LG G5 Review: Modular Failure Or Success?

I’d like to thank the Ideas Network for loaning me the modular LG G5 review unit on behalf of Vodafone UK Unfortunately it doesn’t appear Vodafone offers the G5 anymore, but they do offer the almost similar LG G5 SE. The SE is the same phone design wise and therefore is modular as well but has a few internal specification changes. The modular design was the key selling point of the G5, but given that the recently released G6 loses this feature, one does wonder if LG succeeded with this design choice.

LG G5 Review: Specifications and performance

The LG G5 is no doubt a very powerful phone, back in 2016 when it was released and still today. It’s packing 4GB of RAM paired with a Snapdragon 820 processor for brilliant all round performance. There’s 32GB of ROM and if that’s not enough for you, there’s support for microSD cards up to 2TB in size.

There’s a 5.3-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2560×1440 with a dpi of 554 for a truly amazing Quad HD experience in the palm of your hand. Network wise the phone supports LTE, 3G and 2G networks.

Camera wise the phone sports an 8-megapixel front shooter, while around the back are two cameras. One is a 16-megapixel shooter, while the other is an 8-megapixel wide-angle shooter.

Powering this powerhouse is a 2800mAh battery, which is a bit of an issue, considering this phone is no laughing matter when it comes to performance. The battery really is a letdown, but I’ll get to that later. Check out the table below for more specification information.

Operating system Android 6.0.1
Processor Snapdragon 820
Display 5.3-inch IPS quad-HD quantum display (2560×1440, 554 dpi)
Storage 32GB UFS ROM, microSD up to 2TB
Rear camera 16MP main, 8MP wide-angle (135 degrees)
Front camera 8MP
Battery 2800 mAh removable
Modules LG Cam Plus (camera grip with 1100 mAh)
LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play
Dimensions 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm
Weight 159 grams
Networks LTE/3G/2G
Connectivity Wifi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
USB Type C, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2
Colors Silver/Titan/Gold/Pink

All of this equals one smooth performing device that can easily outdo some of the other flagship phones of 2016. My LG G5 review unit came running Android 7.0, I’m not sure if this goes for brand new units, which may still be running 6.0 out of the box, with a OTA for 7.0. Anyway back to the point, the G5 is no snail at all. It plays games such as GTA: San Andreas and Need For Speed with ease. The 4GB of ram makes multitasking as easy as pie. I can listen to music, play games and do other things with tasks running in the background, while the phone is still maintaining a smooth operation.

The G5 comes with LG’s UX 5.0 skin sitting on top of the core operating system. The skin is clean and well presented. Icons are smooth, while also having a slightly flat appearance to them. The various menus in the settings area are well laid out and thanks to the horizontal categories bar at the top, finding the settings I needed during my time with the phone was quick and easy in comparison to a vertical style layout. While it’s one of the best skins I have used on an Android device it, of course, comes nowhere near the pure Android experience found on Google’s own line of phones and Motorola’s phones. That’s not a pop by any means, I just prefer the Vanilla Android experience.

LG G5 Review

LG G5 Review: Design

There’s no denying that the LG G5 is, for the most part, a gorgeous looking phone, even for a modular phone. In fact, if I walked up to someone with no knowledge of this phone and let them look at it and hold it, they would most likely not realize it has one big difference from many other phones of today and that is, of course, the modular feature of the phone. There’s no ports or anything else to suggest the phone is modular, that is until you remove the bottom bezel area, which clips in and out of the phone. Unclip this and you end up with a phone that looks like it’s missing a chunk from the bottom, which in turn takes that gorgeous design and rips it apart.

LG G5 Review

Luckily the battery clips onto the bezel itself, so there’s no chance of ‘accidentally’ using the phone without the modular bezel area inserted. Since the battery clips onto this area, any modules you do buy, do not need to come included with a battery as they can simply be connected to the original battery, before being inserted into the phone. There are a number of modules, but unfortunately, I haven’t got access to any of them, so I can’t really talk too much about them.

With the exception of that removable bezel module at the bottom of the G5, the whole front of the phone is covered with glass, while the back and sides are metal. Along the top of the phone are a 3.5mm audio jack, an infrared blaster and a microphone, while along the bottom of the removable module is a speaker, a USB type C port and a microphone.

