LG joins the fast growing modular club with the launch of its flagship LG G5 phone in India today, priced at ₹52900. The phone has an innovative design that includes a swappable battery module.
The planned launch of the phone was announced in February at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. The latest entrant in the G series features a curved look with a full metal body and a modular design. LG also announced an interesting set of add-ons, christened LG Friends, for the phone, that include a detachable camera, a VR headset, and a spherical robot.
With its full metal body, LG G5 design seems inspired by the Nexus 5X, and is a departure from LG G4's look. The G4 featured sharp edges, unlike the G5's more brushed-off round-curve design.
LG G5 also comes equipped with the latest hardware.Create your own infographics
The volume buttons at the back have been moved to the more traditional side panel location. Just as in the LG V10 that was launched last year, the power button is on the back of the phone and can act as a fingerprint sensor too. LG has upped the RAM to 4 GB and the phone has a dual rear camera setup now. The first camera is a 16 MP shooter while the 8 MP camera can capture 135-degree wide-angle images.
LG now also has an Always-On display just as Motorola or One Plus phones. The Always-On mode displays time and notifications and, according to LG, draws only 0.8% battery per hour. G5 also has an interesting UI strategy on top of Android Marshmallow 6.0. But it has no app drawer and this particular modification by has in the past drawn mixed reactions from the users.
But the most interesting changes come in the form of the modular design. You can pop out the bottom module with the removable battery with the help of a button and attach another add-on module to the phone for an advanced camera or audio function. Some of these modules have a bump on the back, which might feel awkward while holding the phone.
The LG CAM plus add-on is a camera enhancement module with a better rubber grip and 1200 mAh of extra battery. The CAM plus comes with a dedicated shutter and a record button for the camera, as well as a zoom wheel. Additionally, the module offers better auto focus and exposure lock.
The second attachable module is the LG Hi-Fi Plus, which comes with the Bang & Olufsen (B&O) PLAY. This module converts your phone to a Hi-Fi audio system, that will enable you to play 32-bit audio through headphones or through a plug-in amp. When you attach the module, the phone will have two headphone jacks, one on the top and the other which comes with the module at the bottom, and this can be slightly confusing.
Other gadgets that complement LG G5, the so called LG Friends, include a sleek VR headset that weighs just 116 grams. It looks like a futuristic sun glass and is very thin compared to other VR headsets. It connects to LG G5 through USB-C cable and has a headphone jack for audio. Each eye comes with a screen to simulate 130-degrees of TV viewing angle. The LG VR will face stiff competition from the likes of Samsung's Gear VR and Google's Cardboard.
LG also introduced a spherical robot that can be controlled by the smartphone and will have a camera to watch over your home and pets. It can even shoot a laser beam to amuse your pets. The LG Rolling Bot can control your appliances as well and might remind some users of a popular rolling bot Sphero.
The company has also launched a 360-degree camera, that unlike Samsung's Gear 360, seems a little casually conceived and designed. It has two 180 degree, 13-megapixel sensors to capture images and videos. The device is similar to Ricoh's 360 camera Theta in its looks.
LG has also introduced the LG Tone Platinum high-end Bluetooth headphones made in partnership with drone makers Parrot. It comes with an easy-to-use drone controller as well. LG says that it plans to release more gadgets under the 'Friends' category.
Overall, LG G5 has a lot going for it, with its dual cameras and a sleek modular design with many add-ons. But in the past, LG's promising phones have often turned out to have a lot of bugs, such as the battery drainage and WiFi connectivity issues with G4. Should LG be able to deliver better day-to-day performance with its new phone, it stands a good chance of winning over Samsung's Galaxy series users.
The phone is available for pre-orders on Flipkart. Those pre-ordering will get a camera module worth ₹6000 free. The users will also get an extra battery and a charging cradle with the phone.
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