LG exited the smartphone market in 2021, after years of struggling to compete keenly against the big players like Samsung and Apple. In its old age, LG’s smartphone division was an enormous lossmaker for the business, with total losses estimated at around $4.5 billion. LG’s strongest-selling lines were its lower-end phones, and also until 2020, the brand still retained roughly 10%of the U.S. market overall. However, these lower-end devices carried smaller income, and try as it can, LG never really had much luck in getting buyers to upgrade to its higher-margin flagships instead.
Although it always struggled to compete in the wider market, LG’s smartphone brand had a lot of fans, who appreciated its innovative ideas and cutting-edge tech features. Unfortunately, for each hit LG produced, there is an equally big miss, with a lot of both highlights and lowlights in the brand’s back catalog. Here, we have a look at five of the greatest models the South Korean manufacturer available, and five that simply couldn’t cut it in the highly competitive smartphone market.
Best: LG G2
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Released in 2013, the LG G2 combined a stylish design having an impressive 13 MP camera and long battery life. It ticked just about all of the boxes for a good flagship smartphone, including featuring the then-latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, being the initial American market smartphone to take action. The 5.2-inch display was another highlight, with 1080 x 1920 pixels and a pixel density of 423 PPI, among the highest available at that time.
It is also remembered because of its unique rear-mounted buttons, which never caught on with all of those other market but were surprisingly intuitive to utilize. The precise layout of the buttons varied slightly with different versions of the telephone, and our review conceded they took some used to in comparison to other handsets. But, once a user did get accustomed to them, they provided a supplementary layer of functionality that rivals couldn’t match. The program on the G2 was also much like its main rivals, being both feature-rich and simple to use. It had been a massive improvement over its predecessors, which had felt just a little behind the days with this front, also it helped the G2 stick out among the premier flagships of its era.
Best: Google Pixel 2 XL
In addition to making phones to be released under its name, LG’s smartphone division also manufactured units for big industry players like Google. The standard Pixel 2 was manufactured by HTC, but the Pixel 2 XL was a completely separate device built under contract by LG. With a QHD display and excellent two-tone color block design, the two 2 XL is among the most impressive releases from the Pixel line. Perhaps its crowning glory, though, was its camera, which at its launch, was arguably the very best ever placed into a smartphone.
Despite only having an individual rear lens when almost all its competitors had two, the Pixel 2 XL’s cameras captured an extraordinary depth of field, with true-to-life colors even yet in low-light images. Portrait Mode was also available with both front and rear cameras, which captured two images: one clear and one rich with bokeh, allowing users to select which they liked best. It could have been a pricey phone because of its time, however the Pixel 2 XL’s unique features managed to get stick out from its competition, and really worth its $849 starting price.
Best: Google Nexus 5
Another Google-branded phone manufactured under contract by LG, the Nexus 5 was a genuine bargain, with a cost of just $350, yet the best tech available at that time. It had been unveiled in 2013, exactly the same year that LG released its flagship G2, nonetheless it was markedly not the same as LG’s own-brand rival. SlashGear reviewed it at that time and called its appearance “sober, minimalistic, and discrete,” with a concentrate on everyday usability over all-out style. A specific highlight of the telephone was its display, a 4.95-inch panel with 1920 x 1080 pixels that has been among the sharpest out there at that time.
Just like the G2, the Nexus 5 was included with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, paired with 2GB of RAM. Also included were desirable features like wireless charging and 4G LTE compatibility, rendering it a company favorite on the list of SlashGear team. In comparison to its predecessor, the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 was a lot more evolution than revolution, however the finished package was somewhat more polished and feature-rich than just about anything else in the marketplace at that time.
Best: LG V20
LG was sometimes criticized for pandering a great deal to niche crowds, but with that tendency, it produced some excellent specialist phones. The V20 was one of these, fixing most of the flaws that made the previous-generation V10 a flop. It featured an integral quad DAC, and supported FLAC playback, rendering it a must-have for audiophiles. In addition, it was included with three microphones for high-fidelity audio recording, a unique feature for a smartphone, but one which was without doubt appreciated by the phone’s market.
It wasn’t only a one-trick pony either, because the V20 also featured two screens, a unique layout that had initially debuted on the V10. The principal screen was a 5.7-inch LCD QHD panel, with a pixel density of 513 PPI. The secondary screen, located directly above normally the one, sported a 160 x 1040 resolution, also it could display things such as app shortcuts, media controls, and favorite contacts. It perhaps wasn’t probably the most necessary feature, since it didn’t add that much extra functionality over a well-designed single-screen layout, nonetheless it was a distinctive feature nonetheless and made the telephone stand out at the same time when designs from other manufacturers were becoming a lot more homogeneous.
Best: LG G3
The flagship G3 might possibly not have enjoyed exactly the same sales success as a number of the brand’s other big-ticket releases, nonetheless it was an extraordinary device nonetheless. It had been among the first phones released with a QHD display, also it came with a lot of fan-favorite features, like wireless charging and a removable battery. The camera featured Laser Auto Focus technology, which helped ensure concentrate on both closeup and far-out subjects was both fast and accurate.
Because of its Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, the G3 featured degrees of intelligent battery conservation that its predecessors simply couldn’t match. This meant that every charge lasted significantly longer, with more than a day’s battery life per charge despite having intensive usage. It is also worth noting that despite being up there with the very best flagships in the marketplace, the G3 cost considerably significantly less than most of them. It had been just a little over half the cost of the iPhone 6, yet with regards to tech, it had been an authentic challenger. Unfortunately, LG didn’t have the marketing budget showing off the G3 just as that Samsung or Apple did, therefore it flew mostly beneath the radar in the overall smartphone market, at the very least in the usa.
