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LG G5 First Impressions

Unique because of its modular form and superb camera, the smartphone does have its disappointments; the phone comes with a price tag of Rs 53,000

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When LG debuted its flagship at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, it looked very much like it would far outshine the Galaxy S7 released just before that. But with the device finally in the hands of reviewers, it doesn't quite seem so.

The LG G5 was instantly interesting because of its concept. It is, in a way, the first modular. The bottom segment of the phone can be pulled open when a release button is pressed, allowing the user to pull out the battery. Then, the battery can be put back but this time taking along with it one of the modules or "LG Friends" to give it new functionality.

There are modules or "Friends" for a camera grip and controls, 360-degree camera, Hi-Fi DAC and more. Sounds very exciting.

The problem is that we haven't seen these modules yet -- at least not in India -- and if that's any harbinger of how readily available these will be, it's something to worry about. Suffice is to say that the first impressions which should have been all about the G5's most unique aspect, the modules, are now just about the device by itself.

The smartphone also comes with a flagship price tag of Rs.53,000. If we consider that each module is going to cost extra -- and I'm sure it won't be cheap -- we're looking at a big spend.

For that hefty price, the build of the LG G5 is a big disappointment. It isn't that it's not made of metal -- I'm told it is -- but they have some sort of coating on top which doesn't make it look or feel like metal. In fact, it has a lot of rough edges that come out like poor finish. So, when you're holding this expensive piece of kit in your hands, no one will know it isn't one of the budget phones going around.

For all that though, the performance of the device is super fast and smooth. It uses the Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB RAM so it isn't about to be slow. But LG's interface is anything but exciting or even pleasing and for some reason lacks the split screen type functions it had in earlier versions. It also does away with the app drawer and uses on-screen navigation buttons that are most difficult to get used to.

I quickly gave up on its fingerprint sensor, placed on the back of the phone, an inconvenient place for when the phone is flat on a surface. It refused to register several of my digits and those it did register, it refused to then recognise.

The 16MP camera on the G5 is another one of its selling points though. And it's right up there with the Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 6s in quality. Although the S7 does a little better in very low light, the G5 holds its own with more realistic colours, definite details, and a very cool wide angle mode that results in pretty funky images which are slightly barrelled but fit in so much more. I can just see photo enthusiasts having hours of fun with that lens.


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smartphones lg electronics mobile world congress