It feels as if the rumors, speculation, and leaks, surrounding LG’s G7 ThinQ flagship lasted forever, but the company finally unveiled the handset last week. Early hands-on reviews have been a bit mixed—some like it, while others think it fails to stand out from the top Android phones. But the big talking point is its notch; a feature that LG claims to have invented.
The G7 ThinQ joins, among others, the upcoming OnePlus 6, Huawei P20 and P20 Pro, and Asus ZenFone 5 in sporting a screen cut-out. And while it was Essential who released the first handset with a notch back in May 2017, Apple increased its size and popularized the concept when it unveiled the iPhone X in September that same year, leading to the term “iPhone X-style notch.”
News of the G7 ThinQ's notch wasn't well received by many Android fans, but whatever you think of it as a feature, LG says it’s not copying Apple or Essential. The company claims it came up with the idea years ago.
“LG planned the notch design before Apple. The display design may look similar to that of other smartphones, but boasts differentiated features,” said Hwang Jeong-hwan, chief of LG’s mobile division.
Korean publication The Investor reports that LG doesn’t even like the word “notch” being used to describe the feature, as it apparently insinuates that something is missing. LG prefers to call it a secondary display, presumably as it adds more screen space (on either side of the cut-out).
LG isn’t the only phone maker that says it invented the notch. Huawei’s mobile chief, Li Changzhu, said the company came up with the idea “three to four years ago,” but never used it until the P20 over fears that consumers, especially those in China, wouldn’t like the asymmetric look it creates in displays.
LG might claim to have come up with the notch idea, but one feature it appears to be copying from the iPhone X is its augmented reality-based animated emojis, which Apple calls Animoji. Hwang said they would eventually be arriving on the G7 ThinQ, as well as other LG handsets. “Those software features can be updated later and will be available both on the G7 and other preceding models to meet the demand of consumers who want a longer lifespan for their smartphones,” he said. LG wouldn’t be the first to “take inspiration” from the Apple in this respect; Samsung revealed its similar AR emoji in the Galaxy S9.
In addition to its notch/second screen, which can be hidden with the addition of black bars around the sides, the G7 ThinQ boasts a boombox speaker that supposedly makes it ten times louder than other smartphones, a dedicated Google Assistant button, and a display that can reach 1000 nits of brightness. It does feature an LCD screen, though, as the company is only using OLED in its V-series devices. LG says the phone will arrive in the US on June 2. No word yet on price.