The LG G5 is an adventurous experiment for a powerful phone with potential still waiting to be realized.
AT A GLANCE
5.3-inch Quad HD
(2,560 x 1,440 pixels
resolution) IPS LCD
149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm
The LG G5 succeeds the LG G4 in an unorthodox manner with its modular design and metal unibody build. With the ability to extend its hardware with modules LG calls ‘Friends,’ the LG G5 is a reinvention agship phones. The question is: does it work? The G5’s metal body is coated in a layer of primer that sits on top of its proprietary aluminum alloy ame, which explains why the phone looks premium at rst glance, but feels plastic to the touch.
The black panel surrounding the G5’s two rear cameras breaks the design ﬂow of the Home Button’s silver rims, as well as the subtle silver Shiny Cut Edge that frames the phone’s borders. The phone itself is comfortable to, with its light body and manageable 5.3-inch form factor. The G5 ﬁts well in the hand, be it in use or when carrying.
Features such as the Always-On Display, removable battery, and the option to enhance the phone with modular attachments combine to make the phone feel like it’s worth its weight in gold. The modular feature with its camera grip and DAC attachments may be one of the biggest things to happen to mainstream ﬂagship phones, but with one major caveat – it won’t be gamebreaking until LG decides to release more attachments.
The one Friend we did have was the LG Cam Plus camera grip module. While the physical controls are far more tactile than tapping tiny symbols on a phone screen, it’s not as ergonomic as a conventional compact camera. The workable area is still too narrow for your grip. On the plus side, the attachment bestows a bonus 1,200mAh capacity if you need more juice for a long day outdoors. Within the LG G5 is a 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC. The processor is far more powerful than its predecessors since it has improved performance, improved LTE support, and better power efﬁciency.
The 4GB RAM should be able to give the phone a performance boost as well. As a whole, the LG G5 feels and works like a powerful phone, and its real-world performance is on par with the Exynos-equipped Samsung Galaxy S7. The LG G5 has two rear cameras. One is a 16-megapixel shooter with an f/1.8 aperture, and it has the standard ﬁeld of view of 78 degrees. The other rear camera is a wide-angle lens at 135 degrees, with an 8-megapixel resolution and f/2.4 lens. Naturally, having a built-in lens with a 135-degree ﬁeld of view is a great way to make smartphone photography slightly more varied, and it lets you capture more of the scene ahead.
LG’s support for selﬁes is quite impressive as there’s a host of features for the 8MP, f/2.0 front camera. Functions like Gesture Shot and Cheese Shutter are still available on the G5, and there’s a new Auto Shot added to the family of selﬁe assistants. During Auto Shot, the phone will automatically snap a picture every time it detects a face in the front camera. This is ideal for users who want to take a roll of selﬁes before meticulously choosing the best of the batch.
While its 2,800mAh battery capacity appears sufﬁcient on paper, the LG G5’s battery life of 5.5 hours actually has the worst battery life out of all the current smartphones we’ve benchmarked against, such as the Sony Xperia Z5, which lasted 9.1 hours, and the Samsung Galaxy S7, which lasted 12.3 hours. However, our battery test forces the G5 to run videos at full brightness on its powerdemanding QHD screen, which many aren’t likely to do. In day-to-day use, the LG G5 can last a full day if you have access to a charging point. If you’re outside or staying out late, you’d want to consider bringing the free spare battery to avoid running out of power.
LG successfully built a phone with metal construction and a removable battery, and the effort expended is admirable. But it seemed to have lost its vision when it comes to the ﬁner details. The phone’s front display is Hardware a testament to its elegant look and feel, yet it missed out on the chance to make a good phone great when we saw the lapse in design on its back.
We welcome the convenience of enhancing the phone’s capabilities by giving it modular attachments, yet it’s not designed to be hot swappable. Variety of the attachments isn’t great, with only two available at launch. This could be LG Mobile’s ﬁrst step to something great and new, but we’ll really need to see how many more Friends become available to put the ﬁnal judgment on the G5 as a modular device.
LG’s adventurous experiments conducted on this 2016 ﬂagship phone aside, the G5 is a powerful phone in its own right, topped off with a great display and good-enough camera performance. It’s also wonderful in day-to-day use, and we can see the physical appeal it had when it ﬁrst stole the show at MWC 2016.
The LG G5’s modular type design
is one of the most interesting
features to happen for
smartphones, but the idea seems
experimental as of now.
The two rear cameras are
functionally different, with one of
them having 135-degree ﬁeld of
view for wide-angle shots.