We’ve collected all the latest rumors and details on LG’s upcoming flagship handset, the LG G5
The LG G5 is now up for pre-order in the UK. The handset will set you back £529 offline and is available in either rose pink of titan grey — and, no, we don’t know who comes up with these names, either. Shipments are confirmed for April 8, so if you order a handset right now it’ll be with you in just under four weeks time. Interested? You should be — the G5 was one of the most impressive handsets we saw at MWC 2016. As it stands, there is no other phone on the market quite like it.
Samsung did get outmanoeuvred somewhat at MWC 2016 where it also announced its Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 EDGE. LG has BIG plans for 2016 and is clearly not content playing second fiddle to the likes of Samsung and Huawei on the global field. The LG G5 is a clear warning shot across the bow of all those it is competing with in 2016; no other phone maker has anything quite like the G5. Even Samsung’s Galaxy S7 looks like a paltry update next to LG’s wonderfully unique LG G5.
Samsung seems to have an idea in its head; it seems to think it’s Apple and can do exactly what Apple does and get away with it. But here’s the rub: Samsung isn’t Apple and incremental updates have never flown in the Android Kingdom. LG knows this. HTC learnt the hard way last year. And Huawei is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with here in the UK simply because it will not compromise on design, specs and hardware. Case in point: the awesome Huawei Mate 8.
Samsung doesn’t do this, though. The company appears to believe its own hype; and this is never a good thing. Even more so when the handset you’re pinning your hopes on this year doesn’t look any different from the handset that didn’t sell all that well last year. In consumer tech, I’d call this one a swing and miss. Not because it’s bad, though; because of the competition it will be up against this year.
LG G5 UK Pre-Orders Live: Amazon, Clove, Carphone Warehouse Prices
Carphone Warehouse has revealed that it is now taking pre-orders on the LG G5, with the promise of fulfilling said orders on April 1. The SIM-free price, straight up, is £499.99, which feels about right for a smartphone of this aptitude and this is the only place you can get it in a silver finish. You can, if you wish, also look at CW’s middle-man deals with a range of UK networks on monthy contracts starting from £38 per month, including EE, Vodafone, and O2.
Amazon originally listed the handset for its pre-orders at £529 but has now brought it down to the same price as CW, it aims to deliver by April 8. Clove’s pre-orders started at £539 but have since dropped to £529, although this package comes with a bundled-in pair of Bang & Olufsen headphones (NOT the slot-in module), and Clove says it will deliver in the first week of April.
LG G5 Design: Completely New Design
As predicted, LG has come out guns blazing. The LG G5 is a radically different beast to its predecessor, the LG G4. LG has used different build materials and production techniques and has implemented a completely new design language, complete with a modular component at the base of the handset (more on this later, though).
The handset itself features beveled glass on the front and, unlike Apple’s iPhone 6s and the HTC One M9, there are absolutely no antenna lines breaking up the finish of the chassis. The only break comes at the bottom of the G5 where the modular component is situated. Save for this the handset is completely unspoiled and it looks utterly sublime as a result.
I knew LG would come into 2016 with an impressive proposition and I have not been disappointed by the LG G5. It looks different from last year’s model, I love the modular component of it too, super innovative, and LG has made sure everything else is in place as well with a fingerprint scanner on the back and Type C USB for charging.
LG — not so long ago those two letters didn’t stand for much. The Korean phone maker was a bit part player in the Android space, producing gimmicky, second-rate handsets like the LG Optimus 3D (no, I’ll never forget that phone). Life wasn’t good at this point. In fact, life was pretty damn grim for LG at this point in history.
But then something happened: Google chose LG to be its Nexus OEM and the company went away and built the now seminal Nexus 4. It then went on to build the Nexus 5 — and this handset was even better. After this LG got back into the swing of things with its own phones as well, but it wasn’t until the launch of the LG G3 that things really changed.
At this point, LG had shown that it had the chops, skills and vision to compete with Apple and Samsung. The G3 was a great handset, as was the LG G4. But this year’s LG G5 is something else entirely. It is the first handset of its kind. The first true modular smartphone. And this is a HUGE deal, for LG, for you and I, and for the rest of the mobile space.
