The LG G9 or LG Velvet is expected to be launching in May, so we're expecting the rumors and leaks about LG's next flagship to start piling up.
There are already a few things that we've heard or suspect, all of which you'll find below, so read on for hints about the LG G9 release date, specs and features.
Given MWC 2020 has been officially canceled, we're waiting on news for the next big LG flagship, as it's likely the handset would have launched during that late-February tech show – so we're curious when LG will make its move without an event to show off its new phone.
Update: LG has shown off the upcoming LG Velvet in a brand new video, which also lists the processor it'll be running.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next LG flagship phone
- When is it out? Possibly May
- What will it cost? Its price will likely rival other high-end handsets
LG G9 release date and price
The LG G8 was announced at MWC 2019 on February 24, but a repeat performance was impossible after MWC 2020 got canceled. The latest rumors suggest that May 15 is the date when the LG Velvet will appear.
For now that’s just an educated guess, but considering LG has been ramping up the hype around the upcoming handset, we're expecting to see the phone sooner rather than later. We've got a name – the LG Velvet, not the LG G9 – and we've seen its curves shown off in an official video.
As for price, all we can do there is guess, but the LG G8 launched for $819 (around £640 / AU$1,200), so the G9 might have a similar price.
LG G9 news and rumors
The rumor mill has been relatively slow when it comes to revealing details about the LG Velvet (previously known as the LG G9), so LG has itself stepped up to the plate to reveal news about its next flagship phone.
First we got hints about a change in the naming scheme, then we saw some design sketches showing off what the new phone would look like (see below). In both name and appearance, this is going to be quite a departure from what we've seen from LG in previous years.
And the official information from LG continues to drip out. It recently revealed that the name of the upcoming phone would be the LG Velvet, in a bid to put across just how nice the handset is going to be to touch (we'll reserve judgment for now).
Then we had a brief video posted to the official LG Korea channel on YouTube, which we've embedded below. You can see that the phone is shown off from all angles, and you get a flavor of the sort of colors it'll be available in too.
The video also reveals that the mid-to-upper-range Snapdragon 765 processor from Qualcomm will be the one powering the LG Velvet. We're expecting to see that in quite a few Android phones this year, including the Pixel 5.
You can also see a triple-lens camera on the back of the phone, plus a flash. We like the arrangement here, up in the top left-hand corner. It shows that previously leaked renders were somewhat wide of the mark – but not every leak turns out to be accurate.
Earlier rumors suggest the screen will be between 6.7 and 6.9 inches, which would make for a massive increase in size from the 6.1-inch LG G8. The G9 also apparently has an in-screen fingerprint scanner and dimensions of 169.4 x 77.6 x 8.8mm.
The LG Velvet is also shown as having a 3.5mm headphone port, but interestingly likely wouldn't have the depth sensor found on the front of the LG G8 (as there's no room for it in the notch). That in turn would presumably mean no Air Motion gesture controls or vein recognition system.
What we want to see
The LG G8 is a very interesting, very flawed phone. For the G9 (or Velvet) we want something just as interesting but without the flaws. The following suggestions could help LG achieve that.
1. Bring back the hole-less speaker….
The LG G8 has a number of experimental features, the most successful of which is arguably the hole-less vibrating Crystal Sound speaker.
This essentially removes the top speaker and causes audio to vibrate through the display instead, and it worked well in our tests. LG claims this also makes the phone more waterproof. Plus, it could help remove even more bezel, so we’d like to see the feature make a return in the LG G9.
2. .…But not the Hand ID tech
One less-than-successful LG G8 experiment was Hand ID, a feature which allows the phone to read the blood pattern in your veins and use that to identify you and therefore unlock the handset. So it’s an alternative to a fingerprint scanner or facial recognition.
On paper it sounds cool, but in practice we found it was barely functional. But even if it worked reliably we’re not convinced that it would be much of an upgrade on the standard biometric security options, so we’d like to see this ditched.
3. Add an in-screen camera
One exciting new feature we’d like to see LG add for the LG G9 is an in-screen camera. Coupled with the hole-less speaker that could allow for a truly bezel-free design, which would be nice, especially since the LG G8 actually has quite large bezels.
It doesn't look as though this will be the case based on what's been leaked so far, but we can still hope.
4. Freshen up the design
Speaking of the design, we’d like to see that improved all-round. The LG G8 looks rather ordinary, failing to stand out from or even match many flagships visually. Getting rid of the notch would be a good start, but we’d really like a design that wows us. That would help the LG G9 make a great first impression.
5. Boost the battery
The LG G8 has a 3,500mAh battery, which is on the small side by flagship standards and in our time with the phone led to predictably mediocre life. The battery pack was boosted to 4,000mAh in the LG G8X ThinQ (a sort-of successor), so there’s hope that the LG G9’s might be bigger, but 4,000mAh is really the minimum we’d want.
6. Extra lenses
The LG G8 and LG G8X ThinQ both have dual-lens rear cameras, which, in the face of the triple-lens iPhone 11 Pro, quad-lens Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, and penta-lens Nokia 9 PureView, isn’t very many.
Not that the number of lenses is all that matters, but it can be a good start, as assuming the lenses all do different things, a greater number can make for a more versatile camera. So we’d like to see at least one more lens on the LG G9.
7. New innovations
As much as we tend to find LG’s smartphone innovations hit and miss, we applaud the company for trying, as it ensures its flagships almost always stand out.
We want that to continue to be the case with the LG G9, so as well as a return of the hole-less speaker, we want something new that we’ve never seen on a phone before. Granted, that often ends in as much failure (Hand ID) as successes (Crystal Sound speaker), but it's still a way for LG to stay different.
- Check out our guide to the best LG phones