With LG Wing, the LG is reinventing itself or rather its smartphone concept. Again, one could almost say, because in the past few years one could say a lot about the South Koreans, but not a lack of courage to innovate. In 2011 they were one of the first manufacturers to venture into a dual camera for 3D recordings and caught a trend that had quickly outlived itself. In 2016, they relied on a modular concept for hardware add-ons with the LG G5, which I still admire, and failed.
LG Wing Review
In 2020, while the competition is gritting its teeth on the foldable display and LG itself is for the first time offering a pull-out display, the niche tinkerers are throwing a new and unexpectedly exciting concept into the high-end race: The LG Wing consists of two displays lying one above the other that can be brought into a T-shape with a practiced finger movement to the left. So you have a complete display in landscape format at the top and an almost square one below for multitasking or additional app functions. Of course I have to see that.
The LG Wing is completely unspectacular when it comes to unboxing. It comes in a relatively simple white box with iridescent Wing lettering and looks neither particularly conspicuous nor independent. Once the lid of the box is off, the Android smartphone welcomes me, wrapped in a protective film that presents a few of the phone highlights. There’s more to discover under the wing than I expected. There is of course the power supply unit including the USB-C cable, which attaches to the small USB connector at both ends. Then we have the obligatory SIM tool.
You can also look forward to a screen protector for the two displays and also get a case for the back of the smartphone . Due to the design of the display, the case does not enclose the display, but is glued to the housing with an anti-slip layer. This may seem unusual at first, but it works very reliably. In addition, the case has a handy structure in the lower half, giving you more grip when sliding the upper display. But I digress.
Somehow there is also less to discover in the box than I expected, because with all the accessories and the very hefty price of currently 1,099 euros, LG didn’t think it necessary to include a pair of high-quality headphones. This is particularly strange because a USB-C to jack adapter is included. I think back a little wistfully to the high-end Samsung that AKG-In-Ears brought with them. Something like that would have been a nice addition to the LG Wing package.
LG Wing: LG Knows Something About High Quality
I already affectionately refer to my Huawei P20 Pro as a briquette, but that is nothing compared to the LG Wing with its massive ¼ kilogram weight. You first have to learn to act in everyday life. But let’s leave that out for now and look at the optics. It is dominated on the back by a matt pearlescent shimmer that is a bit reminiscent of the rainbow look of the Galaxy Note10. However, this one is much more subtle. Thanks to the matte coating, the LG Wing not only looks very stylish, it is also less prone to fingerprints and feels a little better in the hand.
In addition, of course, the triple camera is emblazoned on the back, which protrudes very clearly from the housing. In itself, however, I like the look of the three large portholes on the top left. I also like the design of the edges, because here the bright back merges smoothly into the silver metal frame and creates eye-catching arches around the SIM slot and the hardware buttons. There’s not much to spare on the top and bottom of the smartphone, silver dominates here. Incidentally, the front camera is hidden in the housing and as an additional teasing gimmick, pops out from the top of the smartphone when used.
After the edge is in front of the display. At exactly this transition there is first of all a small gap between the two displays, which can only be enlarged with fingernails forced between them. Otherwise the construction in the basic constellation is quite stable. The upper display is then rounded off to the left and right of the frame. All in all, the LG Wing is massive, but it is still comfortable to hold and impresses with its all-round high quality workmanship.
However, the impression gets a little damper when I switch the display to T mode. First of all, I have to practice this a little (with both hands) so that I don’t drop the smartphone. I can well imagine that gross motor skills or users with narrow hands could have their problems with it. (Incidentally, I definitely need two hands to fold it back. That doesn’t work with one hand at all.) The LG Wing gives when it is turned. Occasionally slight scratching noises, which fortunately have nothing to do with the displays. If the upper display is swiveled around, the construction becomes a little wobbly. The landscape display already has a lot of play and creaks and squeaks when you jerk it. In this mode I should be more careful with the wing.
LG Wing: Very Good But Not Unique Display
In contrast to earlier display experiments such as the first QHD display on the LG G3 and the curved panel on the LG Flex, the screens of the LG Wing are rather classically modest. With a diagonal of 6.8 inches and fairly narrow display bezels, the smartphone comes across as contemporary in standard mode without standing out from the crowd. 2,460 by 1,080 pixels are just as good and battery-friendly standard, with all content displayed with the best sharpness, strong colors and a more than sufficient maximum brightness. Unfortunately, I’m looking in vain for more unusual features such as a 120 Hertz refresh rate.
If I now slide the upper display into T mode, the second panel with 3.9 inches, significantly larger bezels and conventional OLED construction joins it. I can’t see any significant differences between the two screens in terms of colors, contrasts and maximum brightness. The second panel also keeps up with the resolution and has 1,240 x 1,080 pixels on the screen. The only drawback that I noticed with the smaller screen: At steep angles, the colors fade earlier than with the main display. But I can get over that for my taste. All in all, I am offered an all-round successful overall package that also comes with a lot of software options from blue filters to always-ons.
