LG G5 review (part 1- first impressions)

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Verizon sent me short term loaner unit of the LG G5 a couple weeks ago and I’ve been holding off reviewing it until I received the camera grip module. Since the grip module isn’t due to get here for another week or so, I thought I’d go ahead and split the review into two parts and post part one now that offers my initial impressions of the phone.

I’m not new to LG phones, I enjoyed using the LG G3, which was my primary phone for over a year. The unique placement of the volume buttons on the back of the phone and the ability to install a wireless charging adapter between the battery and the back cover made it one of my favorite smartphones. The LG G5 is two generations newer than the G3, which means it has to be better… right? Let’s find out.

Hardware Specifications

Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 with 2.15 GHz Quad-Core Custom 64-bit Qualcomm Kyro
Operating System: Android Marshmallow (6.0.1)
Memory: 32GB on board memory + 4GB RAM/Supports up to 2TB microSD Card (sold separately)
Network: CDMA, LTE, GSM Frequencies: 1.9 GHz CDMA PCS, 800 MHz CDMA, GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, LTE Bands 2/3/4/5/7/13 Data Transmission: EVDO, EVDO Rev. A, 1xRTT, LTE
Display: 5.3″ IPS Quantum QHD Display (2560 x 1440 pixels) with 554 ppi and 430 nit Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 Protection
Camera (rear): 16 MP Dual cameras
Camera (front): 8 MP
Headset: 3.5mm Audio Jack
Battery: 2800mAh (Removable Battery)
Dimensions: 5.88”(H) x 2.91”(W) inches
Weight: 5.61 oz

What’s in the box?

LG G5 smartphone
Battery
AC adapter & USB Type-C cable

 

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Physical design and features

To be brutally honest, my first impression of the LG G5 was not a favorable one. LG’s latest flagship smartphone is supposed to have a premium metal housing instead of plastic like the previous model (LG G4), but the G5’s case feels more like plastic than metal in my hands. That said, the phone does feel solid and doesn’t have any problems passing my Gadgeteer squeeze test. The casing doesn’t flex in my grip or rattle if I shake it. Keep in mind that the phone is slippery, so you’d probably want a case if you happen to suffer from fumble fingers.

Looking directly at the front of the device, the word “bland” comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong, the G5 isn’t ugly, it’s just boring. There’s nothing about the outward appearance of the phone that tells me it’s LG’s latest and greatest device. The body of the phone has rounded corners with a “chin” at the bottom. Both the top and bottom edges of the phone have a curved/rounded edge that gives this phone a very slight bulging feeling.

The 5.3 inch display is smaller than last year’s LG G4’s 5.5 inch display, and the over all size seems too small (probably due to the fact that I’ve been using an Nexus 6P for the last six months or so).

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Flipping the phone over will reveal slick metal back with the power button which doubles as the fingerprint scanner. Missing are the back mounted volume buttons, which is a disappointment because that was one of the features that made LG smartphones stand out from the crowd. I also liked the previous button placement because they were perfect for one handed eBook page turning.

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The protruding black oval at the top of the phone is the location for the dual 16 MP camera lenses and LED flash.

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On the top edge of the phone you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone jack, a microphone and a IR transmitter. People who enjoy using their phone as an universal remote for their entertainment center will appreciate the addition of the IR transmitter.

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The volume buttons have been relocated from the back of the phone to the left side. The one piece volume rocker button has good tactile feedback, but it’s almost flush with the sides of the phone, making it a little difficult to find with your thumb when you’re in a call and don’t want to find them visually.

Look closely at the bottom edge of the phone in the image above. See that small button and seam in the casing? That is the most unique feature of this phone.

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The LG G5 has a modular design. Press the button and pull out the bottom of the phone to reveal a removable/replaceable battery. Note that the LG G5’s battery has a lower capacity than the LG G4. It’s gone from 3000 mAh down to 2800 mAh.

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Although not pictured here, you can disconnect the battery from the “chin”. LG is one of the few smartphone manufactures left that still offers a removable and replaceable battery. A removable battery doesn’t really excite me these days. I’d much rather have wireless charging capability, which the LG G5 does not have and probably will never have due to the fact that the case is made of metal. The modular design does allow for other accessories though – like the LG Cam Plus camera grip which I’ll be talking about in part two of this review. With only a camera grip and a battery modules being offered, I’m not sold on the modular design – yet.

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Flip the phone to the other side and you’ll see the SIM slot.

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The SIM tray also has a slot for a micro SD card. It’s good to see that LG did not remove this feature. Samsung did that with the Galaxy S6 and faced the wrath of Galaxy owners and ended up adding it back with the Samsung Galaxy S7.

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The bottom edge the phone has a downward firing speaker, Type-C USB charging port and another microphone. The LG G5 is the second smartphone with the new Type-C USB port. That’s both good and bad. Good that it charges crazy fast if you use an AC adapter with a USB cable, but bad because you won’t be able to use the bazillions of cables you already have all over your house and office.

Summing up my first impressions

The LG G5 is a solid phone with an updated processor, dual cameras and an interesting modular design. I’m just disappointed in the way it looks and feels because it doesn’t seem like LG’s best of the best right now. However, I’ve learned that it’s not a good idea to judge a book by its cover, so I’m going to withhold my final judgement until I am able to put all the features through their paces. That’s what part two of this review will cover, hopefully to be posted by this time next week. Post any questions in the comment section and I’ll do my best to cover all of them in the second half of the review.

Read part 2 of my LG G5 review.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Verizon Wireless. Please visit their site for more info.

 

Product Information

Price:$624
Manufacturer:LG
Retailer:Verizon Wireless
Pros:
  • Dual camera
  • Modular design
  • micro SD card
  • Replaceable battery
Cons:
  • Style doesn't screen flagship device
Posted in: Android, Featured Items, Reviews
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