LG G5 said to feature first of its kind modular design (Updated with more details)

by: Rob TriggsJanuary 14, 2016
2.7K

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Update: Hoping to learn more about the LG G5, we reached out to a source familiar with LG’s plans for the G5. Our source didn’t directly address whether or not the rumor of a modular design is accurate, though the source did state that LG’s “next phone is going to have a lot of competitors slapping their foreheads wondering why they hadn’t thought of this idea first. Or maybe they have but no one has been able to make it work like LG has…”.

This certainly isn’t a confirmation that the design show in the drawing below is what LG has in plans, but has further piqued our interest. Could LG finally give us its first major overhaul in design since the LG G2?

The LG G5 may soon be upon us, as the company has already begun sending out invites for an event at MWC 2016, so it’s not surprising that a few more hardware rumors have bubbled to the surface. The latest report out of South Korea suggests that the LG G5 will sport a unique and rather intriguing modular design.

Removable batteries, or a lack thereof, were a contentious subject in 2015 and LG has apparently found an interesting solution to the problem by using a modular design. Rather than popping off the back cover, the whole bottom portion of the smartphone below the display can be disassembled, allowing you to simply slide in a new battery. This implies that the USB port, speakers and possibly the headphone jack can all be disconnected and reconnected to the main board too. LG has apparently been testing out a few potential solutions, including a draw like design.

LG G5 modular battery design

Apparently, this is all in the name of creating a thinner uni-bodied smartphone, possibly built from metal, while still retaining a removable battery. The report also suggests that LG will be moving the volume rocker back onto the side of the smartphone for the G5, presumable for similar reasons.

This is not the first time that we have heard about some sort of modular design with the LG G5 either. The smartphone has also been rumored to feature a “Magic Slot”, which will supposedly serve as a hardware expansion port for plugging in accessories such as a VR headset, external keyboard or an audio amplifier.

LG-G5-11See also: LG G5 rumor roundup: release date, specs, and features154

Other reported hardware specifications include a 5.3-inch QHD display with a secondary ticker display, Snapdragon 820 processor, a 16 megapixel dual rear camera configuration, and a fingerprint scanner. The LG G5 is shaping up to be one interesting smartphone.

Regardless of whether or not this modular design turns out to be true, it’s a very interesting engineering solution to the removable battery problem. What do you think?

  • Akshat Devaraj ™

    Interesting concept. Hope they do something about their UI.

    • Keith Taylor

      Just me guessing but I really believe that their PLAY invite to some tech sites was an indication that it will be closer to stock. I can see them just having you goto the Playstore and downloading some of their apps. Like I said just me hoping and guessing.

    • Jumperone

      what’s wrong with lg’s ui?

      • wingzero0

        It’s like someone took Touchwiz and magically made it worse…

        • Jumperone

          ok but lg’s ui is not even similiar to tochwiz crap. Samsungs ui is laggy, ugly and has a lot of unused features. Lg is opposite of this.

          • Btort

            they are both ugly and laggy compared to moto, htc, or a nexus….still buying them or trying them though

  • Ray

    I like it if it keeps the removable battery. I wish they could keep the volume tickets on the back though. Ever since I got an LG, no more accidentally hitting the buttons when watching videos.

    • Noel

      True..but I guess the design change to accommodate a removable battery on a device w/all metal back call for the buttons to BC e moved back on the side.
      I am just curious how durable or prone to damage the bottom part is gonna be when it comes to drops.
      I dont really care about an all metal back design..I will prefer the kind of V10 design with metal sides with the durable material removable back. A 4000+mAh battery will make for a better selling point. I am OK with the drop in screen size to 5.3″ ( makes for better handling) but not fond of the little second screen up top which just add to the height of the device.
      Well let’s wait and see what exactly LG has baking in the oven. Either way I’m excited for a few upcoming devices..the G5 is one of them.

