With the X screen, LG is bringing a smaller and cheaper version of the LG V10 to Germany. As the name suggests, the X screen has a very special screen, or rather two screens. Is that practical or just a gag? – Our test report tells you!
With the X series, LG has a couple of really great mid-range devices with Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” at the start. The two models X screen and X cam are the first, further devices have already been announced. The actual model name stands for the special capabilities of the respective device, so the screen is the focus of the X screen. The LG X screen currently costs 185 euros on Amazon and is thus in the lower mid-range in terms of price.
The first impression
The X screen is very easy to hold with its 5 ″ display and flat design. Due to the plastic back in “glass look” it is a bit slippery, but in no way comes close to the Nexus 4 or the OnePlus X or other devices with a real glass back. You can use the LG X Screen without a case, or you can put it in a case.
Two further points are noticeable when using the device for the first time: The LG X screen is light above average at 120 g and has a second screen above the main screen. More on this below. In addition, the 13 MP camera protrudes slightly from the back of the device. This gives the back a slight HTC touch. There is also an NFC module installed on the back, which is not a matter of course in this price range! You can find the complete technical data of the LG X screen in our device database.
The X screen does not win a design award, however, because the arrangement of the loudspeaker, the micros, the USB socket and the headphone input on the underside of the device is anything but aesthetic, but the sound is right through both the built-in speaker and the jack output.
The X series from LG does not have the typical LG rear key, so the LG Xscreen can be switched on normally via the power button on the right side of the smartphone. The slot for the nano SIM card and a microSD card is also located here. The left side offers space for a relatively short volume rocker, which, however, has a comfortable pressure point.
Of the 16 GB of built-in memory, only just under 9 GB are available for the user. The use of the microSD slot is therefore only a matter of time. As with the rest of the Marshmallow devices from LG, it is not easy to combine the external and internal storage. So you have to lend a hand yourself if you want to use this new feature of Marshmallow.
In terms of software, the LG X screen corresponds to the LG G5 with Marshmallow (to the LG G5 test report). So you can choose whether you want to use the new LG Launcher without a separate app drawer or rather the new launcher in iOS style. The Marshmallow implementation from LG knows how to please, but of course it is a matter of taste.
LG introduced the second screen above the main display for the first time on the LG V10 and was able to convince some users of the technology. The idea behind it is simple and useful: The second screen not only handles the notifications and in some cases saves the user the frequent swipe down gestures, but also serves as an active display at the same time. This allows the main screen to remain switched off longer, which saves power and ensures longer battery life.
In practice, however, only the first function usually works smoothly. Working with the LG X screen is relaxed. The second screen ensures that incoming messages do not get in the way of reading emails or browsing. You can also take calls on the small display and control the music player. These are all small things, but they really save a lot of trouble in daily use. Seen in this way, the small screen also takes on multitasking.
Depending on the app, the display can also completely take over the function of the notification bar. For example, if you start a video on YouTube or a slide show in LG’s own gallery app, it will automatically appear in full screen mode and the notification bar will move to the second screen.
With a swiping gesture on the second screen, the Android navigation elements appear again as a transparent overlay. The second display has numerous setting options. If you wish, it can only be switched on when the main screen is off. But you can always switch it on or deactivate it completely.
In addition, LG offers all features individually for selection in the settings. For example, if you only want to use the second screen as a media player or only as a reminder function for the calendar, then you can switch off all other features (quick contacts, favorite apps, tools, quick toggles).
What definitely doesn’t work is drag and drop between the main screen and the second screen. That’s why our attempts to add our own apps to the display always come to nothing.
The second screen shows its real strength with the notifications. Here he not only ensures relaxed work but also ensures that no more news is lost. Unfortunately, LG only shows the actual notification, no content (at least not with Google Hangouts). Compared to a classic LED, however, you can immediately see what type of notification it is.
Here, too, there is the tiny problem that you cannot pull down the notification bar on the second screen to access the information when the main display is switched off. Here, the usual LG double tap on the display helps to wake up the device.
Performance, camera, audio
The built-in Snapdragon 410 doesn’t make the LG X screen a high-end device, of course, but with normal use I couldn’t find any real problems in the tests. On the contrary, the X screen works faster than average, which is almost certainly due to the 2 GB of RAM. Better a slightly slower processor, but enough RAM.
I was also satisfied with the built-in 13 MP camera. It takes beautiful photos in good lighting conditions, has a good autofocus, and thanks to LG, the camera app also has a very nice and user-friendly interface.
In poor lighting conditions, however, the performance declines quite quickly. LG manages to make up for the resulting noise with a successful soft focus. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that the camera of the LG X screen is only slightly better than average. If a great camera is more important to you, then there is still the LG X cam.
The call quality of the LG X screen is good, as is the audio quality through headphones. The built-in speaker sounds a bit tinny and lacks any kind of bass, but the ringtones and notifications are clearly audible, which is ultimately more important.
The LG X screen also has an FM radio, in case you want to listen to music without the internet. As usual, the device requires a headset as an antenna, which is conveniently included in the scope of delivery.
The battery life of the LG X screen could be a bit better, because with the current 2300 mAh battery it is not always enough for the day without any problems. This shows the fact that the second display also consumes power and almost certainly prevents the Doze mode of Android 6.0. If you do without it completely (possible via the settings), you can definitely get an hour of running time or more per day.
The internal memory is 16 GB. Of this, however, only 9 GB are free for the user. Here LG should tidy up its software a bit or make it more space-saving, because other manufacturers usually leave 10 to 11 GB free, not to mention custom ROMS, which can handle 2-3 GB including Google apps.
It’s a shame that you can’t add your own four apps as quick start symbols to the second display. LG automatically picks out the most used apps, but this does not always correspond to the apps that you want to operate quickly with a fingertip. Let’s see whether this can be changed later with a software update.
The brightness and viewing angle stability of the second display could be better. Outside, when the sun is shining, it is often not enough to be able to read the time, for example. So the main screen has to serve, which destroys the actual purpose of the second screen.
The LG X screen is an absolutely successful, solid Android device for everyone who is looking for a reliable companion for every day that does not stand out in any discipline – except for the display – but does not fail in any area. The second display proves to be a really practical companion and saves you having to wake up the screen just to quickly check the time.
Due to the somewhat weak Snapdragon processor, it is not quite enough for a top ranking on the LG smartphone. We liked the separate display so much in the tests that we can clearly recommend the LG X screen to buy it. If you are simply looking for a solid device for less than 200 euros with a particularly good notification function, you can’t go wrong with the LG X screen.