LG G5 Review: LG's flagship smartphone goes modular

By Scorpus · 13 replies
May 26, 2016
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  1. LG has tried something a little bit different with the G5. While its predecessor was a decent handset with a solid collection of features, it didn’t sell as well as LG was hoping due to strong competition from Samsung and Apple. So instead of just iterating, they've completely redesigned their flagship to include new ideas in an attempt to capture the eyes of buyers. It’s a bold move by LG, and in this case I’m not sure it was the right one.

    So what are these new ideas LG has brought to the G5? The biggest and most obvious one is the modular design, which sees the battery slide out the bottom of the handset attached to a swappable module. This gives LG the ability to sell additional modules that pack in other features, and it makes the G5 the most flexible handset on sale today.

    LG has also given the G5 an all new design that finally includes actual metal. The camera system has seen an upgrade as well, with the rear module now packing two cameras, one for normal shots, and one with a wide angle lens. And of course internally LG has used Qualcomm’s new and extremely powerful Snapdragon 820 SoC.

    Read the complete review.

  2. Thank you for the review!
    I don't agree with some of your preferences, but to each his/her own.

    On the flip side...luxurious beard! I approve!! :D
  3. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    Thanks for the review... you mention you don't like the inclusion of plastic in the case, but as an owner of the 'premium' HTC M7 and a G4 - I can say the same thing everyone always says. You're going to put a case on it. And I did too. I liked the removable back of the G4 because a) you could swap colors and b) damage is easily fixed with a replacement backplate.

    2nd - the removable battery. LG did NOT make the wrong decision in including a smaller battery that's removable instead of a larger one that's fixed. Year after year comments in reviews are filled with users demanding more battery life. It's always what people want more of. A removable battery means your battery goes from 0 - 100% in the amount of time it takes to turn your phone back on (< 1 min) - and you don't need an outlet. You can then plug in your battery and carry around your phone (LG Gave out the cradle and extra battery free with the G4).

    You said a very small % of people will care about a removable battery - maybe true. But we really really like it.

    My preference aside... LG can't compete with Samsung on a flagship phone without making themselves different somehow. HTC did ok when they had a metal phone over Samsung's S3/S4. But now that Samsung 's phone is metal - look where HTC is. LG can't compete head-to-head with Samsung - they have to offer something Samsung isn't. Maybe the modular thing won't take off, but a removable battery is a great feature to see still being included.
  4. Agnomen

    Agnomen TS Enthusiast

    Good review! I couldn't agree more about the modular aspect..it just seems like a gimmick to me. What's the point of a hot swappable battery if I have to shut the unit down to begin with?

    Looks like I'll keep being happy with my G3 running Fulmics 5.2 for awhile longer.
  5. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    From another review's battery life performance
    "The G5’s battery life is mediocre and could definitely benefit from a larger battery. It does have one major advantage over its peers, however: a removable battery. Swapping in a second charged battery effectively doubles battery life for less than 60 seconds of downtime."
    What's the point? The point is you don't have to charge your phone. When your battery is low at 8pm - just swap it out and charge the spare. You don't even need to charge your phone overnight - just swap it out the next day and plug in the spare again. And when you go on a trip and you're away from an outlet for many hours - you have 200% battery life.

    And this isn't even considering buying a 3rd/4th battery. They're not available yet, but someday you may even be able to get a module that's a double sized battery. It's been a normal accessory in the past for removable battery phones.

    1 year later - when your battery life is starting to deteriorate - just buy a new one! Losing battery performance is one big reason people upgrade phones. Kudos to LG for making that impossible for their phones.
  6. Agnomen

    Agnomen TS Enthusiast

    What I'm not understanding is how is a hot swappable battery is really beneficial if you can already do this with phones that have removable batteries. For example I can just pop the back off my G3 in a few seconds and throw in another battery if I wanted to with an amount of downtime comparable to the G5. The main convenience of the G5 hot swap seems to be the charging dock for the batteries. The point I was trying to make is the fact that there's downtime at all - if the unit stayed powered on during the swap I could find this much more enticing. Have the unit enter a form of low power sleep mode for 60-90 seconds that wakes back up instantly when the new battery is put in. I'd rather not have to power down my phone completely whenever I want to swap the battery.
  7. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,310   +651

    I'd like to see more phones modular, and less "throw away" after 1-2 years. I'm still rockin' with a 2 year
    old Mate2, with a good bang for the buck SD400 processor. Obviously I'm not into high end games, or,
    games in general, but just for web, email, mp3, text, youtube, daily stuff, it's a WORKHORSE! And with a
    HUGE battery, it easily lasts 2 days. On the other plus side of the 6.1" screen, it completely eliminates any
    possibility to text and drive.

