The most underrated flagship phone of 2016 is actually a good one. Should you get it? Here are 12 reasons why you’d like it. (Spoiler: most of the reasons involve the LG G5’s awesome front and rear cameras.)
1. The wide angle secondary rear camera
LG was the first to implement a rear dual camera set up not focused on bokeh (blurred background).
Dual rear cameras meant for bokeh (Huawei Honor 6 Plus, Mate 9, and GR5 2017), optical zoom (iPhone 7 Plus, ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom), and extra depth of detail (monochrome sensor of the Huawei P9 and Mate 9’s dual rear cameras) are now available. But only LG (first implemented on the G5, then on the V10 and V20) approached it with a main camera for normal field of view (FOV) and a secondary one for super wide FOV. Here’s the wide angle advantage: you can fit more people in the shot, or take in the expanse of a scene to show how grand it is (something not usually possible with a small FOV sensor), and even mimic a GoPro fisheye camera look.
While this doesn’t allow an optical zoom in to your child performing on stage, from a distance, it does allow you to include in the shot everyone on stage, even the stage itself. Tight shots in condos or homes being sold also won’t be a problem. There’s rarely a need to step back, and vacation pics of lovely scenery looks more grand with a wide angle than with a normal boring 23mm FOV.
See our full review of the LG G5 here.
2. Awesome display, sharp details, punchy colors
The LG G5 has one of the sharpest, most color-natural displays currently available; one that’s not oversaturated (it’s no AMOLED). And despite not bing AMOLED, it holds its own outdoors: you can still see what you’re texting. This means a delightful viewing experience when checking out Instagram, videos on YouTube or Netflix (or the videos taken on the G5).
While other phones boast of a saturated display and saturated color output in their images (Samsung), the LG G5 coughs out close to natural colors, with minimal saturation and color highlights.
3. Food and low light shots are superb
The G5’s main rear 16MP camera has an 78 degree FOV, which is wider than most phones, and can handle close ups without distorting the image (some camera phones fatten square shaped subjects during macro shots). Combine this with the G5’s auto mode (one tap to focus and capture) and intelligent auto HDR (it knows when to bring out the highlights in dark areas), and you get food shots that look awesome. It also has Optical Image Stabilization (the Huawei P9 doesn’t have this), which means it can compensate for shaky hands, and significantly reduce blur in your shots. This advantage extends to low light shots, too.
Take note though that the G5, unlike other phones, does not offer a “food mode”, which only serves to oversaturate colors. Its image processing prioritizes close to natural colors, so you won’t be deceiving anyone with the color the food your shared online.
4. Crisp sounds from its speaker – one of the best on a flagship
The bottom-firing speaker of the LG G5 is one of the loudest, yet audio-clearest, we’ve heard on a flagship (and the speaker isn’t even front-facing). This means a great video experience when Netflix binging, or just sharing a cat video with a friend without sharing headphones. Also, if you’re the type who plays music at home, the G5 can hold its own, no need for a Bluetooth speaker (though prolonged use eats up battery, as with any other phone). The comes with earphones are also good, by the way, in case you want a solo experience with videos and games.
5. Manual mode can pull out some great shots even in near pitch black scenes
While other phones have a night mode you need to activate, the LG G5 can give you pleasantly clear low light shots while on Simple Mode (tap to capture), without going into Settings, or going to Manual Mode. As you see below.
Of course, when it’s near pitch black, you can push the G5’s main rear camera to its limits to get more light and get you that desired shot, but you have to go into Manual Mode and try out what works.
Here’s a great shot our boss and mascot, XinYi.
