LG G5 vs G4: What’s new in LG’s latest flagship phone?

LG G5 vs LG G4: What’s new in LG’s latest flagship device?

The LG G5 release is imminent, and LG’s device is shaping up to be one of the most exciting smartphones of 2016. But how does it compare to the outgoing LG G4?

Many people were a little underwhelmed with last year’s LG G4, which was largely an iterative update over the LG G3 before it. Fortunately, there’s a lot more to get excited about with the G5.

This time around there’s a completely fresh design, much more power, some new biometric tricks, and a couple of surprises that you won’t have seen in a phone before.

So, what exactly has changed? Let’s take a look.

Watch our LG G5 hands-on video

LG G5 vs LG G4: Design

LG G5: 7.7mm thick, 159g, all-metal build, modular design, fingerprint sensor
LG G4: 9.8mm thick, 155g, curved design, plastic edge, removable back with choice of materials, rear button

The LG G5 looks completely different to the LG G4. Given the that G4 looked a lot like the G3, and that the G3 followed on organically from the G2, this is the biggest design overhaul yet for the range.

The LG G5 packs an all-metal design, a big improvement over the plastic feeling G4. Yet it doesn’t feel like any other metal phone we’ve ever held. It feels hollow, somehow, and even a little – dare we say – plasticky.

Also, the switch to metal means the loss of the LG G4’s leather back. Whether or not that’s a good thing is a matter of personal preference.

While the LG G4 has a traditional removable back cover, the LG G5 has a modular design that sees the battery slotting into an accessory slot on the bottom of the phone.

Related: LG G5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7
LG G5 73

This modular design really is one of the standout features of the LG G5. You can slide out the basic panel and replace it with others to add extra functionality.

B&O has teamed up with LG to release a DAC that’ll give you an extra headphone port capable of playing 32-bit audio and there’s a camera grip that adds in a physical shutter button and a beefed up battery.

LG is opening up this modular design to others too, so we’ll hopefully see a wealth of unique accessories over the coming months.

A little unusually for a 2015 flagship phone, the LG G4 didn’t feature fingerprint-sensing technology. However, the company’s late-2015 high-end release, the LG V10 did.

That’s changed with the LG G5 though, which implements such biometric technology. The power button is still on the back, but it now features a fingerprint sensor built-in. From our initial impressions it seems this is one fast sensor, so that’s a bonus.

Interestingly, reports from the middle of last year suggested that LG was investigating iris-scanning technology for the LG G5. However this hasn’t come about.

Either way, the LG G5 is certain to be a whole lot more biometrically endowed than the LG G4.

LG G5 vs LG G4: Display

LG G5: 5.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 IPS Quantum display, 554 ppi, 900 nits brightness, always-on
LG G4: 5.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 IPS Quantum display, 538 ppi, 454 nits brightness

LG has stuck with a 5.5-inch quad-HD display for its last two flagship phones, the LG G3 and LG G4. But that’s all changed this time around, the G5 sports a slightly smaller 5.3-inch display

It still keeps the same resolution though, so the pixels are a little closer together.

LG has kitted the G5 out with a nifty always-on display that’ll keep you updated of the time without you needing to switch the screen on. It’s a better system than the equivalent Samsung Galaxy S7 offering, with more notifications catered for.

LG G5

However, the fact that this is an LCD display rather than AMOLED means that the LG G5’s screen will always be slightly lit up, which is a little irritating in a dark room.

The G5’s screen also packs double the brightness of the G4, at a whopping 900 nits. You will rarely, if ever, need to push it this high, but it could come in handy for sunny days.

LG G5 vs LG G4: Performance

LG G5: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset – dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo, Adreno 530 GPU, 4GB RAM
LG G4: Hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset – 1.8GHz dual-core & 1.44GHz quad-core, Adreno 418 GPU, 3GB RAM

One spec we were certain of even before the official announcement was that the LG G5 would run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 CPU. And it does. This makes it significantly faster than the LG G4 and its Snapdragon 808, which wasn’t even the fastest Qualcomm chip of last year.

How much faster are we talking here? Well, Qualcomm reckons that the Snapdragon 820 is 40 percent faster than its predecessor the Snapdragon 810, which is a quicker version of the Snapdragon 808 in the LG G4.

So, quite a bit faster then.

Related: Galaxy S7 vs S6 – What’s changed?
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LG has also stuck an extra gig of RAM in the G5, taking it from 3GB to 4GB.

On the internal storage front, both phones have a microSD slot and start out with 32GB of internal storage.

LG G5 vs LG G4: Camera

LG G5: 16-megapixel & 8-megapixel, f/1.8 & f/2.4 lens, OIS, laser autofocus
LG G4: 16-megapixel, 1/2.6 sensor, f/1.8 lens, OIS, Colour spectrum sensor

Some smartphone manufacturers (not Samsung) seem to be slipping back into the habit of cramming more pixels into those tiny image sensors. However, they’re getting savvier with their implementation by the year, so it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The LG G4’s 16-megapixel camera was one of the finest of 2015, and the LG G5 easily matches that. It’s still a 16MP sensor, but it’s now joined by a secondary 8MP 135 degree camera for taking wide angle shots. You can quickly switch modes and the results look pretty awesome in our tests so far.

LG G5

We’re a little concerned over the drop-off in capabilities of the laser autofocus system in low-light, but there’s always a chance that LG will provide a software update for launch.

Both the G4 and G5 have 8MP front-facing cameras, and it doesn’t look like anything changed this time around.

LG G5 vs LG G4: Battery

LG G5: 2,800 mAh
LG G4: 3,000 mAh

Interestingly, the G4 has a slightly bigger battery than the G5 – 3,000 mAh as opposed to 2,800 mAh. We’ll have to really test out the G5 before we can see for sure whether this makes a difference, but it seems to be a step in the wrong direction.

Still, our initial impressions of the G5’s battery life have been good. It can get through a full day of high usage with 10 percent remaining in the tank. Given that battery performance in the G4 was nothing to write home about, we’re willing to call it a draw at this early point.

One bonus for the G5 is that LG has switched over to USB-C 3.0, which gives it even faster charging. But, you’ll have to ditch all your old cables, which is a bit of a bummer.

LG G5

Early Verdict

LG deserves credit for radically overhauling last year’s flagship phone. As much as we love the Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 6S, their designs are barely changed from their predecessors.

Not so with the G5, which has a smooth all-metal look, a more compact display, a unique modular design, and a new twin-lens camera set-up.

But does that make it a better phone? Throw in the brighter display and significant power boost, and we’re tempted to say that yes, it probably does. We’ll know for sure once we’ve finished with the LG G5 review.

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Are you excited by the incoming LG G5? Let us know in the comments section below.

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