A few months ago, AT&T kind enough to send us a brand new LG G5 to review. At that time, there were quite a few unreleased modular components which were supposed to make this phone great, so we wanted to wait a bit to see how those fared before we released our full impressions. Now that a few months have gone by and everything that was going to come out has come out, we thought it would be a good time to dive into our full review.
Performance-wise, the LG G5 is no slouch. Rocking Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, an Adreno 530 GPU and 4GB of ram, the device flies through Android Marshmallow’s buttery operating system. I didn’t experience much stuttering at all the entire time I was using the handset, and the performance of the fingerprint sensor was as good or even better than the one on my Nexus 6P. Applications spring open and multitasking is a breeze. I ran the device as my main handset for about 3 weeks, and had no regrets the entire time. Although LG’s UI is not the greatest, the speed makes up for it. I can’t comment on how the snappyness holds up in the long term, but at least for the time I had the device, it ran smooth as any other flagship today.
One of the biggest selling points of the device is it’s semi-modular design. The bottom half of the device snaps off to reveal a removable battery and SD card slot. LG has always been the savior of those who wanted these two things in particular when everyone else has removed them, and wanted to keep these options open while still providing a full body metal design. LG was planning on releasing additional modules to attach to the bottom of the device, but for some unknown reason, that never happened. The metal of the device feels decent, but is pretty thin, and doesn’t give the same feel as something like the HTC 10 or Nexus 6P. If you still want a removable battery and micro SD expansion, this is really your only option. However, if micro SD if all you need, it would likely be in your best interest to get something like the Samsung Galaxy S7.
The LG G5 comes with 2 cameras built into the back side and one in the front. One is a 16MP camera with HDR, Laser Autofocus, Optical Image Stabalization, and an LED flash. This camera is actually quite good, taking photos on par with the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6S. The second back end camera sports a wide angle lens, and the images are actually very cool. The camera captures a significantly wider field of view than the regular camera, and is fantastic for when you want to capture as much of the world as possible. The front facing camera is decent, but tries a bit too hard to add a “beauty” effect to the face of the owner. I can talk about the camera all I want, but only images can truly show off what the camera can do. For a full rundown, take a look at this album.
While I’m not really big on LG’s built in icon pack, the general skin isn’t bad. The strangest part for most consumers is that there isn’t an app drawer. When users install new apps to the phone, it will drop the apps on the next page. While this was a direction many people were asking to move towards, I would prefer to keep things the way they were. The settings menu is decently straightforward, and is actually organized better than a lot of other more popular skins. While I will almost always prefer stock Android, some aspects of the skin were pretty useful, and I could see them being implemented on separate terms in the stock version of Android. If you like big, bubbly icons and a new look on the app drawer situation, the device could be worth a look. Otherwise, get a new launcher or consider another device.
The LG G5 rocks a 5.3″ 2560 x 1440p display which is slightly curved around the edges. From my limited time using it, I found it to be quite clear and crisp. Looking closely, it’s hard to distinguish individual pixels from one another, though admittedly, most 2k displays now and days look essentially the same. Using the display outside looks great, and is quite good at reducing glare. You won’t be disappointed with this display, but you likely won’t be overwhelmed either. Overall, I would give the display an 8/10.
While LG had good intentions while producing the G5, they missed the mark when they failed to release any of the modular components which they had marketed the phone as being used with. The fish eye camera works very well, but it alone is not a good enough reason to pick up the device in comparison to everything else on the market at the moment. The UI is decent, but forcing consumers to drop the app drawer doesn’t mesh well with me personally. If you’re looking for something with a removable battery and micro SD card expansion, this is likely your best option. If you can live without that, you should aim your eyes elsewhere.
Thanks to AT&T for the review unit!
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