P34990 LG G5, and Friends, launched in Philippines, First Thoughts

The first commercially available modular phone, the LG G5, along with its companion devices (Friends), was launched in the Philippines on April 28, 2016. Modular means the G5 offers features added via attachable devices: pull out the bottom of the phone, including the battery, and replace it with either the Cam Plus (which adds grip and physical camera controls) or the Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play (which adds Hi-Fi audio). The G5 has 7 Friends including the LG Rolling Bot (a la BB8 Droid) and the LG 360 VR goggle.

In a design departure from the LG G4 and LG V10, the G5 shrinks into a smaller display, lets go of the curved body look (of the G4), sports a lower battery capacity, opts for a metallic chassis, ditches dual front cameras (of the V10), offers no leather rear cover option (unlike the G4), leaves out a second screen (unlike the V10), forgoes water resistance (unlike the V10), and brings back side buttons (unlike the G2, G3, and G4). (See a short history of LG flagships here.)


On the plus side, the LG G5 has an always on 5.3-inch Quad HD display (for quick glances at notifications), a dual rear camera set up (one for normal and another for wide angle shots), 4GB RAM, Type C port, Qualcomm Quick Charge, 24-bit Hi-Fi Wireless Audio, and offers extendable features (the battery grip and Hi-Fi audio). The smaller body housing a 5.3-inch display is now more pocketable. Those with small hands may like the G5.

Before we post our thoughts about the G5, you need to meet its Friends.

The bottom of the LG G5 can be pulled out, along with the battery, to allow for two optional modular extensions. Shown here is the LG CAM Plus camera grip.

 

Meet the LG G5 Friends

  • LG Tone Platinum Bluetooth headset. P7990.
  • LG CAM Plus (P2,990) connects to the bottom of the LG G5 to provide grip and physical camera controls, and provides added 1,200 mAh capacity.
  • LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play can be connected to the LG G5's bottom to add Hi-Fi audio. Also works with non LG G5 smartphones.
  • LG 360 CAM (P10,990) with paired LG G5. The CAM is a compact camera with two 13MP 200-degree wide angle cameras (one on each side), and provides 2k video and high quality 360-degree content.
  • LG 360 VR google connects to LG G5 via cable. Unlike other VR devices, this one doesn't need the phone inserted into the googles.
  • LG Rolling Bot, remote-controllable bot with 8MP camera for monitoring homes via live streaming.
  • H3 by B7O PLAY high end earphones, works with all Android phones.

Only the LG Tone Platinum (P7,990), LG CAM Plus (P2,990), and the LG Hi-FI Plus with B&O Play (P5,990) will be available locally.

 

Our thoughts on the LG G5

Because of LG’s decision to go modular, the G5 ditches the curves-in-your-hand faux metal back of the G3 and the luxurious rear cover leather feel of the G4, and even brings back side buttons. The previous designs, and perhaps this is subjective, seemed more alluring.

Left to right: LG G3 and LG G4. The rear keys that LG popularized, along with the posh and premium look, are gone.

The LG G5 is behind in Selfie camera features. It has no front camera flash (unlike the ASUS ZenFone Selfie and Huawei Mate S), only has an 8MP front camera (the OPPO F1 Plus has a 16MP front camera and takes great shots in dim lighting), and forgets how awesome the LG V10’s dual front camera set up was (one normal camera and a wide angle one so you don’t need a selfie stick).

LG V10 mage above from The Verge, whose glowing review of the V10 appears here.

What’s missing from LG G5’s Friends list is what many gamers want to connect with their smartphones – a game controller. Imagine a modular gamepad with a higher capacity battery for longer hours of first person shooters and racing games. That would have been awesome!

LG G5 Full Specs

5.3-inch QHD IPS Quantum dot display
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
4GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage
16MP rear camera, 135-degree FOV, 1/2.5″ sensor size, laser AF, OIS
8MP rear camera, 78 degree FOV
8MP front camera
Optional Dual SIM, 3G, LTE
WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB Type-C, NFC
2800mAh battery
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
P34990

What are your thoughts on LG’s 2016 flagship phone?

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Author

Irwin Allen Rivera loves his wife's cooking so much he's now twice the man he used to be. His English essay won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2012. His philosophical-horror story appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 8 (2013). He was managing editor and lead writer of Sites and Symbols 2 (2005), a coffee-table book about buildings in UP Diliman - his alma mater (BA Philosophy; MA Creative Writing continuing). He worked at the UP Diliman Information Office before shifting to web content writing. His sudden fiction, "Notwithstanding Pigs," initially a Friendster testimonial, appeared in Philippines Graphic (2006) and in Very Short Stories for Harried Readers (2007). He used to write for www.technoodling.net.