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LG V50 ThinQ 5G announced: LG turns toward the 5G future

LG and Sprint today revealed the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, what will be the first 5G phone for both companies.

Published onFebruary 24, 2019

LG today revealed the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, a rethink of the V-series with a focus on 5G moving forward. The V50 ThinQ 5G may have been built on the blueprint of the V40 ThinQ, but it also blends in elements of the newer G8 ThinQ and cranks everything up to 11 on the wow-o-meter.

Importantly, LG is rethinking the V-series. Where the V phones have generally focused on robust photo and video features, LG says 5G will now be at the heart of the V-series. V-branded phones will serve as LG’s premier devices for wireless performance as carriers around the world begin to deploy 5G.

Drawing ThinQ inspiration

Front view of the LG V50 ThinQ with a display turned on, held in a hand.

LG told us the V50 ThinQ is essentially a revved-up V40, but there are still plenty of obvious differences. First, what’s the same?

The V50 boasts a 6.4-inch Quad HD+ display at 19.5:9. The display is covered in Gorilla Glass and affixed to an aluminum frame with a second glass panel on the rear. It’s a sultry package, even if the shaping is conservative.

If you’re worried LG’s first 5G phone will be a chunky monkey, put those fears aside. The V50 ThinQ 5G is a slim device at just 8.3mm thick. LG also managed to keep the weight in check despite the large screen, metal-and-glass chassis, and massive battery.

A trio of cameras adorns the rear of the phone, including an ultra-wide 16MP, standard 12MP, and telephoto 12MP. Selfie shooters should be happy about the 8MP/5MP combo cam on the front, which is able to capture depth info to create better self portraits. You’ll find USB-C, a 3.5mm headphone jack with 32-bit quad DAC, fingerprint reader, and IP68 rating aboard. These features are all carried over from the V40.

Read more: The full list of LG V50 ThinQ specs

The V50 also finds plenty to draw from the newly announced G8. For example, the rear camera assembly is flush with the glass rather than protruding in a raised module. The V50 also has the same power plant as the G8. It packs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 with 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage. Then there’s the Vapor Chamber. Yeah, LG cooked up a heat-dissipation system for the V50 ThinQ to give it some gaming cred.

Other features shared between the V50 and G8 include DTS:X 3D surround sound, super far-field voice recognition, dedicated Google Assistant button, AI-assisted camera app, Bluetooth 5, NFC, rapid wireless charging, and of course Android 9 Pie.

The V50 ThinQ includes a large 4,000mAh battery, FM radio, stereo speakers, and, believe it or not, compliance with MIL-STD-810G for durability.

Sprint gets the V50 ThinQ 5G first, but others will follow

Backside photo of the LG V50 ThinQ showing the tripple cameras, held in a hand.

Sprint’s 5G service is expected to go live before the end of the first half of the year in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., with other markets to follow thereafter. Sprint’s 5G will operate on the company’s 2.5GHz spectrum with Massive MIMO at its core. Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum is deep and covers a wide swath of the U.S. It is great for capacity, or allowing many devices to access the same cell tower.

The V50 ThinQ will operate on Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum for 5G, and will fall back on LTE 4G in areas where 5G isn’t available. Sprint has been upgrading its 4G network for the last several years. It is now using LTE-A with MIMO across much of the U.S. Sprint has made no real claims to how quick its forthcoming 5G network will be, other than to say it will be faster than LTE.

Back side of the LG V50 ThinQ on a table.

Sprint won’t be the only carrier to sell the V50 ThinQ. LG says the phone will also launch in its home market of Korea, and LG hinted that it’s working on a mmWave variant for Verizon for later this year. In total, some 10 carriers in the U.S., Korea, Europe, and Australia will eventually offer the V50 ThinQ 5G.

The only other 5G phone to be made available to U.S. consumers during the first half go the year is the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and that will be a Verizon exclusive at launch.

Not going bold with a fold

LG V50 thinq 5g Dual display accessory

LG revealed a trick accessory for the V50 ThinQ 5G that turns it into a folding phone. Sort of. The Dual Screen, as it is called, is a folio-style case for the V50 with a second 6.2-inch screen on the inner surface. It’s an OLED that can be used independently of the the mains screen for better multitasking. For example, people can watch a movie on one screen and surf the web on the other. It even supports split-window view, allowing people to have four apps running at the same time.

When the Dual Screen is attached to the V50, an icon appears on the main screen. Tapping this button powers up the second display and allows people to manage what the second screen is doing. The Dual Screen draws its power from the V50 itself, though LG didn’t clearly explain how the Dual Screen connects to the V50.

Some games will allow the Dual Screen to be used as a dedicated gaming controller. The ASUS ROG phone has a similar accessory and setup. LG says the Dual Screen can be positioned at either 104 degrees or 180 degrees for viewing depending on the activity.

LG did not share pricing and availability info of the Dual Screen.

LG played it safe here. Where Samsung, HUAWEI, and TCL showed off true folding phones, LG’s “folding phone” is simply an accessory.

Pricing and availability

Sprint said the phone will be available by the end of June for a full retail price of $1,000. You can get it cheaper via the carriers’ Flex lease.

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