LG G5 review: A flexible smartphone, but usurped by newer models

Price when reviewed

LG G5 Review: Software

As is normally the case with LG smartphones, the LG G5 employs a custom skin, which gives Android a subtly different look from stock. In the case of the LG G5, this launcher runs on top of Android 6 Marshmallow, the same as most smartphones launched this year, no doubt.

Normally, I’d like Android with LG’s skin too, but in my opinion the company’s more dramatic modification this year is a step too far. The big problem is that, just like Huawei’s Emotion UI, LG has removed the app drawer, forcing users to organise apps in folders on the homescreen, just as you do on iOS.

Many will find that irritating, but it is at least easy to reinstate the app drawer. You can do it via LG’s own “EasyHome” mode, but this comes complete with hideous jumbo icons; the best route is to install a third-party launcher such as Nova Launcher (my choice), the Google Now launcher or LG’s old-style launcher from last year, via the preinstalled LG SmartWorld app. My preference is for Nova. It transforms the look of the homescreen and app drawer, making it much more like stock Android. Which is a very good thing.

LG G5 3x screenshots

The only thing you can’t replace with a custom launcher is the settings menu and notifications menu. Whatever launcher software you decide to use, you’ll see a row of horizontally navigable quick toggles along with a brightness slider and notifications appearing below it. Fortunately, LG’s settings and notifications menus are at least more palatable than Huawei’s.

LG G5 review: Verdict, price, and availability

The LG G5 is one of the most interesting smartphones I’ve seen since the days of the LG Optimus 3D, and for that, I find myself predisposed to liking it. The trouble with the G5 is that, although ingenious, I’m not convinced it’s enough to get consumers to switch from the tried and tested.

People will still love their iPhones and Samsung Galaxy handsets no matter what LG does with its modular battery bay and accessories, simply because those phones are known quantities, and the LG G5 isn’t a big enough step forward.LG G5 USB Type-C port

I think it’s the price that will ultimately undermine the case for the LG G5, however. Buy it SIM free and it’s less expensive than the Samsung Galaxy S7 (but not by much), while on contract, prices are around the same. And yet in most key areas – battery life, camera quality, screen quality, and performance – it’s either on par or slightly behind. If you don’t want to spend this much, the Nexus 6P offers slightly slower performance and a less clever design, but an all-round package that’s almost as good for less cash.

Having said all that, though, the LG G5 is still a great smartphone, and if you’re upgrading from a two-year-old model from any manufacturer, you’ll love the speed boost and camera quality it brings with it, and especially that wide-angle snapper. It’s a five-star smartphone, then, but it isn’t quite the best.

Read more: Click here to check out the LG G5’s biggest rival, the Samsung Galaxy S7

LG G5 specifications

ProcessorQuad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Screen size5.3in
Screen resolution2,560 x 1,440
Screen typeIPS Quantum
Front camera8 megapixels
Rear camera16 + 8 megapixels
Storage (free)32GB (23.5GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2
Wireless data4G
Size149 x 7.7 x 74mm
Operating systemAndroid 6.0.1
Battery size2,800mAh
Price on contract (inc VAT)Free on £32-per-month contract
Prepay price (inc VAT)£460
SIM-free supplierwww.carphonewarehouse.com
Contract/prepay supplierwww.o2.co.uk
Part codeLG-H850

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