- Oct 6, 2011
- Reaction score
LG is no stranger to risk taking and innovation. They were one of the first major OEMs to place the power and volume buttons on the back with the LG G2. Now they are the first to market with a modular design. Plagued with criticism and negative feedback by many of the tech reviewers at launch this phone has garnered a bit of a bad rap. Does the LG G5 really deserve all this negativity? This is my full review of the LG G5!
First up we will take a look at the Design.The G5 is the successor of the G4 but this is pretty much an overhaul when it comes to design. Finally LG has joined the ranks of other major flagships with a premium metal build. LG caught a lot of flack early on with the decision to coat the metal body in a thin layer of primer and paint. I actually like the paint. It covers up the antennas giving the phone a seamless clean look. It also makes the surface much less slippery and much more scratch resistant! Its a win in my book.
This phone is super thin yet has a bit of heft which lends to the sturdy feel. It feels very comfortable in the hand. Most of this is due to the smaller 5.3" QHD display. I personally think 5.5" is the sweet spot, but you won't miss the extra .2 inches here! That beautiful display is covered in Gorilla Glass 4 which features a head turning curve near the top of the screen! Next to the earpiece you will find an 8mp selfie cam. The phone's chin is also covered in metal which adds to the premium feel.
On the back you will find two cameras, a 16mp f1.8 aperture and an 8mp 2.4 aperture wide angle camera. Laser focus and an LED flash sit in the middle of the dual cameras. The rounded camera bubble bump is not my favorite, but camera humps in general are not all that desirable I guess. Under the camera you will find an underwhelming power button that feels a bit loose and cheap. The power button also doubles as a fingerprint scanner which is super fast and accurate. While the power button remains on the rear in the perfect spot the volume buttons have been moved over to the left side and are nearly flush. I am a bit disappointed with the volume rocker placement. Sometimes you just shouldn't fix it if it ain't broke. On the right side you will find the micro sd card and sim slot.
The bottom of the phone houses a USB Type-C port in between the microphone and single speaker. This speaker is one of the best I have heard all year. It gets super loud, and remains clear with little to no distortion at high volumes. There is a surprising amount of bass out of this speaker. It sounds better than Boom Sound 2.0 to me. That bottom chin slides out revealing a removable 2,800mAh battery. This is where the modularity comes in. For now we have two actual modules, the camera grip and the premium DAC. I have not had the chance to use either of these, but these modules look pretty useful. The main thing here is that I can give my phone 100% power in just a few seconds by swapping the battery, Very cool!
Next up we'll look at the Display. The display is slightly smaller at 5.3". You still get the full 2560x1440 resolution which makes this display slightly sharper than last years model. Once again LG has gone with an LCD display. The display gets pretty bright and is easy to see outdoors. Whites are dead on while you won't get the true blacks you get with an AMOLED. Color reproduction looks amazing. Things aren't over saturated like with AMOLED displays, but colors remain vibrant.
The included always on display is pretty useful as it gives you a desk clock and alerts you of incoming notifications. The only downside is that LG has toned down brightness on the always on display to compensate for the battery drain of an LCD display. The AOD is so dim you won't be able to see it in sunlight. Overall this is one of the best displays out.
PERFORMANCE AND HARDWARE:
Under the hood you will find a Snapdragon 820, Adreno 530 GPU, and 4GB of RAM. Even with the LG skin overlay this phone is super fast and fluid. The GPU handles games like a boss with no lag or stutter. The G5 seems to be a multitasking beast. It's able to reopen apps without having to relaunch them from scratch and can hold lots of apps in memory. No matter what I throw at this device I can't seem to slow it down. This phone also scores high in benchmark tests scoring 2250 in single core performance and 5200 in multicore performance with Geekbench.
The fingerprint scanner is as fast as the Nexus 6P and is placed on the rear which is my preferred placement. You can have the phone unlocked before you get it out of your pocket. Tapping the scanner unlocks your device, you don't have to press the button like you did on the V10 which is a nice touch. The G5 comes with 32GB of onboard storage but you can expand your storage up to 200GB thanks to the included micro sd card slot. USB type-c is the future and we have that here on the G5.
The G5 sports an underwhelming 2800mAh battery, most flagships these days feature at least 3000mAh. Battery life is totally serviceable. You should be able to get 3-4 hours of screen on time and you should be able to get a full days use out of a single charge. If you manage to drain your battery before the day is out you can simply swap out your battery for a fresh one! If you don't have a spare battery Quick Charge 3.0 means you will have a 50% charge in just under 30 minutes!
The camera is the most exciting part of this phone and is easily comparable to the camera on the Galaxy S7. The camera UI is mostly the same as what we saw on on the V10 with DSLR like settings. You will get sharp photos with plenty of detail, colors are more natural and less saturated. Low light performance is pretty good here as well with little to no grain or noise out of the main shooter. There are two cameras on the back. The main camera and the wide angle camera. I love this setup! The wide angle lens tends to open up the scene and pretty much makes everything look cooler! As far as cameras go this is one of the best!
The G5 is running Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with the UX overlay. The theming is pleasant with white backgrounds in the notification panel and settings menu with light bluish green accents. The UX is super clean with almost no bloatware. The only downside to the launcher is the fact that the app drawer has disappeared. You can restore the app drawer by downloading the Home 4.0 launcher in the SmartWorld app. Scrolling between screens is buttery smooth. This is the slimmest UI experience ever on an LG device and is a pretty refreshing experience overall!
Some say this is one of the most hated smartphones of 2016. That being said, I'm not buying that argument. Yes the modularity may be a bit premature, but as a flagship phone this is one of the best I have used. I love the fact that LG took the risk of adding a replaceable battery even though everyone else has done away with the feature. The best in class camera, great display, and incredible user experience make this one of my favorite phones.
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