UPDATE: Android Nougat Update Lands For LG G5
Android Nougat for the LG G5 is officially here. Below is a breakdown of all the new features you will find inside Android Nougat:
All of Android Nougat’s New Features
- JIT compiler: The new JIT compiler improves runtime device performance, reduces the amount of storage space required for apps and makes app and system updates much faster.
- VR mode: With VR mode, Android Nougat is ready to transport you to new worlds. Coming soon with Daydream and Daydream-ready phones.
- Vulkan™ API: Vulkan API is a real game changer with high-performance 3D graphics. See apps spring to life with sharper graphics and eye candy effects.
Battery & Data
- Doze: Doze is now dozier, with your device going into lower power usage when you’re on the move. That means your Android device will conserve battery even when it’s jostling around in your pocket.
- Data saver: Limit how much data your device uses with Data Saver. When Data Saver is turned on, apps in the background won’t be able to access mobile data.
- Split-screen mode: Now you can multitask with ease. Run two apps side by side in split-screen mode – watch a movie while texting, or read a recipe with your timer open.
- Picture-in-picture mode: On Android TV, you can continue watching your current video while browsing or changing settings.
- Quick switch: Double tap the Overview button to switch between your two most recently used apps.
- Bundled notifications: See what’s new at a glance with bundled notifications from individual apps. Simply tap to view each alert.
- Direct reply: Direct reply lets you quickly reply to a message, directly from within the notification shade. So, you no longer need to launch the app to send a quick response.
- Notification controls: When a notification pops up, just press and hold to toggle the settings. For instance, you can silence future alerts from an app in the notification itself.
- Customisable Quick Settings: Rearrange your Quick Setting tiles so you can get to what you want faster.
- Quick Settings bar: Quick Settings has been redesigned so that you can get faster access to top Quick Settings tiles directly in the notification shade.
- Improved Settings navigation: Find the right setting faster with an updated navigation menu in Settings.
- Settings suggestions: Within Settings, get suggestions for how to get even more out of your device.
- ‘Clear all’ in Overview: Instantly close all of your apps running in the background by tapping ‘clear all’ in Overview.
- Emergency information: Emergency Information lets you add information such as name, blood type, allergies and an emergency contact so that emergency responders can view this information through your device’s lock screen.
- Lockscreen wallpaper: You can now have different wallpapers on your device’s homescreen and lockscreen.
Privacy & Security
- Direct boot: When restarting your device, Direct Boot helps it start up faster and ensures that important communications still run. So before you even put in your password, you’ll still get that important text message and hear your alarm clock ring.
- Seamless software updates: On select, new devices running Android Nougat, OS updates can download in the background, so you can go on with your day while your device syncs with the latest OS.
- File-based encryption: Building on top of our security platform, Android Nougat introduces file-based encryption. By encrypting at the file level instead of the block level, Android can better isolate and protect files for individual users on your device.
- Scoped folder access: Apps can request access to specific folders that you can allow or deny access to (just like app runtime permissions). This is a reduced-scope version of the Storage permission for Apps that only need access to certain folders. It can also allow Apps to request direct access to removable media (on devices with that hardware).
- Trusted face: Trusted face, a part of Smart Lock, makes unlocking even easier thanks to a new face recogniser. The new recogniser is less sensitive to conditions like lighting, facial decorations (eyewear, facial hair, etc.), and how you hold your phone. Available on selected devices.
Look, there’s no nice way of saying it, but in 2016 LG and the LG G5 continued to pretty much play second-fiddle to Samsung. This is a pretty frustrating thing to observe, however, as by this point it largely appears to be an issue of marketing presence and reputation rather than competence – and this seems to simply be a legacy of how things used to be rather than reflecting the reality of how they are now.
In other words, the LG G5 was and still is a damn fine smartphone, and it’s a real shame that it didn’t sell all that well this year for reasons we can’t quite fathom.
LG used to be lagging behind Samsung justifiably, as some of its older models were quite lacklustre, but when the LG G2 hit the market it represented a shift within LG to really up its game, enough that it was recognised by Google and brought in on the Nexus project; a move which raised its profile even further. From the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, through to the LG G3, LG G4, LG G Flex, and now the LG G5, Korea’s “second child”, as it were, has continually pushed and delivered increasingly competent flagship devices, but has not been able to close the sales gap with Samsung.
The LG G5 has some fantastic features; a premium metal build, a much sought-after removable battery, a superb dual-lens camera, high-performance processor hardware, and a high-fidelity QHD display. Even if you don’t like the proprietary nature of the modular design – a reason some analysts have given for the LG G5’s low sales – simply on the core spec line-up the overall package is very compelling.
