LG G5 Review

Introduction


What makes a great flagship smartphone? You'd think that in a multi-billion industry, the answer would vary wildly, and for a good reason—it's a gigantic market serving the needs of hundreds of millions of people annually. But it doesn't, at least not lately.

Does that mean that we're getting high-ends that are barely any better than their predecessors stuffed down our throat? No, that's probably unfair. But it's been a while since we've had one of those few and far between, but highly prized, moments where our collective jaw drops, and we just know. We know that this is something special, new, and exciting. Something we really want to get behind.

With the G5, LG is undeniably shooting for just that. It wants to excite. It wants to entertain. It wants to change things up. And it wants to be unique. And there's a two-pronged approach to that: the G5 features a modular design, meaning you can exchange 'modules', or “Friends” as LG calls them, to get added functionality such as a specialized camera grip for a more convenient photography experience, or a high-fidelity DAC for improved audio. There are also toys that hook up to your device, such as an RC robot ball, and a hand-held, 360° camera. And then there's the unique camera configuration on the back of the G5, with two sensors—one wide, and the other even wider.

LG Friends - LG G5 Review
LG G5 Review
LG G5 Review
LG G5 Review
LG G5 Review
LG G5 Review
LG G5 Review
LG G5 Review
LG G5 Review
Life's Good When You Play, LG says, and we doubt anyone would disagree. But in order to get to play with the G5 and its Friends, people will first have to dole out some serious cash to get one, and there are plenty of other companies vying for their attention (and monies). After all, at the end of the day, sans snap purchases, buying a flagship phone entails at least some consideration on the part of consumers, and so playfulness is just the icing on top. So it's time to see if the foundation underneath is solid enough to warrant the buy.

In the box:

  • LG G5
  • Start Guide leaflet
  • microUSB Type-C to USB cable
  • 1.8A FastCharge wall charger
  • SIM ejector tool

Design

Plastic is out, metal is in? Not exactly.

For the last three years, LG has had a very clear design philosophy when it comes to its flagship line—and the ones beneath it, which were influenced by it. It's what the company referred to as 'arc' design, or just barely rounded rectangles with a slightly arching top and bottom, and particulars such as rear-mounted power and volume keys, along with removable back plates from the G3 onward. With the G5, however, LG is closing that chapter of its design story and moving on.

Most will agree that the LG G5 is unlike any of its G-series predecessors. It's more aggressively rounded at the sides, smaller, thinner, and while the volume keys have been re-positioned to the left side, it's honestly quirkier than ever. The top of the phone, for example, is slightly (and somewhat inexplicably) flexed backwards, while a circular power key doubles up as a fingerprint scanner on the back, alike to the Nexus 5X. Seemingly more important in a world increasingly dominated by metal high-ends, however, LG finally joins the club and is ditching plastic—even if adorned with leather—in favor of cool aluminum. But it doesn't feel like metal, because the aluminum in the body is covered by a significant layer of primer.

By far the most peculiar part about the G5 is, of course, the modular bottom, which can be ejected with a press of a button on the lower left. The removal process itself is well thought-out, though once the module is out, we're always afraid that we're about to snap the 2,800mAh battery in half when trying to detach it from the base, due to the amount of force required. We were kind of hoping that this would be limited to the early production samples we got to try out, but the final unit is no different. Still, given how rarely you'll have to deal with this, it's probably not that big of a deal—just a bit disappointing, given LG's insistence (or hope?) on buyers getting these.

All said, does the G5 fill in the G4's leather shoes? We'd argue it does, and subtles touches such as the fine chrome lining of the frame sure help with that. So we dig the vibe of the phone, though the matte back is, naturally, on the slippery side. Meanwhile, the aforementioned chrome edge also digs into the hand a little bit. In the end, we applaud the minimalist approach this time around, but we also can't pretend that we're head over heels in love with the G5's styling either. It's kind of an acquired taste.


LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

Apple iPhone 6s

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

LG G4

LG G4

Dimensions

5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches

148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

Apple iPhone 6s

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

LG G4

LG G4

Dimensions

5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches

148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


LG G5 Review

Display

A smaller display, but the same Quad HD resolution of old.

LG was the first to jump onto the Quad HD bandwagon, but thankfully, it has seen no reason to chase even more resolution with the G5. The 1440 x 2560 pixel resolution of old is what we're dealing with, though all that visual excess is now less evident than ever before, with the company going for a smaller, 5.3-inch display—a departure from the 5.5-inch panels of its last two flagships. To protect the screen, LG is making use of what it calls a 3D Arc Glass, which is really just a the company's way to market a Corning Gorilla Glass 4.

