LG V50 ThinQ Dual Screen Attachment Review: Amazing for a product that shouldn’t exist
The LG V50 has been around for a little while now and while it’s a good phone it does lack excitement. One of the few interesting things about the device, the Dual Screen attachment, wasn’t even available in all regions. I jumped at the chance when I was given the opportunity to check out this interesting accessory. It allows you to turn the LG V50 into a dual-screen, pseudo-foldable phone. I’ve had the phone and accessory for a little while now, and the experience is really hard to describe. It’s as though LG taped two phones together and made them work seamlessly.
Without the Dual Screen case, the LG V50 is a pretty good phone. It’s fast, it has adequate cameras, and it feels pretty nice to hold. There is nothing wrong with the phone itself, besides arguably the software, but this isn’t a review about that. The fact is, the LG V50 ThinQ feels like it’s designed to be in the case.
Dual Screen Design
This is what I am going to call a pseudo foldable phone. It is 2 screens side by side and it folds back and forth. You can keep it closed, and it works like a flip view case from Samsung. When you open it, it locks in at a few different angles. You can have it open at 45, 90, and 360 degrees. 45 degrees is opening it like a book. 90 degrees is how most people will use it and it looks like a weird Samsung Galaxy Fold. 360 degrees is folding the second display behind the main display and that’s if you only want one screen but still want the case on the phone.
The case itself doesn’t feel like the most high-quality contraption ever. It’s very thick, about as thick as two Pixel 3 XL’s stacked. The entire thing is made out of plastic, some glossy and some matte. While closed, the case looks like the front should be a display, but it’s not, which LG fixed on the second version. It’s a shiny piece of glossy plastic that says “LG Dual Screen.” When you open it up, there is another piece of glossy plastic to the right of the actual phone. This is the second display.
The second display is an interesting one. It’s a 1080p display with a plastic screen protector on it. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be removed or not, so I left it on. The problem is it started coming off on its own. After around 24 hours, air bubbles started to appear on the top left corner. I couldn’t stick it back down or re-apply it, so I just carefully ignored that part of the display. The screen protector itself isn’t the best quality ever. It kinda catches your finger as you scroll, so it’s not the most pleasant experience using it. It can apparently be removed without causing damage to the display, but after the Galaxy Fold debacle, I don’t really want to do that. I know it’s not foldable in the same way, but I’m still concerned. Jaime Rivera from PocketNow said he removed his without any issues, but I still don’t love that it’s coming off by itself.
Dual Screen Software
Most of the software on this phone is classic LG UX. It’s not very smooth and somewhat complicated to use. This isn’t a full review on the LG V50 and it’s included software, but the LG Dual Screen software.
The Dual Screen software has a couple of actually useful features. You can put one display to sleep, swap apps between screens, or use one of the displays as a game controller. The point of the Dual Screen is to help you with multitasking, but along with multitasking, LG adds other features to make gaming easier.
The gamepad on the Dual Screen is actually sorta useful, theoretically. It allows you to open a virtual gamepad with one of 4 layouts. While writing this review, the LG V50 actually got an update which now allows you to make custom layouts of the gamepad. The four default layouts are racing, arcade, classic, and console-style. These look to mimic a few different styles of controllers. It does it well, but there is an issue with them.
It’s all touch. On a normal console controller, in my experience, you use about six fingers. Thumbs for joysticks, pointer fingers for top buttons, and middle fingers for the triggers. The LG V50 does mimic these buttons, but it’s all touch screen. Fitting your fingers into such a small screen gets uncomfortable very quickly and limits the accuracy it tries to help. This makes the gaming experience worse than using just the on-display controls.
With the aforementioned update, it actually added a cool new thing to the browser. You can have 2 websites open on both displays. This was through a partnership with Naver. It doesn’t seem to be super useful, but I could see some people enjoying having 2 websites open at once. It’s good to have options, even if you don’t use them all.
Dual Screen Experience
Unlike most other phones, it’s hard to understand what it’s like to use two displays without having the Dual Screen, but I’ll try my best.
Think about having two of the same phone and using them side by side. Now, tape them together and mirror the phones so the software is the same. That’s about how I would describe using this phone. It’s like having two LG V50s side by side, but better. All your data, all your apps, and the same cameras are present on both devices. It’s more seamless than having two phones, but physically it feels about the same.
I found myself taking the phone out of the case a lot. This was mostly because it’s thinner and probably a better experience of using it. The thing is, every time I took it out, I found myself reaching for the case 20 minutes later. While it’s better using the single screen, the Dual Screen is just more fun to use. Even if you aren’t using the second screen, it is fun to snap closed or just have two screens open at once.
This in no ways compares to the use or function of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The Galaxy Fold is meant to be a phone and a tablet, to have one smaller screen and a larger one This is meant to have two screens running two apps. It is not a foldable phone nor is it a serviceable competitor to a truly foldable phone. The Dual Screen is a neat idea that can be useful for the most extreme multitaskers.
Should you buy it?
The question “should you buy it” is asked all too often in phone reviews, and I usually don’t like answering that question, but with such a niche product like this LG V50 ThinQ with the Dual Screen, I believe it’s important. This phone (and case) probably isn’t for you. This phone is for those who want to spend over $1,000 on a phone that’s not made by Apple, Samsung, or Google. People who want to try out the most interesting technology. It’s not the best but it’s not bad. If you are willing to spend over $1,000 on something this weird, I say go for it.
If you are in the niche category of people who might be interested in this device, it is available in both the UK and South Korea. LG also just launched the LG G8X with a better Dual Screen in the box. While I didn’t have a chance to use it yet, it does look like LG upgraded what was “wrong” with the V50’s Dual Screen. Only time will tell if this is something LG plans to stick with in the future.