Welcome to my review of the LG G5.
This review has been written after spending 1 month with the LG G5. It has also had a firmware update during this time. Before this review I have published several ongoing posts with guest posts from readers Mark and Mat.
UPDATE – February 2017 – I have now re-reviewed the LG G5 running android nougat. Click HERE.
Hardware and Design
LG decided to be bold and create a modular phone. A phone where the bottom end detaches and allows for other components to be fitted. So far there is a HiFi Plus and Cam Plus module. What comes next is anyones guess. LG also created LG Friends for the G5. Some of these Friends also work with other android phones and iOS. In fact the HiFi Plus module is also able to work with iOS, android and other OS’s in standalone mode.
I have all the modules and friends. I swap the HiFi DAC on and off regularly and there are absolutely no signs of wear and tear. None whatsoever. So the initial web reports on build quality must have been a faulty first batch. The G5 is made from metal and then painted to hide the antenna lines. Once again the internet reacted to such a scandal. Well, don’t believe everything you read as these publications need visitors to feed their advertising revenue. Nothing wrong in this, but you need to be objective. So lets start with facts. The G5 is the only flagship phone that doesn’t show my fingerprints like there is no yesterday. The Samsung S7 is a disaster for fingerprints. There are also no scratches or marks on my G5 after one month. So LG got something right!
In reality, if you put a case on any phone, it looks no different from another phone.
LG G5 Modules, Friends and Accessories. Below are all the links to the individual reviews –
The Key Specficiations
– Screen IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 5.3 inches (~70.1% screen-to-body ratio)
– Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels (~554 ppi pixel density)
– Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 4
– Always-on display
– LG UX 5.0 UI
– OS Android OS, v6.0.1 (Marshmallow)
– Chipset Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820
– CPU Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo
– GPU Adreno 530
– MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 200 GB (dedicated slot)
– Internal 32 GB, 4 GB RAM
– CAMERA Primary 16 MP (f/1.8) + 8 MP (f/2.4), laser autofocus, OIS (3-axis), LED flash,
– Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, panorama, HDR
Video 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps, HDR, stereo sound rec., check quality
– Secondary 8 MP, f/2.0, 1080p@30fps, 135º wide angle
– Audio – 24-bit/192kHz audio
– COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
– Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
– GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
– NFC Yes
– Infrared port Yes
– Radio FM radio
– USB v3.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go
– Sensors Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, colour spectrum for camera
– Fast battery charging: 83% in 30 min (Quick Charge 3.0)
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP4/DviX/XviD/H.264/WMV player
– MP3/WAV/FLAC/eAAC+/WMA player
– BATTERY Removable Li-Ion 2800 mAh battery
– Stand-by Up to 400 h (3G)
– Talk time Up to 20 h (3G)
– Display Contrast ratio: 1855:1 (nominal), 2.905 (sunlight)
– Dimensions – 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7 mm (5.88 x 2.91 x 0.30 in)
– Weight 159 g (5.61 oz)
The G5 comes with LG’s latest UI launcher version 5 which has no app drawer. LG added the app drawer back in an update after a week. However, I never bothered to use the app drawer until I decided to install Nova Launcher after 3 weeks. LG launcher does have optional themes but these do not theme the entire phone UI like the Samsung Galaxy S7 themes. I would recommend either installing the Google Now launcher or Nova.
Screen viewing angles are good. Sunlight visibility can be awkward at times. Cellular and WiFi signal strengths were excellent. The G5 in my testing is better at finding signal than the S7. At times the S7 had no signal whereas the G5 had 2 bars whilst on the same network.
The G5 moves to nano sim and USB Type C with Quick charging 3. With the fast charging provided, the G5 charges blisteringly fast. Unlike every other flagship, the G5 has an infra red blaster for controlling your TV, DVD, air conditioner and much much more. Battery life averaged 4-5 hours screen on time based on my setup which included location settings on high and with a connected wearable. With Quick Charge 3 and user swappable batteries power will never be an issue with the G5.
The rear fingerprint scanner/power button works quickly and accurately. The G5 has the option of an always on display. This is useful as it displays icons of all your notifications without the need of turning the phone on. However, its hard to view in bright light.
The cameras on the LG G5 are brilliant. It comes with a 8mp front camera and 2 rear lenses. A standard 16mp f/1.8 and a 8mp f/2.4 135 degree wide angle lens. The wide angle lens is phenomenal. You can get shots as shown below from it –
The wide angle lens is so wide at 135 degrees you can capture the whole scene with ease. It also means you don’t have to worry about not having enough room to step back further to capture the entire scene. Below the whole harbour in one shot.
Of course the standard 16mp lens is just as awesome and has no issues capturing kids and pets.
The 16mp lens shoots at 16:9 and provides oodles of detail and the ability to crop and crop.
In fact if you want to see more photos from the G5, head over to my dedicated Flickr album where there are 100 shots to view – Click HERE.
The LG camera interface is similar to the LG G4. You have 3 shooting options. Simple (touch screen to shoot), Auto and Manual. Unlike the LG V10, the G5 has no manual controls for video which is disappointing. In Auto mode you have mode options auto, popout, multi view ,snap, panorama, slo mo and time lapse. Pop out is pointless IMO. See my Flickr album for samples. All the other modes work well. The 8mp from camera is good and offers a sliding scale of beautification. Other settings include photo ratio (16:9, 4:3 and 1:1) video resolution (4K, FHD at 30fps and HD), HDR Auto, 9 filters, timer, voice control, OIS on or off, Electronic Video stabilisation on or off and grid lines. You can also select the 16mp or 8mp wide angle lens or if you zoom in and out it switches on the fly. Manual mode allows RAW capture. Flash has another option over auto called R. Reduced flash. You can also have a histogram showing. Other manual controls are for white balance, manual focus, EV, ISO (50-3,200), Shutter speed (1/3200 to 30 seconds) and AE-L. As mentioned above there are no manual controls for video which means videos can be over exposed sometimes and there is no option to reduce the exposure or anything.
The G5 can record video at 4K and the results are superb with proviso mentioned above. Photo image quality from all 3 lenses are excellent.
The G5 has an option for adding a HiFi DAC module. But without this it is still a great phone for audio quality. The single bottom firing loudspeaker is really loud. Bluetooth audio is better than all current flagships as it has APT-X HD. This is the Hi Res 24bit bluetooth codec from Qualcomm. With APT-X HD enabled headphones the results are fantastic. The wired audio from the top mounted headphone jack is also good quality and has a much louder output than that of the Samsung S7.
The Extra Experience with the Modules
Of course the G5 currently has 2 modules that replace the bottom section. The HiFi Plus DAC provides 32 bit sound. This DAC is really good, see links above for review. It improves the sound quality a lot and can power many headphones. It also provides a louder loudspeaker. The cellular antennas are also inside this along with the mic. The other module is the Cam Plus. Again see review links above. If you are going to be out all day taking photos this improves the photo taking experience.
Of course, more modules could arrive and add more functionality. As to if and when and what only time will tell.
The LG G5 is a real workhorse. It has many unique features and functions over the competition and is one of my favourite phones to date. Currently it is on sale at Amazon UK for £449 which makes it great value.
More information and the latest pricing on Amazon UK – Click HERE.
More information and the latest pricing on the LG Friends and modules on Amazon UK – Click HERE.