LG unveiled their latest flagship offering a few days ago during MWC 2016 and the G5 features a complete overhaul of the G series, with changes to everything from the design language and build quality, to the hardware features and the software experience, along with the slew of new and interesting modular capabilities.
On the other corner in today’s comparison is the latest high-end Nexus smartphone, which does feature some elements that make it a real flagship, but overall remains the study in simplicity that the line is known for. How do these two vastly different devices compare? We find, in this quick look at the LG G5 vs Nexus 6P!
The LG G5 features a dramatic departure from the series’ norm, with the device being the first in the line to feature a full metal construction. LG managed to retain staple features like expandable storage and a user replaceable battery though, despite the lack of a removable back cover, courtesy of the unique new modular design that allows for the bottom section of the phone to slide out. Apart from access to the battery, you also have the option to insert a variety of modules, with various capabilities.
The edges of the G5 are rounded, which goes nicely with the subtle curvature of the bottom cap and of the top of the screen, a design language that LG is calling 3D Arc. The display size has also been brought down compared to its predecessors, and with a 5.3-inch display, the handling experience is a lot more manageable this time around. Also gone is the previously signature rear button layout, and while the power button, with a fingerprint scanner embedded, remains on the back, the volume rocker has been moved to a more traditional position on the left side.
Metal continues to be the order of the day as we move on to Huawei-manufactured Nexus 6P, which also features a full metal unibody construction. The Nexus 6P is undeniably the most premium Nexus smartphone yet, and given Huawei’s penchant for great designs, it’s not surprising that this phone looks great as well. However, with a large 5.7-inch display, the device certainly falls outside the realm of comfortable one-handed use, and the handling experience isn’t the best, not helped by the somewhat slippery metal backing.
The LG G5 comes with a 5.3-inch IPS LCD display with a Quad HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 554 ppi, while the Nexus 6P features a larger 5.7-inch AMOLED screen, also with the same resolution, and a pixel density of 518 ppi. The Nexus 6P display offers everything you’d expect from an AMOLED panel, including vibrant, saturated colors, deep blacks, and good viewing angles and brightness.
The screen of the LG G5 is pretty great as well, but elements on the screen may seem a touch less punchy when compared to its AMOLED competitor. Further, while the smaller display of the LG G5 does contribute to a better handling experience, gaming and media-centric users will certainly appreciate the additional screen real estate that is available with the Nexus 6P.
The LG G5 does have an interesting feature in the form of an Always On display, that allows to take access information such as the time, notifications, weather conditions, and more, at a glance, and without having to wake up the phone. Granted, the Nexus 6P does come with an Ambient display feature as well, but that does need some kind of trigger to be activated, and what is available with the G5 is essentially taking that concept a step further.
Performance and hardware
The Nexus 6P comes with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, and is backed by the Adreno 430 GPU and 3 GB of RAM, while the LG G5 is powered by the latest and greatest from Qualcomm, with its Snapdragon 820 processor, backed by the Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. The performance of the Snapdragon 820 has impressed so far, but the Nexus 6P isn’t that far behind. However, in both cases, a lot of the credit for the smooth and snappy performance has to be given to their respective software packages.
Both smartphones come with fingerprint scanners on the back, which is the preferred implementation for many, and in the case of the LG G5, the scanner is embedded into the home button. Both scanners seem to be equally fast and reliable, but we’ll have to test the G5 further before drawing any concrete conclusions.
The Nexus 6P comes with a larger 3,450 mAh battery that allows for around 2 days of battery life quite comfortably. The LG G5, on the other hand, comes with a smaller 2,800 mAh unit, and we’ll have to wait and see what kind of battery life we can expect from this device, especially with features like the Always On display in play. Both devices come with some form of fast charging capabilities to have you up and running in a short time, but in the case of the G5, you also have the option of carrying around a spare.
The Nexus 6P doesn’t really offer a whole lot when it comes to additional hardware, but LG has really gone all out in this regard, solely because of the expandable experience. You can add functionality to the device by simply popping out the bottom portion and connecting the battery to a new module depending on your needs. A few examples includes a a Hi-Fi audio DAC that can be put at the bottom to enhance the audio experience, as well as a camera module, called CAM Plus, which adds hardware buttons, like a shutter button, video record button, zoom scroll, and more, to better the camera experience, while also adding an additional 1,200 mAh to the battery.
This is a very out of the box aspect of the smartphone experience, and with LG mentioning the possibility of third-party vendors getting into the action, it’ll be really interesting to see what kind of functionality can be made available with the LG G5.
The Nexus 6P comes with a 12.3 MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture and a 1.5µm sensor, that allows for better performance in low light conditions. However, LG continues to go down the unconventional path in the camera department as well, by adding in an 8 MP wide angle lens to accompany the 16 MP standard lens primary shooter on the back. Having a wider field of view is certainly good to have, and the good news is that it is a fairly seamless experience when making the switch between the two rear cameras.
We have spent some time with the camera of the LG G5, with a particular focus on the robust manual mode and other camera app features that are available. While the image quality has been quite good so far already, it’s important to remember that this is still unfinished software, and the camera quality will only get better by the time the final product as released. We can’t wait to put this camera through its paces in the upcoming full review, and also in more in-depth comparisons with its flagship competition.
The Nexus 6P offers the latest and purest version of Android currently available, and while there are a few useful features to be found, such as Google Now on Tap, App Permissions, and Doze, things remain as minimalistic as ever. Now may be the time to enjoy the app drawer though, with all signs pointing towards that particular aspect of the software experience going by the wayside in future releases.
It may be foreshadowing on the part of LG, but the latest iteration of LG’s UI, on top of Android Marshmallow, already doesn’t come with an app drawer. In fact, LG has really toned down and streamlined their software package, with features that previously found, such as QSlide and Multi-Window, no longer found either. LG’s aim is to provide as simple a software experience as possible, and while they certainly seem to have achieved that, the removal of all these features may be unnerving for some.
Conclusion at a glance
So there you have it for this quick look at the LG G5 vs Nexus 6P! The Nexus smartphone sees its advantages in a larger display, pure Android experience, the promise of timely updates, and hardware features like dual-front facing speakers. However, LG continues to be the OEM to offer everything with their flagship smartphones, and despite making the jump to a new body, features like expandable storage and removable battery are retained. Also interesting is the new modular aspect and all that it could potentially entail, and we can’t help but be excited about which direction this might go. If the additional features functionality are an important part of your smartphone experience, the LG G5 is the device that can certainly do it all.
Stay tuned with Android Authority for more great coverage from MWC 2016!