The Bonkers LG Wing: Pretty Fly for a Smartphone

Illustration for article titled The Bonkers LG Wing: Pretty Fly for a Smartphone
Photo: LG

Between the Surface Duo, ZTE Axon 20, Galaxy Z Flip, and others, we’ve seen a lot of phones with unusual designs in 2020, but the new LG Wing might be the boldest and wackiest of them all.

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Sporting a swiveling 6.8-inch primary OLED display, the LG Wing sort of seems like a modern interpretation of the classic Sidekick, except that instead of hiding a physical keyboard, the Wing’s main screen rotates into a T-shape to reveal a 3.9-inch OLED Second Screen.

Depending on your needs, the Wing’s Second Screen can be used like any other to check messages, look up directions on a map, or answer calls. However, the Wing also includes some special customizations like Multi App which should let you launch two apps across both displays with a single button press, or the ability to use the Second Screen display as a dedicated media controller when listening to movies or watching videos. You can even flip the phone upside down into an inverted cross while typing, to get a full landscape keyboard while your messages appear in the smaller screen above.

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Illustration for article titled The Bonkers LG Wing: Pretty Fly for a Smartphone
Photo: LG

The most innovative use of the Wing’s Second Screen is the way it works in tandem with the phone’s triple rear cameras, essentially turning the Wing into a portable vlogging camera. That’s because in addition to a 64-MP main cam and a 13-MP ultra-wide cam, the Wing also comes with a 12-MP “Ultra Wide Big Pixel” cam that features five-axis image stabilization and a special Gimbal Mode, complete with a virtual joystick that lets you control the camera and do typical gimbal things like pan, tilt, or lock onto and follow your subject. And while you’re doing all of that, the Wing’s Second Screen provides a secure way to hold the phone while still letting you film in landscape orientation. No need to go vertical.

Meanwhile in front, instead of relying on a notch or a punch-hole for its selfie cam, the Wing features a motorized pop-up cam to help reduce distractions and really maximize that large 6.8-inch screen. And for anyone considering using the Wing as a vlogging camera, it even comes with a special recording mode that captures video from both the front selfie cam and one of the phone’s rear cameras simultaneously.

Illustration for article titled The Bonkers LG Wing: Pretty Fly for a Smartphone
Photo: LG
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On the inside, while the Wing doesn’t have full flagship-level specs, it does come with 5G support (both sub 6Ghz and mmWave) thanks to its Snapdragon 765G processor. You also get a solid 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of base storage, a microSD card slot, and a decent-sized 4,000 mAh battery. Also, despite having two screens stacked on top of each other, the 10.9 mm thick LG Wing isn’t that much thicker than a more traditional 6.8-inch phone like the OnePlus 8 Pro (which measures 8.5 mm thick). Sadly, unlike many LG phones of the past, the Wing doesn’t come with a built-in high-def DAC or a headphone jack.

But to me, the most exciting part of all this is that after several generations of G and V-series phones that made it seem like LG was afraid of rocking the boat, it feels like LG is ready to have some fun again. As the first phone developed as part of LG’s new Explorer Project, the Wing was designed as a way to break away from traditional smartphone design and try something new. And with the rise of vlogging and traditional camera companies like Sony coming up with cool new cameras like the ZV-1, the LG Wing is a clever (though potentially somewhat niche) and even more portable alternative to a standard compact camera.

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Unfortunately, LG has yet to reveal official pricing or availability info for the Wing, but we’re expecting to hear more sometime later this fall.

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

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DISCUSSION

Glad to see some creativity and weirdness in phone design again. If you look at cellphones from the mid/early aughts, they were undergoing a Cambrian explosion of weird designs. Nokia was making phones that looked like camcorders and lipstick cases. Then the iPhone landed like an asteroid (to mix geological metaphors) and everything had to be a slab of shiny black glass. I use an iPhone and I like it, but it has limited creativity throughout the industry.