      • Ray

        Yes, I have a v10 and love it. I don’t need all metal uni-body, but they are catering to the masses that think Apple design is the only right way, so at least they are trying to satisfy us practical people along with the masses.

        • Had Enough With the BS

          Curious on your thoughts about battery performance of that V10.

          • Ray

            It seemed bad at first, but now it’s much better after a couple of months. I regularly still have 30-40% left when going to bed. I got the promo deal for a free battery, so I many times get 25-27 hours out of it and then just swap batteries.

          • Had Enough With the BS

            Thanks!

    • Also… I hardly ever drop my phone since you can hold it nicely in your hand and not have to shuffle it around to press power and volume buttons.

  • Avieshek Rajkhowa

    The concept here is a welcome

  • HamZeh Awadallah

    I’m happy with my G3 and after marshmallow i feel like i get a new phone plus its have enough hardware for popular app and no need for more powerful phone !

    • Billy Allen

      I hear people say that all the time and its stupid. So since your phone works so amazingly and blah blah blah you don’t need to upgrade. Then your phone decides to shit on your life one day and stops working and you expect people to be able to fix your phone for a “reasonable” price or expect people to get your pics and contacts off your old phone when they can’t, because it’s broke and you are either pissed at the people that couldn’t help you or the phone manufacturer

      • Armand Bernard

        Or he just feels like it’s fast enough as it is for now? You can just upgrade when it breaks down or gets too slow. Anyone with any experience with tech knows to back things up anyway.

      • Edward Amarille

        This is a “tech” site, which means most of the people that come to this site know at least the basics of today’s technology, including basic backups and simple maintenance. Don’t hate on people that don’t fall for the “next big thing” hype. There is nothing wrong with the old thinking of “if it ain’t broke….”.
        I for one don’t think it is a necessity to upgrade to a new phone every year just because of specs or whatever that year’s hype machine tends to roll on.
        I still use my nexus 4, original moto g, and original moto x because they still run smoothly and the newer phones have not offered anything worthwhile in my eyes.

  • Eric Vandemark

    put an active digitizer (or pressure sensitive screen of some sort) and you may even have a Galaxy Note killer. I’m shocked that companies haven’t thought about this removable battery design sooner. Guess you can thank LG for sticking to it’s guns and it knows where it’s Android fanbase is at. though I never really had an LG phone since the Verizon Lucid (which sucked btw in all the ways you can think of), the UI, looks kinda pleasing to the eyes, though that’s just personal preference. Stock will always look best though

    • D C

      Probably since having a 2 piece body like the drawing introduces an automatic weak point where the body will snap at. You think bendgate was an issue just imagine people snapping their phones if it is split into parts like the drawing.

      • trob6969

        …yeah if its made of aluminum like the other phones, but maybe not IF its made of the stainless steel they already use to make the LG V10

        • D C

          Only way SS would save this is if there were full length rails that slide in and out of the body when you remove the lower part. Else any pressure will just snap it in half along the detachment line.

    • Noel

      I think HTC had a device where the removable battery was slotted in at the bottom.

      • Armand Bernard

        My HTC wildfire had that. That’s ancient history though. Just because it has already been done doesn’t mean it’s not welcome though.
        I also hope it remains fairly durable. I prefer a few extra grams and/or mm if it means a strong device. I expect it will go that way anyway if the battery is that large.

    • jasonlowr

      If LG was talking about removable battery from the bottom, I hope they know HTC exists and made that first.

      • I hope you understand that it doesn’t matter who did it first.

        • Mark Mann

          if the design is something that lg is touting as “we did it first” it does…i mean, i love lg’s phones, but if they’re touting a feature as that, it needs to be true

          • No, it really doesn’t. Who cares who did it first? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it’s an appealing feature that’s being used now. Being first means absolutely nothing.

