LG G5 Review Part III: what no other phone has

The LG G5 is an enigma. Do you decide that you want to go with a device that's tried and true, only updating in iterations? Or do you want to go with a device that's made by a company that wants to try something relatively new, and maybe even a bit risky on their part? The LG G5 is part of a legacy of dependable devices, but places a lot of trust in you, the end user. As the bottom of the device can be detached, they're trusting that you have the ability to take responsibility for a machine whose guts you can access quite easily. Can you handle that?

The LG G5 is part of a device family. What we saw with the LG V10 is what LG will likely continue to produce as a slightly more traditional approach to a phone, oddly enough. It has two displays, but it's still one, solid piece of machinery.

With the LG G5, the company is launching in to the future – one where, again, they trust that you will be able to handle taking your device apart and putting it back together with new parts. This is similar to Google's Project Ara, a plug-and-play phone platform. LG's solution has just one slot, not a slot for every unique component for the phone.

Innovative Hardware

We're going to go in to each of LG's multiple "LG Friends" accessories in a separate review. Today we're going to speak about what unique bits the LG G5 itself has without the Friends.

You'll see the whole Friends collection in our first LG G5 hands-on – up close and personal before our Friends review.

You may have heard that the LG G5 doesn't stand up to some burn or bend tests – or that it isn't actually made of metal. Don't believe the hype.

If you are a responsible adult and don't go attempting to snap your phone in half like a Hershey's bar, you're going to be just fine. This isn't a phone that's meant to be tossed around. If you want a phone that can stand up to hardcore tests well beyond everyday stress testing, get a CAT.

The LG G5 performs extremely well under NORMAL stress – sitting in one's pocket, charging, and the occasional fall to the ground. Just like every other premium device out on the market today, you're going to want to find a case if you're worried about tiny scratches and dings.

The LG G5 has a bottom lip which can be removed with the push of a button. This lip is like a drawer into which you'll place your battery – a battery which LG has created its own charging dock. You can stay charged as well as you wish.

Not that you'll need to be especially worried about battery life – in our LG G5 Review Part II: Trip to Mount Rushmore, we went a full 10 hours without charging – snapping all manner of different sorts of photos and capturing video, too. That's ON time, heavy usage.

The LG G5 uses its back-facing fingerprint sensor as a home/power/lock button as well. They've returned the volume buttons to the side of the phone, where they're most useful, while the entirety of the phone retains an elegant take on the modern smartphone.

As we've noted in our past couple of episodes of this review, the LG G5 has a set of cameras unlike any other device. While we've seen smartphones with two camera lenses on their back before, this device has the ability to give you access to either lens – two different camera experiences.

You can use the standard lens or the wide-angle lens to capture entirely different sorts of images.

You can use the two lenses together to create a sort of frame made of an expanded view.

While other devices have done away with the IR-blaster at the top of their smartphones, LG remains heartily invested in this still-great feature. This device can, as previous generations allowed, control your television as such.


Do the non-Friends features we've gone over here make the LG G5 a monster to be beaten by the rest of the premium smartphone universe? Sort of.

Instead, I'd contend that while MANY premium smartphones continue to try to capture the success Apple has had with the iPhone, LG is doing what Microsoft should have been doing all along with Windows Phone: creating an environment in which the user is trusted to be able to handle new and exciting features and hardware – not just iterative steps in quality with what's already proven to be just good enough.

Stay tuned as we continue to pull this device apart piece by piece in our LG G5 Review series.