LG has unveiled the first device from what it’s calling its Explorer Project and it’s certainly going to turn heads with its rotating display.
The aim of the LG Wing, clearly, is to offer the sorts of benefits that people are now finding in folding phones, where additional screen space or a division in the display can be used to create new methods of interaction.
In this device, LG has created what looks like a conventional 6.8-inch phone, but that main screen will rotate through 90 degrees into landscape, revealing a 3.9-inch display underneath. That effectively creates a T-shape, meaning you don’t have to hold the main display – you can keep holding the phone like you would in portrait.
The aim is to save you from gripping the main display and risking touches you don’t want, so it’s being pushed as a great way to watch movies, with everything else happing on the bottom display rather than over the top of your content. You can easily see how multitasking could become unlocked and new ways to use your phone will be devised.
But with a novel form factor, the question of what will actually be supported in this mode remains. Some applications, like Naver’s Whale browser has announced support, but so much will depend on how everyday apps work and what advantages they offer.
Both displays are OLED, the top with 2460 x 1080, the bottom with 1240 x 1080 pixel resolutions.
Sitting under the skin of the phone is the Snapdragon 765, so this is 5G-enabled, with 8GB RAM and 128/256GB storage – par for the course really – while the battery is 4000mAh.
LG has talked up the camera a lot, as it’s pushing the LG Wing at content creators, claiming that the form factor means it’s a lot more practical for editing video on the move, while also featuring a gimbal motion camera.
The main camera is 64-megapixel, f/1.8, along with a 13-megapixel ultra-wide; there’s a second ultra-wide camera that’s only used in gimbal mode, i.e., when the phone is “open”, which LG is calling the Big Pixel. Indeed, it has 1.4µm pixels, so they are much larger than the pixels in the other cameras, but does give you a range of additional features, like a joystick to control the camera angle.
This is very much aimed at content creators and we do wonder if the only people who will really go for this stuff is the legion of YouTubers that LG is clearly aiming this phone at (the launch was largely hosted by and featured prominent YouTubers).
There’s 4000mAh battery which is reasonable for something that’s played heavily with the format, although that’s still apparent in the weight – it’s 260g. That’s not criminal, but it’s heavier than your average smartphone.
It’s novel and it’s interesting and that’s probably the most compelling thing about the LG Wing. Some will see it as interesting when every other phone is basically the same, some will see it as a pointless twist on a familiar device that already does what it was designed to do.
We’ll reserve judgement until we’ve actually tried living with it and seen how much it might cost. While the price is still unknown, the LG Wing is launching in Korea first in October, followed by key North American and European markets.