LG G5 review



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Our Score:



  • Lovely screen
  • Great wide-angle camera
  • USB-C fast charging


  • Dodgy build quality
  • Software is on the ugly side
  • Expensive modules

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Key Features

  • 5.3-inch IPS QHD screen
  • Snapdragon 820 processor & 4GB RAM
  • 32GB onboard storage and microSD slot
  • 2,800mAh battery
  • USB Type-C v3.0 port
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 16-megapixel rear camera & 8-megapixel front camera
  • Additional 8-megapixel wide-angle rear camera
  • LG UX 5.0 on Android Marshmallow
  • Manufacturer: LG
  • Review Price: £529.00

What is the LG G5?

There was lot of hype surrounding LG’s quirky modular G5, but it didn’t last all that long. The visions of this Project Ara like device with a wide selection of add-ons that you switch at will hasn’t really happened, leaving us with a good phone that fails to stand out.

LG also probably didn’t count on other brand’s upping their game. The Samsung Galaxy S7 is fantastic, as is the HTC 10, and there’s even budget offerings like the OnePlus 3.

The lack of interesting modules has really hurt the LG G5, and it’s no longer the only modular phone on the market. Moto has the Moto Z and it’s already got a better selection of add-ons. There’s also the LG V20 coming soon, and it’ll be the first phone to run Android Nougat.

WATCH: LG G5 video review

LG G5 – Design and Modules

Metal body, removable battery, modular system, rear fingerprint sensor, sloped top, 159g

In pictures the LG G5 looks curvy and sleek, but pick up the smartphone and it feels oddly hollow.

LG played up its switch from the plastic body of the LG G4 to a metal one on the G5. However, in the hand the G5 really doesn’t feel like any other metal phone I’ve come across. the handset has an odd finish that feels much more like plastic than the advertised “microdized” metal. I do like the slightly sloping top, though, but it's the only feature that sets it apart.

Related: LG G5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7

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The G5's design is very clean too, with only a single volume clicker and SIM-tray present on either side. The volume control suffers from having a very shallow push, but it's usable nonetheless. While LG has ditched the volume keys on the rear, the lock switch remains in the slightly unorthodox position just below the camera sensors.

In my opinion it's far better to have all the buttons in the same spot, be it on the back or sides of a phone. Positioned as they are, I’m forced to move my hands around the G5 more than normal just to reach everything.

Related: LG G5 vs LG G4

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The standby switch now also houses a fingerprint scanner – something I consider a must for any 2016 flagship. V10 aside, for which there's been no UK launch, this is the first phone from LG to use a fingerprint scanner.

I'm pleased to report that it does a superb job – it’s fast and accurate. In addition, you don’t even have to press down to unlock the phone; simply glide your digit across and it’ll bypass the lockscreen completely.

As with all back-mounted scanners I’ve tried, it can sometimes go off randomly in my pocket. On more than a few occasions I’d pull it out of my pocket to be met with a message reporting "too many incorrect attempts, fingerprint blocked". But I guess this is a side-effect of it being so sensitive. The scanner itself is also quite small, which might be issue if you have large fingers.

The LG G5’s modular system is its stand-out feature. Now, it isn’t quite at Google Project Ara levels of customisability – so you won’t be switching out the RAM or CPU – but it’s clever and unique nevertheless.

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It works like this. Along the side of the handset there sits an almost indistinguishable button set just almost flush to the body. Press this in with the tip of your nail and the bottom chin of the phone will pop out; pull it off and out comes the battery.

The battery comes apart from the bottom unit – which can feel like you’re breaking the device – and then you can attach it to other modules, or "Friends" as LG calls them. At launch, there are two modules available and neither are going to be a draw in themselves to sell the phone.

The camera grip adds a touch more battery, a separate shutter button for both photos and video, and a jog dial for zoom. The second module is a DAC powered by some B&O tech. The DAC gives you 32-bit audio and an extra headphone jack.

Related: 5 modules for the LG G5 we'd love to see

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I find myself wishing that LG had started off with slightly more enticing accessories. The DAC is a nice idea – I’m all for ways to improve smartphone audio – but the camera grip doesn’t actually make the camera any better; it just makes the shooting process "easier". I also don’t like the fact it encourages people to use digital zoom – photo tech that universally produces terrible photos on all the smartphones I’ve tested, including the G5.

