LG’s got a good thing going on with the G5; it’s the flagship that has demanded attention at this year’s MWC.
Not everyone can afford a top-end phone, but you won’t have to miss out on some of the G5’s defining features with the X-series mid-range line-up.
The X Cam borrows the dual camera setup from the G5, but otherwise keeps the price down. It’s a tempting compromise, so we made sure to take a look when we dropped by LG’s booth.
Twice as nice
Flip the X Cam over and the dual cameras should be the first thing you notice. They protrude out from the chassis slightly, but not enough that you’ll notice it when trying to stuff the phone in a pocket.
LG’s fitted the main 13MP sensor with a standard lens for everyday use, but the second 5MP sensor has an ultra-wide angle lens for those shots you just couldn’t fit in with a normal lens. That makes group photos, landscapes, and crowded places like bars where you can’t keep walking backwards to try and fit all your mates into one shot.
Tapping the two field of view icons in the camera app toggles between regular and wide angle. There’s a bit of unavoidable fisheye effect going on at the edges of wide angle shots, but it certainly beats having to stitch a panorama together.
Quality takes a step down when using the ultra-wide camera, but it was only really noticeable when zooming in on the phone - it looks like it’ll be fine for updating profile pictures and sharing on social media.
It takes a little extra oomph to quickly toggle between the two camera lenses, which is why the X Cam has an octa-core CPU and 2GB of RAM. That’s a step above the slower X Screen, and it shows when it comes to performance.
The X Cam just feels snappier, whether you’re taking photos, jumping between apps or swiping through home screens.
That’s despite having to push more pixels than the X Screen, too. The cheaper handset makes do with a 720p panel, but the X Cam uses a superior 1080p display. It’s bright and colourful, even if it can’t hold a candle to the G5.
The X Cam borrows much of its design from the G5, and even though it’s made from plastic, you can see the heritage in the minimal rear panel and screen that dominates the front panel.
The grey, white and gold colours are quite restrained, although we’re not convinced by the garish pink model.
Plastic construction normally means a light weight, and the X Cam is no exception; at 118g it’s barely there when you slip it in a pocket. LG reckons that at 6.9mm, it’s one of the thinnest phones the company has made too.
Overly thin phones can sometimes be tricky to hold comfortably, but the X Cam fits your palm nicely.
Like any Android phone worth it’s salt at MWC, the X Cam will arrive with Marshmallow out of the box.
LG’s applied it’s own spin on the UI, though, removing the familiar app drawer in the process. You’ve got 16GB of onboard storage for installing apps, but you’ll have to dump them onto multiple home screens rather than get them sorted automatically. It’s definitely going to divide opinions among Android fans.
At least the microSD card slot will let you add more capacity when you’ve filled the phone with photos.
LG X Cam early verdict
Let’s be honest, most mid-range phones are pretty interchangeable. It’s great to see LG try to stand out a little bit with the X Cam, although we won’t know if it has pulled it off until we give it a full review.
After a brief hands-on session, though, there’s lots to like - even if it doesn’t have the G5’s killer screen or modular upgrades.
If you’re looking to give your Instagram page a bit more variety, this could be the phone to get when it arrives before the summer.