LG G5 Review



Finally! LG dumps the 'rainbow' approach to UI styling and settles on something more minimalist and palatable.

With the LG G4 having recently moved to the latest, Android 6 Marshmallow base, most would expect a similar-looking UI with the G5, which runs on the same build. Thankfully, that's not the case, and we say thankfully, because we've never been big fans of the styling with older LG devices.

With the G5, however, we're starting to see some positive change, with fewer eye-catchy colors, and a mostly black and white theme. Honestly, after so many years of outright cartoonish designs, we're finally happy to see a more dignified, mature approach to LG's UI.

Styling is far from the only thing that's changed, however. For example, the app drawer is gone for good, meaning all your apps will be plastered over your homescreen à la iOS, and a staple such as Dual window (run two apps side-by-side) has been retired with the G5, likely because of the smaller screen. The LG Health app has also been updated, and has received a visual and functional overhaul. Perhaps more importantly, however, G5 users will be treated to 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years.

Fingerprint scanner

Finally, this the first G-series flagship to integrate a fingerprint scanner (and can we get a Hallelujah!) with the rear-mounted power button, and we're happy to say that it's mostly reliable. You don't have to wake the screen first in order to authenticate, and can hide sensitive photos and notes behind it. On the downside, we're growing more and more dismissive of scanners located at the back, as they're just not that comfortable when you consider how often your phone will be lying on a table.


When it comes to basic phone functionality, the LG G5 sticks to the basics established by the G4. Save for a slight visual update, the app is identical to what we had with its predecessor, though there's no longer a dedicated 'Favorites' tab. We tend to use it so that's a pity.


The core Messaging app on the G5 is pretty basic, but we doubt you'd want it any other way. The standard package, including spam filters, pre-made quick replies, and scheduled dispatch, is therefore available. The only extra here worth talking about are the themes available, which let you customize the look of the background and the shape and design of message bubbles.


The Calendar app on the G5 is actually quite powerful, especially for a built-in solution. Sure, the basics such as the ability to change the view to Agenda, Month, or Week are there, and that's not exciting, but the Event Pocket feature sure is. 

Event Pocket essentially hooks up to apps outside of the Calendar, such as Facebook and the built-in Tasks app, and lets you easily add upcoming events or pending chores to your weekly agenda through a simple drag-and-drop. And if you're feeling adventurous, you can use the location service and get points of interest suggestions based on your area.

System performance 

Finally, all is well!

LG's track record with the type of silicon it ends up putting in its flagships isn't splendid by any means. With the G3, that meant an otherwise competent Snapdragon 801 having to address the many, many pixels of its Quad HD screen, while the G4 was confined to the more powerful, but still second-best Snapdragon 808, and all that it entails.

With the G5, however, LG is ready to start clean, and is making use of the top-shelf quad-core Snapdragon 820. Qualcomm promises that the 64-bit, custom Kryo cores in the new chip are twice as powerful as the ones found in the 810, and the Adreno 530 GPU brings some 40% improvements in graphics performance. Add 4GB of last-gen LPDDR4 RAM, and the package is seemingly complete, at least on paper.

Thankfully, in our experience, these numbers add up to a meaningful improvement in user input speeds and general responsiveness. Honestly, while we won't go as far as to claim that the LG G4 was exactly sluggish, it did hiccup here and there and lost its pacing more often than a trained and exacting eye has a tolerance for. So we're pretty happy to see the G5 running lean and mean, with smooth and timely execution of essential operations. 

Finally, the G5 continues LG's legacy of always thinking about the power users in the crowd, and offers expandable storage through microSD. On top of the base, 32GB storage, pretty much everyone buying into the new flagship ought to have sufficient room to breathe, whether trigger-happy, or just way into mobile gaming.

AnTuTu Higher is better
LG G5 134074
Samsung Galaxy S7 136695
Apple iPhone 6s 59075
LG G4 50330
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
LG G5 3515
Samsung Galaxy S7 3632
LG G4 2369
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
LG G5 4498
Samsung Galaxy S7 5339
LG G4 3948
JetStream Higher is better
LG G5 52.218
Samsung Galaxy S7 62.049
Apple iPhone 6s 118.91
LG G4 36.229
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
LG G5 54.33
Samsung Galaxy S7 53
Apple iPhone 6s 59.1
LG G4 25
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
LG G5 17
Samsung Galaxy S7 29
Apple iPhone 6s 56.1
LG G4 9.4
Basemark OS II Higher is better
LG G5 1913
Samsung Galaxy S7 1943
Apple iPhone 6s 2139
LG G4 1549
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
LG G5 2344
Samsung Galaxy S7 2327
Apple iPhone 6s 2539
LG G4 1112
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
LG G5 5442
Samsung Galaxy S7 5455
Apple iPhone 6s 4421
LG G4 3559

Internet and connectivity

USB Type-C is a double-edged sword. We love the convenience, but keep ending up without a compatible charging cable.

Browsing on the LG G5 means dealing with Google's Chrome unless you're set on an alternative browser, but that's good news. Historically, we've been content with Chrome's capabilities and its seamless integration with desktop Chrome clients for shared history and such. In terms of performance, however, it does feel like the G5 is having a harder time than we'd expect as far as navigational operations such as zooming and panning are concerned. These are choppy and sluggish to execute, and not what we were expecting out of the G5 given its smooth operation otherwise. Weird.

On the connectivity front, the G5 is rock solid. There's dual-band Wi-Fi, support for the newer Bluetooth 4.2 standard, NFC, reversible USB Type-C, and even an infrared blaster—a scarce commodity these days. Do keep in mind that if you're planning on upgrading from an older G-series flagship, you'll need a nano-SIM card.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, the G5 doesn't arrive alone on the scene. Its colorful entourage of separately-purchasable accessories includes a smart, remote-controlled rolling ball with a camera, an integrated laser to entertain your cat, and even a speaker. A hand-held camera that is capable of taking 360-degree, panoramic photos is also on its way to the market, not to mention a virtual reality headset.

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