Home Your Tech Mobility VIDEOS: LG’s G5: a ‘modular’ smartphone with amazing mod-cons

VIDEOS: LG’s G5: a ‘modular’ smartphone with amazing mod-cons

No Australian prices or availability yet, but LG’s secret is out: a ‘modular’ smartphone and companion ‘LG Friends’ designed to outclass Samsung, Apple and everyone else.

It’s MWC week - Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and LG has launched its newest flagship, the LG G5, with some surprising features, benefits and additions.

Just hours before Samsung unveils its S7 and S7 Edge smartphones, LG describes the G5 as ‘eye-catching with brand new design elements that feature a sleek metal body, a 135-degree wide angle lens camera, a slide out removable battery, and a sophisticated modular design.’

In addition are a series of companion devices, including a Star Wars BB-8-esque ‘rolling bot ball’ with webcam that you can watch from anywhere in the world, along with a built-in laser that can entertain your cat!

To get a real sense of what all of this means, take a look at this official 4 minute video below from LG before we go on, it’s quite a funny little video and shows how seriously LG is playing at winning the smartphone game, especially amongst all those Android competitors:

Commenting on the new G5 smartphone, Gino Casha, General Manager, Mobile Communications at LG Australia said: “The LG G5 ecosystem is the result of many LG experts asking themselves if it was still possible to be innovative and unique in the smartphone space. I think once customers spend a little time with the LG G5, the answer will be a resounding, YES.”

Here's LG's one-minute video:

Promising that the G5’s sleek all-metal body design surpasses the ‘visual experience’ of last year’s LG G4 model, LG promises great improvements to its smartphone camera, too. 

Boasting an ‘extreme wide-angle lens and advanced UX’, LG boasts two cameras on the rear of the phone: ‘one with a standard 78-degree lens and the other with a 135-degree wide angle lens, the widest available in any smartphone.’

LG says its 135-degree lens ‘offers a viewing angle that is approximately 1.7 times wider than those of existing smartphone cameras and 15-degrees wider than the human eye’s field of view.’

In addition, this wide angle lens ‘makes it easier for users to capture more landscape, taller buildings or larger groups of people without having to position yourself further away.’

There’s also the software smarts to go along with the extreme angles, with LG saying the G5 ‘features a collection of powerful photo effects including Pop-out Picture, Film Effect and Auto Shot.’

Pop-out Picture is said to ‘combine images taken by the standard and wide angle lens to create a picture-in-a-frame effect.’

Meanwhile, Film Effect can ‘apply nine different film emulators to an image,’ whilst Auto Shot is an ‘enhanced camera UX which automatically captures the perfect selfie shot when a face is recognised.’

But what of this talk of a modular design? Well, if you watched the videos above, you know what LG means. LG says its ‘innovative Modular Type design gives the LG G5 the ability to transform according to user needs, whilst keeping its traditional removable battery in a slim metal design.’

More below, please read on:

This modular design means two specific add-ons can be inserted into the phone’s battery slot, whereupon you remove the existing battery and slot in either an even more advanced camera, the ‘CAM Plus’ or a high-definition audio add-on, the ‘Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play’, both of which also come attached to a battery that slides back into that removable battery slot.

Here’s more detail:

The CAM Plus

LG says its CAM Plus is a ‘versatile camera module that can be attached through the battery slot to deliver a comfortable grip and convenient control of a DSLR.’

It provides physical buttons for power, shutter, record, zoom, LED display and comfortable hand grip, as well as ‘intuitive auto focus and exposure lock, features usually found on standalone digital cameras.’

It also ‘provides an additional battery capacity of 1,200mAh, allowing longer shooting times for more fun and enjoyment.’

Then there’s the Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play

This add-on is a portable Hi-Fi DAC audio player, ‘developed in collaboration with B&O Play to reach and enjoy sounds that have traditionally only been available through high-end audio devices.’

Billed as having a ‘stand-out design, with cutting-edge sound technology,’ it offers ‘up-sampling technology that was embedded for the 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC on the previously-introduced V10,’ while also supporting ’32-bit, 384KHz high-definition audio playback.’

It addition, the LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play can be used either with the LG G5 or as a separate Hi-Fi DAC by connecting to any smartphone or PC.

Next up are those LG Friends Companion Devices.

360 CAM

The LG 360 CAM is a compact 360-degree angle camera equipped with two 13MP wide angle cameras, 1,200mAh battery and 4GB internal memory. The LG 360 CAM can be easily connected to the LG G5 allowing users to easily create 360-degree content.

It provides a manual mode, 2K video and 5.1 surround channel recording on three microphones to help users effortlessly create high-quality 360-degree contents.

LG says that, thanks to the partnership with Google, ‘images taken with the 360 CAM can be uploaded to Street View and YouTube360, adding the fun of sharing creative contents with others. The images will also be available to view on the LG 360 VR, or other smartphones or devices that are capable of 360-degree content.’

