LG G5 review: Superb display and camera but falls short elsewhere

LG wowed the crowds at this year’s Mobile World Congress in February with the G5, the first modular smartphone with swappable accessories. Even without those accessories (LG promises us we’ll be able to test them shortly), it’s a compelling device with a great display and brilliant cameras, despite falling short in one or two areas.

Like HTC, LG has overhauled the tried and trusty designs of its former flagships, the G5 coming encased in a smooth aluminium body. It’s undoubtedly a well-crafted premium device, although the colour coating gives it a slightly plastic feel that puts it below the Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC 10.

LG has cut the size of the G5’s IPS LCD Quad HD screen to 5.3 inches from the G4’s 5.5 inches, but has wisely left the close-to-flawless display of its predecessor otherwise unchanged. The G5’s naturalistic colour palette and smooth rendering are up there with the best smartphones on the market, with the (now quite dated) Mad Max: Fury Road trailer looking better on the G5 than on virtually any device I’ve tested over the past year.


Camera-wise, the G5 goes for both quantity and quality, offering both a 16MP standard rear camera and an 8MP wide angle snapper on the back as well. It’s a very welcome feature, the wide angle lens proving very handy for group photos and panoramas. And while the LG’s main 16MP camera has arguably been eclipsed by that of the Galaxy S7, it still takes bright and detailed images that are close to best in class.

Like the G4 before it, the G5’s main Achilles heel is its comparatively small 2,800 MaH battery, which struggled to last an entire day of moderate use. While the ability to swap out the battery is nice on paper, most of us would trade that for a battery that offered a few more hours of juice.

First launched in the UAE in mid April, the LG G5 retails for Dh2,499, the same price as the Galaxy S7 but Dh100 more than the HTC 10. It falls a little short in terms of design and battery life, but its superb display and its excellent rear cameras make it highly recommended.

Q&A

So what is a ‘modular smartphone’ then?

It’s a smartphone that you fit different modules onto. You simply press a button on the bottom left hand side of the G5, and you ease off the bottom of the phone, and plug in a new module, or as LG calls them, ‘Friends’. This also allows you to easily swap out a dead battery for a new one, although why you’d want to do that is anyone’s guess.

According to Facebook, I have over 500 ‘Friends’. How many does LG have?

Not quite that many at the moment, although LG will be hoping that third party developers will get creative with the concept. Two plug-in Friends were launched alongside the G5. They are ‘Hi-fi Plus with B&O Play’ that offers superior audio playback, as well as the ‘Cam Plus’ that offers a better camera grip and better controls.

Sounds interesting. What are they like?

LG say they’ll send them over shortly for us to have a look at, so will let you know in due course.

Speaking of cameras, I’m far more interested in taking pictures of myself than others.

In that case the 8MP selfie camera won’t let you down. Having said that, there’s no wide angle selfie cam (like there was on the LG V10), so you might not be able to get your entire big head into the shot.

There’s no need to stoop that low. Finally…

It comes in silver, Titan, gold, and, you’ll be relieved to hear, pink.

jeverington@thenational.ae

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