MWC 2019 is full of folding phones, but LG wants you to forget about them and consider the possibility of a dual display setup without all the fuss of a flexible screen. Enter the Dual Screen accessory for the V50 ThinQ 5G. It's a case with a second screen, and it works exactly like you would expect that to do (read: not so convincing).
The case weighs 131g and is slightly larger and taller than the V50, but almost twice as thick (15.5mm vs 8.3mm). It uses pogo pins to establish a connection with your V50 and draws power from it, so you don't need to charge it separately. The second display inside is a 6.2" FHD+ OLED — slightly smaller than the V50's 6.4".
When your V50 is in the case, a little floating icon shows up to ask if you want to turn on the second display. Once activated, the system looks and works like any multi-window approach on Android. You can have Gmail and Google Maps open on each side, or you can watch a video while browsing the web. A few games will also allow you to have controls on one side while the game is on the other. LG also says both screens support multi-window, so you could have up to 4 apps running simultaneously.
The idea is perplexing in reality. On the one hand, this avoids the whole folding phone conundrum where creases are almost inevitable and display/plastic quality is questionable. And given its accessory nature, you can have a regular phone most of the time and a dual-screen setup when you want/need to. The ability to have two apps, vertically laid out, side by side, is appealing too.
On the other hand, there's a lot of missed opportunity here. Given the big hinge in the middle, most apps can't use this setup as one continuous large display like folding phones do. The combination is also bulky to carry around everyday or in a pocket, and your V50's battery might get drained super quickly with the case attached if you use it a lot.
And then there's another limitation stemming mostly from the way Android deals with multi-windows. You can't drag a photo or file from one app to another. Even if you're sharing something from one app, Android isn't smart enough to suggest the other open app as the first target. Plus, you can't have two instances of the same app running simultaneously — I tried opening Maps on one side then on the other, it closed from the first and moved to the second. This would have been handy if you wanted to compare two photos side by side, for example.
Ultimately, this setup feels just the same as folding phones: half-there. It's just not as elegant or impressive as a device that twists and bends in the middle.
- LG Newsroom