In recent days, we have tested the LG G5 intensively. The smartphone has arrived through the Tester program while the first hands-on was done within the MWC Barcelona 2016.
LG wants to achieve better sales with LG G5, thus, it has invested quite a lot in their new flagship on the R&D side, and the smartphone is individualized in relation to other Android phones through at least three elements:
- Smartphone with modular character, able to receive other modules that enhance the performance and here we can consider him as a pioneer. We expect that in addition to the camera modules manufactured in partnership with Bang Olufsen, the South Korean company to have other surprises for us;
- A set of two cameras: a 16 Megapixel sensor along with an 8-megapixel wide camera designed to catch broad spaces, landscapes etc. An extra versatility in relation to its competition.
- Power + Fingerprint Reader – 2-in-1, an atypical solution, the volume buttons are getting moved from the back of the phone and are now placed on the left side.
Let’s discover together what are the PROS and CONS of LG G5, and if you have any questions related to the smartphone, please post them in the comments section. The phone is still with me, and I can respond, even to the questions received in the next few days.
LG G5 Specifications
LG G5 Design
In the package, we found a USB Type-C connector, a 9.0V charger at 1.8A, this explains the fast charging of the 2800 mAh battery (from 0 to 83% in just over 30 minutes) and a dedicated paperclip used to unlock the tray of the nanoSIM and microSD card. Strange fact, we did not found any headphones inside the package.
The design and camera performance have become core elements in choosing a smartphone in the premium category. And that, in the context where almost all mid-range and top smartphones are able to run applications or play games from the Google Play Store in optimal conditions. The hardware and connectivity have passed on the second plan.
LG has preferred to bring a smartphone with modularity. Through a button positioned on the bottom left you can open a slot that integrates the battery + the base part that consists of the USB Type-C port and the speaker. In that space, you can add separate modules: one that integrates an extra battery + dedicated physical controls for the camera, with a scroll wheel to zoom in and out, or other modules designed along with Bang Olufsen to create an immersive audition.
Personally, I think the idea of a modular phone and the solution chosen by LG targets the pattern of geeks, those with knowledge in the field, while Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6S targets a different audience. Do you remember the people who were introducing the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 stylus in the wrong area and actually destroyed the internal components of the South Korean phablet? Of course, you do. Now imagine the fiasco behind LG G5 when a public without technical knowledge will accidentally touch the modular button and their battery + base gets detached and falls on the ground.
Plus, those modules are distributed separately and cost some tens or hundreds of dollars. Would have been excellent if they were being offered directly in the package, this way, individualizing from Samsung and the others, motivating the end user to buy it.
Another interesting element, the evolution of the body/display ratio on the latest flagship models from LG:
LG G2 – 5.2-inch display – 75.9%;
LG G3 – 5.5-inch display – 75.3%;
LG G4 – 5.5-inch display – 72.5%;
LG G5 – 5.3-inch display – 70.1%.
But how is the design of LG G5?
The upper part is slightly inclined, at the base lies the LG logo which helps you orient the smartphone in the correct position. The casing appears to be made of 2 pieces, the back cover + lateral edges which are including the 5.3-inches display. In the area of the weld between the two parties, with quotes, lies an edge which seems to be made of metal, but in fact, it was made of silver plastic. You can see it in the image gallery. The problem with this design is that this edge will wear in time, similar to all Galaxy phones up to S4.
Questionable is the way it looks from the back too. However, I think that LG G5 will be bought for its specifications, for the modularity experience, for what he knows to do in terms of camera performance, less for its design. The grip feels ok, without having the impression that it will slip out of your hand, the finishing is ok, but the attention to detail could be way better. Between an LG G4 and a G5, personally, I choose the first one.
LG G5 Sound and Display
LG G5 descends from 5.5 inches on LG G4 to a 5.3-inch display, with a lower body/display ratio, 70.1%, as you can see in the comparison from above. It has a pixel density of 554ppi – resolution of 2560 × 1440 pixels, and the protective glass is Corning Gorilla Glass 4.
The brightness seems quite good to me, the colors are displayed naturally without being oversaturated. Under the action of sun rays, the display suffers a lot, reflecting the ambient space. We were confused to see that LG G5 has a weaker screen than… Nexus 5. We don’t have any idea what is happening or why the South Korean giant got in such situation.
After all, it is a good display, but not excellent. At its base are the touch buttons, configurable based on each user’s desire.
The sound comes from a speaker located to the left of the USB Type-C port. It sounds powerful, when over 80%, light vibration can be felt. The 3.5mm jack is located in the upper part, and adjusting the volume can be done from the left side.
We tested LG G5 with Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear G headphones, and the result was a full immersion and we should add a smile emotion here.
