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 Smartphones, Tablets, and Virtual Reality. You can follow him on Twitter. Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.