Like in the past, LG is banking on colors that “pop” with the G5, meaning significant deviations from the globally accepted sRGB standard. As was the case with our pre-production model, the G5's display is very cold (or bluish), because the display is lacking in red, leading to a color temperature of 7820K, which is a let down. Average gamma, at 2.14, is decent, but erratic in its behavior in that very bright portions of any image will be further brightened up artificially. These factors combined lead to a rather disappointing conclusion: color fidelity has a way to go.

On the bright side, and literally? The LG G5's display can get crazy bright in extreme environments, managing over 800 nits on the top end. It's also able to go decently low for the night owls among us, with a bottom of 4 nits.

LG G5 Review
LG G5 Review
Last, but certainly not least, the IPS LCD display of the G5 has been cleverly engineered as to allow it to jump on what is starting to feel like the next bandwagon: Always On Display. This new feature means that the phone will always display the time and date, along with any incoming notifications—even ones from third parties. Customization is limited to just adding a personal message, which is a bit unfortunate, as is the fact that the content is rather hard to read from even a moderate angle—especially when there's light from lamps or the sun bouncing off of the display.

LG's pitch is that because we wake up our devices so many times a day to check the time and what we've missed notifications-wise, the net result from Always On Display would be positive, with lower battery drain and better user experience. However, we're actually on the fence as to whether this is a truly useful feature, as even though it displays notification icons from third-party apps (unlike the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge), you still will be waking up the screen to find out what they say.


FEATURED VIDEO

153 Comments

1. adi9764

Posts: 119; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

......

12. MSi_GS70 unregistered

don't like this phone..

57. jarome

Posts: 20; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

You guys must have forgotten to remove the protective plastic cover from the back. I did, and it feels like aluminum! There is a severe bug in the LG G5 EXIF data it puts into images. All the pictures I take with my G5 are upside down when I upload them to my Drupal site. Even if I rotate them 180 degrees and save them using my Mac's Preview, the images are still upside down when uploaded. However, if I load the image in Adobe Lightroom, and edit its name in the EXIF data, and then save it, that image is displayed right-side up! I was out on a walk and still had trouble viewing the camera in bright sun, despite its crazy bright screen.

78. scarface21173

Posts: 575; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

LG have went into partnership with B&O, they have got it the wrong way around. They should be getting B&O to design the phone and LG to concentrate on the UI

152. metalspy101

Posts: 105; Member since: Dec 15, 2012

This EDITOR replaced JOHN V. weak ass

2. dubaiboy78

Posts: 434; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Waiting for SE review! Expecting 9.7 on it iphonearena!!!

3. Unordinary unregistered

Cry me a river babe

22. thetcmbway

Posts: 30; Member since: Mar 15, 2016

You are annoying.

4. ZeneticX

Posts: 63; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

waiting for the score of SE on PA, if it earns more than 9 it cements the fact that PA is apple bias even the verge gave SE a below 9 rating, a first for a well known apple bias website

34. jessyi

Posts: 325; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

1.How will you minus points for unconfortable to hold what if some one else finds it confortable? 2.screen not accurate in colors tell which screen is acurate? 3.doesnt take perfect low light pic.all phones dont produce consistent in low light! 4. Battery life is on par with s7 despite the G5 being lcd and bigger. 5.I agree with the dim always on display.

39. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

S7 screen is about the most accurate for color its almost perfect. agreed with point 1 its all depend on taste. The S7 produce better picture in low light but all picture are unreal ( in good or bad light ) its like the colors are boosted and the contrast as well its dont even look like reality still low light picture are way better. battery life is on par? Well i will wait for GSM arena test to say thats if i would be you. Yeah its dim i would had prefere they use a similar aproach to motorola the screen light up if you pass your hand over the phone or pick it up and you can see all notification ect and its go back to sleep right away whitout waking the phone ( only the screen is ) I dont like samsung but need to give them credit where its due.

79. rubyonrails3

Posts: 368; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

Moto x pure edition have very color accurate display..

