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LG's G5 Shows Bold Mobile Move, We Go Hands-On

Conclusion

When we reviewed the G4, we liked it enough to give it an award. However, it wasn’t quite good enough to be in consideration to be one of the best phones of 2015, simply because LG was still playing it safe. Yes, it had an awesome camera and great performance, but it didn’t have enough to make it stand out from the crowd of excellent smartphones released last year. What we wanted from it successor was a phone that took more risks, and a phone that could go toe-to-toe with the very best LG’s competition has to offer. After spending some time with the G5, it looks like LG may have delivered.

Not only is it made from premium materials this time around, but there aren’t any specification compromises. It uses Qualcomm’s newest and most powerful SoC, the Snapdragon 820, and it also has fast UFS flash storage, 4 GB of RAM, and still retains the removable battery despite its metal construction. If that were all there is to the G5, we’d probably be satisfied, but, wait, there’s more! The G5 is the first modular smartphone from a mainstream manufacturer, and this feature certainly caught us by surprise. Although it's not nearly as modular as something like Google’s Project Ara, the very existence of this feature impresses us, and we look forawrd to seeing where LG takes it.

There’s also the inanely-named series of LG Friends accessories. It's great to see LG getting into VR in a big way, with an innovative USB Type-C tethered VR HMD and 360-camera. And what about the Rolling Bot? Surely it's the oddest accessory we’ve ever seen from a big OEM, but even so, it looks really cool. Let’s just hope it isn’t too expensive.

We don’t have any pricing or availability information as of now, but we’re sure LG will be sharing that soon, and like the LG G4, we expect to see the G5 available on nearly every North America carrier.

Update, 3/01/2016, 1:15 a.m. PST: LG did confirm to us that the G5’s ‘standard’ 16MP camera is the same as the G4’s, so it uses a Sony IMX234 Exmor RS sensor, has an f/1.8 aperture, Laser AF and OIS 2.0. LG also confirmed that the G5 will not include the V10’s manual video features, lest it make the V10 obsolete. The camera details in our specification table have been updated.

Alex Davies is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware and Tom's IT Pro, covering SmartphonesTablets, and Virtual Reality. You can follow him on Twitter. Follow Tom's Hardware on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.

  • jgskpx0389
    I'm just loving this modular battery. I'm currently using Note 5 and I love the fast charging feature but at the same time it feels like the battery drains faster than my previous phone because I have to charge during lunch time and then at night time when i'm at home

    with this new modular battery by LG I can finally go back to having 2 batteries and just swap them out so i don't have to charge battery at all during daytime
    Reply
  • LordConrad
    Still has a button on the back. This is the only thing keeping me from buying this phone, as I find rear buttons to be highly annoying.
    Reply
  • l1ghtm4st3r
    Still has a button on the back. This is the only thing keeping me from buying this phone, as I find rear buttons to be highly annoying.
    The buttons are on the side. It's only the fingerprint sensor on the back.
    Reply
  • pocketdrummer
    Still has a button on the back. This is the only thing keeping me from buying this phone, as I find rear buttons to be highly annoying.

    What's truly annoying is their insistence on ruining the android experience with their own crappy launcher. Why would anyone want to have their home screen cluttered up with every single app they own? Stupid...
    Reply
  • seth89
    No rear rocker buttons, WTH LG!
    Anyone who has a LG G3,G4, or V10 gets it.

    It's ugly too, I was really looking forward to the same body the G series has always had but metal not an iPhone knock off.

    <-----this guy is let down.
    Reply
  • Chris Droste
    I really would have appreciated a more evolutionary step this time. I think the G5 should have been the G4(leather back and back buttons in all) with the new, slightly smaller screen, the built-in DAC from the V10, the new Snapdragon chip, improved camera software, clean up the UI bloat even more (though i still love QMemo, QuickRemote, and Dual Window) and keep the dark theme, i really don't want to get my face bleached in the dark when i pull down the notification bar. the Dark Theme was clean, good contrast and easy on the eyes. this reminds me of the stupid color removal thing on the top icons after upgrading from Jellybean (STUPID!!!) App drawer; I'm indifferent. it helps when i lose a homescreen icon after a software update but millions of iPhone users may find it's removal another ease of use to draw in former apple devotees. And for the love of god what was wrong with the 3,000mAh battery? I personally loved that curved back!
    Reply
  • mobtus
    What's truly annoying is their insistence on ruining the android experience with their own crappy launcher. Why would anyone want to have their home screen cluttered up with every single app they own? Stupid...

    I have a V10, the android version it has is actually pretty close to vanilla android... You might be thinking of Microsoft's launcher
    Reply
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