LG G5 hands-on review: It’s fair to say that LG turned heads when it pulled the wraps off of the new LG G5 at MWC in Barcelona on Saturday.
The new flagship is a significant departure from 2015’s leather-backed LG G4, with an all-metal body, an always-on display and a modular design.
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The body of the G5 does away with the removable back that we’ve come to expect from the company and in its place we have a smooth metal frame that feels nice in the hand and raises the level of fit and finish in line with the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S7 families alongside Apple’s similarly premium iPhones.
Likely pulled from the Nexus 5X’s design, the G5 utilises a centrally positioned rear fingerprint sensor, which you can operate with either hand and can unlock the phone from sleep, whilst also bypassing the lock screen.
LG finally saw fit to ease up on the growth hormones, meaning the phone actually comes with a smaller 5.3-inch display versus its predecessor, and yet it still leverages Quad HD (2560×144) resolution, meaning you’ve got insanely high pixel density for super crisp imagery and an impressively bright 800nit output for superior outdoor legibility.
Along with its Korean rival, LG has also thrown always-on display technology into its newest flagship, meaning you don’t even have to unlock or wake the device to check up on notifications, date, time and weather information. It’s similar to the Glance Screen feature that Windows Phone has offered for some time, but takes a different approach to the LG V10’s secondary display.
On the software side the G5 launches on the latest Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, but heavily dressed with LG’s skinned interface. Two of the biggest departures are the removable of the standard Android app drawer and the ability to re-install apps you might have uninstalled within the last 24 hours. You can also pin applications in the task manager view, so that they aren’t closed down when you select the ‘close all’ function.
The camera experience is an evolution of the front-facing setup found on the V10, with dual rear-facing laser autofocus-equipped snappers in this instance. There’s a main 16-megapixel camera with a 75-degree field of view and a secondary 8-megapixel sensor with a 135-degree wide-angle lens. Between the two you can pull off some smart imaging tricks and even zoom out by up to 0.5x from the 16 to the 8-megapixel sensor.
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The camera experience also serves as a nice segue into the G5 star feature – its modular design. The LG G5 may not have a removable back, but you can instead slide off the lower portion of the phone’s body, beneath the display, pulling out the 2800mAh battery in the process and making room for any one of the G5’s ‘Friends’.
LG launched the G5 alongside a number of modules and accessories under the over-arching ‘LG G5 and Friends’ brand. You can add a camera grip (the LG Cam Plus) with physical controls and an extended battery, a high-definition audio module, developed in partnership with Bang & Olufsen (more specifically the B&O Play brand) dubbed Hi-Fi Plus or you can connect the new LG 360 VR headset to the phone, which unlike Samsung’s Gear VR doesn’t use the phone’s display, rendering it smaller and lighter.
There are also some more out-there accessories including a new 360 camera, the latest Tone Infinim Bluetooth headphones and the LG Rolling Bot, a remote-controlled home monitoring robot with an IR blaster to turn your home appliances on or off and an 8-megapixel camera.
We’re still waiting on a final price and launch date for the LG G5, but stay tuned to Recombu for more MWC coverage featuring the LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 and all the other top handsets announced at the show.
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