Dual screens are no more a novelty these days than dual SIMs, and yet, for LG's new X Screen, it could be the USP at the comfortable price point of about Rs 13,000. Yet, this feature could also be its undoing, unfortunately.
About the dual screen: It's nothing new. Yotaphone already did it, with one in front and a smaller one at the back, in December 2013. Samsung, too, has a small display along the edge of its flagship product, the Galaxy S7 Edge. Last October, LG had released a similar model, the V10, in the US. Sadly, it never made to India, and even abroad, it burnt a hole in one's point. Now, the X Screen offers the same feature at a lower price.
Better still, it's good looking, with the feel of a high-end product. The all-glass back makes it look a little like Samsung Galaxy S6 or S7, and the frame is similar to some Sony products. But, a closer look and you will know it's a crow in the plumes of the peacock. It's quite thin (7.1 mm) and has a faux-metal plastic edging. To its credit, the rounded edges make it comfortable to hold, and it's quite light at 120 g. What makes it even more comfortable in your hand is the fact that the screen size is less than 5 inches.
The second display is, of course, the standout feature. It sits quite comfortably atop the main display. And, it provides uninterrupted information about time, data, battery level and notifications from various apps. But to what purpose? In the sleep mode, the screen is quite dull and almost unreadable. (Though it glows in the dark bedroom, and I had to flip it over to sleep.) It does provide a lot of information when you are too busy to wake up the device, but the low resolution makes it somewhat superfluous.
The performance of the phone is not too bad, especially at this price. The processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core; 2GB RAM) makes it a smooth operator, but it develops a slight lag when there are five or six apps running simultaneously. The battery runs for a whole day, if used moderately. It is also smooth with basic games, and doesn't really heat up. But, this is not a gaming phone, and those who like playing graphics-heavy games would be disappointed.
The interface and the camera are both competent, but look a tad like their Chinese counterparts, which are aggressively making inroads into the expanding smartphone market in this country. You can drag and drop icons and there are no unnecessary downloaded Google apps eating up memory space. The camera works well on brightly lit days.
Yet, despite everything, the LG X Screen is very basic in its category. The dual screen is interesting but that's not the reason to buy it. The real reason would be the competitive price.