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The LG G5 has been formally announced just ahead of the official kick-off of MWC 2016. The LG G5 is a pretty dramatic departure from past members of the G series. The LG sets reinvent the G series by emphasising premium materials while also removing a few previously iconic LG features. Let’s take a quick look at what to expect from the LG G5 in terms of design, specs, and features.

LG G5 essentials

Review

LG G5 features focus

LG G5 vs the competition

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Everything you need to know

LG G5 design

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With the LG G4, features, not design, were the key differentiators when compared to the LG G3 before it.While the spec sheet has certainly taken a big jump forward with the LG G5, it is the design that really catches our attention first and foremost.

The LG G5 is the first all-metal unibody flagship from LG, but with a twist. Unlike your typical unibody design, this phone still retains both microSD and a removable battery. This feat is accomplished by the addition of a “cap” at the bottom that can be removed to unveil the battery, microSD slot, and LG’s unique new Magic Slot. We’ll speak more on the Magic Slot and its modules a little bit later in this post.

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The LG G5 retains much of the same look as previous members of the LG G family on the frontside, but the same can’t be said for the back. Not only are we looking at a non-removable metal back this time around, you’ll also notice that the rear volume and power button combo that debuted with the LG G2 is no longer present, replaced instead by a rear fingerprint scanner. The only other element found on the rear is the odd camera area that somewhat resembles the bump found on Huawei’s Nexus 6P.

Whether the new design is considered a step forward or backward will depend largely on personal preference. For what it’s worth, many of us at team AA are a bit divided on the design, with some feeling it’s not too bad, and others wishing LG had opted for a different look. Regardless, most of us agree it is good to see that LG is attempting something different.

For those that like having a number of color choices, you’ll also be happy to know that LG is giving you four: pink, gold, titan (charcoal), and silver. As you’d expect, these color choices will be dependent on market and/or carrier.

LG G5 Specs

Display5.3-inch QHD display
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM4GB RAM
Storage32GB storage, with microSD for expansion
CameraMain cam: Standard lens 16MP with OIS, wide-angle 8MP

Front cam: 8MP
ConnectivityWifi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
USB Type C, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2
SensorsRear mounted fingerprint scanner
Battery2800mAh with quick charging via Type-C USB
SoftwareAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow with LG UI
Dimensions149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm
ColorsPink, Gold, Titan (Charcoal) and Silver
ModulesLG Cam Plus & LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play

Of course there’s a lot more to the LG G5 than a brand new design language. Under the hood, you’ll find Qualcomm’s latest, the Snapdragon 820, paired with an Adreno 530 GPU and 4GB RAM. According to LG, the 820 will provide graphics that are 40% faster and 40% more power efficient than the Snapdragon 810, though obviously we haven’t had enough time with the device just yet to say whether or not that claim holds true.

In a world where many flagships offer multiple internal storage variants, the LG G5 sticks to just one with 32GB on-board storage, though the microSD expansion slot allows you to expand up to a theoretical 2TB. You’ll find the microSD card on the side this time around, built into the same tray that holds the SIM card.

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Turning to the display, the LG G5 has shrunk the screen down from 5.5-inches to 5.3-inches, while retaining the same QHD resolution. The big story with the display this time around is an always-on feature that lights up part of the screen at all times. This differs from Motorola’s approach, which intermittently displays information. Considering LG uses an IPS display, many were wondering how this would affect battery life, but the good news is the hit is pretty minor. According to LG, from a fully charged G5 you can expect always on display to use .8% of the battery per hour.

On to the cameras, we find that LG continues to bring its A-game, offering the same 16MP main cam with OIS that was found on the V10, though this time it is backed by an 8MP wide-lens, which makes it possible to smoothly transition from standard angle to wide angle and all the points in between. It’s too early to say how good the LG G5’s cameras are compared to the V10, or to its competitors for that matter, but it certainly sounds impressive on paper. Briefly speaking on the camera software, expect a very similar experience to the LG G4, which unfortunately means that the V10’s manual video capabilities aren’t present here.

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The last spec we want to touch on is the battery, which has been shrunk down to 2800 mAh, vs the 3000 mAh battery found in the G4. Of course a smaller display and a more frugal processor should equate to similar battery life, despite the size difference. What’s really the most impressive thing here is that LG still offers a removable battery, even after ditching the traditional removable back. Although removable batteries aren’t a must-have for many consumers, there are still plenty of power users out there that lust over such functionality, so it’s good to see LG giving these folks an option.

