LG G5 review
With an improved battery swapping system, the LG G5 isn't a bad phone, per se. But various other features probably looked better in the R&D lab than they do in real life.
- Great screen
- Feels half-baked
- Build quality issues
The innovative features are flawed to one degree or another, casting a dark shadow on a phone that otherwise does have a lot of offer.
Price$ 1,099.00 (AUD)
I never thought I’d write this about any phone, but the LG G5 just feels a bit desperate. It feels rushed. It feels like LG’s designers were locked in a room, working on what could be a very good phone, and then someone bolted out the door Leeroy Jenkins-style, and unleashed the G5 on the world before the concept was fully realized.
Check it: In the transition from last year’s G4 to this year’s G5, LG moved to a nearly all-metal design, added a fingerprint sensor, and overhauled its battery swapping system. The company also added an always-on display, and a second rear-facing camera for taking wider-angle shots. On face value, these all sound like interesting, welcome additions. But dig a bit deeper, and you’ll find some of the changes are quite incremental, and not always well-executed.
And then we have LG’s new Friends accessories: two hardware modules that snap directly into the G5’s body, giving the phone an upgradability story that’s similar to what Google imagines for Project Ara. The Friends are LG’s bid to show that the company is still thinking big in the mobile space, and pushing the edge of what a smartphone can be.
These are admirable goals. Just one problem, though: The two Friends I tested—the Hi-Fi Plus digital audio converter and Cam Plus camera controller—just aren’t very good. They drag down the G5’s score, which is already imperiled by poor execution and dubious decisions.
It’s a shame, because the $1,099 G5 does improve upon last year’s G4 in a few areas. But for this review we have to look at the entire G5 concept—the full experience, and what it says about LG’s smartphone development.
Finally, an (almost) all-metal body
For two years running, we’ve had to diss LG for shipping its premium flagship phones with plastic shells. Apple has had a metal unibody design since the iPhone 5, and Samsung made the jump to full metal cladding for its Galaxy flagship two generations ago.
Of course, LG has always had a defensible excuse: Its earlier flagship phones required a plastic back panel to facilitate the company’s battery-swapping scheme. The opportunity to swap a depleted battery for a fully charged battery has been a unique selling proposition for LG, but owners have had to accept the compromise of a downmarket design—along with the possibility that their back panels will fly away into oblivion when they drop their phones. Indeed, those back panels were difficult to pry off for battery swaps, but eager to pop off during spills.
In the new G5, LG finally improves its system for battery swaps, and introduces a mostly all-metal body in the process. As LG explains, the phone’s body is made from “microdized” aluminum—a die-cast aluminum shell covered in primer, which is then covered by a metal pigment. Our pre-production unit (which I cover extensively here) came in pink, and has a bit more glowing luster than the silver version I tested for this final review. But both the pink and silver bodies look and feel more high-end than the plastic-backed G4 I reviewed in 2015.
Just be aware that the microdized surface will scuff and and scratch under abuse. I would have preferred a more durable finish, and maybe that’s something LG can improve in next year’s G6.
Next: A better approach to battery swapping
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 3 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 4 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 5 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- Settings in iOS 10: Every notable change you need to know
- FBI faces lawsuit because it's stayed mum on iPhone 5c hack
- Early iPhone 7 reviews: You'll miss the headphone jack, but the camera and battery life are tops
- Toshiba's new SSD line features rock-bottom pricing
- Watch out: iOS 10 install is reportedly bricking some iPhones
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
- Ford Everest Trend RWD 3.2L Diesel review
- Ford Everest Trend in its natural habitat
- Linksys Velop mesh WiFi review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCOSS Project ManagerNSW
- FT4 X Gun Java Developers wantedVIC
- FTUX / UI DeveloperVIC
- CCJunior to Mid-level Devops ConsultantQLD
- FTProject SchedulerOther
- FTBusiness Development Manager - Innovative Software companyVIC
- FTIntegration Technical SpecialistOther
- FTBusiness Analyst - PermVIC
- CCPerformance Test Engineer - BrisbaneVIC
- CCMaterial Outsourcing ConsultantVIC
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- FTSales / Account ManagerOther
- FTProject Test LeadQLD
- FTSupport AnalystOther
- CCBusiness Program ManagerNSW
- FTAccount ManagerNSW
- CCSenior Software EngineerNSW
- TPTest CoordinatorQLD
- FTHelpdesk AnalystOther
- CCPrincipal Java DeveloperQLD
- FTDrupal DeveloperQLD
- FTProduct/Project Coordinator-AGILE/SCRUMOther
- FTTalend DI DeveloperOther
- FTAccount ManagerNSW
- FTSecurity Specialist - Threat DetectionOther