    This LG phone is a good first try, hopefully modular will become more and more mainstream when Google
    releases their modular phone, but, personally, I'd wait for version 2.0 or 2.1 ;)
  8. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +137

    Here's my $0.02

    I have 3 of them. Waited from the Galaxy S4 to order these, got a deal, finally upgraded, etc. But what do I see.

    I do not see any backlight bleeding issues many report.

    The lens over the camera is too weak and I suspect will be RMAed quite easily in the future.

    I consider myself a heavier user and the battery easily lasts all day. And if I need, there is a (free) second to swap in. OR I can use that to recharge the first. Either one.

    I can quick charge the phone in an hour. From dead to 100%, even in the car with a QC3 charger which I have. So on the way home from work I can go from whatever to way over full multiple times in the short drive. Battery is fine.

    I like the smaller then max size. I've seen some of the others and I think phones are just getting too big. If I wanted a phablet or tablet I'd get one. I want a phone. This is about as big as I'd want.

    On the modular - WORST CASE, it's easy to swap out the speaker, mic and USB terminal in about 2 seconds. So what if they didn't catch on with more 'friends' toys. It is a super simple way to assure new tech (USB-C) works for a long time to come (replace it if it fails with a click-in part). Also the HD unit for better DAC audio is actually pretty nice, FWIW. Camera part won't fit into a case so... ugg...

    That's what I've seen with 3 of them since release day and my kids (3 years old twins) and my wife (sometimes worse then the 3 year olds) abusing the pants off of them. My wife and I have one, one was replaced due to software bug (wifi calling didn't work, they patched those now and they all work, but it was new-new so swapping the phone was too simple not to do it).
  9. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    For someone who reviews phones you seem to be out of touch with what users want.
    This is a poll from 2015 with over 7000 votes.
    Over 40% or almost half said they would not want the device without a removable battery and MicroSD.



    If money is no object and your a big enough clown willing to shell out another $500 for a smartphone every 2 years that for 90% of what a user does there is no real world difference (maybe web browsing and thats being nice), then yes.
    If your not terrible with finances and like to get 3-5 years out of a phone, having a replaceable battery is paramount. Albeit, I don't like the design and how it pulls out from the phone. I agree on that.
  10. Scorpus

    Scorpus TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 1,963   +231

    What percentage of people polled wanted the microSD card slot primarily? What percentage of people actually use the removable battery? Just go ask people who have phones with removable batteries when the last time they swapped the battery and you'll find that the vast majority of people don't do it and don't care about the feature.

    On the other hand, tons of people use the microSD card slot. It's a critical feature and would explain why so many people were concerned that the Note 5 and Galaxy S6 didn't have these features.

    Really there is nothing wrong with including removable batteries. But if it causes a reduction in battery life, you impact the majority of people who don't bother even touching the feature.
  11. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 283   +98

    Thanks for the review! I'm going to keep my HTC One M8 for awhile. Still very happy with it.
  12. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +137

    Some don't swap them every day but I have two batteries for my G5 (free from LG). I can use it as an external charger in a pinch if I don't want to swap the batteries around, etc. Either or. Regardless I rarely need to use it as the stock battery has plenty of charge for a day, plus since it can charge in an hour from dead, I can usually charge it in the car super fast on the way to anywhere anyhow. And when I'm out all day, got two batteries.

    More importantly, years down the road when the battery is tired and won't hold a charge like my Galaxy S4 just recently did, buy a new battery and you have a long lasting device again instead of a brick you have to keep attached to the device just for it to work anymore. That reason alone, I always get devices with replaceable batteries.
  13. lazer

    lazer TS Booster Posts: 111   +26

    The one thing I find missing from this review (and other reviews) is the QUALITY of the speaker phone.

    I am hearing impaired and wear two hearing aids but still I have difficulty understanding the voice over the phone since many phones have poor voice reproduction. I bought a Samsung S4 several years ago since at that time it was supposed to have good voice reproduction - it is OK, but my non-tech wife was given a low level LG ( I do not have the model ) and I was shocked that it had MUCH better voice reproduction than mine.

    I would very much be interested in seeing a comparison of phones' ability to reproduce the spoken voice accurately. I have never seen this and in reality, the phone is for talking to other people, even though it has other features too.
  14. basilg

    basilg TS Rookie

    Registered to say that the phrase "there is a different type of lens I would have preferred to see: a fixed focal length zoom lens" is the funniest thing I read this week. Thanks!

    Btw got the G5. Decent phone. Bought it for the wide angle camera and the IR blaster. Screen white balance is way off.

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