I have never owned one but I was always curious about their audio prowess. I do regret not trying one.
For me, it's what made them stand out. Most other features are pretty average for what they are.
This G8 ThinQ actually has a very nice oled and a very competent camera. At least competitive with anything else of its time. Performance is fairly snappy for me. I've had it for almost a year, I think. Battery life is just beginning to decline noticeably but otherwise it is holding up well. I keep it in the otter. There's some wood and concrete dust in the mic. The area around it is covered. Still working!
That said, pretty much any other option will beat it out at least somewhat in these areas... often for less money. I'm not too picky with smartphones, aside from audio... and maybe storage flexibility. I don't even expect hardcore audio quality... just... lets not just use whatever is stuffed in the AIO package. It doesn't have the output for lower-sensitivity stuff, or sometimes even just moderate impedance stuff with reasonably high sensitivity. And the quality, to me, reminds me a lot of older mobo audio.
LG has used dedicated audio circuits in their phones for quite a while. Discreet DAC and opamp chips. This allows them to have more control over the processing... and thus the controls they can give you built-in to the OS, that are then handled by the hardware.. dedicated DAC chips with different filters, eq, DSP, spacial processing, are not top-shelf tech. It simply doesn't make sense on an AIO package, where it mostly needs to deliver decent call quality and be able to carry that to a headset - using it beyond that gets mixed results, but they do it. Meanwhile the opamps give you better versatility and overall output levels on the amplification side. You can plug more stuff into it and have it be loud and sound good. My G8 even has 3 impedance levels - it adapts its voltage output to IEMs, high-end headphones, or line level for speakers (and by extension any amplifier input, whether desktop or portable - no double amping!) Pretty rare to see, if they even have a 3.5mm jack at all. They really went in on it for some reason, especially with their higher-end models.
If any of this makes sense to you, you already pretty much have an idea of how it sounds compared to other phones. When you plug things into it, they sound how they would sound plugged into any other decent source, instead of having that hallmark smudgy, quiet, and dynamically-flat "phone sound" you often get.
It's just kind of crazy... they really wanted their phones to drive headphones well, and have a good speaker. Like, this thing lets you change the damned oversampling filters for the DAC, so absurdly minute levels of audio focus. For me, it's perfect because I stream music all day long. The alternative portable media players running android have that same capability, but they come with the audiophile tax and so cost about as much as a flagship phone... with fewer features overall. And I then carry two bricks. Add that to the weight of tools I typically carry. So... what? Portable DAC/AMP via whatever data/charge port it has? That sucks, too. LG had me figured out. It just sucks that I'm from outer space and nobody seems to want what I want.
I've seen too much. Burden of enlightenment. I know that those DAC/amps sound great and sometimes power things a little better. But hearing how close this phone gets in one thinner package makes it very hard for me to take that as anything but a loss. The only thing it has trouble with are my 10-ohm, lower sensitivity HE5xx's. But that is really just a matter of current capabilities. I don't see a way around that particular issue in such a small, inherently voltage-limited power source. The battery probably doesn't have the wattage on tap to overcome that. Not to mention the heat that comes with high-current amplification.
Definitely a bummer to lose them. They were a gem in a time when headphone jacks have largely gone dodo. Where others were dropping them completely, they were making some of the best there ever were on smartphones.