Near pitch-black darkness scene, shot in full manual mode with the LG G5: focal length 4.42 mm, aperture 1.8, exposure time 1″ 1/3, ISO 600. Cat in picture, XinYi, weighs 7 kg. #LGG5 #lgg5photography #lgg5ph #lowlight #lowlightphotography #cat #catphoto #catphotography #catsofinstagram #cats #siamese #siamesecat
6. Selfies are incredible
While other phones brag about clear and crisp selfies, the G5 is a clear candidate for the best selfie phone, despite not claiming that throne (OPPO F1s), and not having dual front cameras (Vivo V5 Plus). The images below seal the deal – and demonstrate how well the front camera performs in various conditions, even in low light.
7. Videos, and the sound they capture, are wow-worthy
The smallish LG G5 captures incredible videos – the details are crisp, the camera shake is reduced by Optical Image Stabilization (for Full HD), and 4K (although it eats up space fast) is superb. Two scenarios when we definitely need video footage are (1) emergencies or accidents we witness on the road and (2) evening low light concerts we’d love to share on social media. Below is a sample video captured in low light settings, listen to the great sound.
Both of the rear cameras, by the way, can capture 4K videos. Below is a sample video with the G5 switching from main rear to secondary wide angle camera and back.
8. It runs any game you throw at it
What’s the use of having top of the line specs, a crisp and vibrant display, and loud and full audio, if you can’t play any game you want? Exactly. The LG G5 can take the most demanding games. Here’s a screenshot of me playing at a max settings of 60 frames per second at Modern Combat 5: Blackout. I die a lot in this game, but that’s not the point.
9. Android 7 Nougat
The LG G5 was among the first flagships last year to be able to run Android 7 Nougat and enjoy the improvements battery life, among other things. While some manufacturers are only rolling out Nougat updates, the G5 already had it. LG is serious about keeping its flagships updated with the best software.
10. The price is lower, and LG Philippines offer great deals on the G5
To see the latest promos and discounts on LG mobile products, check out their Facebook page.
11. One-hand user comfort
While some flagships have at least a 5.7 inch display, the LG G5 goes small, for user comfort. We don’t all have big hands and not all love big phones. With “only” a 5.3 inch display, your thumb can comfortably reach nearly any part of the screen, using only one hand.
12. Fast charging is really fast
Quick Charge 3.0 gives you 60% charge capacity in 30 minutes of wall-socket plugged in charging using the comes with LG fast charger. While the standard Android charger also works with the G5, the fast charger is something you’ll be addicted to. While the phone can stand up to 7 hours of usage, just leaving it plugged in for half an hour of fast charging can be better than bringing with your a power bank.
While all these sound great, we don’t want to play down the LG G5’s limitations. For one, it’s design isn’t head-turning (it’s low key and doesn’t call attention to itself), its not water-proof (not many need that), and its battery life is about 7-8 hours (about the same as the Samsung Galaxy S7). But you can actually get past both (we have) because the cameras are so great and a slim, pocketable 5,000 mAh power bank solves your away-from-the-socket power needs.
Also, no other phone can take shots like this.
See our full review of the LG G5 here.
LG G5 Full Specs
5.3-inch QHD (1440 x 2560 pixels) IPS Quantum dot display (554 ppi)
Corning Gorilla Glass 4, Always-On Display
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor | Adreno 530 | 4GB of RAM
32GB internal storage, up to 256GB via micro SD slot
16MP F1.8 rear camera, 78-degree FOV, 1/2.5″ sensor size, laser AF, OIS
8MP F2.4 rear camera, 135 degree FOV
8MP F2.0 front camera | On-screen Flash
Hybrid Dual Nano SIM (2 SIMs or 1 SIM + 1 microSD), 3G, LTE
WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB Type-C, NFC
Removable 2800mAh Lithium Ion battery | Quick Charge 3.0 (60% in 30 mins)
Ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, upgradeable to Android 7.0 Nougat
LG Optimus UX 5.0 UI | LG SmartWorld app lets you download themes, wallpapers, fonts
Colors: Silver, Titan, Gold, Pink
149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm | 159 grams
Price at Launch: P34990, down to P30k
Price as of this writing: around P20,000 on the gray market