The LG G9 is expected to arrive in time for MWC in February 2020, at which point it will be up against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S11, Xiaomi Mi 10 and OnePlus 8, so it needs to be good.
The LG G8 was already looking a little old in comparison to recent competition, thanks to its chunky screen notch, dual-lens camera and rear rather than in-display fingerprint sensor, so the G9 needs to pull out all the stops to turn things around.
After a while of no news, some leaked LG G9 renders via Onleaks and Cashkaro have given us a first possible look at the smartphone. As you can see below, the headlines are that it will come with no less than four cameras on the rear with dual flash and keep the headphone jack.
The design stays similar to the G8X and the screen looks like it will be around 6.7-6.9in with an in-screen fingerprint scanner and a camera notch. There's not too much else to gain apart from the estimated 169.4 x 77.6 x 8.8mm dimensions (9.4mm including rear camera bump) and a USB-C port.
The company told us at MWC 2019 that going forward all V-series phones will be 5G, and all G-series 4G, but that's now looking unlikely since Qualcomm confirmed that the new Snapdragon 865 chipset will include a 5G modem as standard, which means LG can't keep the G9 4G without giving up on flagship specs - which seems unlikely.
Qualcomm's Keith Kressin explained that manufacturers could always choose to simply market an 865 phone as 4G anyway, but added that "we’re not aware of a single [manufacturer] that’s planning to market the 865 as 4G."
Where LG has impressed us in the past is in its display and in its audio output, and this is something we'd expect to see follow through to the G9.
The G8 has a Crystal Sound OLED, which is the fancy term for tech that in essence pumps out audio through a phone's display. The entire display vibrates in use, and is aided by the bottom-facing speaker for bass.
The G8 also offers DTS:X 3D Surround Sound, which emulates a 7.1-channel system, Hi-Fi Quad DAC, MQA support and a Boombox Speaker, which uses the internal space of the phone as a resonance chamber.
With Samsung finally ditching the headphone jack in its Note 10, and most other phone makers having already done so, we hope LG will leave it in place as a unique selling point, especially if it will once again go big on audio.
We would also hope to see LG refine its 6.1in Quad-HD+ FullVision OLED panel with a reduced or completely removed selfie camera notch, most likely going down the Samsung route of a punch-hole-style cutout, and at very least make standard the triple-lens camera of the South Korean version of the LG G8. (There is a patent out there for a 16-lens LG phone, but we're fairly certain that's unlikely.)
We're also hoping to see a return of the Dual Screen that was the chief selling point of the V50 ThinQ and G8X ThinQ - with a much improved version supporting the latter. With some extra tweaks and refinements, a third iteration could prove a truly compelling - and affordable - response to the foldable phones being delivered by the competition.
LetsGoDigital has discovered that both a G9 and G10 have already been trademarked by LG, though both lack the ThinQ moniker. This does not necessarily mean it will ditch ThinQ, of course. Beyond the G10 it looks to follow Huawei's example, also trademarking G20, G30 and G40.
When is the LG G9 coming out?
Expect an LG press conference the day before MWC begins, on Sunday 23 February 2020. The G9 will then most likely go on sale in March 2020.
How much will the LG G9 cost?
One of the key selling points of the LG G9 over its rivals was its lower price, coming in at US$819. It never officially came to the UK, so chances are the LG G9 won't either.