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LG shows twinning is winning with Dual Screen attachment for its 5G V50 phone

The optional accessory is LG's MWC strategy for providing more screen, but without making a foldable phone.

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It takes two, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Katie Collins/CNET

What is better than one phone? It's not a trick question -- the answer, according to LG, is two phones. Or at the very least two phone screens.

For its first-ever 5G device, the V50, LG has created a novel accessory in the form of a Dual Screen attachment, doubling the amount of display at your fingertips in a trice. The idea is to compete with the foldable phones being made by Samsung and other phone makers, but in a simpler way and at a more affordable price.

At first glance, the attachment looks like a folio phone case, but when you open it up like a book, the right hand inner cover where you'd usually clip your phone features an in-built display. Instead you click your phone into the left-hand side of the case, making sure that the three pins on the rear of the phone match up with the sensors inside the case. 

Two of the pins are used for power, and one for communication, although the phone also communicates with the attachment using a proprietary wireless technology designed for carrying heavy data loads over extremely short distances. The hinge on the attachment allows for a full 360-degree rotation, but is mainly designed to be used in two positions -- on an obtuse angle, or at 180 degrees so it can lie flat on a table.

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Lying flat.

Katie Collins/CNET

To activate Dual Screen, you tap the dedicated icon, which pops up on the screen when the attachment is in place. You can also use this icon to flip around what's featured on each display. In our hands-on time with the V50 and Dual Screen, we found it extremely easy to clip the phone in and out of the attachment, and the technology used to wake and connect the second display to work seamlessly with not a single fail.

LG demoed a number of ways you might want to use the accessory, including for photography, gaming or plain old multi-tasking. For photography, it showed how you can use the second screen for automatically previewing a photo immediately after shooting without having to move away from the camera app, allowing you to keep taking photos. You can also use the second screen as a reflector for selfies, ensuring that you have the perfect lighting and white balance for your Instagram money shot.

For gaming, LG unveiled a Game Pad that pops up on one of the screens while you play for better control. With different designs for different types of games, this makes your phone look like a thin-bezelled Nintendo 3DS, even though it actually works more like a freestanding Bluetooth joystick.

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LG's Game Pad

Katie Collins/CNET

Being able to multitask with two apps side by side has obvious benefits -- browsing IMDB while watching Netflix on your phone screen, for example. But LG is also working on some Dual Screen-specific feature. It allows you, for example to take a screenshot on one screen and attach it to a message or email on the other with just a single tap of a dedicated icon.

Unfortunately while the V50 is coming to the US, the Dual Screen attachment is not. Full pricing and availability hasn't been announced for the accessory at this stage, but will come on a country-by-country basis at a later date.

Read: LG V50 ThinQ gets 5G at MWC 2019, will be Sprint's first 5G device this spring

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