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I have been using it for over a month now.
I am ready to share with you the LG G5 strengths, weaknesses and passes as I have experienced them on a day to day basis.
Everything is written and presented in this article from a common user’s perspective. It represents how the device feels in a routine environment and the user experience it creates for its owner. If you are in the market to consider buying LG G5 as your next smartphone or just looking to know more about it, you have landed on the right article.
Stick around and I will give you a summary of my findings about this flagship by LG.
Its strengths, weaknesses and passes.
If you have read me before, you know that I like to be straight to the point.
I am going to start with the LG G5 strengths first.
Table of Contents for Quick Navigation
- LG G5 Camera Experience – The Key Strength
- Features/Performance to Price Ratio – Another Strong Point of LG G5
- LG G5 Design – Just a Pass
- Pass No. 2 – G5’s Battery Life
- Another Pass – LG’s Optimus UX (User Interface, UI)
- So What Are the LG G5 Weaknesses?
- LG G5 Verdict and Your Views
LG G5 Camera Experience – The Key Strength
It is not the camera specifications on paper which tell you the whole story.
I analyse how easy it is to use the camera and how good the results are. Something which a common user like you and me care for.
LG G5 comes with two cameras at the back. Note that I am not reviewing the front camera here in this article.
The F1.8 (aperture), 16 MP primary shooter comes with its own 3-axis optical image stabilisation (OIS). This lens is capable of taking pictures at 78 degrees field of view which is similar to the rest of the competition. The camera is the same as used in the LG G4 from last year.
The wide-angle F2.4, 8MP secondary shooter has a 135 degrees field of view. An excellent addition and a useful feature to have in certain circumstances. Yes, it can round the things a bit (distortion, which is understandable) towards the edges of the frame but generally, the picture quality is excellent.
Switching between the two cameras is only a one-click matter. Super easy. Both cameras benefit from LG’s laser-focus system (infrared assisted focussing mechanism) and LG’s colour sensor spectrum for rich colours.
LG G5 Camera App
The default camera app in LG G5 is neat and practical.
It is designed with all levels of camera users in mind. The app offers (super) easy, (common) auto and (technical) manual modes to cater for all levels of smartphone photographers. Although I appreciate that the manual mode is where the best results can be achieved, I rarely used it. Most of the times, the auto mode worked flawlessly and produced excellent results for me.
Call me whatever, but I like using the “auto” mode if it gives me good results.
The menus and navigation are easy and it took me no time to understand the functioning of the app. The focus was quick and there was a minimal gap between shooting two consecutive photos.
I don’t hesitate to jump on the third party apps such as FV-5 and Manual Camera when I don’t like the default apps. However, with LG G5, I never felt the need for it.
The Picture Quality
This is the primary consideration for many of us – the sheer picture quality of the images taken with the phone camera.
The summary of my findings is that the LG G5 (like G4 from last year) has managed to produce some of the best looking photographs that I have taken with a smartphone. The colours are rich and there is a high range of dynamic contrast visible in most of the pictures. The focus was quick and pictures came out to be generally well-exposed.
If camera quality is one of your primary concerns in your smartphone, LG G5 should be near to the top of your list of options, perhaps right at the top of the list.
The overall camera experience is a strength of the LG G5.
My 2015 camera performance winner was LG G4.
This year, the G5 stands loud and proud in the competition-line aiming to get the top spot again. I will reserve my decision until late 2016 when I have tried a few other major players in the 2016 market.
Features/Performance to Price Ratio – Another Strong Point of LG G5
Specifications and Features
For a 2016 flagship Android market, G5 offers a good set of features.
Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM, 32GB memory onboard with expansion slot, 5.3 inches QHD screen with ~554 ppi pixel density and an Adreno 530 GPU suggest that LG has not cut corners here. It is a strong set of features this device offers.
For a full set of specifications, head over to the GSMArena page here.
Don’t forget that LG has introduced a “semi-modular” design with the G5. It has the ability to take separate modules (LG Friends) which enhances the capabilities of the device. It is a big plus for those who have a specific need to try one of the LG Friends options. For a common user like me, I think the whole modular concept needs to be cooked and matured further.
I am not fully sold on this yet.
LG G5’s Speed and Performance
To complement the above-mentioned specifications, LG G5 offers a fast, solid and reliable performance. The device does not get significantly warm and the apps are responsive and snappy. I did find occasional signs of stutter or lag, but nothing that should disappoint me at all.
I am not a heavy gamer or user of demanding apps and graphics on mobile phones. I represent a common user and in my day to day use, there were absolutely no issues at all with the G5 in terms of speed and performance.
It is a fast machine for a normal user.
Perhaps a few future tweaks on the software side can improve it further but as it stands, it is more than acceptable.
LG G5 Price
The key is to look at the features and performance in the light of pricing.
In early July 2016, when I am writing this article, LG G5 (Model H850 – Titan Grey) is retailing for £380 on Amazon UK.
