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LG G5 Review

Sunday, 21 February 2016
The LG G5 has been launched at MWC in Barcelona. Can it live up to claims that it would leave previous generations of the device in the dust with its updated design, more powerful processor and interesting new features? I got to test out LG's latest flagship smartphone at the event, and you can find out what I discovered in this hands-on LG G5 review.

Release date and price
The LG G5 has just been unveiled at MWC in Barcelona, and there's no word yet on pricing or availability.
design and build quality
The LG G4 was one of the few 2015 flagships not to feature a metal unibody design – instead, LG opted for a removable plastic or leather back. The manufacturer has decided to switch the G5 design to more premium materials: metal and Gorilla Glass 4.
The LG G5 seems particularly ergonomic and comfortable to handle
The back of the device is no longer removable and has also lost the trio of physical buttons that defined the LG G4. It now only features the camera, with LED flash, and the newly introduced fingerprint scanner, both of which come in a porthole design. If you're concerned that the lack of removable back means the battery isn't removable either, don't be; it slides out the bottom of the device using a removable cap.
The SIM and microSD card slot reside on the right-hand side of the device, while the volume rocker sits on the left. Along the bottom edge is a USB Type-C port and speakers
The front panel features an Always On display, similar to the second screen on the LG V10, used primarily to show notifications, the time and the date. We'll discuss this in more detail below.
The display is smaller than the LG G4's, just 5.3 inches. Above the screen are a front-facing camera, flash and speaker. 
Display
At 5.3 inches, the LG G5 display is 0.2 inches smaller than the G4's, but since it offers the same QHD resolution (2,560 x 1,440), its pixel density is greater. The difference this makes in quality is negligible, however, 
The G5 makes use of an interesting feature called Always On
Thanks to DCI (Digital Camera Initiatives), colors on the IPS LCD screen appear natural, and the display itself is particularly bright. The viewing angles are also excellent, even in the artificial light of the MWC stand.
The G5 makes use of an interesting feature we mentioned earlier, called Always On. We have previously seen this on the LG V10. This feature continuously displays information such as the time, date and notifications without you having to wake the device up.

It functions in a similar way to Ambient, which was introduced on some Nexus devices with the arrival of Android Marshmallow. The question is, how heavily will an always-on display weigh on the battery? We'll answer this question in our full LG G5 review.
Special Features
The G5 has bowed to market demands with the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner, which, in addition to unlocking the smartphone, allows you to launch the camera, answer incoming calls and silence alarms.
Other LG G5 special features include the Magic Slot, which allows you to connect to external gadgets such as smartphone VR headsets, external keyboards, speakers and cameras. The Magic Slot is found by removing the cap on the base of the device – which also allows you to remove the battery.
software
The G4 ran Android Lollipop when it was released, so it's no surprise to discover that the LG G5 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with LG's own UX 5.1 user interface pasted over it. This brings the return of Material Design, along with a number of new features to improve user experience, including Doze, enhanced app permissions and Google Now on Tap.
The app drawer has been removed, perhaps lending credence to the rumor that Google plans to drop it from Android N

Dual-window mode has been dropped from UX 5.0, and the app drawer has also been removed, perhaps lending credence the rumor that Google plans to drop it from Android N.

A left-swipe from the home screen accesses the Bulletin, which provides a range of boards dedicated to your calendar, music, smart settings and QREMOTE. Don't worry if you are not a fan of these services, Bulletin is easily disabled.

During the time I spent with the G5, the interface didn’t present any problems with lag and suffered no sudden crashes.
Performance
Under its metal body, the G5 houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 octa-core processor, supported by 4 GB of RAM and 32 of internal storage. The Snapdragon 820 was announced as a highly optimized processor, leaving behind the overheating problems that have plagued the Snapdragon 810.

It was likely this overheating problem that encouraged LG to equip the G4 with the hexa-core Snapdragon 808, which still managed optimal performance. With the G5, we can expect very good performance and a strong handling of everything from multitasking to hardware-intensive games.
During our test of the G5, it appeared fluid and fast, and I cannot wait to put it through a more thorough test. I'm keen to see how it compares not only to its predecessor but also to the other new top-of-the-range Samsung, Huawei, Sony and Xiaomi devices that are also appearing at MWC.
Camera
The LG G4 offers one of the best cameras on Android and the G5 camera isn't likely to fall behind, featuring a 16 MP rear camera with a dual LED flash and autofocus laser.
Although the MP count remains the same as on the G4, the G5 promises to offer superior image quality thanks to an additional 8 MP wide-angle camera that provides a 135-degree field of view. We've not been able to test it yet, but we will do in our full LG G5 review.
The software offers a manual mode that lets you set different values for things such as ISO, and you can also save your shots in RAW format.
Battery
The G5 has a removable 2,800 mAh battery. It's 200 mAh smaller than its predecessor but Marshmallow’s Doze feature should mean that battery management is more keenly optimized. The LG G5 also provides two energy-saving modes within its settings menu, allowing you to conserve battery life effectively.

Verdict

The G5 undoubtedly shows LG's commitment to giving its users a carefully considered smartphone that they can enjoy for its premium looks and useful features.
The LG G5 is well-designed, visually appealing and apparently robust. Its technical specifications are promising and, in combination with Android Marshmallow and LG's user interface, should meet the needs of customers who want a smooth user experience – not just in terms of apps and navigation, but also when taking photos or playing graphic-intensive games.
The question of whether the battery can cut it looms large, however, especially considering the Always On display.