These two modules are also much pricier than I'd anticipated. The B&O DAC costs £150, while the camera grip will set you back £79. Problems will also likely arise when you’re ready to upgrade to the LG G6 – will the new device support the same modules? I'm not convinced.

LG is encouraging third parties to make their own Friends, so hopefully they’ll be a few more to choose from in the coming months. However, if the LG G5 fails to sell in large enough numbers then maybe there won't be much incentive to build a costly module.

The modular system also hampers the build quality of the device. Both parts of the phone don’t quite fit flush together; there’s an ever-so-slight gap between the two. It’s minimal, but wide enough that I can see light filtering through.

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LG G5 – Screen

5.3-inch, IPS LCD, quad-HD display with always-on mode

LG’s past few flagship devices have benefited from impressive displays.

While they can't be described as perfect, they’ve always adopted new tech and utilised it well. LG was one of the first manufacturers to really bring quad-HD, 2,560 x 1,440 panels to the mainstream, for example, and since the G3 it has gone from strength to strength.

I’m happy to say that the display on the LG G5 is the best yet – even though on the surface it appears that not a whole lot has changed.

LG hasn't made the switch to a 4K display; it remains quad-HD. Although in my opinion this isn't a bad thing – quad-HD is the highest resolution a phone needs to be unless it will be used for VR. The display on the G5 remains a IPS LCD panel too, rather than the AMOLED panels favoured by Samsung and Google.

The biggest change here is that the screen is actually marginally smaller than before – 5.3-inches as opposed to 5.5-inches. But the number of pixels remain the same; they're simply crammed into a smaller surface area.

The display is ridiculously sharp, far more true-to-life and softer than the Galaxy S7 display. This isn't necessarily a positive, though – it’s all down to personal taste, with some preferring accurate colours over vibrancy. Viewing angles are on point.

LG has also improved the brightness of the screen, not that the G4 suffered much in this area. At its highest, it's at 900 nits, but there will be few instances in which it will need to be set so high. Around 50% is right, or you can opt for auto-brightness.

I'm not a fan of auto-brightness on Android devices, and it's no different here. It’s too obvious, results in a stuttering motion and is rarely accurate in its judgements.

Related: Android N hands-on


The G5 display's black level – an area in which many IPS displays struggle – is solid. While not as deep as those on the Samsung Galaxy S7, blacks on the LG G5 are suitably inky and deep, and mean the display has a great contrast ratio.

Just like the Samsung Galaxy S7, the LG G5 has an "always-on" display mode, so the time and your notifications remain visible even when the phone is locked.

LG’s implementation is much better than that of Samsung in just about every way. It uses less battery, about 12% a day (8am to midnight) as opposed to the Galaxy S7’s 15%. The LG G5’s always-on screen also displays all your notifications, including those from WhatsApp and Gmail. This makes it far more useful than the S7, which pushes alerts from only a limited selection of apps.

The display on the G5 is less customisable, however, and since it isn’t AMOLED, it lights up every pixel rather than just the clock. This means it’s far more noticeable, and more distracting, in low light.

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March 22, 2016, 6:16 pm

How does adoptable storage overcome the "performance issues" of SD cards?


March 31, 2016, 1:26 pm

UHS-II SD cards... assuming they can read them at full speed.


April 19, 2016, 6:20 pm

Great review. After the fantastic V10 I had high hopes for the G5. Well, there's always the V11?


May 13, 2016, 8:59 pm

My LG G5 would not turn on a few days after purchase. Purchase was made outright. When getting the phone back from LG warranty (some 6 weeks after purchase), the sim card tray was gone..... I called LG and they transferred me to Best Buy where I purchased the phone. I cannot get any help from the store where I purchased or through LG directly.

Do yourself a favor and don't buy this phone. LG are not a company that deserves loyalty or your hard earned cash.


May 15, 2016, 11:31 am

Glad I pass this G5. Nothing really much new here. I love my LG G4, bought it about 6 months ago. But now it's under service warranty because the phone suddenly won't start.


May 15, 2016, 11:33 am

I second that.
Do you have a warranty card? You need to send it back. I got mine from online as well and managed to send it back to them by post. My G4 won't start. It's been almost 3 weeks now, under service.