          • Mark Mann

            from a “truth in advertising” stand point it matters…it doesn’t tarnish lg in any way to me as a consumer…but you have to know that there are people that it would matter to…i’m in 100% agreeance with you that it doesn’t really matter who did it first…but if you’re going to asy that you did it first, then you had better be the first one to do it…regardless of it mattering to the consumer or not

  • Xan Bertison

    Do NOT move the volume and power buttons. I love them on the back.

  • Nibbler

    That’s actually pretty clever. I don’t really like LG phones but I will give them props for thinking outside the box here.

  • GhostRecon55

    I don’t want to see the volume rocker moved. It’s so convenient on the back of the phone.

  • trob6969

    There is no “removable battery problem”; the original Moto Droid’s entire casing was made of metal including it’s simple removable slide-off back cover…smh

    • Ray

      So was the HTC Seaton, and HTC Amaze.

  • Jeff Anthony S Enad

    LG is still like removable battery that why people love them, but please keep the buttons at the back.

  • Michael Noyola Merino

    Yea i hope they keep the volume bottom on the back

  • danny wood

    Don’t mess with the volume and power switches !!

  • Goblin Shark

    Nooooooo! I love my back buttons! I always used to accidentally hang up on calls until I got my G2, loved that phone so much I stuck with the G3 & G4. It’ll be weird getting used to side buttons again.

  • RG

    I think the battery will still be around 3000mah.. The efficient 820 coupled with a new LG Oled display should do positive things for battery life whilst keeping the device slim.. So being able to stick in a spare wil just be the icing on the cake!

    Hope I’m wrong though.. hope it’s a 3500+mah unit :-)

  • Morgan Cunningham

    PLEASE leave the VOLUME ROCKER ON THE BACK PLEASE!

  • Dcwiker05

    DO NOT MOVE THE VOLUME OR POWER BUTTON! I don’t care if it’s as thin as a damn iPhone, I love the volume and power where they are. Also couldn’t care less about a finger print reader. Seriously though LG, those buttons location, along with the battery and SD card are what make this phone, don’t muck it up.

  • Marco Lorenzo

    Very interesting! If they didn’t include a removable battery as well as making the battery smaller then I might’ve really given up on the G5 but with this, I might just stick around and see what they come up with. I don’t get it though why it’s so difficult to have a removable back cover and still make it metal at the same time?

  • Cameron Braziel

    LG always makes deal breaking compromises when designing phones. I loved the hardware on the G4 and V10, but I wasn’t going to buy them because of their crappy UI. Then they make a phone with stock Android and it is a disappointment in terms of hardware. I had it for two weeks and had to return it because it couldn’t get through a day of moderate use, on top of having a super dim display, and cheap feel. Went back to my Nexus 6 which is better in almost every way, especially considering you can get them for the same price.

    • Tory Harmon

      Meh.. Between roms and xposed, the LGUI is a non-issue. Besides, I’ve used all of the major UI’s and LG’s is one of the least annoying to use. Nothing compared to TouchWiz, but just as lightweight as Sense, but not as minimal as Moto.

  • Ronnie Brewer

    Hi I’m so excited about this phone I have not on lg and three or four years but I will be the first to buy it as soon as possible if this is true what are awesome device I hate 5.5 screen 5.3 sounds perfect and the new unique design is going to be new trend setting phone

  • Chris Ragsdale

    Hope they make the screen bigger

  • bedwa

    I’ve had my eye on true modular phones like puzzlephone, so this is a step in the right direction…..

  • Chet

    That’s an awesome feature….endless possibilities for add on accessories. If LG manages to keep both a removeable battery and sd card they will have my money!

  • Ben M

    Man the title threw me. Are we really at a point where a removable battery and an extra plug are “modular”? Gotta love marketing.

    I can’t wait till we have a true modular phone where I can choose/upgrade my components.

    Cool looking phone though!

  • Javan Pohl

    Why on earth would they make this the g5? If they want to make a drastically different style phone, make it a new line. And then give us an updated version of the g series

  • It puzzles me why people want a thinner/metal body-shape on their phones when most of them will buy an oversize case to go with it.
    Pointless!

