LG Wing 5G review: Novel dual screen approach, limited productivity use cases

  • Editors' rating
    8.3 Excellent

Pros

  • Unique dual-screen design
  • Well-designed hinge mechanism
  • Responsive performance
  • Better than split-screen view on standard smartphones
  • Reliable 5G and cellular performance

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Glossy, slippery back panel
  • Volume buttons hard to press in T-mode
lg-wing-first-look-1.jpg

LG was one of the first to offer a dual-screen smartphone experience with its V50 and V60 phones combined with the Dual Screen cover. The LG Velvet is the most current phone offering two full large displays for enhanced productivity and it is clearly built for getting work done.

LG now offers a new take on a dual-screen smartphone with the LG Wing 5G. While we spent a month with a Verizon model, this new phone is also now available from AT&T and T-Mobile. The LG Wing 5G is quite a departure from its Dual Screen cover devices, the Surface Duo, and the Galaxy Z Fold 2. It is less expensive than most dual-screen devices and may appeal to more people because it is also less bulky than these other designs.

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The new LG Wing 5G has internals similar to the LG Velvet, but the small display is best used for enhancing apps rather than trying to squeeze a full independent app experience onto a 3.9 inch display. At first, it looks and feels like a slightly thicker black slab, but with a simple push to the left on the lower right corner the main display flips up to reveal the T-shaped device in all of its glory.

Also: AT&T LG Velvet hands-on: Affordable 5G phone with dual display option and compelling design features

The LG Wing is currently available for $999.99 on Verizon and T-Mobile while AT&T charges $1,049.99. I've spent time with the Verizon model, that is available only in Aurora Gray. T-Mobile also has the lovely Illusion Sky color option available for the same price.

LG Wing 5G specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
  • Main display: 6.8 inches, 2460 x 1080 pixels resolution (395ppi), P-OLED, 20.5:9 aspect ration
  • Second display: 3.9 inches, 1240 x 1080 pixels resolution (419ppi), OLED, 1.15:1 aspect ratio
  • Operating system: Android 10
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB internal storage with microSD
  • Cameras: 64MP f/1.8 with OIS main rear camera. 13MP ultrawide with 117-degree FOV and second 12MP ultrawide with 120-degree FOV (one is used when in T-Mode). 32MP f/1.9 selfie camera that extends up from the top of the phone.
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, NFC
  • Dust/water resistance: IP54 and MIL-STD 810G
  • Battery: 4,000mAh non-removable with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0+
  • Dimensions (Smartphone mode): 169.5 x 74.5 x 10.9 mm
  • Weight: 260 grams
  • Colors: Aurora Gray and Illusion Sky

LG's dual-screen smartphones, when you count the cover as the second screen, have been available for reasonable prices, and this true dual-screen device is priced less than competing devices with two integrated displays. It doesn't have the high-end processor seen in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, but it does offer more than the Surface Duo when you compare specifications. 5G is a significant bonus over the Surface Duo, along with much better cameras and other specs.

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Also: LG V60 ThinQ 5G review: Modern network, two screen option, reasonable $900 price

Hardware

When you first open up the retail package, the LG Wing 5G looks like a slightly thicker black slab phone. The back is very glossy and is a major fingerprint magnet. There are three cameras on the rear, but one is rotated 90 degrees and becomes active when you flip the main display up and into position.

Looking at the front we see a massive 6.8-inch display with minimal top and bottom bezels. There are no side bezels as the display transitions down and over the edges.

One thing to note is that there is no hold punch or notch for a front-facing camera. Like the OnePlus 7T Pro, the front-facing shooter, a 32-megapixel camera, extends out from the top when needed. Similarly, if you drop the phone with the front-facing camera extended then accelerometers will sense the drop and retract the camera to keep it from breaking.

The SIM card/microSD card tray is on the left. The power and volume buttons are on the right. The USB-C port is on the bottom. Unlike many LG phones, there is no 3.5mm audio port on the LG Wing, but a USB-C to 3.5mm port dongle is included in the box.

Slide the bottom of the main display from right to left and it will swivel up and into landscape orientation. The small, nearly square, 3.9-inch display will appear below and function as a small Android phone.

The swivel hinge mechanism seems sturdy, but will clearly be something to evaluate over time. The front headset speaker is revealed when you swivel the display too.

Also: LG Velvet Review: A competent phone with a different look

Software

The LG Wing 5G is currently running Android 10 with the September 1, 2020 Android security patch. Hopefully, Android 11 will launch soon on this new phone, but we'll have to see if LG improves its track record for major software updates. I'm a bit surprised there hasn't been an October or November security update yet though.

