LG G5 review: The first step to a modular phone?

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Every year OEMs come out with one of their flagship devices that succeeds the previous model. LG is one of those OEMs that comes out with a flagship once a year to stay on par with Samsung or Apple or Sony devices. Continuing the G series, LG came out with their LG G5 flagship device with a few new tricks to them that other manufacturers don’t have on their devices. One of those new tricks is a removable battery that acts as a modular piece that allows other accessories to be used with the G5. Let’s take a dive into this review to see what else the LG G5 can do.


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What’s In The Box

  • LG G5
  • USB Type C cable
  • Fast Charging power block
  • Manual


The design on the G5 is different from other G series devices in the past, but it has a nice appeal to it. The G5 doesn’t look much like last year’s G4, but it looks similar to the G2 from 2013 and LG did a pretty good job at keeping the design nice and sleek. Looking at the front of the phone, the front facing camera is sitting in the top left with the main speaker grill in the center. LG’s logo is on the bottom portion of the device. Turning the handset over the first thing you’ll notice is the dual camera hump towards the top. In between the two cameras is a dual tone flash and a sensor. Underneath the cameras is the power button which also acts as a fingerprint scanner. There’s a cut out at the bottom where the battery is and I’ll get to that later. G5 is etched right above the cut out probably to keep the back of the phone from looking boring. The left side of the device is home to the volume rocker towards the top and a button that pops out the battery towards the bottom. The right side is home to the sim card tray that also holds a micro SD card. On top is the 3.5mm headphone jack with the IR blaster and noise cancellation mic. The bottom is where you’ll find a speaker grill, another mic, and a USB Type C port.



Now back to that cut out I was speaking about earlier. Remember that button I was speaking about too? Cool. So, if you press that button, it’ll eject the bottom portion of the phone and allow you to access the battery. If you have an extra battery you can use that. The way replacing batteries works is you have to grip the battery and the bottom part of the phone and pull. The battery will pop out and then you can place the new one in. It’s easier to understand if you see it done or have done it multiple times. It may seem like you’re going to break the battery latch, but that’s not true. I thought the same thing. You just need to use a little bit of strength.



The G5 has a 2k (1440 2560) IPS LCD display and it is pretty eye pleasing. The colors are closer to being natural unlike AMOLED displays, so I’m happy that LG stuck with an IPS display. The only problem I had with the display was with auto-brightness. Some days the brightness would turn down all the way when it got dark, then took a little bit of time to adjust the lighting to the phone. Or sometimes when the I was outside using the phone the screen didn’t always keep up. This isn’t a make or break it kind of issue as it doesn’t always happen, but it’s still there and may cause others to not like the device.


Android Marshmallow comes pre-installed with a few LG add ons. Most people are probably pretty familiar with Android 6.0 so I’m not going to get in to that here. LG has added their Optimus UX 5.0 skin on top of Android and it looks fantastic. Much much better than UX 4 that was on the LG G4 and V10. With UX 5.0 there is no app drawer which is Android fans’ biggest fear, but don’t fret as you can still get the app drawer on the device without downloading a launcher. All applications are on the home screens just like they are on iPhones. LG seems to be taking this route to make their UI easier to use for those that may just be getting into LG devices. It still looks nice without the app drawer, but it’s not going to be for everyone. As for getting the app drawer back, you just need to go to the SmartWorld application and search “home 4.0.” Once downloaded, just apply the launcher and you’ll get the app drawer back.

Other software is included, such as LG Friends. This app will let you pair multiple LG devices to the phone such as the LG Tone Bluetooth headsets or the LG 360 Cam, or even the LG 360 VR headset.


Equipped with the Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM you can’t go wrong with the performance. The phone kept up when it came to switching between apps and games and a handful of other things. There were a few times when some hiccups occurred, but after the phone caught up, it ran just fine again. One thing that I didn’t understand was that the phone was only left with 1GB or less of RAM even after closing all apps. My Samsung edge+ has the same amount of RAM in it, but I’m left with over 1.5GB of RAM. An update should fix the issue, but who knows when LG will push it out.


I don’t always listen to music on speaker phone unless I’m writing reviews, but I can tell you I wasn’t too pleased with the speaker on the G5. It wasn’t as loud as the LG V10 when I had it and this device is just a little bit quieter than my edge+, but as far as sound quality goes, it was pretty good. The G5 does come with 24-bit audio when you use headphones and personally, I don’t see a difference between a phone with 24-bit audio and a phone without it. I’m sure audiophiles will notice a difference, but I enjoyed how clear the music playback was regardless of not knowing the difference.



The LG V10 was one of the first phones to come out with two cameras. Those were on the front, but the G5 has two cameras on the back instead. The way it works is just like the LG V10. One camera is a standard lens and the other is a wide angle lens. The wide angle lens is 8MP and it does a really good job of capturing everything I want in a photo. The way that it looks after the picture is taken is as if the photo was taken from a fish eye lens, but it’s not. The quality still turns out just as good as the V10 did and I loved that camera. The standard camera is 16MP,  and the photos still turn out just fine too. I didn’t notice any blur or color distortion. Manual mode is still included for the camera, but it does not work with video. LG may have taken it out due to it not being used as much as they thought.

Nice car… photo taken with LG G5 camera

The front facing camera is 8MP and works very well. Much better than my edge+ and V10. Sure, those were both 5MP front facing cameras, but it’s not always about megapixels. The G5 shots just came out much better. Being outside, or having good lighting obviously makes the photos look better, but some photos that I took inside the house were just as good.

The camera software is pretty easy to understand and I like the modes that come installed. Auto and Panorama are normal, but there’s an option for Snap, Popout, Multi-view, Slo-mo, and Time-lapse. Snap takes a short video of anywhere from 3 seconds all the way up to 60 seconds. Popout shows the close up photo with the first camera and then takes a further shot thanks to the second camera. There are options to add four different filters for the popout photo. Multi-view was my favorite. It allows you to take three to four photos and puts them in a collage. The first photo taken is always with the front facing camera, next is the standard camera, and third is the second rear facing camera. Slo-mo is pretty self explanatory as it takes slow motion videos which you can edit, and Time-lapse allows you to take long videos and then make a shorter, faster video out of that long video.

Reception/Call Quality

When I made calls they were clear enough for me to hear the person on the other end and vice versa. A few times at my house I dropped calls, but it wasn’t much of an issue as after placing the call I was able to speak with that same person again.

Battery Life

I’m a heavy user on all my devices, so I’ll definitely need a phone battery to get me through the day and the LG G5 has done just that. Some days I can get about 26 hours of battery even with my phone going off thanks to work. Coming in at 2,800mAh the battery seems small on paper compared to other phones out these days, but reading something is different than actually experiencing it.


There are extra accessories that go with the G5, which I mentioned briefly before. These are the Cam Plus and 360 Cam. There are other modules that can go with the device, but they aren’t currently being offered in the U.S. I’m sure they’ll eventually hit the states, but for right now, the Cam Plus is the only accessory that you can purchase.


Full retail price for this device at respective carriers goes as follows. AT&T: $688, Sprint: $576, T-Mobile: $630, and Verizon: $624. Of course you can finance the device through your carrier, but for the price of the device, it’s worth purchasing.

Wrap Up

At the end of the day, I’m always happy with my G5, other than the few issues I’ve already named. Issues are common in anything these days, but some can get past it and some can’t.

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*We reviewed a retail unit of the LG G5 purchased by the reviewer.

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