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The LG Wing Is the Funnest Phone of 2020

Gif: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

Out of all the ambitious phones of 2020 including the handsets with monstrous specs like the ROG Phone 3, forward-thinking devices like the Surface Duo, and futuristic phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 2, LG’s weird and wacky Wing is easily the funnest phone of the year.

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With just the flick of a finger, the LG Wing’s 6.8-inch OLED screen swivels from portrait to landscape, simultaneously evoking legendary handsets from the past like the Sidekick and teleporting you into the future by revealing a 3.9-inch second screen. And if that’s all the Wing did, it would already spark more joy than a drawer of neatly folded clothes or 90% of the other phones made this year. It’s like a fidget spinner for adults that also makes it more enjoyable to watch videos in their proper orientation, regardless of whether that’s vertical or horizontal.

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LG’s app carousel makes it easier to find apps optimized for the Wing, but you don’t really need it.
Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo
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But that’s not the only you thing can do! While you’re watching a movie up top, you can use the second screen to browse the web, message your friends, or use pretty much any other app you want. And even though the LG Wing doesn’t offer quite the same kind of multitasking you get on the Surface Duo or Z Fold 2, it’s just enough to make it so you don’t have to interrupt your movie or show. And in a time when I’m trying everything I can to stay entertained at home, reducing boredom by even just a little bit is something I can appreciate.

It’s sort of the same situation with the Wing’s built-in camera gimbal. It’s not nearly as adjustable or stable as a standalone mobile gimbal like a DJI OM4, but once again, it’s got just enough leeway to pan and tilt or use the follow, pan follow, or first-person video modes to capture footage you can’t really get on a normal phone. And when combined with its swiveling screen and built-in gimbal, the Wing’s delightful motorized pop-up selfie cam makes it possible to really lean into that mobile vlogging lifestyle by letting you record using both front and rear cams at the same time.

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YouTube plus Chrome is a neat while to stay entertained when you’re stuck on the couch.
Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo
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Meanwhile, powering all of this are some solid but not quite top-notch components including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of base storage, wireless charging, and a microSD slot (but no headphone jack).

That said, the LG Wing has a number of awkward spots too. For example, when the screen is swiveled into landscape mode, it can be difficult to reach its side buttons, especially the ones for volume. When you’re watching YouTube, the Wing gets around this by putting volume controls on phone’s second screen, but in other apps that haven’t been optimized for the Wing, that doesn’t always work.

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Furthermore, the app carousel LG made for the Wing when its screen is swiveled out feels rather unnecessary. Sure, it makes it easier to find a handful of apps that have been optimized for the phone, but it also adds an extra level of complexity without much added benefit. Just let people see a landscape version of their homescreen so they can pick the app they want to use without diving through additional menu screens.

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I’ve also found that whole app carousel, and sometimes the second screen, will lag and stutter a bit more than normal, which is kind of understandable because LG is using a new skin to control everything while also relying on a mid-range processor to support two displays, special UIs, and 5G (plus that gimbal mode when in use). That’s asking a lot of its 765G, so it’s not really a surprise that the Wing isn’t exactly a vision of smoothness and stability.

Illustration for article titled The LG Wing Is the Funnest Phone of 2020
Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo
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And then there’s its size. While the Wing isn’t quite as thick as a Galaxy Z Fold 2 and LG should be applauded for cramming this much into such a small package, the Wing is still a big, heavy phone and there’s only so much you can do to disguise that.

But still the Wing is an impressive device, and one of the most incredible things about it is that it got made at all. I mean think about it, no company or phone designer in the world makes something as wild as the LG Wing thinking its going to be a mainstream hit. It’s a niche handset for mobile video fans, messaging addicts, or teenagers who have dreams of being a future YouTuber. And that’s perfectly fine because even though it can be pretty clunky, with the Wing, LG isn’t afraid to let its ideas fly. I haven’t had the chance to do a full review, but I’ve already spent more than enough time with the Wing to know that it really is the funnest phone of the year.

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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

Has LG said publicly how long they’ll support this phone with OS and security updates?  Who cares if it’s a neat form factor; if they’re going to drop it 6 months after they release it because it’s not selling and then resign it to the scrap heap of time, you’ll be stuck with an expensive-yet-outdated phone.