Hands-on with the LG V50’s Dual Screen attachment: LG’s answer to the foldable phone craze
With Huawei and Samsung both offering up OLED displays that can fold in half, LG has taken a different approach. Remember the Nintendo DS? It was a great gaming handheld, and LG has seemingly replicated its hinged display with an add-on for the newly announced LG V50 ThinQ. It’s effectively a case that you drop the LG V50 into, with a second AMOLED 1080p display coming out of it that runs off of the device’s battery. The idea is that you can push content to the second display for multi-tasking, group calling, or vlogging so that you can see yourself on the display.
LG has focused a lot on gaming when it came to demo units of the LG Dual Screen, as they also went into great detail about how important 5G (which the LG V50 supports) will be for mobile gaming. Not only did I get to look at the LG Dual Screen and take a number of photos, I even got to play with it for a few minutes as well to gather my thoughts on it as a device.
The LG Dual Screen is a great idea that’s been done before
The LG Dual Screen is nothing new, and as I’ve already mentioned, it effectively replicates the Nintendo DS. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s worth noting that this isn’t necessarily a device that will revolutionize the handheld market. You’re still stuck with Android games, and the only officially supported game so far (subject to expansion) is Lineage Revolution. I did catch a glimpse of Fortnite as an installed app on the device, though I don’t know if that’s a sign of future support or somebody just playing with it unsupervised.
Gaming on the LG V50 feels great, and that’s an impressive feat considering I have found it very difficult to game on mobile in the past. Even emulation bothers me, as touch screen controls feel finicky, clunky, and cramped. The LG Dual Screen gets it just right because not only is the display large, the buttons are tactile. When you tap buttons or use the analog stick, the device actually vibrates. It really surprised me at first, but it feels entirely natural. Sliding my thumb on an analog stick had the device shake a small bit, just like it would on a real analog stick from an Xbox or PlayStation controller. It’s a surprisingly well-built add-on, and it is extremely innovative from the point of view of the stagnation of the mobile gaming market. It’s not revolutionary as a whole, but it’s one of the first gaming add-ons I’ve seen for a phone that has just made sense.
The LG Dual Screen isn’t just for gaming
Not only is the LG Dual Screen fantastic for gaming, but the second display is also practical in normal usage as well. When it comes to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Fold or the Huawei Mate X, you’re dealing with extremely new technology. They are first generation products, so it’s expected that the technology of a folding OLED display won’t be perfect. That’s what makes the LG Dual Screen so great – it’s just a second display that attaches to your phone. There’s no new technology here, it’s just more of the old technology in one product. That’s why even if you aren’t a gamer, there are use cases for it.
Imagine you’re in a group video call with two other people, you could have one person on each display. There are many obvious multi-tasking capabilities in that you can have one display browsing the internet as the other is on a YouTube video. The add-on display does have a touch screen, so you can use them both at the same time.
How it works, pricing and availability
The LG V50 ThinQ comes with a USB-C port, but the LG Dual Screen doesn’t actually use it to connect. Instead, similar to the Moto Z series, it connects via three Pogo Pins at the bottom of the back. That way it still frees up the USB-C port for charging and other accessories if you need them. The second display can be positioned at two angles, one around 104 degrees and then flat at 180 degrees. LG hasn’t revealed pricing yet, but it’s likely to be significantly cheaper than the €2299 Huawei Mate X or the $1980 Samsung Galaxy Fold. It does make the device significantly heavier and thicker, but it’s not something you always need to have connected to your phone.
The LG Dual Screen, honestly, makes the LG V50 feel like an entirely different phone. It’ll still almost certainly be costly, but it’ll probably be safer than the aforementioned “real” foldable options. You can pick up the LG V50 for whatever price it will retail at, and only pick up the dual screen add-on if you really want it. It comes in Aurora Black to match the LG V50’s Astro Black.