We list the features that we’re really hoping to see in the LG G5 when it launches in just under three weeks, including innovative design, fast charge, easy one-handed use and better optimisation.
When the LG G4 emerged in May 2015, this lovable leather-bound flagship mobile impressed us enough to earn the full five-star rating in our review. Of course, since then we’ve seen some truly fantastic new Android handsets emerge, including the Nexus 6P and Sony Xperia Z5, which offer features not found on the G4. And while LG’s phone was a fantastic all-round experience, there is definitely room for improvement.
So, what does the LG G5 have to do to win another five-star review? Here’s our full G5 wish list, ahead of the phone’s launch later this month.
Innovation is good, but at what cost?
LG stood out from the crowds at the premium end of the smartphone market when it launched the original G Flex two years ago. This curved mobile, which could be ever-so-slightly bent without shattering the screen, was almost a precursor to the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, in that both phones boast innovative designs that are ultimately quite pointless.
Of course, we heard plenty of excuses for the curvy build, and it did actually help the phone to fit your palm more comfortably, considering how bloody large the Flex was. But in the end, the ‘flex’ part added very little to the overall experience. It was just bloody cool.
So, with LG promising even better flexible tech in the very near future, and even investing £600 million in a new South Korean display plant last year, can we expect to see a ‘proper’ bendy screen in the LG G5? Well, we certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see an advancement of the G Flex tech shown off in LG’s big flagship launch on February 21st, but we’d expect LG to reveal two new models of G5 if this is the case. A standard G5 and a flexible model, or perhaps even a G Flex 3.
And if we do see more innovative tech, we don’t want to pay through the nose for it. LG’s heavy investment in display manufacturing may mean increased prices, but we’re hoping that the ability to mass-produce boundary-pushing displays will mean a standard market cost for the LG G5. After all, while we liked the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge a lot, we couldn’t justify paying an extra hundred quid for those curved edges.
Survival of the fittest
The LG G3 and G4 may have looked a little fragile, but our review handsets have impressively survived several tumbles to the floor in the months we’ve had them. That includes the G3 face-planting concrete from a drop of about four feet, which we were certain would kill it off. The plastic casing may have cracked a little, but the phone was still in perfect working order.
Motorola proved with the Moto X Force that rugged doesn’t mean bulky and ugly, and we’d like the LG G5 to be just as tough, with a screen that’s pretty much impossible to smash. Especially as the Sony Xperia Z5 turned out to be a lot more fragile than hoped. This would make the G5 one of the few flagships that appeals to outdoor enthusiasts, and give it another edge over the competition.
Leave the leather, ditch the plastic?
The LG G3 and G4 are decent looking devices, but we’d like to see the plastic ditched if at all possible, unless it’s a key component of a super-rugged design. How about some metallic styling, like the Nexus 6P?
Of course, it all depends on whether LG wants the G5 to simply look good, or actually stand out from the rest of the MWC 2016 launch line-up. After all, the G4 certainly caused some heads to turn with its leathery backside, which gave it a unique look and feel. In fact, that textured surface meant that the G4 stuck to your palm better, which was particularly useful when trying to use it one-handed.
We doubt LG will stick with the leather, especially as it divided opinion amongst critics and consumers, but we’d like the G5 to bring another fresh new look and feel to the flagship range.
Satisfaction with just one hand
The G4 had a special one-handed mode for the keyboard and a shortcut to drag down the notifications tab, but we’d like to see a more intelligent solution to using the G5 with just one mitt, especially if it’s another 5.5-inch beast. Something that’s easy to activate on a whim, and which allows you to use all of your apps and the G5’s main features without dislocating your thumb, would definitely be a winner.
Pop it out
In a world where almost every smartphone now comes with an embedded power cell, it’s refreshing to see LG stick with a pop-off back and removable battery. Here’s hoping the G5 retains this feature, even though you can now pick up some decent affordable portable chargers that aren’t the size of a house brick. And if the G5 can go for two full days between charges, then all the better.
Fast and cable-free
Another battery-related feature we’d love to see is fast charge, so the G5 can soak up enough juice to keep it going for a few hours when we give it a panic power-up before leaving the house. And built-in wireless charging (without relying on the QuickCircle case) would also be good, although not essential – especially if Type-C USB is used.
LG’s big phones of 2015 (specifically the G4 and G Flex 2) were solid performers at the beginning, but a lack of proper optimisation meant that they soon got bogged down and showed signs of ageing after just a couple of months. The only solution was to constantly use a clean-up app or, when things got too frustrating, wipe the phone and start again.
It would be nice if the LG G5 stayed fresh and fast for the length of a UK contract (so basically two years), which would make the long-term experience a lot less frustrating.
Fingerprints and beyond
As much as we like LG’s Knock Code feature, we’d really love to see a super-secure and nippy way of unlocking the G5 beyond Android’s Trusted Places/Devices.
The obvious answer, one which most flagships now use and Android Marshmallow actively supports, is a fingerprint sensor. This would likely be housed on the back of the G5, just like the Nexus 5X’s scanner, and will hopefully be just as quick and accurate.
Of course, LG could take another route like Windows Hello on the Lumia 950, which scans a user’s eyeballs instead. When Windows Hello works, it works well. But this feature is still in beta and is unreliable as soon as you move into a dark environment, so there’s still some progress to be made.
Bundle the Quick Circle Case and decent wireless headphones
A quick final request would be a bundled Quick Circle case with every G5. Sure, it’s probably not going to happen, but the Quick Circle case really is a fantastic accessory which goes beyond the usual bog-standard covers. And if the G5 isn’t a rugged beast like we hope, then this is a simple solution – although a case does of course cover up any sexy new design that LG dreams up.
We also love LG’s Bluetooth headphones, so a pair of them in every box would go some way to swaying media lovers.
What would you personally like to see from the LG G5? Any essential features that would tempt you to upgrade? Let us know in the comments below.