LG G5 vs LG V10: first look
The LG V10 was quite an interesting handset design-wise. After spending a couple of years experimenting with the concept of curving its top-class phablets in a banana shape (LG G Flex and G Flex 2), and even using the tech to add a very slight, ergonomic arch to the mainstream G4, LG suddenly did a U-turn and produced a more orthodox, slate-shaped phablet. That doesn't mean it's mundane, however. The V10 has two stainless steel bars on its sides for durability and a sturdy feel. On its back, one can find a camera ring that matches the metal side guards and a conveniently placed volume rocker and power key / fingerprint scanner combo. Unfortunately, LG chose to make the top and bottom bezels out of plastic, and the phone's removable back cover out of a thin, flimsy-to-the-touch, rubbery plastic material.
With the LG G5, the manufacturer again strays away from its signature design choices and gets closer to the mainstream. The body is made entirely out of metal, and the volume buttons are moved to the side of the handset for a more traditional look and operation. The power / fingerprint scanner button is still nested on the back of the device, just below a bulging camera module, which holds two sensors – one 8 MP wide-angle shooter, and a traditional 16 MP one. It's placement and overall aesthetic, we feel, is going to be an acquired taste.
Of course, the G5 also has the unique modular design, which allows its bottom bezel to be unlatched and replaced with alternative modules, of which there currently are two available – the LG CAM Plus and LG Hi-Fi Plus. And, naturally, the new flagship is going to be more compact than the V10 due to the fact that it totes a 5.3-inch display – noticeably smaller than the 5.7-incher on the phablet.
A 5.3-inch Quantum IPS display vs a 5.7-inch Quantum IPS display. Both have a 1440 x 2560 pixel resolution, with the G5's pixel density being 554 ppi, whereas the same metric is 515 ppi on the LG V10. So, yes, a shootout between the two will give you very similar results – punchy, albeit a bit inaccurate colors, and a very crisp resolution, which makes it virtually impossible for the naked eye to spot individual pixels.
There are, however, a couple of differences. Obviously, the V10 is a more niche, phablet-class handset, and its display is noticeably larger than the G5's, which is aimed at more conventional users. The V10, however, also has a secondary display at its very top, which is dimly lit even when the phone is sleeping, giving the user at-a-glance information about pending notifications and the current time. When the phablet is on, the secondary display houses panels with links to favorite apps, recently used apps, access to utilities, and music playback.
The G5 inherits the always on concept of the V10's mini ticker display. However, it doesn't have an extra stripe on its top. Rather, its main display can glow with a dim light, and display a clock and the same app-related notifications. So, the G5 also has the benefits of the always on technology, but doesn't have the mutitasking recent apps / favorite apps panels.
The LG V10 is equipped with a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 and 4 GB of RAM. Despite the fact that LG didn't use the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 back when it designed the V10, the phablet still runs pretty smoothly and relatively stutter-free, though it can run out of breath when demanding tasks are involved.
On the other hand, the LG G5 has the brand-new Snapdragon 820 SoC humming under its hood, and if the few quick benchmarks we ran on the device are anything to go by – it is a true powerhouse. Powerusers that demand nothing but bleeding edge performance from their handset will find it hard not to go with the G5 in this face-off. Of course, it also has 4 GB of RAM.
In terms of storage, the V10 wins with 64 GB of built-in memory, where the G5 has 32 GB. Still, both smartphones support expansion via microSD card of up to 2 TB.
The main cameras on both smartphones have 16 MP sensors. While we don't have the detailed specs of the G5's camera yet, we have a feeling that nothing has changed in this department, and that it uses a similar, if not the same, sensor as the LG V10. But that is in no way a bad thing, as we generally liked the performance of the snapper in the V10. Its wide F1.8 aperture helps with night shots, as it allows more light in, and offers a shallow depth of field for better layered photos.
The G5, however, has a secondary camera on its back. It's a wide snapper, capable of taking photos and video at a 135-degree angle. Basically, what you can see, the secondary camera can get into its view, LG says. It's meant for those moments where you want to photograph large monuments, landscapes, or groups of people. Unfortunately, its resolution suffers a bit, as it's knocked down to 8 MP, and GoPro-like distortion is noticeable.
On the front, the G5 has a generous 8 MP selfie snapper for those detailed mugshots. The V10's “main” frontal camera has a 5 MP sensor, but the phablet has a secondary selfie camera. Yup, the dual camera concept, which can be found on the G5's back, actually started with the V10, which offers a choice between a “regular” and a wide-angle shooter on its front.
LG's phablet offered a pretty elaborate manual control mode for its video camcorder. Full access to white balance, focus, exposure, microphone gain, a wind noise cancellation, and three directional microphones built into the device are definitely a treat for any shutterbug out there. While the G5 does have a fully fleshed-out manual mode for photos, it lacks the deeply customizable mode for videos.
We touched upon the modular design of the LG G5 in the design section. The phone's bottom part can be switched out for another, which houses an experience-enhancing device, widening the customization options in that regard. At the moment, there are two modules available — the CAM Plus and the B&O DAC — but there is much more potential here. We are curious what else LG and its partners can come up with, but thus far – V10 owners shouldn't feel too jealous. The CAM Plus one can live without, though its juicy 1,200 mAh extra battery is certainly a plus; and a high-quality DAC is actually present in the V10 already.
The company also wants to introduce a fresh, playful feel back into the smartphone scene with its “Friends” devices. Manufactured by LG partners to work exclusively with the LG G5, these currently consist of a light and portable VR headset, which we didn't find to be too great, the Rolling Bot, complete with a mounted IP camera for both play and home surveillance, and the 360 CAM, for shooting VR-ready pictures and video.
These two smartphones are made to attract different types of consumers. The G5 comes in a more manageable body, offers lots of power headroom, and a nice all-around package of build materials, camera, and ergonomics. Additionally it has the potential for extra cool modules in the future, depending on what LG and its partners come up with. The LG Friend devices also sound interesting, but while LG is suggesting that they are exclusive to the G5, we are still willing to wait for a software update on the V10 and even the G4 and see if they get support for at least some of the companions (like the Rolling Bot, maybe?).
The V10, on the other hand, should appeal to those that are used to having both hands on a smartphone most of the time. Its larger display lends itself well for Web surfing and media consumption, and its ticker panels enhance multitasking. Additionally, its video-shooting prowess still comes out on top, at least if you are an avid clip-taker, thanks to the sheer amount of options in the manual mode.