141. Trex95

Posts: 2314; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

S7&7edge camera prdoouce accurate pictures in normal lighting condition (compare it to iPhone 6 s plus camera and G4 camera) except for 2 colors blue and red a bit oversturatetd but not by much, iPhone 6 s plus and 6s overstatute the green color a bit other than that it's the most accurate phone camera around. G4 it does oversturtare red and green same as S7&S7edge, but over oversharpense kills both camera G4 and S7&7edge that wipe the details of the photos especially at low condition.

45. cdm283813

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

In Apple's favor the SE is over $200 cheaper, decent rear camera and just as fast as the flagship 6S. So while I'm not running out to buy it I do believe that the SE beats out the G5 on my rating scale.

99. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

Almost every flagship are fast enough for most heavy task. I had a problem with small screen, how do you enjoy your stuff? I'd say Xperia Z5 compact is better choice (the main problem with Apple is so small screen and bad screen to body ratio, it's basic but very important). The other basic thing is 16gb base model, you can't call this device cheap if most people will need and end up buying 64 gb model while they need to spend more. I'm not against you, i respect your comment just curious.

122. sgodsell

Posts: 6584; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Sure the SE beats the G5 for a tiny non HD display that you need to squint at. Whereas the G5 has a much more robust QHD display (2k) that everyone can use and see properly.

123. MotoFoner

Posts: 34; Member since: May 11, 2015

The "SE" is a recycled krApple iPhone 5s. You krApple FashionistaBois will swallow anything that krApple shoves down your throats... and Tim "The Fist" Cook is glad of it!

138. KingClash

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 29, 2015

Apple's 4" baby screen or camera doesn't even begin to compare with the LG's 5.3 or the Samung's 5.1, and costs even more... explain that??? LG's logo is "Life's good when you play more" Apple's is: Life's good when you pay more... ;-)

142. Trex95

Posts: 2314; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

iPhone SE is cheaper than G4 leave a lone S7 and 7 edge.

103. WPX00

Posts: 508; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

Especially after they gave the S7 Edge 9.1, the highest rating a non Apple product has ever gotten, shared with the Kindle Voyage and a Sony camera I cant remember (also higher than the 6s)

111. SayMobile

Posts: 148; Member since: Jan 29, 2014

yes The verge is a hugely hugely apple biased website but it still gave the S7 edge a well deserving 9.1, their highest score till date for a smartphone ,

5. letosaw

Posts: 135; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Approximately 8.8-9.0

38. jessyi

Posts: 325; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

True.they are very baised to LG.comon minus point becuse YOU feel it slightly unconfortable to hold?finger print at the back,screen.most people wont even notice the slipperyness ir the silghtly shape border,some will love the back fingerprint,it has the best LCD panel on the market...Biased..i would rate it 9/10

40. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Agreed. Just like the new apple 5SE should be rated 7 to 7.5... but they dont follow reality at PA ;)

100. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

I think SE is pretty good device, but people may enjoyed better more refined design & appreciate larger screen in small body that's real compactness for me. Same design (even galaxy S7 is improving and more refined over year). Bad screen to body ratio, i think it's useless to have fast device if you can't enjoy browsing/gaming/or other multimedia experience due to the small screen. I think it's should scored nothing more than 8.

149. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

What are you on about? The LG G2 got a 9.4/10, the LG G3 a 9.2/10, and the G4 a 9/10. If you're to argue we're biased, you ought to be at least claiming that we're playing favorites with LG, not the other way around.

83. Ahovking

Posts: 711; Member since: Feb 03, 2015

Well considering its just an iPhone 6s in a smaller body.. and considering iPhone 6s has better ram management and speed tests than Note or Galaxy, benchmark score placing it with the flagships of android and with an unbeatable ecosystem that extends from a simple mobile platform to a multi-device hive (Apple TV, mac, iPhone, etc) And unlike LG, iPhone SE does better in torture tests, and actually feels premium.

84. UglyFrank

Posts: 2188; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

A device that can't even upload my photos to Dropbox/onedrive in the background has better ram management than an S7/Note 5.....

107. Ahovking

Posts: 711; Member since: Feb 03, 2015

-.- with ios i can upload photos to Dropbox/onedrive in the background as i go back to facebook or play an app. Comparing multitasking like opening tabs and apps.. Apple beats S7/Note 5..... when jailbroken the 1gb iphone 6 can have muti-window, live wallpaper and weights.. no issue... it is well known samsung as a huge issue with ram management.

114. Clars123

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

"when jailbroken".....end it right there....when rooted the same can be said about any android device

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

G5
  • Display 5.3" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh

Latest Stories