Samsung usually steals the limelight at Mobile World Congress, but not this year; LG’s got an absolutely killer phone that could end up being the star of the show.
Built from metal, a first for an LG flagship, and with no unsightly antenna slits anywhere to be seen, the G5 is a stunning bit of design. It looks streamlined, with a front that’s almost all screen and a back that’s just as minimal.
You still get that familiar rear power button, only this time it’s also a fingerprint sensor. The volume buttons are on the side instead. The headphone slot is at the top (WHERE IT SHOULD BE) and you’ll find USB Type-C on the bottom for super-fast charging - plus a seriously clever removable bottom for upgrades - more on that later.
The 5.3in screen is a little smaller and a little more manageable in the hand than the 5.5in G4. Resolution has stayed the same, and it might not be an energy-sipping OLED, but LG’s done some tech wizardry with the LCD panel to allow always-on notifications that drain less than 0.8% battery per hour.
As for cameras, the pixel count has been bumped up on the back compared to the G4, but not how you might think; that’s because the G5 gets twin rear sensors. One’s a 16MP snapper with a standard 75° FOV, but the 8MP secondary sensor has an ultra-wide 135° FOV. That’s wider than a human eye, which means you won’t have to stoop down or step back to fit everyone into your group shots.
Focusing too much on specs would almost miss the point with the G5, but that’s not to say it isn’t a speed demon. A Snapdragon 820 CPU and 4GB of RAM should help it fly through Android 6 Marshmallow, even with LG’s custom skin on top (which has ditched the app drawer for an iPhone-style home screen setup, by the way).
You get 32GB of storage on board, plus that all important microSD card slot - you didn’t think LG was going to ditch one of its most popular features just to get that metal body, did you?
We've already had a play with the G5 and you can read our full initial verdict on it in our LG G5 hands-on review.
THAT HITS THE SLOT
The LG G5 gets almost everything right when it comes to looks, specs and speed, but it’s the genius upgradability that gives it the edge over anything else out there right now.
Whip the bottom off your spangly new G5 and you’ll be able to swap in upgrade modules, accessories and other plug-ins that give the phone a feature overhaul. You don’t have to break a nail doing it, either; a tiny button unlocks the bottom section with a firm press.
So far we’ve seen the LG Cam Plus, a battery booster and camera grip that adds a two-stage shutter button, dedicated record button and zoom dial for more accurate camera control, and a high-quality 32-bit DAC designed by speaker specialists Bang & Olufsen.
LG’s happy to share the APIs, too, so expect more third party plug-ins to follow soon. There’s no word on what each plug-in will cost, or when they’ll start turning up, but the first few should hopefully be close behind the G5 itself when it arrives in early April.
CAM YOU SEE ME NOW
Clearly 360° video is going to be one of MWC’s big hitters this year; Samsung’s almost definitely got a 360-degree camera in the works, but LG beat them to it with the 360 CAM.
LG reckons it’s the size of a tube of lipstick, but unless they’ve been going to clown college, that comparison’s a little off. It’s still small enough to slip in a pocket though.
The point-and-click cam has twin 13MP cameras with 180° lenses. The stitching looked a little shonky on the engineering sample on display at the show, but if LG gets the price right it could be a seriously cheap way to get into VR video.
The Samsung Gear VR has been the go-to VR headset for anyone that doesn’t want to wait for Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but now LG’s given us another option.
The 360 VR is the lightest headset around, and it’s crazy compact too. You don’t dock your phone inside like the Gear VR; instead, it connects to a G5 with a USB type-C cable. The phone then turns into a controller for interacting with what’s onscreen.
The idea isn’t to go after the gaming crowd, but to take VR out of the house and on the move. Planes were suggested as the ideal place to get sucked into virtual reality - but please, please don’t use it for digital smut.
SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL
Such as... It can control your TV; it can keep an eye on the house when you aren’t in with its built-in camera; and, thanks to its integrated laser pointer, it could soon become your cat’s new best friend.
You can drive it around using your phone, with the live video feed pumped back over Wi-Fi. No news on whether you can set it into patrol mode and give intruders 20 seconds to comply, though.