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This allows for better 3D depth mapping, which means the G8 can capture better and more secure face data for facial recognition. Now follow the on-screen instructions to hold the phone at eye level and move your head in a circle so the camera can scan all angles of your face.

LG G8 ThinQ

You can tweak additional settings here, such as turning the toggle on for Swipe to unlock , which will require you to swipe the lock screen up after the camera has identified your face, as an extra security measure. Context Awareness is a handy feature that lets you trigger actions on your phone automatically based on certain factors. Tap on one of these, and toggle them on. Press it, and it will launch Google Assistant. Tap and hold it, and you can talk to Assistant like a Walkie-Talkie.

All of this can be done through a feature called Air Motion. Shortcut and capture lets you set two apps to open by hovering your hand over the selfie camera and swiping left or right.

LG G8 ThinQ review: Gimmicks with a capital 'G'

You can also pinch your hand above this camera and take a screenshot. What is Android TV? The best gaming tablets for 1 day ago. Google has made its own camera app for the cheapest Android phones you can buy 1 day ago. Got young kids? Master working from home on the cheap with these home office deals 22 hours ago. How to determine your browser version 17 hours ago. It's handy, but not enough to rival the Pixel 3. I also can't help but be disappointed that the version of the G8 we're getting in the US only has two cameras.

The flexibility that the triple-camera system offered in last year's V40 went a long way in helping me overlook some of its inherent issues, so LG's decision to only go with two main cameras here feels surprisingly restricting. That's especially true when you consider that some versions of the G8 that are available outside the United States actually have a triple-camera system.

In fairness to LG, I personally don't find telephoto cameras on smartphones nearly as useful as I find ultra-wide cameras, but making that third long-range camera available on all G8 models would certainly have made it a more credible threat to devices like the Galaxy S The eight-megapixel front-facing camera produces similarly adequate selfies, and it's a little better at telling a photo's subject from its background than the V That's all thanks to the other camera LG built into the G8, which also happens to be the phone's most interesting feature.

LG calls it the Z Camera , but some of you might know it a little better as a time-of-flight sensor. Here's the gist, in case you're not familiar: Time-of-flight sensors emit and capture infrared light to figure out their distance from a subject and generate depth maps.

Those maps are used to make your portrait selfies better, but more importantly, they also allow the G8 to recognize hand gestures you make in front of the camera. See, with the G8, LG wanted to explore the idea of a phone you could control without having to touch it. It's a tantalizing concept, especially since we're starting to see phones move beyond the standard slab designs, and LG's work here represents the first step down a potentially game-changing path.

All that said, though, actually using LG's so-called Air Motion commands is For now, Air Motion is pretty limited in scope: You can use it to open apps but only two of them , play and pause media, and control the phone's volume. To do any of those things, you first have to hold your hand between five and eight inches away from the camera and hope the phone notices. After a week, trust me when I tell you this is not a given. Then you bend your fingers into a sort of claw, and, if you're anything like me, move the claw around again in hopes that the phone notices that.

Then, with one final flick of the wrist, you open your app or change your volume, or whatever it is you wanted to do in the first place. You can also use these air gestures to dismiss phone calls and silence alarms, if you don't mind taking a few extra seconds to wiggle your hand in front of your phone.

LG G8 ThinQ review: Gimmicks with a capital 'G' | PCWorld

Most of my alarms, however, are set with the hope that I'll somehow wake up, and I'm definitely not going to bother with Air Gestures then. Know what can handle most of those tasks in less time, and with much less hassle? Google Assistant. LG clearly thinks it's important because it built a Google Assistant directly into the phone.

This is the part that puzzles me the most: LG had a perfectly usable way to control the G8 that's actually much more convenient.

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It honestly feels like LG developed a time-of-flight camera in a lab somewhere and needed to do something with it, so the company decided to build it into the G8 with little regard for whether people would actually find it valuable. The company says the G8 uses that time-of-flight camera and infrared light to peer through your skin and recognize the unique latticework of veins in your hand. Sounds impressive, doesn't it? It's a shame, then, that it's a total pain to deal with.

Setting up Hand ID is straightforward enough: Hold your hand up in front of the camera and slowly move your palm toward it until the phone says it's had enough. I've been testing the G8 for a week now, though, and despite multiple attempts at registering and re-registering my hand or veins, or whatever , I've only recently been able to get the feature to work as intended. Be prepared to go through the setup process a few times before Hand ID actually starts to play nice. Even then, getting Hand ID to work consistently is difficult. When you use the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, you roughly know where to stick your finger.

And when you try to unlock this thing with your face, the G8 does a good job of identifying you, even at an angle. With Hand ID, though, getting your palm right where it's supposed to be in front of the camera is more frustrating than it should be. The G8 does give some on-screen directions, like "Move toward the top of the screen" and "Move a little to the right," which only occasionally seem to help. More often than not, it took several tries to actually unlock the phone with my palm. And since Hand ID only works when the screen is on, you're going to have to touch the phone anyway to wake it up.

There's an option in Settings that allows you to "cover the screen to wake it and then use Hand ID," but surprise, surprise: That didn't seem to do a thing to help. What makes all of this even more frustrating is that Hand ID is a legitimately interesting idea. When you have to put up with this many caveats to use it, though, I have to wonder why LG even bothered.

Ultimately, the G8 ThinQ has a powerful foundation, and you could argue it's not a bad choice if you care about solid smartphone audio above all else. Its cameras aren't too shabby either. But when you consider the strength and polish of other flagship devices we've seen so far this year, the G8 can't help but seem lacking.

After all, it's a bad sign when the features that set this phone apart from the competition feel like kludgy afterthoughts. At its best, the G8 is an unremarkable device that does a lot, but not better than any of its rivals. At worst, it's an uneven attempt to innovate for innovation's sake, and with any luck, LG takes a long, hard look at what it made and learns a few lessons. Buyer's Guide. Log in. Sign up. Buy Now. WhatsApp and WHO create a chatbot to share reliable coronavirus info. Latest Reviews.

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