LG unveils G7 smartphone in South Africa with pricing starting at R14,000

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Three weeks after the global announcement of its new flagship, LG‘s finally confirmed the G7 ThinQ handset will be coming to South Africa. Like the G6 and G5 before it, the G7’s secondary rear camera goes wide rather than telephoto — as favoured by most of its rivals — and, like the G6, the two sensors are 16MP. We’ve always liked LG’s wide-angle secondary shooter and we’re glad to see it retained. The device goes on sale in South Africa in the first week of June 2018 with mobile operators Vodacom, MTN and Telkom.

The camera is really the big news on the G7. LG says the G7’s camera (dubbed the “AI Cam”) includes 19 shooting modes powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that adjust settings automatically based on the subject. It also claims the G7’s AI smarts are able to produce more impressive low-light images than its predecessors. A new Live Photo Mode captures footage a second before and after the shutter is pressed, and Portrait Mode allows for out-of-focus shots from both the rear- and front-facing cameras.

Aww snap

Powering the device is Qualcomm’s latest processor, the Snapdragon 845. With the G6, unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year, LG came in for criticism for not using what was then the latest Snapdragon, the 835. This year it skipped MWC — leaving Samsung and Nokia to dominate the headlines — and the delayed launch means it had to use the 845 or once again earn the ire of tech heads. Of course, the delay also means LG’s latest has to contend with stiff competition from the devices that have launched in the interim, including the outstanding Huawei P20 range.

Users can also look forward to 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and an updated FullVision display. Last year LG trumpeted its 18:9 nearly edge-to-edge display, this year it’s changed the aspect ration to 19.5:9 and bolstered the resolution to 3120 x 1440 pixels (for a pixel density of 564dpi). Power comes from a 3000mAh battery.

The AIs have it

LG’s also given Google Assistant pride of place on the G7 with a dedicated button beneath the volume rocker that’ll launch Assistant with a single press, or Google Lens with a double press. Google Lens allows users to point their camera at objects, landmarks, plants or animals and receive information from Google about them, or translate foreign text in realtime. Will it prove as infuriating and prone to accidental presses as Samsung’s loathed Bixby button? Only time will tell.

To make triggering Google Assistant by voice easier, LG’s included what it calls Super Far Field Voice Recognition (SFFVR) in the handset — essentially a super-sensitive microphone that should ensure the handset picks up the “OK Google” command at a range of up to 5m, even with substantial background noise.

Price of admission

With a price tag of R14,000, the G7 is basically level-pegging with its closest rivals, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei P20. Those buyers who opt to take it on contract (at R649/month) will get value-adds of a wireless charger and Bluetooth headset. LG says accessories like protective covers will be readily available from operators (which is more than we can say of Huawei’s latest devices).

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