LG G5 review: A flexible smartphone, but usurped by newer models
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.
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.
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.
LG G5 specifications
|Processor||Quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820|
|Screen resolution||2,560 x 1,440|
|Screen type||IPS Quantum|
|Front camera||8 megapixels|
|Rear camera||16 + 8 megapixels|
|Storage (free)||32GB (23.5GB)|
|Memory card slot (supplied)||microSD|
|Size||149 x 7.7 x 74mm|
|Operating system||Android 6.0.1|
|Price on contract (inc VAT)||Free on £32-per-month contract|
|Prepay price (inc VAT)||£460|