Meet some striking LG smartphones

With the announcement of its departure from the smartphone market, made on Monday (05), it is time to recall the history of LG in the segment. Although it has never achieved the same success as its rival Samsung, it was not for want of trying: the company constantly introduced innovations in the design of its devices, and even tried a partnership with Google that resulted in some models of the coveted Nexus line (predecessor dos Pixel), one of which was launched here in Brazil.

Below is a list of some of the company’s models that have caught our attention over the years, and why. And you, do you have any LG smartphone that was remarkable in your life? Share your memories in the comments at the bottom of this article.

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Optimus Vu, the “almost Note”

From the beginning, the Samsung Galaxy Note drew attention for two reasons: the stylus and the large screen, initiating a category that at the time was known as “phablets”: cell phones with a size “halfway” between a typical smartphone from season (about 4 inches) and a small tablet (7 inches).

The February 2012 Optimus Vu was LG’s attempt to compete with the Galaxy Note. In addition to the pen, it stood out for its 5 ″ screen with a 4: 3 aspect ratio, the same as for tablets.

LG Optimus VU, LG’s attempt to compete with the Galaxy Note. Image: Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

LG even launched a successor just seven months later, the Optimus Vu II, with a more powerful processor and twice as much RAM (an impressive 2 GB!), But failed to get the idea across. Samsung persisted, turning the Galaxy Note line into one of its biggest successes.

Developed in partnership with Google and based on Optimus G, the Nexus 4 was the last smartphone in Google’s Nexus line, officially sold in Brazil. In addition to the “pure” Android 4.2, its main attraction was the design, with a glass back, an unusual material at the time, with an almost “holographic” pattern that sparkled with light.

LG Nexus 4: rear window sparkled with light, reminiscent of a starry sky. Image: Arek Olek (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

But the same glass made the Nexus 4 incredibly slippery, and it tended to “throw itself” from any table or surface with a slight tilt. Owners soon learned to invest in a case.

G Flex: bends, but does not break

Since 2019, with the announcement of the Galaxy Fold, we have talked a lot about folding smartphones. But in 2013, LG bet on an “intermediate step” in technology: a flexible smartphone. The LG G Flex had a body and screen with a curvature that according to the manufacturer better followed the face.

Smartphone LG G Flex, which had a flexible housing and curvature that better accompanies the shape of the face.
LG G Flex, flexible housing and curvature that better accompanies the shape of the face. Image: LG

The housing was constructed in such a way that it could be flexed without damage until it was “straight”, which should help the device survive falls or “sit and stand” in a back pocket of pants. In addition, the back of the device was made of a plastic capable of “regenerating” itself, making small scratches disappear in a short time.

LG G4: the elegance of leather

In 2012, LG established the “Optimus G” line as the flagship of its smartphone portfolio. The name Optimus was abandoned in the second generation, which was named only LG G2. From then on, each new generation started to be numbered sequentially, until the G8 (and variants) of April 2019.

Smartphone LG G4 with leather finish.
Leather finish and camera quality were the highlights of the LG G4

The LG G4, of 2015, drew attention for the quality of the cameras, at the time when this was becoming a decisive factor when choosing a smartphone. Another factor that made everyone stop to take a look was the finish: one of the models had the back covered in genuine leather.

LG G5: the modular phone

The LG G5 was an experiment that didn’t work. The goal was to create a modular smartphone, which could have the hardware expanded and customized to the customer’s taste with modules (called by LG “friends”) connected to the bottom of the device.

One of the modules was a “grip” to improve the device’s grip when used as a camera, which also added dedicated buttons for photography. Another was an audio system developed in partnership with Bang & Olufsen, with a better quality speaker and headphones output with lower noise level.

LG G5 smartphone, which could be expanded with modules including larger batteries, camera grip and Bang & Olufsen sound system.
LG G5 could be expanded with modules, including larger batteries, camera grip and Bang & Olufsen sound system. Image: LG

The idea was good, but it was soon abandoned by LG. When the G6 appeared, a year later, there was no sign of it anymore. Motorola was the one that bet most on the concept of modularity, with four generations of the Moto Z line.

LG G8X: two screens are better than one

The LG G8X can be seen as LG’s response to the Galaxy Fold. Launched in November 2019, it would be any “top of the line”, were it not a curious feature: an optional accessory called LG Dual Screen that, when connected to the device, gave it a second screen.

LG G8X ThinQ with LG Dual Screen: accessory gives the smartphone an extra screen.

What for? to run two apps at the same time, as a controller in games or when playing media, to use as a keyboard when producing documents or to share content with a person across the table. The idea was reused in Velvet, successor to the G line.

LG Wing: two screens from a new angle

The LG Wing was another curious concept. Again LG bet on the two screens, but this time in a different configuration: the main screen can be rotated by 90º, revealing a smaller secondary screen, just below.

LG Wing, smartphone with auxiliary screen can be used to display notifications and video controls.
LG Wing: auxiliary screen can be used to display notifications and video controls. Image: LG / Reproduction

This screen could be used, for example, to show a Media Player or messages while the user runs a navigation app on the main screen, to show the camera controls when taking a photo (leaving the main screen free for the preview) , to assist in editing photos and videos and more. Unfortunately it is an idea that we will not see evolving, unless it is adopted by some other manufacturer.

Line K: LG “for everyone”

No list of outstanding LG handsets, especially in Brazil, would be complete without a mention of the K line. Far from the high-end hardware of top-of-the-line models, it was LG’s low-cost smartphone family, covering from the entry segment. (where he competed with Moto E) to the most sophisticated middlemen, where he competed with models like the Moto G and some Samsung Galaxy A and M.

The first model was the K4, from 2016, and models like the K8 and K10 came to be quite successful here. The most recent launches of the line in Brazil were the K52, K62 and K62 +. Even the most basic model, the K52, brings 3 GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal memory and four rear cameras (tele, wide-angle, portrait and macro), for a competitive price, starting at R $ 1,499.

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