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LG G5 is really, definitely, absolutely made of metal

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LG G5

In recent days, we’ve seen a flurry of reports claiming the LG G5 is built from plastic, despite LG marketing the handset as sporting a metal unibody.

LG has released a statement confirming “unequivocally” that the LG G5 unibody casing is built from aluminium.

The handset’s design first came into question when YouTuber JerryRigEverything released a video where he scratched off the outer layer of the handset, revealing what looks like plastic.

Check it out:

But LG completely denies that its new flagship smartphone is built from anything other than metal.

“Contrary to erroneous reports online that the LG G5 body is composed of plastic, LG would like to state unequivocally that the uni-body casing of the G5 is composed of a special aluminium alloy, LM201,” writes LG.

According to LG, the LM201 alloy was built in partnership with the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology. It was intended for use in high-end sports cars, aircraft, and consumer electronics.

The South Korean tech giant says that LM201 was designed for “durability, rigidity, and lightness”, making it ideal for use in a smartphone.

LG G5The LG G5, as pictured from the rear

But why the confusion if the LG G5 is obviously made of metal? Well if you scratch the handset hard enough, you can remove the pigment layer to reveal a primer coating that looks a lot like plastic.

“After the die-casting is complete, the insulating antenna slit is applied directly to the aluminium casing followed by a coating of primer which provides additional insulation and enhances the surface profile for the ‘microdizing’ process, where pigment containing tiny metal particles is applied directly to the primer to provider a smooth and durable finish,” explains LG.

The company continues: “While both anodized aluminium and microdised aluminium will scratch if enough pressure is applied, in the case of the G5 the grey primer beneath the pigment layer may be mistaken for plastic when the colouring is scratched off.”

LG adds: “We want to reassure our customers that the uni-body of the LG G5 is advanced aluminium alloy, not plastic.”

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So there you have it. The phone is built from metal, but is layered with pigments and primers, creating the illusion of a plastic finish.

Check out our LG G5 hands-on video below:

Do you think LG has messed up its phone design, or are people being too nitpicky? Let us know in the comments.

AHYL88

April 6, 2016, 1:10 am

It doesn't bother me what the G5 is made of, metal or plastic, I don't mind; what disappoints me is how not very transparent they've been with describing it, and I know I heard them mention unibody metal/aluminium multiple times. When I hear that, I'd expect the outside to be made of that material, rather than be underneath and coated by a layer of primer and pigment.

When first seeing this phone, I thought it was very cool and it still is; but after stepping back and thinking more carefully about it, I question and worry about how useful the removable module is and how durable the mechanism that holds it is over time. If you're not the sort of user who carries spare batteries with you and swap them around when one runs out of juice, it's a USP that's instantly become useless. And if you are, how long is the lock/latch mechanism going to last after the constant wear and tear of having to remove the module to swap batteries out so often?

I still admire and like the idea, but it's very experimental. Well, only time will tell.

byteseyes

April 6, 2016, 5:41 pm

After the dust has settled and people have checked the facts for themselves, it seems like the only person who did the misleading was the original Youtube guy who caused this massive misinformation to spread.

This is rare to happen to a company, but it looks like LG is the true victim, which is probably why most websites have debunked this or retracted their original stance because they realize the facts were completely distorted.

Well, I guess one thing everyone seems to at least agree on is that LG was not out trying to mislead people and that this is all much ado about nothing.

byteseyes

April 6, 2016, 6:13 pm

I honestly don't think they were not trying to be transparent. LG saying that this is a metal unibody is 100% factually correct. A car with primer, paint, and clear coat is still a steel frame.

Whether the metal is underneath a thin film or exposed is not really relevant to calling something a metal phone. This is a matter of people having an implicit acceptance to certain things due to conditioning, while exhibiting cognitive dissonance to something else that's similar.

For example, people are conditioned to think the metal surface on an iPhone is pure aluminum, but technically the aluminum is actually underneath an oxidized film from the anodizing process. People don't even realize the aluminum is underneath, but they still accept that it is because they're conditioned to or simply not even aware. The same with coated cars.

What LG did is no different, and I very much doubt they expected something so innocent would mutate into a distortion of facts. Most websites have either debunked the story or retracted their original stance because they realize LG was right.

I actually feel bad for LG that they unnecessarily got pulled through the mud all because of one misinformed Youtuber who caused a premature overreaction on the internet.

AHYL88

April 6, 2016, 8:48 pm

Yeah very true; I suppose myself and a lot of other people are so used to metal phones being either mainly devoid of any layering or colouring (sometimes) or have a thin layer, or, like you said, aren't properly aware of this method that it comes across as almost alien for how different and leftfield it is compared to the past metal phones.

Given it's the first time they've gone for this approach, I'm sure they'll improve and get better at it over time; I'd like to see more of it too cos after some thought over it, it's kinda growing on me and it doesn't bother me that much really.

Agreed, I do feel bad for LG as well; while I may have been cynical, a lot of the other people in the comments have really definitely overreacted unnecessarily to it.

The removable module feature, personally, isn't a selling point for me as I've never felt the need to replace batteries at any point in the past, while the Friends add-ons cost quite a lot; £149 for the B&O DAC and £79 for the LG CAM Plus, while the rolling robot is certainly gonna cost a lot more. Still, I'm pretty impressed with the rest of what the G5 offers, so I'm not writing it off.

Matt J

August 5, 2016, 3:36 pm

The whole thing about the build is silly, largely because of people who are too thick to know that a metal build isn't the same thing as a metal finish,

The 'friends' thing could have been much better, The lack of Xenon flash on the Cam module really has me scratching my head! It would have made the cam module so much more. ...And then the B&O audio module might be great if the built in audio wasn't so brilliant in its own right aleady! It's a shame as we have to take our hats off to LG for at least trying to be different!

Personally I couldn't be happier with my G5. iPhones and Samsungs are very popular with the chavs that hand around outside off licences around here, but they aren't for me ;)

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