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LG G5 Review: Part One

I love LG. The Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 converted me from a hater to a lover and made me forget all about the days of the LG Optimus 3D and other low-grade piles of rubbish that the company pumped out during the early era of the Android space. The LG G5 sits at the top of an upward curve that has been in the making since around 2012. It is a unique phone without equal in today s mobile space, thanks to its modular capabilities. But this alone is not enough to secure Korea s OTHER big phone company a place at the top of the Android table.

No. In order to give the likes of Samsung, HTC, OnePlus, Sony, and Huawei a run for their respective monies, LG needs to deliver the goods across the board: imaging, processing power, design, performance, battery life, and software. And in 2016 s phone space, where everybody has come to the fight armed to the teeth, achieving this will be no mean feat. I m going to be uploading this review in parts. The first section will be the design of the handset, followed by Display, Specs & Hardware Performance, Camera, Battery, and then finally my Verdict. This is a new approach to reviews for KYM, but hopefully it will be a little more personal and engaging.

I ve had the phone for two weeks now, but I am going to drill back down and re-evaluate each new section the day before composing the new part of the review. I m hoping this process will keep the review more interesting, as I will be re-living in detail core attributes of the handset the day before committing to paper my final opinions. And if this method of reviewing turns out to be boring, not work, or just annoying. Well, we can always go back to normal. Just like they did with the new F1 qualifying.

LG G5 Review: Design & That Modular Aspect

I first saw the LG G5 at MWC 2016. First impressions were very good, but this was before I had seen the Galaxy S7 and HTC 10 and Huawei P9, for that matter. A couple of months later, my opinion is much the same: this is a great-looking phone.

  • Size: 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm
  • Weight: 159g
  • Display: 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum Display (2560 x 1440 / 554ppi)
  • Battery: 2,800mAh (removable)

But I can see why some reviewers aren t falling head over heels for it. The overall design itself is fairly unassuming. It isn t showy, or fancy or all that eye-catching. But it is very well put together, excellently proportioned and it really does feel great in the hand.

LG G5 Review: Part One LG G5 Review: Part One

I prefer the look of the Galaxy S7 EDGE its stunning but the LG G5 is a better proportioned phone in my opinion. The weight, the smooth edges and the thickness are all 100% on point. Constructed from magnesium and finished with a gorgeous matte after touch, the LG G5 is also premium as hell. The matte finish also aids grip too, which is a nice bonus, and the end result doesn t look too dissimilar to Google s Nexus 6P

The G5 weighs 159g and measures in at 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm, making it both smaller and lighter than its predecessor. The battery is a removable 2800mAh, which you access, along with the SD card, via the modular component at the bottom of the device. The LG G5 ships with 4GB of RAM and comes with 32GB of storage, but you will be able to supplement this with SD cards (up to 2TB). Oddly, the LG G5 — like the Samsung Galaxy S7 — does not support Android s adaptive storage feature, which essentially forces the phone OS to view external storage the same as internal storage.

Samsung said the reason it excluded support for adaptive storage was because the feature wiped an SD card s contents if removed incorrectly, and that was a risk it wasn t willing to leave on the table — not when its customers content is so important. I imagine LG will be taking a similar stance. As previously mentioned, the LG G5 has a modular component located on the bottom of the device s chassis. This is the G5 s big USP. Inside, you get access to the G5 s removable battery. This is the dull stuff, though, because the really interesting part is the fact that you can attach accessories to the phone — accessories like a Bang & Olufsen DAC for superior music quality or LG Cam Plus, which adds 1100mAh battery and hardware controls (hardware key, a video button, zoom controls) to the G5 s camera.

LG G5 Review: Part One LG G5 Review: Part One

LG is betting big on this for 2016, but whether the gamble pays off remains to be seen. The B&O DAC is very decent, though the volume is a bit low, and the camera attachment is kind of useful, though more from a battery perspective. In practice, though, the modular component of the G5 is VERY clunky to operate; you also have to restart the phone every time you do it as the battery comes out. Plus, if I m completely honest, none of the launch mods that came with it really floated my boat. I wanted to LOVE the B&O DAC, but the volume was just way too low. HTC has now usurped LG in this regard too by adding HD audio as standard to its HTC 10.

The G5 will be judged on how well people adapt to this aspect of the phone and how much hardware accessory developers pick it up and run with it; this is what the phone is kind of all about, but after all, if no-one makes modules, it’s kind of redundant. And while it does have potential, the whole thing does feel a little like a beta test phase, something that may be more refined on the LG G6, for example.

LG G5 Review: Part One

What kind of stuff will we see launched in the coming months? The sky s the limit, really. Game controllers, photography accessories — you name it. Personally, I think this is one of the coolest thing to happen to phones in a long time. But whether this aspect takes off will be VERY dependent on how well the G5 sells. No one is going to bother making modular accessories for a phone that tens of millions of people aren t using.

Tune In Tomorrow For: Display Technology & Performance

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