apps needed, the Dual Screen itself will have its own home screen. You can have an entirely separate set of apps that show up on the home screen there that only appear when it’s on and attached. You can even set separate wallpapers for each screen or have one that stretches across both screens.
Uses for the Dual Screen
So the question I get from people who see me with the Dual Screen attachment is, “why do you need that or how useful is having two screens?” Hopefully I’ll be able to answer that here with a few examples of how I’ve put the Dual Screen to use the LG V50 ThinQ.
1. Camera App + Photos Gallery – This is actually a pretty useful thing right here as this allows you to not only take photos, but allows you to see the photos you take immediately on the second screen. That means you never have to leave the camera app again like you would on a single screen device to see your photos.
2. Games + Web Browser/YouTube – I play mobile games all the time and sometimes, I like to look up tips and tricks while I play. What stinks is having to switch back and forth between apps. With two screens you don’t have to do that. You can play your game on one screen while reading or watching those tips on the other.
3. Multiple Chat Apps at Once – There have been times where I’ve had to chat with more than one person at the same time, on different platforms. That means you can have apps like Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Whatapp, Text Messages, etc open at the same time.
4. Games + Virtual Game Controller – Some games play better with a controller, but it’s not always convenient to carry a controller around with you. The LG Games Launcher allows for a virtual game controller that you can use with games that support it. It works fairly well, though it’s got a few quirks. You’ll have to go through some trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t.
5. Post to Multiple Social Media Accounts at Once – If you’re a heavy social media person, you can have two of your favorites up at once. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or something else, you can have two apps open at the same time. You can be extra social with two screens.
6. Use YouTube and YouTube Music – Those of you who don’t have paid accounts for YouTube or YouTube Music know that you can not play music unless the app is open. It will not play music in the background or when you are using another app. This isn’t the case with two screens. You can have either YouTube or YouTube Music open on one screen and another app open another and music will continue to play. This is super useful if you like listing to your tunes through YouTube but don’t want to pay.
Those are some of the examples of what you can do with two screens. Let me say that for single screen users, you can sometimes run two apps at once by splitting a single screen between them. That’s only if the apps support them. This isn’t optimal either as you only see a small portion of each app. With the Dual Screen, you can use both apps at full screen, the way they were meant to be used.
Some Things to Get Used To
While there seems to be many benefits to running two screens, it does have its quirks that you’ll have to get used to. For starters, the whole setup will be a lot heavier than what you’ll be used to. It’s literally like carrying two phones at once. Next is the fact that you can’t just glance at your phone anymore to read notifications or see who is calling. You’ll have to flip the cover for that.
Next up is the use of the rear finger print reader. With the Dual Screen cover folded all the way back, you can’t really use it anymore unless you move it a little to let your finger slide in. You can however use the face recognition to unlock your device which works pretty well. Flipping the rear cover all the way back also affects the rear cameras, meaning you can’t use them either because they’re being covered. You’ll have to keep the cover open to use the cameras.
Lastly, using the on-screen keyboard can be a bit awkward. You’ll either have to type one handed while using the other hand to hold the phone, or you have to fold the screen all the way back and only use the main screen for typing normally.
The folding phone craze isn’t going anywhere soon. Especially since it’s still in its infancy and we still aren’t sure if having that much real estate on a phone is really worth all that extra money. In the mean time, LG has a nice in-between with the LG V50 ThinQ and the Dual Screen case accessory. You’re not tied down to a single, folding screen device and you can always go back and forth between a regular smartphone and a dual screen one. It’s also cheaper. You’re looking at about $999 for the phone and $200 or so for the Dual Screen.
I’m going to assume too that the upcoming LG G8X and its Dual Screen case will be roughly around the same price as this, which will still end up being cheaper than a phone with a folding screen.
Through my experience so far, having two screen certainly doesn’t hurt. Being able to use two apps at once has been a pretty neat experience. It’s a much better way to multitask than using the old split screen way and at least with two screen, all apps work for multitasking, not just some. I like that you can turn the second screen off if you don’t want to use it, or just remove the whole Dual Screen case if you want to go light. I will say that I am finding new ways to utilize the Dual Screen almost every day, mainly different combinations of apps working well together.
With that said, I like that LG continued on with making the V-series devices a bit different from the norm. A “second’ screen isn’t really anything new for it, just that now, it’s an actual usable second screen. For sure the LG G8X will be a bit better than this and if that the case, it’ll be worth it for those who want a second screen, but don’t want to commit the cash and want the versatility of a modular system.