LG G5 Hands-On
LG puts the fun back in function with the announcement of its latest flagship smartphone at Mobile World Congress, the LG G5. It has everything a 2016 flagship is expected to have: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, Quick Charge 3.0 that promises 83% of battery after 30 minutes of charging, a fingerprint scanner, quad HD display, USB Type C, Android Marshmallow, and great cameras.
The G4 had one of the best smartphone cameras in 2015 so it’s no surprise LG retained most of its features. Simple, Auto, and Manual modes are still there, giving users more flexibility when taking photos.
LG also retained the same 8MP front-facing camera but added “selfie flash” – an extra white space framing the screen that illuminates the face when activated.
But what’s new are the phones two main cameras. Yep, it’s got two.
You can now switch from the main 16MP camera that’s also found on the G4 to a new 8MP shooter with a 135° wide field of view that captures more than what the human eye can see.
On the G5, the app drawer appears to be missing but we found out this can be fixed in the Settings menu under Home Screen.
First introduced by LG in the V10’s secondary screen, the G5’s main display also gets the Always-On feature to show time, date, and notifications. LG claims it only eats 0.8% of battery life per hour or about 5% per day.
All of this are packed into a completely new design and form factor. Gone is the plastic and leather, slightly curved smartphone with sharp edges. Filling in the LG G4’s leather shoes is an all-aluminum unibody.
You can still hot swap batteries though thanks to a new innovative design.
Its trademark back side volume rocker has been moved to the phone’s sides leaving only the power button and dual cameras at the back.
But what really sets the G5 apart from all the other flagships this year is its modular design. And this is where the real fun and excitement begins. LG calls it an adventurous theme park in your pocket.
Aside from being able to replace your battery in case you run out of juice, it also allows you to attach accessory modules to expand the phone’s capabilities.
One press on the lock button and the cap along with the 2800 mAh battery comes off revealing the hollow insides of the phone when you pull it out all the way.
Removing the cap and reattaching the battery to the modules is not as intuitive as it looks. We had to be coached before we got it right.
The modules LG introduced at launch were the LG Cam Plus and the LG Hi-Fi Plus.
The LG Cam Plus is a camera grip that turns the phone into a point and shoot camera. It has a toggle button at the bottom that launches the camera, a zoom dial, a dedicated shutter button, and a button for video recording.
It’s also packed with an additional 1200 mAh battery providing the G5 a massive 4,000 mAh battery life.
For audiophiles and improved media consumption, LG also introduced the LG Hi-Fi Plus, a 32-bit digital to analog converter or DAC made by top-tier audio manufacturer Bang & Olufsen.
It offers high-quality audio that would usually only be available through high-end audio devices.
At the bottom are its own headphone jack and USB-C port making it a stand-alone DAC, compatible with other phones.
LG also introduced a wide-range of companion devices for the G5 which they call Friends.
These ‘Friends’ include the LG 360 VR, a virtual reality headset that’s much smaller and lighter than its rivals. It only weighs 118g – that’s ⅓ as heavy as competing VR goggles.
The LG 360 Cam – as its name implies a 360 degree camera with two 13MP 200-degree wide angle lenses, a 1,200mAh battery and an expandable 4GB internal memory.
And the LG Rolling Bot – a round, remote-controlled toy that has a built-in speaker and an 8MP camera, perfect for home surveillance. It’s packed with a 5000mAh battery and is smart enough to go to the charging dock when it’s about to run out of juice.