LG unveils modular G5 smartphone

LG unveiled the modular G5 smartphone Sunday at Mobile World Congress featuring a metal unibody design with a slide-out battery and modular design. The G5 pairs with a host of “Friends” to be transformed into a camera and hi-fi player among other things.

“The new LG G5 will encourage users to rediscover the true joy of a mobile life. The G5 and LG Friends are the result of many experts inside LG asking themselves if it was still possible to be innovative and unique in the smartphone space. I think once customers spend a little time with the LG G5, their answer will be a resounding yes.”

-Juno Cho, LG Electronics Mobile Communications company president and CEO

The G5’s 135-degree wide angle lens lets you get wider shots, while an always-on 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS display lets you glance at notifications, time, and date without turning on the phone. That always-on display sips power at a rate of “0.8 percent of the battery’s full capacity per hour,” according to LG. Also new is Daylight Mode, which detects surrounding light conditions and automatically adjusts the display’s brightness.

The smartphone has two lens: a standard 78-degree lens and the aforementioned wide angle lens to provide a viewing angle that’s “1.7 times wider than existing smartphone cameras and 15 degrees wider than the human eye’s point of view,” according to LG. The G5 also offers photo effects like Pop-out Picture to combine images from both lenses to create a picture-in-a-frame effect, Film Effect to apply film emulators to an image, and Auto Shot to capture selfies immediately when a face is recognized.

The G5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with Adreno 520 graphics, as well as Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology to charge “27 percent faster and 45 percent more efficiently than the previous generation,” according to LG.

Lastly, LG’s Low Power Location Estimation technology enhances battery efficiency by as much as 41.9 percent by improving the power consumption related to location-based apps, according to the company.

Now, back to the modularity of the G5.

The LG CAM Plus is a camera module that can be attached through the battery slot to deliver a grip; physical power, shutter, record, and zoom buttons; and a LED indicator. It also offers auto focus and exposure lock, which are typically found in standalone cameras. Additionally, the LG CAM Plus provided an extra 1,200mAh of battery capacity for longer battery life.

The LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O PLAY is a Hi-Fi DAC audio player that provides better audio playback. The Hi-Fi Plus can be used with the G5 or on its own with other mobile devices or PCs.

Looking towards the wider ecosystem, a range of companion devices were announced in tow with the G5.

The LG 360 VR is a VR headset that can be connected with the G5 through a cable to simulate a “130-inch TV viewed from two meters away,” according to LG, with a resolution of 639 ppi. Alongside its foldable design, LG 360 VR weighs 118g (4.16 ounces) which is “roughly one-third as heavy as competing VR goggles,” according to the company. The device is compatible with 360-degree images and videos captured with the LG 360 CAM and Google Cardboard content.

The LG 360 CAM is a 360-degree angle camera equipped with two 13MP 200-degree angle cameras, 1200mAh battery, and 4GB of internal storage that’s upgradable with a microSD card slot. The camera can be connected to the G4 to create 360-degree content, 2K video, and 5.1 surround sound audio recorded on three microphones. Images taken with the 360 CAM can be uploaded to YouTube and Google Street View.

The LG Rolling Bot is a companion rolling device that can capture images and video with an embedded 8MP camera. LG’s positioning the bot as a home monitoring system, with users being able to remotely live stream footage from the aforementioned camera.

The LG Smart Controller allows users to control certain drones. Users can use the G5’s screen to watch the drone’s video stream.

Here’s the full LG G5 spec sheet:

  • 5.3-inch 2560×1440 (554ppi) Quad HD IPS Quantum display
  • Memory: 4GB RAM, 32GB internal, microSD card slot
  • Camera: 16MP, 8MP rear; 8MP front
  • 2,800mAh removable battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Dimensions: 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm, 159g
  • Colors: Gray, Silver, Gold, Pink

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