Worst: LG G Flex
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Among LG’s many promising ideas that simply didn’t work nicely in real life, the G Flex was a curved phone that touted better immersion than its competitors because of its slightly concave screen. LG claimed that the curved screen offered better one-handed usability and our review confirmed this is true: With the G Flex, it had been indeed just a little better to reach the very best corners of the screen when holding it in a single hand. However, this innovation came at a price the G Flex’s pixel density came in at 245 PPI, much less compared to the G2 from exactly the same era, which delivered 423 PPI.
Despite having “Flex” in its name, the telephone wasn’t really bendable, because it was only in a position to withstand being bent around 100 times before it got damaged. The G Flex’s other feature was its supposedly “self-healing” casing, yet in addition, it couldn’t quite match to its marketing in this respect. During testing, we found it might withstand a scratch from keys or perhaps a scouring pad, but because of the scratch-resistant coating being rather thin, anything sharper than that could still permanently damage the telephone. LG promised the G Flex was the beginning of another big smartphone trend, however the ideas it was included with simply didn’t translate sufficiently into reality for most consumers to care.
Worst: LG G5
The once-celebrated type of LG G-Series phones had already passed its peak by enough time the G5 debuted, but its underwhelming “modular” construction really sealed the G’s fate. The thought of creating a modular phone wasn’t unique to LG, as Google also explored the theory through its group of Project Ara prototypes in the mid-2010s. As the Ara got shelved before ever seeing production, the G5 debuted as a flagship for LG. The premise was straightforward enough: the telephone featured a removable bottom end to add accessories, that could be bought separately through LG’s store.
It worked theoretically, however the idea was met with little enthusiasm from consumers, especially since just a very limited amount of accessories were ever available. Actually, just two accessories were offered by launch, a camera grip having an extended battery, and a DAC created by Bang & Olufsen. The theory was that third parties would part of and design a complete selection of products to supplement LG’s core type of attachments, but because of disappointing sales figures, this never happened. The marketplace simply wasn’t there for the theory, and by enough time the G6 rolled around, the thought of modularity have been dropped by LG altogether.
Worst: LG Optimus Vu
When the word “phablet” had just started making its way into smartphone discourse, LG tried to produce a phone that took the trend to new heights. Or rather, widths, because the Optimus Vu was made to be as wide as you possibly can, having an aspect ratio of around 4:3. The oversized oddity was included with a lot of desirable hardware, however the design proved its undoing. It had been first launched in South Korea in 2012, where it sold relatively well, shifting over 500,000 units. It had been then launched in Japan to slightly lower sales figures, of which point, LG didn’t release it in other international markets.
Smartphone design today has generally converged on the theory that creating a longer panel is the greatest solution to increase screen size, since it doesn’t impact much on usability. Nevertheless, once the Optimus Vu first launched, LG Mobile’s CEO was bullish on the phone’s prospects, reportedly saying, “we expect [the Optimus Vu] will catch on after they become more accessible,” in accordance with CELLULAR PHONE Museum. Clearly, he was wrong and looking back, the telephone seems almost comically proportioned.
Worst: LG G8x ThinQ
Foldable screens remain a thing that manufacturers are tinkering with today, especially Samsung with the Galaxy Fold series. Among the earlier interpretations of the theory was LG’s G8x ThinQ. The telephone stuck two 6.4-inch OLED screens together, that could then be utilized together with one another. This unconventional setup was considerably cheaper to manufacture (and for that reason sell) compared to the folding single screen of the Galaxy Fold, nonetheless it was included with a amount of drawbacks.
Firstly, it had been impossible to utilize with one hand, and given its size, it had been a touch too bulky to comfortably match a pocket. The cameras it was included with weren’t ideal for the purchase price, and running two screens simultaneously resulted in relatively underwhelming battery life. Possibly the biggest drawback, though, was that a lot of apps weren’t optimized for a two-screen setup, therefore either used just the single screen or were very buggy. This included essentials like Chrome & most social media marketing apps. The G8x ThinQ was praised because of its innovation by some reviewers, but consumers weren’t enamored by the theory, also it sold poorly.
Worst: LG DoublePlay
Released in 2011, the LG DoublePlay tried to capitalize on a trend that has been already dying, and obviously, found hardly any success. Phones were switching from fiddly physical keyboards to sleeker on-screen interfaces, but LG decided that the original keyboard could possibly be improved. The DoublePlay featured a QWERTY layout split down the center with another, small screen in the guts. This secondary screen had slots for eight apps which were specially optimized to perform on it, however in total, only nine apps were open to pick from, and users were not able to add their very own.
The QWERTY keyboard itself was also very cramped, which offset the majority of the supposed improvements in practicality that the DoublePlay claimed to create. Typing was ordinarily a more laborious affair than on touchscreens of the era, and the split setup took plenty of used to for the uninitiated user. To essentially crown things, the DoublePlay’s primary display sported a lesser resolution than other phones from the era, and its own own-brand software wasn’t as sleek or intuitive as much of its competitors. Like a lot of LG’s failed phones, the DoublePlay may have been advisable in theory, nonetheless it hardly ever really translated well into real-world practicality.