LG is no stranger to two-screen smartphones in recent years, but the company has just officially announced its boldest foray into a dual-screen device in recent memory: the LG Wing. It’s a wild-looking, swiveling-display smartphone that looks to — quite literally — offer a new spin on what a phone can do.
The new phone is inspired by LG’s current trends of dual-screen smartphones like the G8X ThinQ and the Velvet, along with the company’s classic swiveling LG VX9400 feature phone released over a decade ago. The Wing is set to be the first device under LG’s new “Explorer Project” branding, aimed at exploring ways to “breathe new life into what makes a smartphone.”
Wing’s most interesting feature, of course, is the two OLED panels. The first is a standard 6.8-inch main screen without any bezels or notches (instead, LG has chosen to go with a pop-up lens, since apparently the Wing didn’t have enough moving parts to worry about). But it’s the second 3.9-inch panel that’s underneath the main display that makes the Wing 2020’s most unique-looking phone. Instead of folding out for two full-size (or one flexible) panels side by side, the Wing’s main display twists around and up to reveal the second screen, in a shape that looks a lot like a Tetris T-block.
And LG has big ambitions for the types of functionality that this new form factor can enable. The idea is that when in “swivel mode,” you’ll use the main display for whatever your primary task is, while the second display serves as a supplemental window for another app or extended functionality.
LG has big ambitions for its swivel mode
For example, LG imagines using the secondary panel for camera controls while using the camera application, freeing up the main display as an uncluttered viewfinder. Flip it around, and you can use the main display as a massive, widescreen keyboard while you respond to a message thread displayed on the smaller, vertical display. Video applications can use the second display for media and volume controls. A lot of this, though, will depend on third-party developers embracing the second display to extend their apps — otherwise, it’ll end up a cool feature limited to just LG’s own software.
Of course, you can also use it to simply run two applications side by side: play a mobile game on your main panel while streaming it online to friends and fans using the second display, or read Twitter while streaming the latest football match.
Image: Getty Images / Tetra images RF / LG
The Wing doesn’t just have to be used in a landscape format, either. LG is just as enthusiastic about using the main display in a standard candy-bar “portrait” mode as it is the more obvious widescreen format, with the secondary panel serving as an auxiliary display of sorts while you navigate on Google Maps or read the latest document from work. The secondary half display can also be disabled while flipped out using a “grip lock” feature, allowing you to use it as a useful handle when watching a movie, for example.
There’s a built-in gimbal mode
The Wing’s unique form factor also leads to one of the phone’s most interesting features: a “gimbal mode” that allows for the secondary display to be used as a grip, complete with joystick controls for adjusting the camera. LG actually included a second dedicated ultrawide camera on the back to capture footage while the main display is in its swiveled landscape mode (with a rotated sensor to match the orientation). It’s also equipped with a new “hexa motion” sensor that the company says helps avoid interference. The Wing can also shoot in a dual recording mode, capturing video from the front and rear cameras at the same time.
Obviously, with so many moving parts here, there are plenty of concerns about durability and longevity. LG says that it’s aware of those concerns and promises that the Wing will hold up. It’s also working on cases that will be compatible with the swiveling design, something that takes a bit more work than a traditional phone case.
The rest of the hardware for the LG Wing is fairly ordinary. There’s a Snapdragon 765G processor with Qualcomm’s integrated X52 modem for 5G support, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, a 4,000mAh battery, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and support for wireless charging. The biggest omission, of course, is any waterproofing — something to be expected on a phone with this many moving parts.
The rest of the hardware is fairly standard
The second display also adds to the thickness and bulk of the phone, although not as much as, say, the self-contained full-size screen cases that LG’s used in the past. The Wing measures in at 9.17 ounces (260g) and 0.43 inches thick — for comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, with a similar-sized display, weighs 7.76-ounces (220g) and is 0.35 inches thick.
The LG Wing also features a pop-up 32-megapixel front-facing camera, along with a triple-camera setup on the back of the device. There’s a 64-megapixel main camera, a 13-megapixel “regular” ultrawide, and the aforementioned 12-megapixel “gimbal mode” ultrawide that’s dedicated to the landscape mode.
LG says that the Wing will be released in the US on Verizon first, followed by AT&T and T-Mobile. LG says that price, release date, color options, and specs will vary by network partner, which means that we might see a split between a sub-6GHz LG Wing model for AT&T and T-Mobile and a pricier mmWave version that’s exclusive to Verizon, similar to the previously released LG Velvet. That said, as of now, the company has yet to announce even a vague release window or price estimate for the upcoming device.