LG aimed to stand out of the crowd with the G5. They certainly did that but does their modular smartphone standout in a positive way?
Published: Thursday, August 18th 2016
2015 was the year that LG Mobile stepped into their own on the world stage as a handset manufacturer to watch out for thanks to the G4.The leatherback and f1.8 aperture rear-facing camera – with easy to use manual controls – ensured that LG had a device that was arguably one of the best handsets of the year.Expectations for the company’s 2016 flagship device were huge.Everyone had hoped that the G5 would build on LGs momentum and shake up the somewhat stale high-end smartphone market.
Has the G5 lived up to expectations?
LG Mobile opted to not follow on from their successful G4 design, instead choosing to return to a design reminiscent of the G3, with one major difference, a modular design.A modular smartphone allows you to swap out various parts of the device and replace them with alternative parts.Real world applications mean that you could improve the camera on your phone by swapping out the standard camera on the handset for a better one, or, if music is more your thing, adding in an extra speaker or a digital-to-audio converter.LG hoped that this differentiation in design and customisation, would allow their new flagship to stand out in a sea of otherwise identical smartphones.Other than the modular aspect of the handset, the rest of the device follows a more standard design approach.The front of the handset is dominated by the 5.3-inch Quad HD display with an earphone grille, front-facing camera and light sensor above.The forehead of the device features a gentle slope, something that LG has carried over to subsequent handsets.The top edge of the handset features a 3.5mm headphone jack with a speaker grille and USB type C port taking up space on the bottom edge of the device.The left-hand side of the handset has a volume rocker with a SIM card tray and special release button on the right-hand side.Ditching the now famous rear-key, the G5 instead has a button-meets- fingerprint-scanner situated below the dual cameras on the back of the device.
LG is not the first company involved in modular smartphone technology, however they are the first to have a commercially available handset.While modular devices such as Google’s Project Ara tout almost complete customisation, LG’s G5 doesn’t offer quite the same.The modular aspect of the G5 is different in that it has a “magic slot” at the bottom of the device.This allows you to swap in different components which LG calls Friends.These Friends include a DAC (digital to audio) audio converter made in conjuction with Bang & Olufsen as well as a camera grip which promises more DSLR camera like control over the handset.As part of the Friends range (but not part of the modular components), LG has also released a 360 camera and their first ever VR headset.
The G4 set the bar for smartphone photography in 2015 and brought about a revolution in the industry.The G5 features the same camera as 2015’s flagship device with one difference…a second camera.The dual-camera set-up is a popular trend in the smartphone industry in 2016 with each handset maufacturer taking a slightly different approach in terms of implementation.LG has opted to include a wide-angle lens on the G5 solving what they believe to be an issue faced by many people, namely not being able to take a proper photograph in cramped spaces.In concept this is a great idea however when it comes to execution, the wide-angle lens doesn’t quite match the expectation.This is mainly due to the fact that it has an 8MP sensor and not a 16MP one as found in the main rear-facing camera.Image quality, therefore, is not quite as sharp which is especially noticeable when combining images taken with both rear-facing cameras.The main rear-facing camera is exactly the same as the one found in the G4 which means that image quality is great and images appear sharp, not overly saturated and more than adequate in low light conditions.
The G5 is great in concept, however, it fails to live up to expectations.Individually, the components on the handset are great, it’s when they’re all put together that things get a bit lost in translation.The G5 comes across as that shy nerdy kid in high school who desperately wants to be school and therefore tries to adopt ALL the fashion trends at once.It feels forced and lacks the focus that LG has in their other product lines.One of the major concerns surrounding the G5 is about its modular functionality with people questioning whether or not LG will continue supporting modular components in future handsets. Should the company not continue with its modular strategy, it risks alienating users who have purchased the G5. Should it not get enough modular component partners onboard, the modular dream could die with LGs 2016 handsets. While you could certainly do worse than getting the G5 as your new phone, you might be better of getting a handset that feels complete and less like a prototype.Time for a smartphone upgrade? Let the Guru help you find the best contract deals