When it comes to offering more screen real estate on a smartphone, manufacturers have two options: either go with a flexible display à la Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2, or attach a secondary screen like the LG Velvet.
While the latter is obviously the easier (and cheaper) option, both implementations have a common problem: multi-tasking only works well when both apps are in portrait orientation, due to the design of most apps.
This can be a big problem. If I watch YouTube and Netflix videos in landscape, but then load Twitter or Facebook on the bottom half of the phone, these would be stretched wide, making it difficult to read text or view images. This is where the LG Wing 5G’s bizarre swivel-screen design comes in, and having used a pre-production unit for about a week (and having used both the Velvet and the Galaxy Fold), this is by far my favorite multi-screen phone yet.
Having a screen that swivels from portrait to landscape on a phone isn’t entirely new. Long before foldable phones and dual-screen phones became a thing, there were feature phones predominantly in Asia that came with this type of screen — albeit a tiny one with a 4:3 aspect ratio — to serve markets that offered mobile digital TV services, such as South Korea’s DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) and Japan’s 1seg. You’d hold onto the main body (remember those keypads?) in portrait, then rotate the screen to landscape and watch live TV on the go.
In the case of the LG Wing, it has a 6.8-inch P-OLED screen that swivels in a clockwise direction to landscape mode (aka Swivel Mode), in which it reveals a smaller 3.9-inch screen below. On paper, that’s great for my use case: I can fully utilize that vibrant 2,460 x 1,080 display for watching video, while simultaneously fueling my social media addiction using the smaller 1,080 x 1,240 panel.
With the main screen closed, the LG Wing looks like any other flagship smartphone, save for its extra thickness — about 2.8mm more than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It also happens to be a good-looking phone, especially with the chic “Illusion Sky” gradient finish underneath the frosted glass on my unit. The weight, though, is more noticeable — an extra 56 g or almost two ounces compared to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. To put things into perspective, though, this is still lighter and slimmer than the Dual Screen-equipped Velvet.
While there’s a knack to it, it didn’t take long to find the sweet spot for pushing the Wing’s main screen up. It’s located at almost two-thirds the way down the right side, and with my right thumb, it’s just a slight horizontal push before the spring mechanism takes over. As the screen rotation reaches its final 15 degrees, a hydraulic damper kicks in to slow it down. To retract the screen, I simply push the top-left corner down until the spring takes over in the last 15 degrees. More