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LG G5 specs review: a paradigm shift

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LG G5 specs review: a paradigm shift

Last year, LG made sure to innovate its own flagship line with the LG G4. Never one to let the competition enjoy a healthy sleep, LG is now delivering hard with its next flagship smartphone, the sequential and inevitable LG G5. A radical change for LG's G series Android beasts, this one comes with a metal body, modular design, and cutting edge technology which we'll be cutting into right now in this specs review. Warning – this isn't for the weak-hearted who don't care how many CPU cores their smartphone has. Enjoy!

Display


For the third time in a row, LG's flagship smartphone comes with a Quad-HD resolution display. Once again, LG went with the IPS Quantum display technology it debuted on the LG G4, but this isn't the same screen at all. See, the display offers an Always-on mode, which was first conceptualized on the LG V10's Second Screen, then taken to the LG G5's display to show the time and date continuously, even when the G5 is in sleep mode. This means that you can always see the time and other information, such as messages, missed calls, and notifications at a glance, without having to wake up the phone.

Contrary to what you may think, the Always On feature actually saves battery life. To pull it off, LG redesigned the display driver's IC memory and power management facilities so that the display’s backlight only illuminates a small part of the overall display that's in use. Thanks to this, the Always-on Display leeches only 0.8 percent of the battery’s full capacity per hour. LG says that consumers turn on their smartphones up to 150 times a day, usually just to check the time, which means the G5’s Always On feature could indeed make for a notable difference in battery life.

LG G5 specs review: a paradigm shift

That's not all. The LG G5's display also features Daylight Mode, which analyzes ambient light conditions and instantaneously adjusts the display's brightness, dialing it up to an impressive 850 nits. The maximum brightness of the LG G4's screen was about half that, so we clearly have an evolution!

Hardware


Last year, LG surprised the industry by choosing to forego Qualcomm's premium-tier Snapdragon 810 chip in favor of a less hot piece of silicon, the SD 808, for the LG G4. LG found it sufficient for the smartphone's needs, but the LG G5 is a different beast. To make sure the smartphone can offer a smooth user experience and simultaneously support the wealth of accessories that go with it – such as rolling robots and VR headsets – LG recruited Qualcomm's mightiest chip, the Snapdragon 820.

Expected to be present across most high-end smartphones this year, the chipset is made by Samsung on a 14nm FinFET process and boasts four custom 64-bit CPU cores, a powerful Adreno 530 GPU, and LPDDR4 RAM support. Although the number of CPU cores has been reduced to four from the eight stock ARM cores ticking in the previous-gen SD 810 chip, the 820 is capable of 30% to 35% improvements in performance and power efficiency. Similarly, the Adreno 530 GPU is up to 40% faster than the older Adreno 430 unit.

The powerful, but energy-efficient Snapdragon 820 processor offers advanced features such as 64-bit performance, Adreno 530 graphics, and low-power Qualcomm® HexagonTM DSP as well as Qualcomm Spectra™ 14-bit dual image signal processors (ISPs) designed to deliver high resolution DSLR-quality images and additional power savings. The Snapdragon 820 processor also has an integrated X12 LTE modem that supports Category 12 download speeds of up to 600 Mbps and LTE Category 13 uplink speeds of up to 150 Mbps.

LG G5 specs review: a paradigm shift

The chipset also offers Quick Charge 3.0 technology, which the LG G5 takes advantage of for very fast charging. Quick Charge 3.0 is said to be 27 percent faster and 45 percent more efficient than the previous generation. Another addition on the power efficiency front is Low Power Location Estimation technology, which enhances battery efficacy by as much as 41.9 percent, improving power consumption levels related to location-based apps.

Then, we have LPDDR4 RAM, which is the fastest and most power-efficient memory there is, and the LG G5 has 4GB of it. Speaking of memory, the smartphone comes with 32GB of UFS storage, which is much faster than the eMMC memory used in the LG G4 (you can read up on that here). The memory can be expanded via microSD card.

On the audiophile side, the LG G5 is equipped with an aptX HD codec that supports 24-bit sound over Bluetooth, delivering rich and clear sound over wireless connections without any loss.