The LG G5 is now available for pre-order in the UK. The handset will set you back £529 offline and is available in either rose pink of titan grey. The first shipments are confirmed to go out on April 8, so if you order a handset right now it’ll be with you in just under four weeks time. Interested? You should be — the G5 was one of the most impressive handsets we saw at MWC 2016. As it stands, there is no other phone on the market quite like it.
LG & Friends
The modular aspect of the LG G5 has been the biggest talking point of MWC 2016 so far, and rightly so too. Through this modular connection, which is accessed by pressing a small button on the side of the G5’s chassis, you can remove the battery, swap SD cards and attach “accessories” which interact with the phone, like LG’s 360 CAM.
But these attachables aren’t called accessories; no, LG calls them Friends — and this is arguably the worst bit about the whole thing. It just sounds so, well, naff when you call it THAT!
LG showed off a couple of its Friends at MWC 2016. One, a 32-bit DAC and amplifier unit, created in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen, called the LG Hi-Fi Plus is basically an audiophile’s wet dream incarnate, as it will process and upsample any application that produces sound, including YouTube and Spotify. The LG Hi-Fi Plus supports native DSD playback and will come with a pair of H3 B&O Play earphones.
The other was the LG Cam Plus, a photography accessory that adds in a bunch of hardware buttons and added grip to the G5 for improved imaging. The Cam Plus features a physical shutter button, a dedicated video recording key, an LED indicator and a jog dial for controlling zoom. With this on, you’ll be able to shoot excellent 4K video in a variety of settings. The only thing I’m not 100% sure about is whether you can attach the Cam Plus to a tripod or not…
On the upside, the Cam Plus has a built in battery that’ll add another 8 hours of life to the LG G5. Unlike the Hi-Fi Plus, the Cam Plus does take up quite a bit of room whereas the aforementioned Friend pretty much moulds into the handset’s design. I guess this is because the DAC will be used all the time, whereas the Cam Plus will only be used when shooting images and video in a more professional manner.
What’s most interesting about all this, though, is that LG has opened up the modular aspect of the G5 to third party developers. The company will likely build the feature into its other, high-end phones as well in the coming months. But for me it is the idea of lots of third party developers creating new hardware to stick on the end of the G5 that makes the technology really exciting.
Things like physical keyboards, game controllers, more advanced camera accessories and a whole lot more besides are now all possible. I can’t wait to get to grips with the G5 properly. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on LG’s modular phone.
LG G5 ALWAYS-ON Display
The LG G5 features a 5.3in QHD display which offers up a pixel density of 554 ppi, making it slightly smaller than the G4’s 5.5in panel. Prior to launch there were rumours about the G5 landing with a 4K display; LG likes being the first to market with things. But we guess the company had second thoughts about this — the toll on battery would be HUGE.
The QHD panel has a few new tricks up its sleeve, though. The most notable of which is that it is an always-on display for access to things like notifications and the time without having to power on the display, a technology which LG says will save you battery in the long run.
“To minimise power consumption,” said LG, “we redesigned the display driver IC memory and power management function so that the display’s backlight only illuminates one small part of the overall display. Thanks to this technology, the Always-on Display requires only 0.8 percent of the battery’s full capacity per hour to operate. With consumers turning on their smartphones up to 150 times a day mostly to just check the time, the G5’s Always-on Display will make a notable difference in the life of the battery over the course of the day.”
Andy Webb, UK Buying Director – Mobile at Carphone Warehouse, said: “It’s exciting to see that LG has created an ‘Always On’ display that doesn’t drastically affect battery life, coupled with a smart removable battery that allows you to replace it when you’re running out of juice. We recently conducted research with 2,000 smartphone users, and they told us battery life is considered as a very important, if not the most important factor when choosing a new handset by three quarters of people (75%). There is also a real appetite for virtual reality functionality, so it’s really exciting to see mobile manufacturers giving smartphones users innovative news ways to view content.”