And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, you can now pick up the amazing LG G5 for just $299 via Saleholy.com
LG G5 Review: Design & That “Modular” Aspect
I first saw the LG G5 at MWC 2016. First impressions were very good, but this was before I had seen the Galaxy S7 and HTC 10 — and Huawei P9, for that matter. A couple of months later, my opinion is much the same: this is a great-looking phone.
- Size: 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm
- Weight: 159g
- Display: 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum Display (2560 x 1440 / 554ppi)
- Battery: 2,800mAh (removable)
But I can see why some reviewers aren’t falling head over heels for it. The overall design itself is fairly unassuming. It isn’t showy, or fancy or all that eye-catching. But it is very well put together, excellently proportioned and it really does feel great in the hand.
I prefer the look of the Galaxy S7 EDGE — its stunning — but the LG G5 is a better proportioned phone in my opinion. The weight, the smooth edges and the thickness are all 100% on point. Constructed from magnesium and finished with a gorgeous matte after touch, the LG G5 is also premium as hell. The matte finish also aids grip too, which is a nice bonus, and the end result doesn’t look too dissimilar to Google’s Nexus 6P
The G5 weighs 159g and measures in at 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm, making it both smaller and lighter than its predecessor. The battery is a removable 2800mAh, which you access, along with the SD card, via the modular component at the bottom of the device. The LG G5 ships with 4GB of RAM and comes with 32GB of storage, but you will be able to supplement this with SD cards (up to 2TB).
Oddly, the LG G5 — like the Samsung Galaxy S7 — does not support Android’s adaptive storage feature, which essentially forces the phone OS to view external storage the same as internal storage. Samsung said the reason it excluded support for adaptive storage was because the feature wiped an SD card’s contents if removed incorrectly, and that was a risk it wasn’t willing to leave on the table — not when its customers’ content is so important. I imagine LG will be taking a similar stance.
As previously mentioned, the LG G5 has a modular component located on the bottom of the device’s chassis. This is the G5’s big USP. Inside, you get access to the G5’s removable battery. This is the dull stuff, though, because the really interesting part is the fact that you can attach accessories to the phone — accessories like a Bang & Olufsen DAC for superior music quality or LG Cam Plus, which adds 1100mAh battery and hardware controls (hardware key, a video button, zoom controls) to the G5’s camera.
LG is betting big on this for 2016, but whether the gamble pays off remains to be seen. The B&O DAC is very decent, though the volume is a bit low, and the camera attachment is kind of useful, though more from a battery perspective. In practice, though, the modular component of the G5 is VERY clunky to operate; you also have to restart the phone every time you do it as the battery comes out. Plus, if I’m completely honest, none of the launch mods that came with it really floated my boat.
I wanted to LOVE the B&O DAC, but the volume was just way too low. HTC has now usurped LG in this regard too by adding HD audio as standard to its HTC 10. The G5 will be judged on how well people adapt to this aspect of the phone and how much hardware accessory developers pick it up and run with it; this is what the phone is kind of all about, but after all, if no-one makes modules, it’s kind of redundant. And while it does have potential, the whole thing does feel a little like a beta test phase, something that may be more refined on the LG G6, for example.
You can read a more detailed breakdown of LG’s Friends in our dedicated review of the LG Cam Plus and the B&O-built Hi-Fi Plus module.
What kind of stuff will we see launched in the coming months? The sky’s the limit, really. Game controllers, photography accessories — you name it. Personally, I think this is one of the coolest thing to happen to phones in a long time. But whether this aspect takes off will be VERY dependent on how well the G5 sells. No one is going to bother making modular accessories for a phone that tens of millions of people aren’t using.
LG G5 Review: Display Technology & Performance
If you’re buying a top flight Android phone in 2016 you are not going to be disappointed by the display. All major players in the space now use QHD resolution and the results are utterly stunning, especially if you’re coming from an iPhone 6/iPhone 6s with a 720p panel inside it. This is just the way it is in the Android space.
Some panels are better than others, though. Samsung’s OLED setup inside its Galaxy S7 is a masterfully crafted piece of technology. So much so we put together a bespoke feature all about it — A Closer Look At The Samsung Galaxy S7’s Amazing Display. But whether you’re using the HTC 10, Galaxy S7 or LG G5 they all have one thing in common: bright, detailed displays that really pack a punch.
As it currently stands, the Galaxy S7 has the best display on market. However, for the layman, this isn’t really that much of a big deal and the reason for this is because most of what these panels are graded on in reviews is just BIG TALK, a means of comparing the wares of different manufacturers, and will largely go unnoticed in the hands of the general consumer. I’m talking about things like nits, contrast ratio, depth of blacks, etc. Technical stuff, basically. The type of thing you don’t talk about on a first date.
Like its forefather, the LG G5 features a QHD panel. But unlike the LG G4, the panel on this phone is slightly smaller at 5.3in and, in my opinion, all the better for it. LG opted for an IPS panel for the G5 and at 1440 x 2536 pixels (QHD) it is RAZOR sharp. Blacks are void-like and it performs admirably well in glaring direct sunlight as well as locking down 97.1% of the sRGB colour space when switched on.
Videos. Text. Web pages. eBooks — everything looks sublime on the G5’s panel. But in today’s Android market, where QHD is the norm, anything less than excellent would actually be news worthy. Display technology, like processors, has now levelled-out pretty much across the board, so when you attempt to discuss differences between, say, the HTC 10 and LG G5, the actual, visible differences are negligible.
In fact, the only major phone maker dragging its heels in this regard is Apple. The iPhone 6s and iPhone SE use 720p display resolutions, a resolution you now only find on budget Android phones.
The LG G5 uses an ALWAYS ON panel as well, meaning you always have the time and notifications displaying on the screen — even when the phone is locked. This isn’t a new feature on phones by any stretch of the imagination but it is nice to finally see it gaining more mainstream support on big handsets like the Galaxy S7 and LG G5. And best of all this feature only costs 0.8% of your battery per hour.
LG G5 Review: Hardware & Specs
Like most high-end Android releases in 2016, the LG G5 rocks Qualcomm’s brand new and superbly powerful Snapdragon 820 mobile processor. Alongside this you have 4GB of RAM. Combined this creates a story we’re all very familiar with now by now — power, speed and buttery smooth animations across the board.
For the sake of brevity and to make reading this a little less dull, I’ve listed the core specs for the handset below, so we can talk more generally about how the LG G5 performs in day to day scenarios:
LG G5 Specs & Hardware
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow with UX 5.0
- 5.3in Quad HD IPS screen (1440×2560, 554ppi)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, quad-core
- 4GB RAM
- 32 storage
- Micro-SD card slot (up to 200GB)
- Dual-rear cameras (16Mp 78 degree and 8Mp 135 degree) with OIS and laser auto focus
- 8Mp front camera
- 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC, Infrared, fingerprint scanner
- Cat 9 4G LTE
- USB Type-C
- 2800mAh removable battery
- 149x74x7.7mm, 159g
Smartphones in 2016 are sort of like 600bhp sports cars. They’re super powerful, largely over-specced for what you’re going to be doing with them and completely amazing in every regard. And while most people don’t really need all this processing grunt for what they do day to day on a handset, modern chipsets are about a lot more than just making things tick along smoothly.
Imaging. 4K video. Fast 4G connectivity — all these things are handled by the 820. And after Qualcomm’s disastrous 2015, I am very pleased to report the company is definitely back on form with the Snapdragon 820 — this thing is impossibly good. Every handset I’ve tested this year which runs on this new chipset is noticeably faster than last year’s model, and these handsets do a lot more as well, mostly in the imaging department, and still manage to be more power efficient.
That’s called a BIG WIN for Qualcomm. But we’re the real beneficiaries because these new Android phones are some of the most interesting and feature-packed devices to ever appear on market. They do more do more and run cooler. They’re more powerful than ever but kinder to your battery. The camera technology is mind-blowing, yet handled with ease. All of these things are huge boons for consumers. And after the cheese sandwich that was 2015’s phone space, 2016 couldn’t have started better.
I’ve been using the G5 now for a couple of weeks. It flies. Nothing lags, not even things like video-editing on the fly slow it down. I am constantly impressed by how easily this handset handles everything I throw at it; nothing seems to phase the Snapdragon 820. Nothing. And the battery just keeps on going and going and going.
Compared to my daily driver — an iPhone 6 Plus — the LG G5 feels like a phone from a parallel dimension where smartphones became a reality five years before they did here. Benchmarks paint a similar picture too, as you’d imagine. Below are three tests I did which pit the LG G5 against the LG G3, LG G4, for comparison’s sake, and also the Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and iPhone 6s Plus. As you can see the performance uplift is around double across the board.
Bottomline? If you held off updating your Android phone last year and are looking at either the LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 or HTC 10, you, sir or madam, are in for a MASSIVE treat. These new Android handsets are some of the most interesting the mobile space has seen in as long as I can remember. So much so, I think 2016 will be looked back upon as the year smartphones got interesting again. I cannot get enough of these phones.