Extension slot


The LG G5 offers a very unique feature among current smartphones – modular design. In short, the smartphone's bottom bezel can be unlatched and replaced with alternate modules that expand the user experience in some way. The way these work is pretty straightforward. First, you unlatch the bottom bezel of the phone and pull it out. It comes out with the battery attached to it, which means you have to do this with the G5 switched off. Then, you remove the battery from the stock module and place it into the one you'll be using. Re-insert, reboot, and you're good to go. So far, LG's announced only two modules – a camera grip and Hi-Fi module – but it said extra modules will be available down the road.

LG G5 specs review: a paradigm shift

Camera


LG introduced a dual-camera setup for the first time with the LG V10, which had two cameras on the front and offered wide group shots. For the G5, LG took advantage of the same technology for the smartphone's rear camera setup in its effort to stand out from the competition. The two cameras on the rear are 16MP and 8MP resolution. The 16MP one has a standard 78-degree lens, and the 8MP one has an extra-wide 135-degree lens with a viewing angle as much as 1.7 times wider than those of existing smartphone cameras and 15 degrees wider than the human eye’s field of view. The wide angle lens makes it easier for users to capture more of landscapes, taller buildings, or larger groups without having to position themselves further from the subject. The front camera on the LG G5 is an 8 megapixel unit, which is more than adequate for selfie shots.

LG G5 specs review: a paradigm shift

Expectations


With its cutting-edge spec sheet and clever design, the LG G5 certainly has what it takes to attract interest and compete level to level with its arch-rival, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. The powerful processor, capable camera, and smorgasbord of extra features and accessories will certainly steal some attention away from Samsung's newest smartphones, which improve on their predecessors's shortcomings, but come short when it boils down to sheer innovation.

42 Comments
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posted on 21 Feb 2016, 07:49 11

1. KillTheKardashians (banned) (Posts: 93; Member since: 19 Feb 2016)


lots of gimmicks i never use.

i don´t need a modul to make a quick photo.

Still a Ugly phone

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 07:55 10

2. keithtae (Posts: 396; Member since: 25 Mar 2015)


Wow, never in my life Id agree with someone/something so much. This is nothing but an ugly phone. Also, kill the Kardashian!

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 09:29 6

26. Kary1 (Posts: 300; Member since: 26 Jun 2015)


You people who call certain smartphone's ugly amaze me. These devices almost all look alike! If you're picking a rectangular piece of technology that costs $600+ based on what it looks like, you're fools.

It reminds me of an old joke of a shepherd that goes to an island with other shepherds. The other shepherds all start having sex with the sheep, and when they finally convince the other shepherd to join in they start laughing at him. When he asks why, they say "You got the ugly one."

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 11:41 1

35. FrankUnderwood2 (Posts: 216; Member since: 01 Oct 2015)


Sadly, I actually agree with you. why not just make a phone with 3500mah battery, smaller foot print (with a 5.3" display, its is still taller than 5.5" G4), make the back something sturdier like Moto X Style and Play or LG V-10 and upgrade the internal storage from 32 to 64 GB. Those would have been much better upgrades than this idiotic piece of slouch that we now have.
Only when I thought 2015 was mostly a disappointment regarding flagships upgrades, 2016 seems to be even worse.

posted on 22 Feb 2016, 07:35

40. LisaR (Posts: 1; Member since: 22 Feb 2016)


Hey! Sorry but I completely disagree with you here.

You are not aware that the modular phones are going to be future. Slowly all manufacturers will soon have their flagships phones built with swappable modular parts. Let me educate you, the concept of modular smartphones, was first announced by google early last year by name 'Project Ara'. You can Google it.

Ara proposes that phone owners should be able to mix-and-match components to build the phone they want to own, rather than accept whatever it is that phone makers think people want.

Kudos to LG that it has taken the first step in the direction even before Google could announce something on this.