The usability of the two displays is highly dependent on the software provided by LG. Out of the box, a swivel launcher, called Swivel Home, appears when you rotate the display to show Asphalt 5, image gallery, camera, YouTube, and Google Maps. Simply swipe up on the upper display to launch other apps too or you can add them to the Swivel Home launch bar.

If you swipe up on the smaller, lower display then you will see there is a subset of apps available to launch just on that small display. LG only shows those apps that work on the small display so you will not see everything that is installed on the phone.

Like other dual display smartphones, shortcuts can be setup to open two apps with a single tap. Touch and hold on the lower small display to access multi-app settings. Tap this and then you can choose the two apps you want launched with a tap. Again, there are limitations on which apps can appear on the two displays so spend some time customizing this setup. You cannot set up multiple app launch icons on the larger upper display, but you can customize Swivel Home settings.

The primary use case that I can see for this unique dual-screen setup is for video capture. When you launch the camera for video when in T-mode then the bottom screen launches in gimbal mode. A joystick pad appears in the center of the display with pan follow, first person view mode, and follow mode options. Here's how those three different modes work on the LG Wing:

  • Pan follow mode: The up/down and clockwise/counterclockwise rotations are fixed and the angle moves left and right. This mode is good for walking up stairs or moving in a car while staying level.
  • First person view mode: Your rotations and movements are naturally reflected. Good for steady filming when jogging, hiking, or jumping.
  • Follow mode: The clockwise/counterclockwise rotations are fixed and the angle moves up/down and left/right. This is good for capturing large buildings, landscapes, or other scenes like this.

A cool feature of the LG Wing 5G is the ability to record dual video content. With this option enabled you can use the front and rear cameras to record video at the same time. You have the option to save separate video files for each camera or save as one where video content from both cameras appears on one screen. The front-facing camera video content can be recorded in split screen or picture-in-picture format. With picture-in-picture you can drag the small box to one of the four corners and swap the front and rear cameras too. This is a fun mode to use to capture reactions from people recording interesting content or to capture groups of people.

ASMR, voice bokeh, and standard microphone recording modes are supported on the LG Wing 5G. Slow motion, time-lapse, and other modes are provided on the LG Wing.

Some of the practical use cases that I have found over the past few weeks include:

  • Big screen: Google Maps and small screen: podcast or music player
  • Big screen: YouTube and small screen: Google Discover
  • Big screen: Telegram and small screen: Messages
  • Big screen: Outlook and small screen: Microsoft Teams
  • Big screen: Google News and small screen: Google Discover
  • Big screen: Excel and small screen: Chrome
  • Big screen: Google Maps and small screen: Phone

Some video apps support a media controller and in those cases the small display can be used to control the media playing on the big screen. Apps I found so far that support this functionality are YouTube and the integrated video player. However, I primarily use Netflix and Disney Plus, neither of which supports this capability.

. Other use cases for this dual-screen setup include gaming, watching video content while communicating with others, and more. LG is working with Explorer Platform Partners to develop and deploy other services optimized for the LG Wing.

There is also an option to use the bottom small display as a trackpad, called LG Touch Pad. I don't really see the practical use case for having a mouse cursor appear on the large display while you move around the lower display on the pad. The large display is a touchscreen too so just tap where you want without a cursor.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

It took me longer than expected to post this full review because I kept on using the LG Wing 5G to find optimal use cases for work. The more I used the device, the more I found that even a small screen with additional information was useful and a bit more efficient than jumping between apps or trying to setup split-screen mode on a single smartphone display.

Big screen devices like the Z Fold 2 are great for split-screen usage, but it's barely usable on other Android phones. The LG Wing offers a bit of a different take on split-screen mode, but is more useful with a large main display and a small secondary display. In my opinion, the primary reason to have this form factor is for video content creation with gimbal controls.

When in swivel mode the volume buttons are tough to use. Having them down low on the right side would make them easier to control, but then it would make it tougher to hold onto the small lower portion of the T so you would likely hit them accidentally. This is a tough problem to solve and I can see why LG put them where they currently are located.

I was very pleased to see that LG provides the same fantastic stylus support we saw on the LG V60 and Velvet here on the LG Wing. With a compatible stylus, the inking experience is fantastic on the LG Wing.

The multi-app setting shortcut capability is also great to see, but LG needs to add this to its existing Dual Screen cover smartphones too. LG has shown some improvements in software here that it needs to extend to all of its dual-screen devices in order to show the company supports these unique designs.

The hinge mechanism seems robust and worked flawlessly for the past few weeks. I never noticed any performance issues with the 765G processor. 5G worked well on Verizon, but I was never in an area with mmWave support to really test the potential of speedy 5G service.

The LG Wing is an interesting device, but I'm not sure it offers enough to justify the $1,000 price. This is less than other devices with two displays integrated into one phone, but the LG Velvet or LG V60 are much better for getting work done and are priced hundreds less too.

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