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[IFA 2019] LG introduces upgraded dual screen phone

BERLIN – Korean tech giant LG Electronics unveiled an upgraded dual-screen phone at IFA 2019 on Friday.

The 6.4-inch smartphone comes in the V series and G series. The 5G phone LG V50S ThinQ will be rolled out in Korea, while the 4G LG G8X ThinQ will be sold overseas.

“The V50S will be the joker of the second half of 2019,” said David Yoon, vice president of Product Planning Strategy Group at LG Mobile Communications, referring to the device as a potential trump card in the competition among premium smartphones.

LG V50S ThinQ Dual Screen (LG Electronics)
LG V50S ThinQ Dual Screen (LG Electronics)

“Our first goal was to provide users with a reliable 5G smartphone. Our second goal was to give a differentiated, better user experience with the dual-screen form factor,” Yoon said.

The new V50S comes with a dual-screen accessory with the same 6.4-inch display, compared to the previous 6.2-inch display that users had said hampered their experience due to the screen size difference.

The result of LG’s efforts, the V50S will launch in Korea next month and in North America and other markets within the year.

This would mark the first time for LG’s dual-screen phone to hit the US.

According to LG, the new smartphone features an upgraded version of its original LG Dual Screen, which is a flip-style accessory compatible with LG smartphones. The dual screen can be attached to the V50S like a smartphone cover and, with two screens clipped together, it allows for more versatile use. 

Dual screens’ competitiveness was proven through the Korean market, Yoon said.

In a survey of LG Electronics’ 1,421 dual-screen users, 61 percent said they used the dual screens only as needed, while 32 percent said they always used it.

Multitasking was the biggest factor for consumer satisfaction. Taking photographs while messaging, displaying a bank account number while transferring money, watching movies on the phone and simultaneously checking other things were among the examples Yoon offered.

In a strategic collaboration with Naver's Whale browser, LG dual-screen phone can, for example, display a list of shopping items on one side and each item's specifics on the other side. It can also show a foreign-language text on one screen and its Korean-translated version on the other screen. Naver's AI translation service Papago does the trick.

The double screens are also especially useful for esports enthusiasts and mobile gamers. LG Electronics is collaborating with NCSoft for the Lineage 2 Revolution mobile game.

LG introduced the first dual-screen model at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, at the start of 2019. In response to user feedback since, the company added a push-up alarm display and made the screen angles more freely adjustable.

The new V50S has a 2.1-inch cover display that shows the time, date, remaining battery life and incoming texts and calls.

Like a laptop, the phone’s screens can be adjusted to any angle thanks to a new 360-degree free-stop hinge. The new phone also recognizes fingerprint access even when folded shut completely, boosting user convenience.As for those dissatisfied with the dual-screen phone, 68 percent of users cited the weight.

While LG has improved on the push-alarm display and the screen’s resting angles, it has yet to lighten the load. To the contrary, the new phone packs on another 10 grams. Without the second screen, the LG V50S ThinQ weighs 192 grams and with it, 326 grams.

Yoon said LG would continue to work to improve on the dual-screen phones, including the weight issue.  

(LG Electronics)
(LG Electronics)

Furthermore, LG said it strengthened the front camera to 32 million pixels to provide picture quality similar to the rear camera.

Artificial intelligence action shots catch movement every 1/480th of a second to create clear photos. In addition, a steady camera function enables smooth video and 4K time lapse photography. There is also an ASMR mode on the phone to allow hypersensitive microphone recording.

LG has also minimized the bezel -- the black surface area on the top and bottom of a touchscreen smartphone. A built-in ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the screen brightness. As for the audio aspect, LG collaborated with the UK’s Meridian Audio for premium sound. It comes in Aurora Black and uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset.

LG is still deciding on the right price for the V50S.

The previous V50 sold at 1.2 million won ($1,000). LG also has new budget phones K50S and K40S priced at less than $200 displayed at its IFA booth.

IFA is the biggest European consumer electronics show, held annually in Berlin. IFA 2019 is the 59th event and runs Friday to Wednesday at Berlin ExpoCenter City.

By Lim Jeong-yeo, Korea Herald correspondent