This is a whole £80 less than Black Samsung Galaxy S7 (£460) and £190 less than the beautiful HTC 10 in Glacial Silver (£570)
This is not just the G5 this year.
I have seen the same trend in previous G4 and G3 models as well. LG deserves praise for that to give us a high-end phone at a competitive price.
I appreciate that the competition is fierce though. OnePlus 3 is a worthy mention here which is retailing at £309 on release here in the UK. Another £70 less than the G5 and a newer model as well.
Interesting times in the high-end market.
Let us talk about a few “average performers” now.
LG G5 Design – Just a Pass
G4 last year with its leather back impressed me mildly.
I was expecting more from LG this year especially considering that LG has decided to go all-metal.
But when I held it in my hands for the first time, it felt ordinary.
I applaud the effort to go with the metal build. This is because I am a lover of all-metal design in premium handsets. However, LG’s metal design and feel did not impress at all. It appears to be too bland and does not create a wow when you see it.
I wrote about its design in detail a few days back. Have a look at the article and there are sample images from all angles to give you a flavour.
I hope that LG sticks to the metal philosophy but keep refining the curves, finish and ergonomics further to create stunning design going forward.
Pass No. 2 – G5’s Battery Life
I have been beating the drum for a long time now about this.
I believe that all major players should invest more efforts to bring us a killer battery life experience in their flagship devices. Some companies have tried more than others and they deserve the praise for that such as Sony.
LG G5, on the other hand is just another average performance in my opinion.
On a busy day, I need to charge it in the afternoon.
One a not-so-busy day with light to medium use, I get a day out of it normally.
I am sure you will appreciate that the demanding QHD screen is heavy on the battery life. I accept that but it is that balance which the manufacturers need to strike – 1080p resolution or any higher?
I must say that previously, I was an advocate of this combo – a 1080p screen and having a better battery life.
However, now after using a few QHD screens with over 500 ppi depth, I believe I am getting addicted to the richness and immersive-ness of the screen quality.
Let us stick with the 2K but see what else can be done to improve the battery life.
Down to the big players again and their effort to improve further. The Android user is asking for too many things here.
Another Pass – LG’s Optimus UX (User Interface, UI)
LG released the G5 with a strange and horrible approach.
The Optimus 5.0 UX didn’t have the “apps drawer”.
For the first couple of days, I was clueless and didn’t like it at all. I didn’t know how to hide 50 odd apps that took over my screen space and a lovely wallpaper behind.
And then LG rolled out an update which introduced the conventional apps drawer back. I felt better.
I am generally an innovative person and don’t resist change but on this occasion, I was reluctant to go for a no-drawer design. It just felt awkward.
Other than that, LG has kept the things simple with not too much bloat. An approach adopted by many high-end players to go close to the stock experience and reduce the number of bundled apps.
I didn’t feel anything special. The same LG style with a bit of customisation. Themes available via LG SmartWorld as usual.
Finally, a big omission and not a very good step by LG in my opinion is that there is no built-in option to use the multi-window feature. So you can’t use two apps side by side unless you install a third party app.
Is it because of a slightly smaller screen size (5.3“) as compared to last year’s 5.5″, I don’t know?
I believe that it is a must-have in any smartphone with over 5 inches of display area.
It is confirmed now that the Android N(ougat) will have multi-tasking built into it. So we will see more and more of this feature going forward.
Overall, an “OK” UI experience.
So What Are the LG G5 Weaknesses?
If I am honest, there is no significant individual weakness in this device.
In fact, it is the collection of many “average elements” that create an overall average experience.
Design, construction, battery, UI, screen colours and internal speakers. They all felt average.
And having an average feel of a flagship and high-end device is a weakness in my opinion. It does not create a sense of owning and using a premium device.
It felt just another guy in the block.
At least to me as a common user.
LG G5 Verdict and Your Views
The camera experience is the best I have tried to date on a smartphone. If you are after a phone which can take great pictures for you (keeping in mind it is only a smartphone camera), definitely consider the G5.
Images with sharp colours, details and highlights are the strengths of LG G5 without a doubt.
The modular approach is commendable and something nice to have but needs more maturity and developing the foothold in the common market. It would be interesting to see if LG chooses to stick with this approach and keeps refining and working on it.
Other than that, price can be another factor for you to be tempted. You are getting a decent high-end device for a competitive price as compared to other big wigs. However, at the same time, underdogs like OnePlus 3 have managed to do even better – on cost front.
Overall, it is a good phone but not great.
“I will give it a 7 out of 10 for overall user experience (feels good).”
Before I sign out, I am leaving you with the result of a recent quick-poll which shows the top 2 reasons when deciding for a smartphone. This poll was closed after receiving 200 responses in November 2016.
Your turn now, have you tried the LG G5 and if so, share your thoughts and feedback with us?
Do you think that LG could have done more with this device?