360 VR

The LG 360 VR is a VR goggle that can be connected with the LG G5 by a dedicated cable and works exclusively with the LG G5. LG says it has ‘a stylish design that is foldable so that users can easily carry and watch VR content anytime, anywhere.’

Unlike other VR devices that require a smartphone to be inserted in the device, the LG 360 VR is about one-third as heavy as competing smartphone VR goggles. The device is also compatible with 360-degree images and videos captured with LG 360 CAM as well as all Google Cardboard content.

Rolling Bot

The LG Rolling Bot is a companion device that rolls like a ball while capturing images and videos with its embedded 8MP camera. Not just a toy, the Rolling Bot can be used as a security system for the home, pet-care companion as well as a remote controller for compatible home appliances. With an IP camera connectable via Wi-Fi, users can monitor the interior of their homes with the LG G5 from anywhere in the world.

TONE Platinum

The LG TONE Platinum (model HBS-1100), the latest in the LG TONE Plus Series, is a Bluetooth headset that has earned the Harman Kardon® Platinum grade for its superior sound quality. With a Balanced Armature design, the LG TONE Platinum, delivers exceptionally sharp and clean sound. What’s more, the Bluetooth headset is equipped with aptX HD codec, delivering 24-bit audio for amazing sound.

Smart Controller

The LG Smart Controller allows users to control drones and other smart devices. With the LG Smart Controller, users can check the video stream from the drone through the LG G5 in real time, and intuitively control the unmanned aircraft by moving the lever on the LG Smart Controller.

H3 by B&O Play

H3 by B&O PLAY is a set of high-end headphones that delivers high-quality 32-bit sound of the LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play. Designed for audiophiles as well as anyone who considers audio performance a top-priority in a smartphone, H3 by B&O Play is compatible with all LG smartphones.

Friends Manager

Only available in the LG G5, Friends Manager is a hub application that allows the LG G5 to connect with LG Friends with minimal fuss and effort. Friends Manager automatically detects nearby Friends and connects them quickly and easily in three simple steps, eliminating much of the hassle of pairing devices.

Another feature is the ‘Always-on Display for Enhanced Convenience.’

The 5.3-inch QHD IPS Quantum display on the LG G5 offers an Always-on feature, ‘enlarged for the main display to show time and date continuously, even while the screen is in sleep mode.’

To minimise power consumption, LG says it ‘redesigned the display driver IC memory and power management function so that the display’s backlight only illuminates one small part of the overall display, similar to the technology used on LCD TVs.’

Thanks to this technology, the Always-on Display requires only 0.8 percent of the battery’s power every hour to operate.

The processor within is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 Processor, billed as being ‘powerful yet energy-efficient,’ offering ‘advanced features such as 64-bit performance, Adreno 530 graphics and lower-power Qualcomm HexagonT DSP as well as Qualcomm Spectra 14-bit dual image signal processors (ISPs) designed to deliver quality high resolution images and additional power savings.’

It also has ‘an integrated X12 LTE modem that supports speeds of up to 300 Mbps.’

Compared to the previous generation Snapdragon processor, Qualcomm Technologies says its ‘most advanced CPU architecture offers up to double the speed and power efficiency.’

The Adreno 530 graphics is said to ‘demonstrate up to 40% faster graphics performance and up to 40% more power efficiency,’ which is billed as ‘perfect for the gaming enthusiast.’

The Snapdragon 820 also ‘supports 4K capture and playback at four times more than the resolution of 1080p, enabling users to watch and capture daily moments in stunning detail and clarity,’ while the processor is ‘optimised for VR, generating quality pixels and life-like colours to deliver the ultimate VR experience to LG G5 users.’

aptX H: 24-bit Hi-Fi Wireless Audio

The LG G5 is equipped with aptX HD, an enhanced codec that supports 24-bit sound over Bluetooth, which is designed to ‘deliver rich and clear sound over wireless.’ When paired with the LG TONE Platinum, LG says ‘users can experience superb quality Hi-Fi audio that sounds amazingly close to the original source.’

Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology goes one better, promising ‘incredibly fast charging by employing an intelligent algorithm.’

What this means is that Quick Charge 3.0 is ‘up to four times faster than standard charging and up to 45% more efficient than the previous generation.’

Finally, before we get to the specs, LG’s G5 features ‘Low Power Location Estimation (LPLE) Technology,’ which means ‘excellent battery life,’ with the solution enhancing battery efficiency ‘by as much as 42% by improving the power consumption related to location-based apps.’

Key Specifications are as follows:

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Processor
  • Display: 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum Display (2560 x 1440 / 554ppi)
  • Memory: 4GB LPDDR4 RAM / 32GB UFS ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera: Rear: Standard 16MP, Wide 8MP / Front: 8MP
  • Battery: 2,800mAh (removable)
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Size: 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7~8.6mm
  • Weight: 159g
  • Network: LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / USB Type-C 2.0 (3.0 compatible) / NFC / Bluetooth 4.2
  • Colours: Silver / Titan / Gold / Pink

Pricing specifications and availability in Australia, for all of the products mentioned, is to be confirmed.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.