Am content curator at fanreviews.co

Hope this helps.

posted on 22 Feb 2016, 14:31 1

41. FrankUnderwood2 (Posts: 216; Member since: 01 Oct 2015)


I don't need to explain anything, but please read my comment again and closely. Also, you really think I didn't know what Project Ara is/was?
It's not about changing the phone to my choice, its about delivering a stable and feature packed phone right out of the box. Now, add this and my last comment, and you may understand my disappointment.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 13:37

42. greyred (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Feb 2016)


I can't agree with you. Google was only project, concept. Other way, google is not manufacturer. Always LG or other company make nexus phones for google. Very often LG. This is real the first step to consumers hands. Samsung is still sleeping.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 07:57 22

3. BobbyDigital (Posts: 1895; Member since: 29 May 2014)


Great looking phone! And the G5 modules are pretty great too. I can definitely see myself getting the camera and sound modules as well as the the little robot. Say what you will about LG, at least they try to bring different things to market to differentiate instead of the same old same old.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:42 5

21. meanestgenius (Posts: 10972; Member since: 28 May 2014)


Agreed! Too many "walks like a duck, quacks like a duck", "tastes like chicken", smartphones on the market today.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:47

22. joeytaylor (Posts: 427; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


I don't mind the intentions....just seem unfinished. ..the phone itself looks like a prototype. ...if i wanted it to use as a music player I'll bring my blue tooth speaker....and if i wanted to take serious photos bring a real camera. ...jus seems to be complicating things...and how much will the accessories cost....i guess we will see

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 10:25

29. Kary1 (Posts: 300; Member since: 26 Jun 2015)


The music module is intended to improve the experience of using your speakers.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 07:59 2

4. INCOMPARABLE (Posts: 33; Member since: 05 Mar 2014)


look at those bunch o idiots trying to mess with supreme smartphone

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 09:30 1

27. Kary1 (Posts: 300; Member since: 26 Jun 2015)


There is no supreme smartphone. Most the 2015 releases were junk.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:02 2

5. hanabi (Posts: 177; Member since: 08 Oct 2015)


Hmm looks like slightly better looking chinese phones somehow

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:04 2

6. Pattyface (Posts: 1582; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)


That camera seems top notch honestly. LG has this part in the bag just as they did last year but everything else is kind of meh

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:05

7. skymitch89 (Posts: 1295; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)


Only thing I don't like bout the design is that they moved the volume buttons back to the side but kept the power/fingerprint scanner on the back.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:07 1

8. afzalzainal (Posts: 56; Member since: 17 Feb 2013)


Cool idea but to switch off n on in each swaping.. Hurmm

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:08

9. Intrepid_wiz (Posts: 28; Member since: 30 Dec 2015)


In my opinion, not a lot of people are gonna buy modules to take pictures of their food or just to hear their music a little louder/better

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:09 3

10. Prizm (Posts: 9; Member since: 21 Feb 2016)


I think LG is going to blow Samsung out of the water this year. I was gunning for an S7, but I think I've switched teams. I'm a bit concerned about the camera though. 8 megapixels for wide-angle? The quality better be damn good, otherwise it's just another gimmick. LG also didn't mention anything special about the regular camera (16 megapixels) during the announcement. I wonder if it's the same camera as the G4?

I don't think the G5 is ugly. I don't think it looks worse than the regular Samsung S6.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 14:13

38. JumpinJackROMFlash (Posts: 450; Member since: 10 Dec 2014)


Nah, there's absolutely nothing here that would tempt me from the S7 Edge.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:13 4

11. Piyath_ale (Posts: 79; Member since: 02 Nov 2015)


Sweeeeeeeet.. Definitely Samsung has got competition this year. I'm liking this phone very much actually.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 11:45 1

36. TerryTerius (Posts: 1671; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


The answer to that is a very strong maybe. Having a good phone is not in and of itself something to guarantee success. LG would have to sell something on the order of 5 to 6 times what the G4 did for it to be in serious commercial threat to the S7. That's a tall order in an increasingly tribalistic maturing smartphone market. And they would have to up their marketing substantially. Don't give me wrong, I absolutely want more competition among android manufactures \and it's awesome LG is trying something different. But I temper excitement with reality.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:18 3

12. Urosz (Posts: 51; Member since: 01 Apr 2014)


cool phone

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:21 1

13. Fire5 (Posts: 295; Member since: 13 Feb 2015)


Smartphone modules just to change a battery good joke LG apart the smartphone is a nexus but uglier.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:22 1

14. Nikku (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


The Phone looks ugly, the fingerprint bulge looks like a pimple, LG friends accessories are all gimmicks ( except 360 camera ), No app drawer, I'll still stick to my G4.
& Lets see what samsung got on S7 & Edge..