It’s also worth noting that the LG G5 includes Quick Charge 3.0 support, allowing you to charge from 0% to 80% in just 35 minutes.

LG G5 features

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Moving past the traditional smartphone specs, we find that LG has included a number of special hardware features this time around. First, there’s a circular fingerprint scanner on the rear, similar to the sensor found on the LG V10 and the LG-made Nexus 5X. LG has also made the move over to USB Type-C and touts a rear-mounted speaker.

Of course the real show stopping feature for LG is the Magic Slot, a new slot found by removing the G5’s bottom ‘cap’. This proprietary connector allows users to connect special modules to the LG G5. While only two modules were shown off by LG initially, LG says that it will share details for its proprietary connector with any accessory manufacturer that wants it, and so hopefully that means many more unique modules will make their way to the market in the months to come.

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Here’s a brief recap of the four hardware accessories shown off by LG, two of which are modules:

  • Camera module – The LG Camera module might not change up or add any new sensors to the LG G5, but it does provide a better grip for taking that perfect shot. It also includes its own supplementary 1200 mAh battery as well as a physical wheel for zoom, and bottoms for taking photos and video recording. You can also half press the camera shutter button to focus lock.
  • LG HiFi+ (with B&O Play)In collaboration with B&O, LG brings us the LG HiFi+ module. This module replaces the existing bottom of the G5 and adds two new headphone jacks optimized for HiFi+. This accessory supports 32-bit DAC with upsampling, and 384KHz audio. It can also be used with any other USB C smartphone as it has a top part to the module for use with non-G5 smartphones.
  • LG 360 CAM – While not a module, the LG 360 Cam is a new LG-made accessory that brings 360 degree recording. Each camera is 200 degrees, and resulting images can have a flat or spherical view. Video works with Google Streetview and YouTube 360. When you take a photo or video, it is saved on the 360 CAM, which has a 1200mAh battery, 4GB storage and microSD card slot.
  • LG 360 VR – Lastly we have the LG 360 VR. This VR headset achieves a 639ppi effect and it feels like looking at a 130-inch TV from seven feet. The device works with the 360 CAM module and weighs 118 grams. You will need to tether it to the G5 via a USB Type C cable in order to use it. The lenses that can be adjusted to match your eyesight and particular vision number and there’s a headphone jack on the bottom, but you can also use Bluetooth. Physical Okay and Cancel buttons are available on the devuce, but you can replicate this by short tapping the phone screen for Okay and long tapping for Cancel.

LG G5 software

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When Samsung overhauled its design language in 2015, it also gave its software a makeover, and to no surprise, LG is doing the same in 2016 with the LG G5. First off, you can expect a much cleaner and less colorful interface this time around when compared to the LG G4 and V10. That said, LG’s icons are very similar to what we’ve seen from the LG UI in the past.

One area where the LG G5’s UI is very different is when it comes to the app drawer – as in, the fact it isn’t present. Reportedly this change isn’t just exclusive to LG either, as several of our sources have told us that Google will reportedly be making this change to stock Android starting with Android N. Those who prefer the idea of having only select icons on the homescreen might not find this change so great, but there’s always the option to use a third-party launcher of course.

Moving past the colors and the lack of app drawer, you’ll find that the settings have also been reorganized, and instead of side swipes for switching from network to sound, display, etc, they are now in one column. The icons in settings are cleaner and more minimalistic this time around.

LG is also removing a few things with the LG G5’s interface, including Q slide and dual window. Overall you’ll also find significantly less bloatware.

LG G5 price and availability

The global launch of the LG G5 is set for March 31, with the LG G5 launch date in US set for April 1. In the US, you can pre-order the device from all major carriers and big retailers.

The LG G5 is priced at $600 to $700 depending on the channel. LG is throwing in a free extra battery and charging cradle in the US, while in other markets, the Cam Plus will be offered as a freebie. Some carriers are offering their own offers, such as AT&T’s buy-one-get-one-free deal.

AT&T

Verizon

T-Mobile

Sprint

Best Buy

Wrap up

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The LG G5 is a pretty bold step for LG, though it’s still too early to say how well this step will be received by both the general public and power users alike. What do you think of the LG G5? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and be sure to continue the conversation over at the AA forums.

Andrew Grush
Andrew is dedicated to reporting on the latest developments in the world of Android, and is very passionate about mobile technology and technological innovation in general. While he appreciates Android in all of its forms, he prefers a clean stock experience when possible and currently rocks a Nexus 5. Andrew also loves to engage with his readers, and welcomes well-thought-out conversations and responses in the comments section!
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