LG Wing Hardware: Weak With Its Performance
As always, when looking at the hardware, you have to separate the suitability for everyday use from the benchmark values. If I only looked at the latter, I would be largely disappointed with the LG Wing. The built-in Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G and the Adreno 620 graphics chip are not top performers, which the benchmarks clearly confirm. In the AnTuTu, the wing achieves a good 325,000 points and thus a little more than half of my previous high performer Oppo Find X2 Pro. In PCMark Work 2.0, the LG smartphone even has to admit defeat to a mid-range Oppo with just over 8,000 points, and many older colleagues pass by without any problems in Geekbench.
Which eases the disappointment a bit: I hardly notice the somewhat restrained performance during my test. Of course, I haven’t flooded the phone with apps for months and slowed it down with all sorts of everyday things. Nevertheless, the wing gives the impression that it has sufficient performance for a smooth everyday smartphone routine over the long term. After all, the phone has to do more than anyone else when it comes to multitasking and always work smoothly thanks to the two displays and their synchronization. And it does. Be it typing in Google Docs, on Netflix excursions or a round of “Asphalt 9” with a road map on the second display: the LG Wingruns smoothly, smoothly and without any noticeable quirks. It feels like it loads the content for the two screens a little slowly every now and then, but I am missing a direct comparison in this regard. I just remember the Find X2 Pro and its high-speed attitude. That felt a little quicker.
LG Wing Software: Android 10 With So Many Bloatware
Unsurprisingly, LG uses Android for the operating system, version 10 of which is preinstalled on the Wing. Strangely enough, it wasn’t enough for version 11, but maybe that’s due to the more complex development of the dual-screen UI. In any case, it should come at some point. Visually, I like the surface very much, fonts and app tiles look somewhat modern and if I swipe to the right from the home screen, I cannot get out of one of these currently popular AI assistants. No, my Google feed welcomes me, just as the creature of habit likes.
By the way, I can also adapt backgrounds, themes and icons or download them from scratch. However, there is currently little free material available. The optics and settings of the two displays can also be pimped a little in the options. This gives me a little more individuality. Otherwise, the software can and offers pretty much everything I need in everyday life and what I am already used to from other smartphones with Android 10. The complete Google suite is of course on board as well as loads of LG apps: from LG Health to telephone diagnostics to the ThinQ smart home app. A SmartWorld is also preinstalled, through which I can download all kinds of things, for example additional fonts or camera filters.
If that’s too much bloatware for you, you can get a little more annoyed with the LG Wing: A folder with five recommendations that start with the Whale browser and end with four Gameloft games, the phone continues to garbage. I don’t need the Booking.com app either. And anyone who now thinks that these are at least apps that operate the two screens optimally has unfortunately cut themselves. Except for “Whale” and “Asphalt 9”, none of the apps offer any added value on the second panel.
Speaking of the second panel: In general, not all installed apps are available on the small screen ad hoc after sliding up the first display. I can activate it, but according to the warning I have to put up with the fact that the respective app is not optimized for the small screen. I can only use half a dozen apps on the top swivel home screen, at least if I haven’t started the app before swiveling. Browser, Maps, YouTube are included, but I would have expected a little more here too. For example, I only get Netflix on the upper screen if I start it beforehand. The second display then has no added value for the selected app.
LG Wing T Mode Function
I admit: After getting used to it, it works reliably and is definitely fun to swivel the LG Wing into T mode. But I have to keep a few small things in mind: If I want to use the fingerprint scanner, I should first unlock the smartphone before I swing the upper display aside. The sensor is only available in the upper display. When swinging around, it moves to the top left and can then no longer be operated with the right hand. Or I’ll just set up a left hand fingerprint or turn the phone. In addition, the hardware buttons are in T mode under the upper display and so close that I can hardly operate them with my thumb. But let’s get to the functions:
Productivity: As already mentioned, the Wing comes with a number of optimized apps that I can use separately on both displays or with main features on one display and additional features on the other. With a bit of preliminary thinking and shifting settings, I can somehow get all the other apps into T mode optimized or not. That makes the Wing a decent productive tool. For example, I put Netflix on one screen and chat on the other. Or I check emails and scroll through my gallery at the same time. It takes a little training and the will to always bend everything the way I want. In return, I actually get a great multitasking experience.
Games: The plural is a bit exaggerated, because apart from “Asphalt 9” there are currently no games that effectively use the added value of the second display for game content. After all, I can also show the game tools on the second screen for “Call of Duty Mobile” and some other games, for example. So I take screenshots in the game, switch on the AI optimization or mute the sound and notifications. This is not fundamentally wrong, but also nothing that I would have missed while gaming on my smartphone. I also have to say that the T mode is not always the most convenient solution for gaming: The rather thin upper display is not overly comfortable to hold and the rest of the smartphone pulls against it with its impressive weight.