LG G5 Specs & Hardware
For the sake of brevity, here’s a breakdown of the LG G5’s specs and hardware.
- Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 Processor
- Display: 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum Display (2560 x 1440 / 554ppi)
- Memory: 4GB LPDDR4 RAM / 32GB UFS ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)
- Camera: Rear: Standard 16MP, Wide 8MP / Front: 8MP
- Battery: 2,800mAh (removable)
- OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Size: 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm
- Weight: 159g
- Network: LTE / 3G / 2G
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / USB Type-C) / NFC / Bluetooth 4.2
- Colours: Silver / Titan / Gold / Pink
LG G5 Camera
LG has introduced a bunch of SERIOUS updates to the G5’s camera setup. For starters, it has two cameras on the back: One has 75° Field of View (FoV) and 16MP sensor; the other a much wider, 135° FoV and 8MP sensor. Captured images from the cameras can be merged together and edited with effects in real-time.
LG says this is the best camera it has ever produced and one unlike anything else currently available. I cannot WAIT to have a proper go on this bad boy!
LG G5 Processor & Performance
The LG G5 runs a Snapdragon 820, Qualcomm’s latest and greatest SoC that rocks the company’s bespoke 64-bit KRYO cores. The Snapdragon is paired with 4GB of RAM and should result in very impressive performance.
Users should expect ‘DSLR-like’ camera quality and ‘console-grade’ gaming, according to Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf. But that’s not all. The G5 does have one other USP in this department, though: it features a bespoke, custom core that takes the strain off the main processor. LG says this custom core will use very little power and assist the Snapdragon 820 greatly, resulting in better power management and, of course, better battery performance.
This feature will likely be very important too because the LG G5 has a pretty smallish 2800mAh battery cell. Granted, it is removable, which is a huge boon for a lot of users, but it is rather pokey compared to some Android handsets we’ve tested in the last few months. The Huawei Mate 8 packed in a 4000mAh cell, for instance.
For me, this is the only area where LG might have fumbled things slightly. I appreciate having a removable battery is swell and everything, but why not just make it a 3000+mAh removable battery and cover both bases!?
AND The LG 360 VR Headset
It’s 2016 and Virtual Reality is now a thing…not just a thing, in fact, THE thing, if recent tech expos are anything to go by. Yup, EVERYONE is grabbing a slice of the VR action with virtually every major manufacturer alleged to be working on or gearing up to release some new VR tech. LG is no exception, and alongside the LG G5 the firm announced the LG 360 VR, a headset which can pair with the smartphone to deliver a VR experience direct to your eyeballs.
However, if you were thinking this device would be like Samsung’s Gear VR or Google Cardboard in requiring you to slot your phone in front of your face, you’d be dead wrong, as despite needing to pair with the LG G5 there is a certain degree of autonomy for the LG 360 VR in that it doesn’t require the handset’s display. If you’re familiar with the Oculus Rift then LG has taken a similar approach here, offering an individual display for each eye for a true stereoscopic experience. The headset features two 1.88in display panels each with a 960×720 pixel resolution at 638ppi, so what you’re ogling is going to be plenty sharp enough. The headset pairs with your phone via USB and utilises the phone’s processing power to work, in the case of the LG G5 that means USB 3.0 via a Type-C connector – so this is no slowpoke.
In terms of functions and compatibility, it’s early days, but that’s the case for pretty much every VR setup at the moment – the LG 360 VR is compatible with YouTube 360 and any app that works with Google Cardboard, which is a pretty good start. For input and navigation you have a select button and a back button. The select button will select whatever is in the middle of your field of view, so you need to move your head around to navigate menus and the like.
LG’s also managed the trick of making this the smallest, lightest and most discreet VR headset to date – although with that said it’s only discreet relatively speaking; it still stands out as a VR headset so all but the most confident might want to avoid wearing it on the tube!
The LG G5 is retailing for £500 in the UK, a £20 bump-up from last year’s LG G4 which cost £480. Meanwhile, in the US it will cost $630 at full price via T-Mobile and that can be broken down further to $26.25 a month over 24 months on the no-contract carrier.