LG G5 Review: Excellent camera and great screen

LG has managed to establish its position as the 3rd largest company in the Israeli cellular market. Its flagship smartphones arrive in Israel simultaneously with global launches, with attractive prices and features. In recent weeks, I got the opportunity to check out the LG G5 – the latest flagship smartphone of the company.

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Screen: The G5's screen is a delight. It is 5.3 inches, slightly smaller than the G4 which is 5.5 inches. The screen resolution is QHD, and the colors and sharpness look absolutely great. The device's screen is coated with Corning's Gorilla Glass 4. The thing that bothered me is that the backlight intensity requires some improvement. In direct sunlight, the visibility is only fairly decent. Another drawback: The light sensor does no operate successfully, as it constantly lowers the backlight intensity dramatically, to the point where the display is barely visible. I had to disable the sensor and take care of the backlight intensity manually.

Design: The G5 is a good-looking smartphone. It is made of metal and has a luxurious esthetic. I have tested the smartphone for several weeks and it shows no sign of peeling paint. The device is 7.7mm thick, which is perfectly reasonable, and weighs 159 grams. This year, LG gave up on locating the control and volume buttons on the back of the device, and instead placed them on the left side of the device. The G5's power button and fingerprint mechanism are still located on the back of the device.

The unique part of the G5's design is its lower bezel. This includes the battery inlet, as well as the modules (details below). You can remove the battery by a slight click on a button located at the bottom bezel of the phone. This is different from the traditional method of changing the battery by opening the back of the device.

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Modules: The G5's innovation is its modular design. These are various accessories that know how to connect with the smartphone and provide it with additional capabilities or enhance existing features. LG has supplied a camera module with the kit. This module replaces the bottom of the smartphone and provides a more comfortable grip with taking photos, since it makes the phone a bit thicker. The feeling is similar to holding a regular compact camera. Beyond that, there is a wheel for digital zoom and a physical shooting button, which even allows performing a half-press to focus in on an object. The module also includes an internal battery, which improves the battery-life of the G5. The idea of the camera module is nice, but it suffers from significant drawbacks: You need to turn off and disassemble the device whenever you want to connect the module (similar to other LG modules). In addition, the smartphone becomes a bit ungainly.

Aside from the camera module there is also a module to improve the B&Q sound quality, or a 360-degree camera.

Interface: The G5 is running the Android Marshmallow (6.0.1) operating system. LG's interface is very comfortable and user-friendly. The significant change was removing the application drawer, so any downloaded application will be added to the home screens (similar to the iPhone), but LG has recently released an update which restores the lost drawer.

LG offers a number of nice interface features: Activating and turning off the screen using a double-tap; Password input by tapping the finger on the screen in a specific order, even when it's turned off; A built-in application for measuring steps and goal-setting, as well as a universal remote control app for the TV, for the set-top box (does not support HOT FiberBox), and for the audio system and  air conditioner (via the integrated infrared transmitter on the device).

Hardware: The G5 is a ballistic missile. It reacts quickly and doesn't heat up. You can find the newest Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 820, under the hood. It runs "only" two dual-core processors at speeds of 2.15 GHz and 1.6 GHz. It has 4GB of RAM with internal storage of 32GB and, of course, you can expand the storage space using a memory card (up to 200GB).

Camera: The G5's camera is certainly one of the best cameras in the market. The camera has a 16 megapixel sensor. Under optimal lighting conditions, the photos turn out sharp with pleasing and rich-enough colors. LG allows for a wider shot of 135 degrees using the front camera, but this switches the user to a smaller sensor of 8 megapixels. This is a good way to photograph a wider area. A nice feature in the camera interface is the ability to take 3 simultaneous pictures: 2 pictures from the back camera and one from the front. So you get a pretty nice collage.

LG manages to deliver a good performance for low-light photography. The aperture is f1.8, and there is also, of course, a double-flash. Night photography gives good results, with or without the flash.

The front camera for selfies shows mediocre results, as people's faces get slightly blurry. The sensor is 8 megapixels and the aperture of f2.0 is very reasonable.

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LG G5

Battery: The G5's battery shows a reasonable performance. It lasts until early evening, and in some cases even manages to survive until nighttime. The battery capacity is 2,800 mAh, and it can be easily removed and replaced with another battery (the kit includes an additional battery). We really loved the rapid charging (a compatible charger is included in the kit) using the Quick Charge 3.0 standard which provides 83% of the battery's charge in half an hour. The connector is the new USB Type C. We didn't really like the lack of wireless charging.

Bottom line, the G5 is one of the best smartphone in the market, if not the best. It has a great camera, powerful and fast processing power, great screen and elegant design.

Price: 3,400 NIS (including an additional battery and charger).

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