Hardware, operating system and applications
Qualcomm took a flick with its Snapdragon 810 and it’s eternal heating problems when put under load. So the manufacturer took a seat at the desk designed another chipset, unrelated to the octa-core, deca-core architecture, etc. They returned to what they know best, a quad-core, but big.LITTLE structure.
The hardware on the LG G5 – Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 2x Kryo at 2.15 GHz + 2 x open Kyro at 1.6 GHz + the Adreno 530 graphics accelerator + 4 GB RAM, 32 GB storage space and a slot for microSD cards of up to 200 GB. The Snapdragon 820 CPU is manufactured by Samsung on 14nm, the Adreno 530 operates at 624 MHz, and the two memory controllers placed on the processor are capable of 28.8 GB/s (2 x 32-bit LPDDR4 at 1803 MHz).
Information provided by CPU-Z for LG G5;
LG G5 is running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with LG Optimus UX interface 5.0. I don’t know if it matters so much, but the GUI UX 5.0 has lagged behind, not really related to what the native Android offers, there are too many submenus and it takes too much until you find what you are looking for.
The applications and widgets are placed directly on the home screen, there is no dedicated menu. Of course, you can choose to install a launcher from Google Play and organize your applications as you want.
Preinstalled applications on LG G5;
Google search, Gmail, maps, YouTube, Music, Play, Hangouts, photos, documents, spreadsheets, Presentations, voice search;
Contacts, Email, Music;
QuickRemote – ad-hoc remote control;
LG SmartWorld – store applications;
LG Health – monitoring suite;
LG Friend Manager – manages the devices connected to the smartphone, etc;
Energy saving + Memory + Battery Usage + USB & Sharing + LG Backup + Remote Call Service + applications designed to assist when the smartphone is intensively used;
Tools: File Manager, weather, clock, Calculator, voice recorder, FM, Radio, streaming, Downloads, Cell + QuickMemo.
The settings are grouped in Networks, Notification and Sound, Display and General. Eventually, you will get used to it.
LG G5 Performance
We ran the smartphone through some benchmark tests, and the results are noted in the table below.
Gallery of screenshots with benchmark tests run on the LG G5;
LG G5 Connectivity
There are many variations depending on the markets where LG G5 gets to be offered for sale. In Europe should get LG G5-H850. Coverage on:
2G – 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz;
3G – 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz;
4G – LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 12(700), 17(700), 20(800), 28(700), 38(2600), 40(2300) – H850.
LG G5 covers the spectrum of 4G in FDD and TDD-LTE. Other connectivity: Wi-Fi in a/b/g/n/ac standards, dual-band, Wi-Fi direct, DLNA, hotspot, Bluetooth, A-GPS and a 4.2, GLONASS and BDS for location services, NFC and an infrared port for ad-hoc remote control.
At the top, we can find the 3.5mm jack and the infrared port, on the right side the slot integrating a nanoSIM card and the microSD card of up to 200 GB, at the base we find the actual USB type-C connector and the speaker, and on the left side, the volume buttons. The power button is located on the back under the two cameras (fingerprint reader + power).
Using our Gigabit connection via 5 GHz Wi-Fi, we reached 193.33 Mbps download and 191.63 Mbps upload speeds, a value which we consider respectable for a mobile network, especially if we compare it with the 4G from the United Kingdom and France, which are not even up to our 3G level.
The voice calls are impeccably clear and strong, offered in both directions. LG’s experience of producing premium phones over the course of all these years is noticeable. We did not have any negative surprises.
LG G5 Camera and Video
I’m going to try not to repeat what I already said. LG has come up with a set of two cameras: a sensor crop of 16 Megapixels and an 8-megapixel sensor, wide, different from other Android phones from the high-end category. Through a dedicated control from the camera and video interface, you can choose a wider or narrower angle, quickly adapting to what you want to photograph or film.
Gallery of screenshots with the camera interface and video;
It’s an interesting feature that differentiates LG G5 from other Android phones. The 16 Megapixel camera copes well to very well, focuses fast, has optical image stabilization on 3-axis, LED flash, and in totally dark conditions, you get better pictures than those from the Samsung GALAXY S7.
However, sometimes you get the impression that it does not know to handle them when too much light enters the lens or in low-light situations.
Photos made with LG G5;
LG G5 is one of the most interesting terminals tested lately. The design is deemed slightly questionable, but we are talking about a matter of personal perception. It might even impress certain people.
If LG came with optional modules directly in the package, it would have made life harder for some Android models.
- Hardware overview that offers plenty of processing power;
- Crop + wide camera = versatility;
- Good connectivity with FDD and TDD-LTE;
- Decent price;
- Optional modules and can be considered a true pioneer in the field;
- Strong, clear sound, a lot of bass for a smartphone.
- Slightly questionable design;
- Modest autonomy;
- The Silver edge exfoliates fairly quickly;
- LG should return more to the Android native stage.