LG G5 modular smartphone goes official at MWC 2016

lg g5 modular smartphoneLG G5 has finally gone fully official with the company’s announcement of its modular Android smartphone at Mobile World Congress.

We’ve seen plenty of tasty tidbits of LG’s newest smartphone, including that interesting battery tray, but now it has been revealed that the LG G5 can be upgraded thanks to plug-in components.

The LG G5 modular smartphone skills should certainly help it stand out from the crowd. LG also announced its new virtual reality kit and a remote control robot at its Mobile World Congress press conference in Barcelona. This also means that LG has beaten Google’s Project Ara to the table.

The LG G5 has a 5.3-inch LCD with that always-on mode. It features a dedicated memory and a power-sipping secondary chip so that the main chipset can go to sleep while the screen remains on 24/7 – although it does switch off when its in your pocket. The bespoke chip sips just 0.8% of battery per hour.

The dual selfie camera idea from the V10 has migrated to the G5 too, but as a main camera. One camera has 75° Field of View (FoV) and 16MP sensor, the second camera is much wider, 135° and 8MP sensor. Images from both cameras can be merged with various effects and a real-time preview.

The LG G5 is powered by a Snapdragon 820 chipset wtih 4GB of RAM. It has 32GB storage on board and a microSD slot.

It’s 7.5mm-8mm thick and packs a small-ish 2,800mAh battery. There is, of course, a fingerprint scanner which sits below the rear cameras.

LG G5 modular friends

At the LG G5 launch LG revealed two optional modules – which it calls “friends” – alongside the new mobile handset.

Bang & Olufsen DAC

lg g5 bando dacOne is a 32-bit digital to analogue converter (DAC) made by the renowned audio specialist Bang & Olufsen. LG claims that the DAC friend makes the phone capable of playing sounds at a higher resolution – meaning music should be more detailed when heard via good quality headphones or speakers. This is a similar approach to Arcam’s MusicBoost for the iPhone 6.

LG G5 CamPlus

lg g5 camplus friendThe other module is a hardware camera controller that the company says should make it easier for owners to take pictures using only one hand. It features a dial for zooming and a button to take photos among other controls, and also provides a 40% boost to battery life.

Switching between modules involves pulling out the phone’s battery and attaching it to the new part. Although this makes the action more fiddly, it does have the benefit that the battery can be easily replaced, unlike in many other handsets.

LG G5 cameras

You may have also noticed that the LG G5 is packing a pair of lenses on the back. One of these is a normal lens, while the other creates 135-degree wide-angled shots that LG says offer a larger field of view than the human eye or any other smartphone.

This can be useful for capturing landscapes or group shots of people. However, the wide-angled photos only have a resolution of eight megapixels – half that of those taken via the other lens.

LG 360 VR

lg 360 camera and vrLG’s 360 VR does not use the phone as a screen but rather features two built-in displays of its own – one for each eye. This is certainly a departure from the Google Cardboard and other VR designs such as Samsung’s Gear VR.

The 360 VR is both smaller and lighter than Samsung’s Gear VR and can show higher resolution images, at 638 pixels per inch. Also, as your phone isn’t being balanced on your nose, your handset becomes as a touchscreen control for the unit.

LG has yet to announce its price, but has acknowledged that it will be more expensive than Samsung’s.

In addition to the headset, the company also showed off a handheld camera that can capture 360-degree videos, which can be watched on any VR headset or uploaded to Facebook and YouTube.

Unlike the headset, the camera will be compatible with all phones running Android 4.2 or higher or Apple’s iOS system.

The final accessory unveiled at MWC was a robotic ball with a built-in infrared blaster.

This can be controlled from afar by the smartphone, allowing the user to see and talk to people in their home and control IR-equipped appliances.

LG G5 modular phone price and availability

I have only been told so far that Vodafone will be stocking the LG G5 modular mobile – more details to follow.

Check out the video from the BBC below: