As per usual for this time of year, there is a lot of new mobile hardware. We have just seen the tail end of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016, and in less than two weeks time, CeBIT in Hannover, Germany is also on the horizon. Before we get there, we've got a few more interesting handsets from MWC to go over. This week, it is LG's turn with their newest flagship smartphone, the LG G5. This just happens to be the GSMA's pick for best smartphone at this years show.
LG's flagship last year, the LG G4, was well received. This year, not only have LG built upon previously earned success, they have taken the biggest mainstream leap seen in a smartphone so far with the LG G5. The leap in question is modular and confirms LG as being one of the most innovative mobile vendors in the industry. LG have designed the new LG G5 to have a wholly separate compartment that can be slid out the bottom of the handset and replaced with another compatible module. So far, two modules have been confirmed; one with a camera grip and buttons, plus extra battery; the other, with a Hi-Fi DAC from Bang & Olufsen.
Another useful side effect of the modular design is that the G5's battery can now be replaced.This feature alone may help it win more fans than the modular concept, as despite consumer desire, the trend is with non-removable batteries. The flip side of that coin is that the G5 can't be waterproof sealed.
Moving onto the numbers now and we get a 5.3 inch IPS display with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, which is 554 ppi. For screen protection, there is Corning's Gorilla Glass 4 and the standard battery that ships with the handset is a 2800mAh unit. A little low, but perhaps balanced out by the fact it can be easily removed.
Inside this flagship is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chipset, which has just been confirmed by AnTuTu as the fastest currently available for both CPU and GPU power. 4GB RAM, 32GB internal storage and a MicroSD slot completes the hardware. The LG G5 has all the usual equipment you'd expect of a top of the line smartphone. A few things of note in particular are the Always On display, USB Type-C support and Qualcomm's smart charge 3.0. The last two, even the Samsung Galaxy S7 lacks. The camera also looks to be onto a winner. It can take shots in a 135-degree angle, offering a wider viewing angle than the human eye. The LG G5 is due out in April and is expected to cost $670.
LG's Friends of the G5
At MWC LG also showcased several gadgets going by the name, Friends of the G5. The first came with the announcement that LG would join the Samsung Gear VR, Occulus Rift and HTC Vive, with its own virtual reality headset, the 360 VR. The design looks far more sleek and portable than the competition and unlike the Gear VR, the 360 VR doesn't use a phone display as the screen, although you do still need to plug it into your phone for power. The general consensus is that the 360 VR is still some way off being ready but once it is, we think LG will be marketing their headset on price, rather than quality which is an untapped market thus far.
The second gadget and something that was one of the biggest trends this year, was the LG 360 CAM. You can guess what this is from the name, a standalone 360 degree camera. Coincidentally it seemed that almost every manufacturer had a 360 degree camera to show this year. It's about the same size as a glasses case and can be stood upright or handheld. Inside, it has two 13MP sensors, each with a super-wide 200-degree fisheye lens to capture a full 360 degree view. The LG 360 CAM supports 2K video and has a 1200mAh battery, good for 70 minutes of recording and the result can be watched on any YouTube 360 compatible device.
Last but not least, is the LG Rolling Bot. LG's innovation has again been allowed out to play and it's brought us a cross between a home monitoring system and a remote controlled pet toy. It's a 20 cm ball with an 8MP camera, speaker, microphone, IR support and MicroSD slot. You can control it via a smartphone app to roll around your home and take pictures, video or live stream. You can control your appliances via infra-red or just simply use it to interact with your pets. Great for keeping an eye on your home and pets while you're away, out of the three gadgets this one is my favourite. Availability and pricing have yet to be announced.
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