LG G5 Review: Imaging Technology & Camera Performance
Camera Specs: 16-megapixel & 8-megapixel, f/1.8 & f/2.4 lens, OIS, laser autofocus; 8MP front-facing setup; 4K video recording
Alongside the modular aspect, the LG G5’s camera is where the company once again tries to do something very original by packing in a dual-camera setup which features one 16MP sensor with a 75º field of view alongside an 8MP sensor with a massive 175º field of view lens — and, yes, that is wider than your own eyeballs can see.
The idea here is to provide a DSLR-type experience on your phone, just without all the heavy lens, weight and cost. And it works very well too. The first time you boot up the wide-angle lens you will be astonished by just how much it manages to fit into the frame. You do lose some detail, however, as this lens is on an 8MP setup.
But for when you’re capturing the interior of some monstrous structure, a group of people or a lovely sunset on a beach you will be glad that you brought the LG G5 with you. Interestingly, this type of camera technology is expected to appear aboard certain models of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7. The wide-angle lens is also great for video, as it captures everything your eyes perceive, allowing for more natural-looking video.
> Wide Angle Image Below
To switch between the two cameras, you simply tap an icon at the top of the camera UI. The UI itself is nicely designed and easy to operate; it also features a bunch of useful features like the ability to shot in RAW and “Manual” mode which gives you full control over things like white balance, ISO, focussing and pretty much anything else you fancy tinkering with. The camera is fully featured, even by today’s standards, simple enough to use, even for beginners, and all of this comes together to enable really great results in most settings and environments.
In terms of performance, the G5 is very, very competent. In well lit environments images look great and are easily comparable to what I’ve seen from the Galaxy S7 and HTC 10. In lowlight it does lose a bit of ground to the Galaxy S7. There is noticeable grain in images and things appear washed out — you also lose a lot of detail when using the wide-angle lens, but that’s a given as it’s only an 8MP setup. HDR helps a lot in this regard, as you can see below, as it boosts the colour and detail, bringing the G5’s 16MP sensor well in line with the current best shooters on market.
> HDR Above; Normal Below
OIS and LG’s laser-guided autofocus are still present and accounted for and image quality, for the most part, is a big step up from last year’s model. I really love using the wide-angle lens for video and images, and very much like the fact that LG allows you complete control over everything inside manual mode. The ability to export photos in RAW format is also another huge boon for photography buffs.
LG G5 Review: Battery Performance
Oddly, LG opted for a smaller battery inside the G5 than last year’s flagship — 2800mAh vs 3000mAh. The reason behind this is likely to do with the design of the LG G5’s modular aspect. That, or LG was confident it could improve battery performance using a smaller cell. The 2800mAh cell is removable too, so you can hot swap it for a spare just as you could aboard the Galaxy S5.
With respect to performance, the LG G5 is excellent. It lasts all day with heavy usage and, thanks to QuickCharge, can be topped up rapidly if needed. New features inside Android Marshmallow like Doze also help with overall efficiency and this in turn means better overall battery performance. Middling to light use of the G5 mean the handset can easily traverse a couple of days.
For most, though, you’re looking at a solid day’s worth of power from a single charge — 7am to 9pm, basically. If you’re off out after work and know you’ll be using the phone, say, for photos and video, which tax the battery rather heavily, then you will definitely want to re-juice it at lunchtime. You will have to cough up for a QuickCharge-supported charger, though, as LG only includes a USB Type C cable in the G5’s box, the tight buggers!
LG G5 Review: Verdict
The moment I saw the LG G5 at MWC 2016 I knew it was something special. And not just because of its modular aspect, although that was certainly an eye-catching feature. No, for the most part I like what LG stands for, what it’s all about — pushing the boundaries.
The company isn’t afraid to try something completely left field when all those around it are playing it safe. LG wants to be different. It wants to stand out from the crowd and with the LG G5 I believe the company has 100% achieved this. The modular thing was a huge gamble to undertake in a market where phone sales are largely going one way — downwards.
This took balls. The modular aspect isn’t perfect, either. I’ve yet to try any module that actually works as well as I’d imagined, but I respect LG for having the tenacity to push ahead with a new technology when everybody else in the space is happy to play keeping up with the Jones’.
The camera is excellent also. Ditto overall performance and battery life. I also like the way the handset looks and feels. So even if the modular aspect is still something of an unknown, it doesn’t really matter because the LG G5 excels in all other areas as well, making it a unique, all-round solid handset from one of the most exciting consumer technology brands on the face of the planet.
