Hands-On With LG's G8 Smartphone With Air Motion Gestures

LG is set to launch its new G8 smartphone this Thursday, and ahead of launch, we've gotten our hands on one to try out the smartphone's new Air Motion features, which are touchless gesture-based controls.

Apple has been rumored to be working on such a feature for future iPhones, so we thought we'd see how LG's version works as a glimpse of what we might be able to expect from Apple in the future.


Air Motion is designed to let you use different hand positions, shapes, and gestures to do things like open apps, control media playback, take screenshots, answer phone calls, silence alarms, and more.

It's super cool in theory, but in practice, it's not exactly simple to use because you need to get the LG G8 to recognize the proper gesture. In our testing, it took quite a bit of time for us to learn how to use the gestures, and even now, we haven't mastered it.

You need to hold your hands pretty close to the G8's display for Air Motion gestures to activate, and the smartphone lets you know that it's waiting for a hand movement when there's a multicolored bar at the top of the screen.

Once the gesture mode is activated you can move your hands back, but need to keep them within the gesture circle. If that sounds confusing, well, it is, but the Air Motion feature does get easier to use over time.

Gesturing is no faster than picking up the phone and opening an app or changing the volume in most cases, so this certainly feels more gimmicky than something useful at the current time. It has the potential to be useful if your hands are dirty or wet, but most of the time, it's not a feature most people are likely to use.

Along with gestures, the LG G8 also has a "Hand ID" feature for reading the veins on a person's hands to unlock the smartphone. Hand ID is certainly unique in the world of smartphone biometrics, and it's limited to unlocking - you can't authenticate payments or replace app passwords and will need to use the more traditional fingerprint sensor for that.

Hand ID requires a hand to be placed palm up toward the front facing camera of the smartphone for your vein placement to be read, but, unfortunately, it's as hard to use as Air Motion, if not harder.

A 2018 rumor from Bloomberg suggested Apple is working on iPhones that will use touchless gesture controls, allowing users to hover over the iPhone to navigate through the iOS operating system using a finger, but without having to touch the display.

At the time, it was compared to Samsung's Air Gestures in Android smartphones that let users do things like jump between web pages, swipe between pictures, pages, or music tracks, accept calls, and more.

If Apple moves forward with that rumored gesture technology, it could show up in iPhones as early as 2020, according to Bloomberg's two-year timeline for the feature. It's not yet clear if Apple is continuing to experiment with gestures, though, as we haven't heard any information on such a feature coming to the 2020 ‌iPhone‌ lineup.

What do you think of the LG G8? Are touch-free gestures something you'd like to see in a future ‌iPhone‌? Let us know in the comments.

Tag: LG

Top Rated Comments

yaxomoxay Avatar
36 months ago
In other words: uselessness defined.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gaspode67 Avatar
36 months ago
Synaptics, Cypress, and Atmel (now Solomon Systech)* have had this in their codebase for touch ICs for years. Every time it was requested by the phone manufacturers as a feature, but never implemented as people couldn't agree what gestures they wanted, what sort of detect height was best, etc. How do I know? I worked for Atmel for around 8 years (and 12 years with 3M Touch Systems before that) and I remember spending many long hours testing, tweaking, retesting configuration files, demo units etc. only for the time spent to be wasted when the manufacturers decided not to go with hover "just yet". It's always been a solution in search of a problem to fix...


*These three are the main touch IC manufacturers for handheld & tablet devices
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ummario Avatar
36 months ago
I wonder what impact this technology will bring to sex websites.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
realtuner Avatar
36 months ago
Gimmick.

My BMW has this for controlling various functions and I find it pointless. Much easier to use the actual physical controls (like steering wheel buttons) instead.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Packers1958 Avatar
36 months ago
I wonder what impact this technology will bring to sex websites.
You will still have to touch something, just not your phone.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
36 months ago
Oh my god, MacRumors, I can't take these nearly-lethal doses of meta:



What, are you trying to bring about the singularity?! :eek:
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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