LG's latest flagship, the LG G5, has just launched, and as you might expect, LG reckons it’s the best phone in its G series yet. But how does it differ from its predecessor, the excellent LG G4? We discover the differences that really matter in our LG G5 vs LG G4 comparison or head straight to our preliminary LG G5 review.
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LG G5 vs LG G4: design and build quality
It’s not a huge surprise to discover that the LG G5 looks similar to its predecessor, which boasted a very slightly curved display, slim bezels and placed the power button on the back of the device.
There are some key differences, however. The volume rocker has been moved to the side, leaving a fingerprint scanner that bears a porthole design behind.
The LG G5 has a metal unibody design that should prove to be both light and tough. The LG G4 came with the choice of a ceramic or a leather back plate. The leather option might have made the G4 look unique, but it wore over time. The G5's metal design should be far more durable.
LG has also unveiled a special cover for the G5, a Quick Cover case that resembles the case for the LG K10. It enables you to control alarms and take calls without opening the case, and the G5's Always On screen enables you to see key information at a glance.
In addition, the LG G5 has a removable cap on the base of the device. This is where the battery, microSD card and Magic Slot (which we'll get to later) reside.
LG G5 vs LG G4: display
Early rumors predicted that the LG G5 would have a 5.6-inch display, but it actually comes with a 5.3-inch screen with Always On, which displays the time, date and key notifications when the rest of the display is switched off. If you’ve seen Ambient Display in recent Nexus devices it’s essentially the same thing.
The LG G5 retains the QHD display of the G4, but the reduced screen size means a higher pixel density
The LG G4 display was 5.5 inches in size and offered a QHD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution. It was really bright and had great viewing angles. The LG G5 retains the QHD display of the G4, but the reduced screen size means a higher pixel density, although the difference in quality will be negligible.
LG G5 vs LG G4: processor and storage
The LG G4 has a six-core Snapdragon 808 with 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage and a microSD slot for expansion. The LG G5 differs in that it has the next-generation Snapdragon 820 and 4 GB of RAM. It's sure to be a faster device, but whether it will be a noticeable improvement remains to be seen.
LG G5 vs LG G4: camera
The LG G4 has a 16 MP rear camera, and it's one of the best on any Android smartphone. The G5 brings the same 16 MP rear camera seen on the LG V10, but also adds an 8 MP wide-lens, which provides a 135-degree field of view. This allows a greater variety of shots to be taken, from standard through to wide-angle.
While the LG V10 used a similar set up on its front-facing camera, this is the first time we've seen it used on a more powerful rear camera. To really test the LG G5's camera out, however, we'll have to wait until we have a device in our offices here at AndroidPIT.
LG has kept its granular manual mode, too, which has always been a highlight of LG smartphone cameras.
LG G5 vs LG G4: features
The LG G5 adds some notable features over the G4. The fingerprint scanner on the rear of the device is new, as is the USB Type-C port.
Most importantly, however, is the Magic Slot. By removing the cap on the bottom of the device, you will find a slot allowing the connection of a variety of devices to the G5, such as VR headsets, a camera module, and a Hi-Fi+ module, which LG has worked with B&O on.
LG G5 vs LG G4: software
LG likes to tweak Android with its own interface, which it calls UX. The G4 runs UX 4.0, based on Android 5.1 Lollipop, and is the slimmest, simplest version of the UI to date. As with all manufacturer skins, it won't be to everybody's tastes, but it offers a number of useful features.
The G5 comes with UX 5.0, which has several key differences over UX 4.0. Most notably, LG has decided to discard the app drawer. Whether this is to your tastes or not is something you can only decide by spending time with the device, but it is rumored that Google is planning on dropping the app drawer with Android N, so LG might just be ahead of the curve on this one.
Dual-window mode has also been discarded, along with Q Slides.
LG G5 vs LG G4: battery life
We were disappointed with the LG G4’s battery life: the 3,000 mAh battery doesn’t deliver stellar battery life even though LG opted for a less power-hungry processor.
On the G5, we see a drop in battery size, from 3,000 to 2,800 mAh. While this may seem disappointing, the device's smaller display size, along with improvements in power management that come with Marshmallow and a more carefully optimized processor, should mean at least equal battery life to the LG G4. We'll have to wait until we can run some benchmarks on it to know for sure, however.
A drop in battery size may seem disappointing, but the G5 battery life should be at least equal to the G4's
The LG G5's battery is also removable, sliding out from the base of the device.
LG G5 vs LG G4: early verdict
Overall, the LG G5 offers some surprises and improvements over the LG G4. The dual-lens camera sounds really intriguing, and we're looking forward to playing around with that. The Always On screen makes for an intuitive and easy way to check your notifications without pressing a button, but how much battery this feature eats up remains to be seen. Also, the new version of UX might not be to everyone's tastes.
Backed with the Snapdragon 820 processor and more RAM, the G5 is going to be quicker than the G4, for sure, but it's the Magic Slot and the new metal unibody design that are perhaps the biggest selling points for the G5.
What do you think? Has LG knocked it out of the park again, or do the specs include any deal-breakers for you? Let us know below.