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:22 2

15. greyred (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Feb 2016)


in my opinion this phone is great. I'd like to have this. Plus cam useless item. Other stuffs is great. Really interesting phone, i'd like to see it live. 360 cam is great thing. Speaker sad is beginning. It's really big step forward. Maybe to somebody not look great, but technologically is big step forward. You will see LG6 was something more better. I think LG is leader in technology innovation now.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:27

16. sergiobr (Posts: 696; Member since: 25 Feb 2013)


The photos on gsmarena are not as good as I thought ! Disappointed !

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:28

17. Fellwalker (Posts: 352; Member since: 04 Apr 2014)


Human field of view is 180 degrees horizontal, so the LG claim is cobblers.
Our BINOCULAR ie both eyes together field of view is only around 114 degrees. But LG cannot compare a single camera lens to our stereo vision.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:31 1

18. oozz009 (Posts: 517; Member since: 22 Jun 2015)


I really don't like the dual camera setup. I hope Samsung won't go with a dual cam. . .

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:33 1

19. SK_WS (Posts: 43; Member since: 17 Apr 2015)


the g5 is just like a game with a bunch of useless DLCs

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:34 1

20. myawan (Posts: 5; Member since: 19 Apr 2013)


why LG needed to experiment with their flagship device????? reducing battery capacity when they already had a below average performance with a bigger battery last year. And why so much emphasis on lime color everywhere???? 0.8% drop per hour for secondary display chip is too much. It means if you use your device for 24 hours, about 20% battery will be eaten by always on display which equals to 560mAh so you are only left with 2240mAh for usage! Pathetic!

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:48

24. fyah_king (Posts: 368; Member since: 22 Jul 2013)


But in those 24hrs your phone will be on and off about 100 times.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 11:46 1

37. TerryTerius (Posts: 1671; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


It might be. That's LG's estimates. Which is based on… Well, who the hell knows.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:50

25. maxha97 (Posts: 93; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)


You can turn off dude

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 08:47 2

23. fyah_king (Posts: 368; Member since: 22 Jul 2013)


I can't wait to get this phone!

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 09:35

28. rob5150 (Posts: 159; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


I think that one little thing is missing, and if they had thought of it this would have been a great feature...... A simple, small 200mah battery or smaller that is Non-removable. So, you could swap out batteries, camera modules and etc.... Without rebooting. What a massive fail.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 10:34

30. Moose (Posts: 247; Member since: 05 Jan 2015)


I find it odd looking that the bottom metal part of the G5 is gold but the top is black. There are some phones that have a silver or gold back but the whole front is black. I prefer one color, either all black or all gold or whatever, looks more elegant, streamlined. If you use a silicone backing like I do, then there is not much point in ordering a gold or silver phone that is black in front if you are going to cover up the back anyway,

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 10:46

31. WallStreet (Posts: 256; Member since: 21 Sep 2014)


It's a great phone, the specs are awesome and without seeing the S7 I can honestly say that the G5 is a better looker. Just wish there were no buldges on the back.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 10:52

32. WallStreet (Posts: 256; Member since: 21 Sep 2014)


The front of the phone looks great- quite a lot like BB Z30. How big is the screen, 5,5'?

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 10:52 1

33. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4021; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Other than the 850 nit screen, how is Daylight Mode any different than what we have already with the current ambient light sensor? Automatic Brightness has been around since at least my first smartphone, the Droid Incredible, if not before. The only difference here is the ability to go brighter, and that's a function of the display itself, not Daylight Mode.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 11:09 1

34. djm63401 (Posts: 19; Member since: 17 Sep 2012)


Love phone lg hit a home run. I don't think Apple or Samsung seen this conning. Good job lg.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 14:15

39. JumpinJackROMFlash (Posts: 450; Member since: 10 Dec 2014)


I agree that Samsung needs competition. An Android monopoly does noone good, but this phone is far from a home-run.

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