May 15, 2016, 11:49 am

"I understand that most folk use Facebook, but I'd rather have the option to install it myself than it being forced on me."
And of course most folk is not all folk. I can understand them wanting to preload whichever apps they think they know best are good for us, but why the blazes do they have to be indelibly burnt in? Do they not realise that it costs them goodwill and word-of-mouth recommendation? Once the novelty and excitement wears off, for the rest of your ownership, that thorn will be stuck in your side, dissuading you from evangelising the phone as long as you own it. Marketing genius.


June 30, 2016, 4:15 am

I'm about done with LG products. Took in my G4 three weeks ago because it suddenly just died and wouldn't restart. Picked up the G5 and yesterday it died and won't restart. Tried battery pull, recovery mode, safe mode, nothing worked and store guys know absolutely nothing. Supposedly getting a new one tomorrow but they seem extremely crash-prone.

lisa raymond

July 10, 2016, 7:17 am

LG Phones are now on sale only at AndroidSmartphoneDeals;com

John Donaldson

July 20, 2016, 5:10 am

To me the removable battery would bring me to the LG camp, and it still may someday. Having a removable battery is a key feature for me. Not only do I replace the battery for a quick return to 100% charge (perhaps twice a month), but my main reason is to be able to easily replace the battery when they begin to reach end-of-life which can be anywhere between 2 and 4 years, when the charge life gets shorter and shorter.

Having a super thin phone isn't important to me. The looks of a phone is also no big deal for me. I've had phones that I felt were too thin to hold and bought a case just to make them ticker. I want fast operation and a great screen with an SD card slot.

It would be nice if the G5 were waterproof like my Galaxy S5. Perhaps by the time my S5 dies LG would make some improvements such as waterproofing. I just hope they continue to make phones with removable batteries so I have that option when I need a new phone.

Dominic Piovesan

August 10, 2016, 5:16 pm

how powerful is it?


August 29, 2016, 6:40 am

LG Smartphones are now on sale online only at AndroidSmartphoneDeals;com


November 15, 2016, 2:11 am

My G4 quit working after 10 months. LG sent me a replacement, and this weekend it quit working. I am past the one-year warranty. Debating about the G5, since Best Buy is adding a $300 gift card. Have you had any more issues with the G5? Thanks in advance.

Roy Carrillo

November 16, 2016, 12:34 am

is anyone else having problems with the lg g5 not wanting to charge and having to restart the phone for it to start charging again.

Arun Ram

December 6, 2016, 10:28 pm

Hi, Lot of people (nearly 10,000) got affected with the same problems with LG G4 and it is referred to as BOOTLOOP hardware manufacturing issue from LG. Me too got affected with the same problem and now I'm in huge loss.It seems that yours also falling in the same category. Hence we must never buy any costly mobile phones from LG instead it is good to go with samsung or iphone or any low cost chinese phones in order to avoid huge money loss with LG. LG PHONES ARE NEVER RELIABLE.There is no guarantee that LG would replace or repair it.Even it repairs, it would be in doubt how long will it survive.

Chris Steel

December 9, 2016, 1:38 am

I'm a nobody, but I've used the LG G5 for 6 months.

It's terrible.

I had the G3, I loved it.
I had the G4, it broke, but I stuck with LG.
I've got the G5 now and it's just awful.

It's slow, even on 4G, it takes a long time to find websites. The camera can't cope with low light situations. Stay away, I would rather have my G3. I'm moving from LG as soon as my contact allows. This phone is terrible. Don't try it, look elsewhere.

Antonio Gomes

December 12, 2016, 11:05 pm

I'm in the UK and over the last 4 years had the Optimus 4x HD, G3 and now G5. Haven't had any issues with crashing with the last two and to be honest even though the G3 was a great phone, the battery life was horrible. The G5 is much better in comparison and takes good pics during the day (S7 is better in low light). I've had it for 6 months now and no problems to report. Charges really quickly too.


December 22, 2016, 9:52 pm

I have had my LG G5 for 6 months and am really pleased with performance. Sounds like you might have a suspected motive for dissing it. It works very well and is very user-friendly and intuitive and the double camera is very useful. I had Samsung (last one was Note 3) before making the easy move to LG. Batteries last longer and are easily changed. SDcard is easy to use and change. IMO, LG G5 is the replacement for Samsung s7. Do the gsmarena comparison with the s7 Edge and you will see the battery replacement and sdcard make it the best so far in 2016.


January 14, 2017, 2:59 am

Lying is wrong and evil. You're obviously paid to say that.

Chris Steel

January 14, 2017, 5:20 am

I'm paid to say the phone is rubbish?? What?

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