LG G5: Gimmick or Gift?
The South Korean handset maker, LG seem to be taking a leaf out of its rival Samsung’s drawing book when it comes to its flagship device. Till last year, LG flagships were polycarbonate devices with rear mounted volume and power buttons. However, with more and more flagships coming out with premium metal design and flashy build, LG felt left out. This year however the brand has taken to an uncharted terrain and launched LG G5 with a completely new design. While many are genuinely liking what LG has done with its newest flagship, many are also skeptical as to whether it makes sense or not. Here we take a look at whether the newest flagship from the brand is a bunch of gimmicks or a genuine gift for a smartphone enthusiast.
Design: Pristine yet sturdy
In 2015, Samsung completely changed its flagship devices and offered Galaxy S6 with unibody metal and glass design along with an Edge variant. At the same time LG launched LG G4, which offered the best camera till date as well as first ever real leather panel on the rear. However, the handset still failed to manage a dent in the hype and success of Samsung’s flagship device. This year LG took a similar route with a metal unibody chassis without giving up the removable battery, which is a plus for LG handsets. LG has managed to achieve this by making the chin of handset removable and at the same time made it modular. This way the South Korean handset giant has not only retained the removable battery being the only flagship to do so but also make use of the removable chin of the smartphone, more on that later. However, LG has done away with its signature rear mounted volume/power button and replaced it with a fingerprint scanner, which is also a first for the brand. So far we cannot find anything gimmicky in the handset.
Modularity: First of its kind
This is where a rational user begin to wonder whether LG G5 is a gimmick or a gift actually. Obviously the handset is not completely modular like Project Ara, however, it supports fitting of additional modules in place of the chin, which LG has cheekily named as Friends for LG G5. LG has launched LG Cam Plus as an accessory that needs to be purchased separately and provides a camera grip, zoom dial and physical shutter button along with additional battery capacity. However, except for the additional battery capacity as it comes with a mediocre 2800 mAh battery, we do not find any real use for the module. Moreover, LG Cam Plus is too bulky to be able to carry it around for routine usage. This certainly is a gimmick since it will be hard for LG to get any third party to make more modules and it also does not make sense to make it a separate accessory for a device that will cost atleast INR 55,000. Lenovo too tried the same gimmick with its Vibe X2, which flopped despite the snap on modules being offered for free for sometime and in mid-range.
Dual Camera Setup: Like None Other
The dual-camera setup on the rear panel of LG G5 is the actual gift instead of a gimmick for obvious reasons. We all are familiar with the exceptional 16 Megapixels snapper on the rear panel of LG G4, which completely replaced DSLRs for most people with fine tuned manual controls. LG G5 comes with the same camera module but is now accompanied with a second 8 Megapixels camera with wide angle lens. Imagine the image quality that was produced by G4’s camera and add to it a brilliant sense of depth and refined control over focus, you get a camera module like none other. This in our book is a huge gift and not a gimmick since we mostly rely on our smartphone for photography and when we invest a huge amount in a phone we expect it to outperform DSLRs. This is exactly what LG has managed to achieve with LG G5.
Rear mounted fingerprint scanner: Quick and accurate
This is the first ever flagship smartphone from the South Korean brand that features a fingerprint scanner. However, what makes us question the presence of fingerprint scanner is the missing rear mounted volume and power button. This is not big of an issue since you can still operate the smartphone comfortably by tapping on the fingerprint scanner on the rear panel. Many users are against rear mounted fingerprint scanner as it is not that comfortable to unlock the device when it is lying on a flat surface. However, since lying down usage is just a fraction of handheld usage, the rear mounted fingerprint scanner is actually a gift. We found unlocking HTC One Max, LeTV Le 1S, Nexus 5X and LG G5 to be extremely conveniently as you do not have to shift your grip to unlock the handset. Devices like OnePlus 2, Apple iPhone 5s onwards and Samsung Galaxy S5 requires you to reach down to the home button with your thumb, which in real usage is bit of an inconvenience. Therefore the fingerprint scanner on LG G5 is more of gift, more so when taken into context of Google Pay.
Removable battery: Reachable and Replaceable
At a time when most premium handset makers are chucking removable battery in favor of sleeker metal unibody, LG’s decision to opt for a metal body yet retaining the removable battery is definitely a gift. There are no other flagship smartphones in the market as of now that allow users to swap batteries when required and it is actually a gift. It is a real shiner when you know your battery is dying, you can simply order one online or buy from the market and swap it yourself. It also is convenient to carry a fully charged spare battery and swap them when one dies.
Only thing that is gimmicky about LG G5 is the ability to swap modules or as LG likes to call them, Friends. However, since it is an optional accessory and not at all a mandatory, we cannot call LG G5 a complete gimmick. The whole package that is offered by the flagship is far too useful and cannot be written off as a gimmick. All in all, the risk taken by LG did not backfire and we have yet another masterpiece from South Korean brand.