Gimbal Camera: The most exciting feature in T mode is certainly the gimbal function. Even if I’m not a passionate videographer, I was enthusiastic about this function. Gimbal of course means that I can only film in this mode (apart from the snapshots while filming). But it brings many exciting features of a classic gimbal with it. The specially set up 12-megapixel camera with an aperture of f / 2.2 makes it possible, because it captures a larger image section than it shows and records. This allows me to swivel the joystick on the display smoothly (but fairly limited) in all directions and the software calculates the movement.
The same happens with various modes: Depending on the selected mode, the software tries to prevent rolling, tilting and swiveling movements. The interesting thing about it: It works very reliably. All in all, beautiful small videos are possible that come relatively close to the look and feel of a real gimbal recording. Sure, there is still a lack of flexibility, the Wing is not necessarily handy and the result is that I get videos with a maximum of Full HD resolution (with low light quite noisy and not very attractive). Nevertheless, the gimbal mode is more than just a teasing gimmick for me. It is useful and is finally pushing the boundaries of smartphone videography a little more.
LG Wing Camera: Good!
We illuminated the first camera, but there are still two more main cameras left. Here, LG installed few surprises. A classic ultra-wide-angle sensor with 13 megapixels, an aperture of f / 1.9 and a 117-degree viewing angle is also on board, as is a 64-megapixel camera with an aperture of f / 1.8 and 78 degrees. A zoom is only available digitally and with a maximum of ten times magnification. The zoom results look correspondingly more or less usable.
In general, the cameras produce impressive results with sufficient light. The ultra-wide angle also does a good job under these conditions, although the 64-megapixel cam delivers better. As soon as the light disappears, the image quality also decreases visibly. The results usually look quite good on the smartphone itself, but the deficits are noticeable on a large display. And unfortunately the fun stops completely in night mode. In general, it surprises me that the cameras deal so poorly with the available low-light light despite the good open aperture. Here the Wing can by no means keep up with a Samsung, a Huawei or an Oppo in the same price segment.
On the software side, the LG Wing is quite manageable. The classic modes from time-lapse to portrait to panorama are available; there is no separate bokeh or macro mode. Personally, I don’t need it either. For camera professionals there is also an expert mode that allows manual access to all parameters and saving them as raw files. At the end of the day, LG couldn’t resist a few AR and sticker gimmicks.
The only thing left to look at is the selfie cam: it is quite generously equipped with 32 megapixels and an aperture of f / 1.9. It is used as a pop-up camera, which admittedly seems a bit silly in T mode when a small camera also extends. But the quality of the results is quite good. The dual cam function that I can start in T mode is particularly worth mentioning. With it I record my object with the main camera and myself with the selfie camera at the same time, another nice gimmick.
LG Wing Sound & Battery
Before I look at the battery performance of the LG Wing , I do a little panning over the audio playback via the loudspeaker. There is only one built-in and therefore no more than mono is possible, but what comes out as sound is definitely fun. The maximum volume of the speaker is not particularly high, but the sound does not clatter even with loud music playback. Mids and highs are pleasantly clear and differentiated. Even the bass is more present than I expected and contribute to the good sound image.
For the battery test, I use PCMark again, once with the smartphone in standard mode and once with dual display and benchmark on one screen and YouTube on the other. The results are absolutely convincing: the 4,000 mAh battery lasts a good 12 hours and 19 minutes in single-display operation. In T mode with medium brightness, there are still 7 hours and 46 minutes. In this way, I could multitask almost the entire working day on the wing without the smartphone having to be connected to the charging cable. LG delivers very well here.
LG Wing Final Conclusion
When something is too new and too daring, fundamental virtues tend to fall by the wayside. This is also the case with the LG Wing : It sets new smartphone accents and forgets the old ones. The phone’s biggest selling point is its swiveling dual display, and this is where the wing is really impressive. But who is the use of this function of the 260 gram chunk? Ultimately, the T-mode is recommended for gimbal friends and videographers or for users who value multitasking on their smartphones. I would not rate either segment as particularly large.
But what far more buyers of a smartphone with a new price of over 1,000 euros need are current and future-proof performance and an appropriate camera package. In any case, that would be my demands and in both aspects the LG Wing unfortunately only delivers average. Sure, the phone is superbly designed and processed, it offers the latest software (and unfortunately a lot of bloatware), the displays are all-round convincing and the battery performance is almost exemplary. But I probably couldn’t bring myself to buy a Wing if there was an Oppo Find X2 Pro out there in the same price segment, for example. The LG Wing is and will remain an exciting technology experiment that does not deliver quite fair prices in essential basic disciplines.