    • Tory Harmon

      They’re for the rest of us who refuse to cover their phones.

  • stop trolling here ,samsung fanboy

  • Carlos A

    I definitely like the concept. I also believe that this is what they refer to when they say “Magic Slot”. You might be able to buy other “drawers” which can still keep the battery inside, while giving the ability for hardware expansion of other accessories. Just like “D C”, I agree that It should come with “full length rails”. I sincerely hope that they don’t move the buttons from the back to the sides because I would be much disappointed, since ergonomically, the buttons on the back make perfect sense for handling. I can keep my phone with a full grip while moving the volume up or down which would be compromised as I press the side volume buttons instead, because I no longer grip the phone with the same pressure. I have never dropped my LG G4 or previous G3 as long as it was in my hands. Same goes for the Power Button. I too agree, that if it meant having a phone 1-3mm thicker in order to keep the buttons in the back, this would be more than acceptable since I can continue to use my phone without a cover (which would add much more than 1-3mms). The only thing to wait for is… What will be the fate of the Micro SD Card and the battery capacity???

  • john smith

    I realy like the back button placement. After the G2 i went to the G3 and now the G4. And one of the reasons was the back buttons. Also i hope for a little bigger screen, 5.6″ and not smaller.

  • DOASalesman

    I hope this type of thing will bring the AMD vs NVIDIA fanboy arguments to the mobile world. I’d very much enjoy being able to swap out the gpu or even add in an ssd.

  • Greg Burton

    HTC were the original pioneers of smartphone modular design with their original Desire S several years ago. That was THE phone to have then. The battery would slide in from the bottom, where a small flap would open. Micro SD card slot was also in the same location

  • Jason

    good way to solve charging port issues and headphone jack issues. replace the entire bottom piece if your speakers blow or your charging port is damaged….i like it.

  • The Illusionist

    You gotta give credit to LG. Always ahead in practical innovations!!
    Their G2 & G3 is much better than Samsung’s S4 & S5 !!!

    • thorsten garbe

      Yeah that’s so true. People never realized how good g3 or g4 actually are

  • JesusIsGay

    wow a miracle

  • vmxr

    I find LG more interesting than Samsung I just they can make their UI more interesting like their hardware

  • John Mart Palma

    ports must be by the sides then…

  • sonybru

    HTC sensation. Unibody with removable battery.

  • xtriker360

    After one year of fast charging my note 4, my battery drain faster than water, good think I can just buy another one. Makes me wonder though, what if I had note 5? After one year I will be f***.

  • Android Developer

    Finally they put the volume and power buttons on the sides, like normal phones do. I don’t get how people say it’s comfortable on the back.
    The only advantage for putting on the back, is that the same experience is equal for both left-handed and right-handed users.

  • Starboy

    I literally go around reading every article for this phone, I’m do excited for it. I wish that they make the buttons remain on the back though

  • You would think by now that OEM’s would have woken up to the fact that nobody cares about a thin phone. People want a big ass battery and if they keep locking their bootloaders I’m done with LG. In fact I wouldn’t have bought the G4 had I known about their bootloader policy!

  • Gris Som Yap

    Removable battery + MicroSD slot is must for me, plan to buy one in future.

  • Hal Fountain

    Modular is going to be the next cool thing for smartphones. It will depend on how modular it is whether or not it serves much of a purpose or not. If it’s just for having a removable battery it will only attract a select few that feel they need a spare battery. With fast charging and even fast-charge battery packs I know having a removable battery doesn’t appeal to me. I would rather have a cool looking phone that is also a great performer. LG always seems to have great cameras and displays, and if they keep removable storage and have a top of the line SOC this time they will do better than they did with the G4. I do think they need to have at least a 5.5″ display. As far as the modular part if you could have a display that could be easily replaced that would be a winner. A fully modular phone would only work if it greatly reduced the cost to update new technology, as many people change their phone on a annual or even semiannual basis for that reason.