A lot of people seem non-plussed by the G5; some even claim it looks boring and lacks the charm of last year’s model. I 100% disagree with this sentiment — the G5 is a vastly superior device to what came before. It has enough new features, attributes and quirks to really stand out from the crowd in 2016 and for me is one of the most interesting releases in recent times.
The Best LG G5 Cases
LG’s latest smartphone is one of the most unique we’ve seen in years, offering a modular design which allows you to bolt-on accessories to enhance performance. Despite this amazing selling point, it’s highly likely that most G5 users are going to use their phone “as is”, and they’ll also want to ensure the device is properly protected at all times. We’ve had a good look around for the best G5 cases, and present this exhaustive list for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Official Mesh Folio Quick Cover Case
As ever, there are official options when it comes to G5 cases. The folio-style cover case clips onto the back of the phone and has a flip-over guard which protects the screen from damage, but boasts a small window which allows the “always on” display to still be visible.
Because it covers pretty much the entire phone this is an excellent option if you’re keen to keep the handset in pristine condition, but it’s not the thickest case and probably won’t provide that much protection against unexpected falls.
Official Crystal Guard Case
A cheaper option from LG is this translucent clip-on plastic case. It has a honeycomb texture on the inside which makes the (quite plain) phone look very appealing. Because it’s super-thin it doesn’t bulk out the handset, but it’s very slippery to hold.
Another issue is that the case doesn’t fit as snugly as it should – there’s a little bit of travel on the edges. It’s nothing too serious and in all fairness could be unique to our review unit – this is still a highly recommended case if you want something that doesn’t add too much size but offers a decent level of protection.
Olixar Ultra-Thin Case
Always the cheapest of the cheap, Olixar’s cases might not be all that flashy but they get the job done, and this G5 effort is no exception. It’s made from a thin, rubber-like plastic which provides a “skin” around your phone, preventing scuffs and marks from appearing.
However, it’s such a thin material that should you accidentally drop your G5, it’s going to take some damage. Still, for the price, this is still a worthy option – especially if you’re concerned about cases making your phone even chunkier than it already is.
VRS Design High Pro Shield Series
This rather chunky case has a two-part construction, offering a soft TPU interior with a hard plastic trim which runs around the edges. The two can be separated and that’s often required when it comes to fitting the case to your phone.
While it certainly bulks up the G5, the level of protection is excellent; should you be unfortunate enough to drop your handset into solid ground, it will probably bounce harmlessly with this VRS case attached.
While it’s not as bulky as some of the other offerings included in this list, the Patchworks Flexguard offers an amazing degree of all-round protection. Each corner of the case has a special shock-absorbing pad so large drops aren’t a concern, and the textured back makes it easy to grip.
The only downside is that the textured pattern tends to collect dust and other particles, but that’s a very minor issue.
Spigen Ultra Hybrid
While it adds decent protection and has special air cushions on each corner to prevent damage from accidental drops, the Spigen Ultra Hybrid is almost entirely transparent and is perfect for those who want to show off their phone, even when it’s inside a case.
The edges are made from TPU but the back panel is hard plastic – hence the “hybrid” in the name. While this is a superb case on paper, the one we had for review had a manufacturing issue on the plastic back which actually resulted in the rear panel of the G5 picking up some scratches that were deep enough to dig through the primer and expose the metal chassis beneath. This could well be unique to the case we reviewed, but it’s annoying that a product designed to protect your phone actually damages it.
Caseology Wavelength Series
Another two-part case, the Caseology Wavelength has a rubberised main body and a stylish plastic outer rim. Once fitted to the phone it looks fantastic, and is certainly one of the more visually appealing cases in this list.
It’s also relatively thin and the way in which the plastic part of the frame bulges out at the top and bottom of the handset means that it offers excellent grip.
Obliq Flex Pro
Chunky and sure to resist all but the most catastrophic of drops, the Flex Pro is a serious case. At the top and bottom of the handset it adds large plastic bumpers, but the back of the case has a textured pattern to improve grip and thereby prevent any unwanted drops.
The volume buttons are pressed via some plastic keys on the case itself, and while it makes an already large phone even bigger, the tradeoff for such excellent protection is probably worth it.
Caseology Skyfall Series
Another offering from those talented chaps at Caseology, the Skyfall has a shiny plastic trim but uses a transparent main case, allowing the G5 to shine through at all times.
The metallic-look plastic might be a bit too gaudy for some users, but there’s no denying that LG’s phone is infinitely more eye-catching when clad in this particular product.
Thanks to Mobile Fun for supplying the LG G5 cases used in this feature.