LG G5 (£500)
Think all smartphones are the same? LG’s G5 takes that idea and obliterates it, like the Death Star annihilated Alderaan. Granted, the G5 does look like most smartphones with its lush QHD screen, metal unibody and rear fingerprint scanner. Only a new dual-lens camera gives away the fact that this handset is a bit special.
Why? It’s modular. Press a button on the G5’s bottom corner and its rump mechanically detaches. Then just plug a new module in its place to give the G5 greater battery life, physical camera controls, even better audio. And that’s just the start of this revolution. LG has opened up the G5’s modular design to other manufacturers. They’re free to take the concept and run with it. Make no mistake, this is thoroughly exciting stuff…but you’d probably like to know about how this phone performs in the here and now.
Thankfully, the G5 doesn’t shirk its fundamentals. Its Snapdragon 820 processor is wickedly quick when multitasking and doesn’t succumb to overheating either. There’s also an absence of bloat chomping up this LG’s 32GB storage, while battery life is good enough to see you through a full day of strenuous use. There’s no waterproofing, though, and you’ll often find yourself squinting at its dim always-on LCD display. Nevertheless, these quibbles don’t dampen the thrill of holding the future in your hands.
Design - 8/10
Despite its modular smarts, the LG G5 isn’t all that attractive. It’s yet another all-metal handset in a world that’s already flooded with such phones. And although its 5.3in screen is smaller than the S7 Edge’s, this phone is actually chunkier than Samsung’s effort. If you’ve ever set eyes on Google’s humongous Nexus 6P, then that’s the kind of heft you’re dealing with. That said, the G5’s modular ethos does absolve a lot of these sins and swapping between the add-ons themselves is simply done in the space of 30 seconds.
You may quibble with its design, but the LG G5’s display is downright pristine. Daredevil looks suitably vicious, with flecks of rain and fire leaping out from Hell’s Kitchen, while footage from Barcelona’s tonking of Arsenal looks equally brutal. Elsewhere, text is crystal clear and easy to read.
Much like Apple’s rumoured iPhone 7, the LG G5 features a dual-lens camera that can take 16MP standard photos and 8MP wide-angle shots. Whether you want to capture a big group snap or plenty of scenery, it’s a handy bit of tech. In fact, that second lens has a whopping 135° field of view. As for the snaps themselves? They’re bright and full of detail. If there’s a trade-off to the G5’s pictorial trickery, it’s that sweeping daytime shots have been prioritised over low-light imagery. At night, photos tend to take on a washed-out hue, while there’s noticeably more graininess in shots than those taken on the S7 Edge.
OS and apps 7/10
LG’s take on Android Marshmallow is hardly inspiring. In fact, with no apps drawer menu it can grate – especially when swiping through home screens to find a download. That said, the overall OS experience is slick and user-friendly. And you can always jazz it up with by downloading a third-party skin.