The front of the phone is home to the typical things such as a front facing camera, an earpiece and various sensors all located above the display. Around the back of the device are two camera lenses, a dual LED flash and a heart rate monitor. Just below these is a fingerprint scanner that also doubles as a power button. I must admit I’m not a fan of this location for the power button at all. It’s awkward picking up the phone to take a quick glance at the time, but not being able to find the power button on the side. This is something I managed to keep doing, throughout my time with the phone.

LG G5 Review

On the left-hand side of the G5 is a volume rocker and a button to remove the module, while at the bottom of the right-hand side is a removable sim/microSD tray.

The G5 is a visual stunner that doesn’t have to copy off the likes of Apple or Samsung to look good. It’s simply an LG original design that’s essentially free of anything anyone else already did before.

One thing about the design, that you may need to consider is just how easy that metal bodywork is going to get scraped and damaged. Luckily the LG G5 review unit I was sent, doesn’t look too bad, despite being passed around from reviewer to reviewer. It certainly is a world of difference compared to Nexus 6P I recently reviewed. I would still definitely recommend getting it a case from somewhere.

LG G5 Review: Battery Performance

With only a 2800mAh battery, the LG G5 is noticeably quicker at draining in comparison the Samsung Galaxy S7 which has a 3000mAh battery. Even during basic use which includes a few texts, phone calls. a few gaming sessions etc, I was only getting around 7 hours of use before hitting less than 10% of battery life remaining. Most of this juice was of course taken by the screen, but the battery percentage went down by 20% within 2 hours with just casual use, which is quite bad in all honesty.


I did do a video based battery test, with the G5 that consisted of a full HD movie of almost 2 hours, Wifi turned on and applications open in the background. By the time the movie had ended I’d lost about 12% of power, which when compared to the everyday tasks such as calling, web browsing, and game playing is a breath of fresh air.

Overall I’m no fan of the battery, though, as I am an avid phone user who enjoys using his phone throughout the day, but hates when it gets to 3 pm and I need a boost of power to continue on until bed time.

LG G5 Review: Display

The LG G5 rocks a Quad HD screen (1440 x 2560) that offers excellent brightness and rich colors. Viewing the display outside on a lovely sunny day is as easy as pie. I haven’t had to ever tilt the phone or cover the display with my hand just to see it. The viewing angle is simply superb.

Also present is an ‘always on display’ which actually means the display can show notifications against a black background while locked. The black background isn’t created using colors stored on the phone, but is essentially the unused areas of the display not activated at all, which means less battery power being used while simply glancing at notifications.

LG G5 Review: Camera

The LG G5 has two cameras on the back, but these aren’t combined to make one super camera like HTC attempted with M8. instead, LG wants these two cameras to be used independently. One is 16-megapixel snapper and the other is an 8-megapixel wide-angle snapper. This means you can take normal phones with the 16-megapixel camera or wide photos with the 8-megapixel snapper.

LG G5 Review

I love this choice of camera setup so much, that I found myself just taking random photos for the fun of it. I took these photos with both lenses as I wanted to see the real difference and it’s really clear to see. Check out the images below. Both are of my desk at this moment in time in landscape mode with me sat in front of it. As you can see the photo taken with the 16-megapixel camera doesn’t show much of the desk at all, but the wide-angle lens shows you almost all of the desk and if I was sat further back you’d see it all and then some.

The LG G5 is capable of taking fantastic photos that are clear and offer a lot of detail, even in low-light situations. Check out a few of the sample shots I have taken below to see just how clear they are.

LG G5 Review: Little things that matter

The G5 comes with a fingerprint scanner located on the rear side of the phone. it works well for the most part, but I have had a few instances, where the phone refuses to acknowledge my fingers presence on the scanner. This was something I never experienced with the Nexus 6P.

It’s a nice feature to have and when it works it’s fantastic. With it, I can unlock the phone within seconds and get going and I can even assign it for use with some applications that support the feature.

LG G5 Review: Overall

The G5 is a stunning phone that is both gorgeous and powerful. The modular part of the phone feels slightly gimmicky and it would appear LG have accepted this as the recently announced G6 misses out on this feature. The G5 offers a smooth performance and packs decent specifications. It’s definitely still a worthwhile phone to buy now in 2017.

LG G5 Review: Check it out here

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