LG G4 vs LG G5

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Fea­tures

Both phones are a sim­i­lar size, yet the G5’s screen is slightly smaller – 5.3in vs 5.5in. There is of course an up­graded pro­ces­sor and GPU, plus an ex­tra gi­ga­byte of RAM. There’s also now a USB-C con­nec­tor and dual rear cam­eras.

The slightly smaller bat­tery is a con­cern: the G5 will be faster than the G4 but may not last as long be­tween charges. LG ap­pears to be coun­ter­ing this with a sec­ondary bat­tery in cer­tain plug-in ac­ces­sories such as the cam­era grip which brings the to­tal to 4000mAh. We’ll wait un­til we have prop­erly tested the G5 be­fore giv­ing our ver­dict on the new phone though.

One thing’s for sure: the G5 is one of the most ex­cit­ing new phones of 2016.

Ac­ces­sory slot

The high­light is of course the new ac­ces­sory slot. This is a good for­ward step to­wards a fully mod­u­lar phone, some­thing which Google has been work­ing on with Pro­ject Ara, as has Phonebloks

This al­lows you to upgrade the G5 with bet­ter au­dio, a cam­era grip (which adds cam­era-spe­cific

con­trols and an ex­tra bat­tery) or a DAC – a dig­i­tal to ana­logue con­ver­tor which im­proves the sound qual­ity out of the head­phone jack. There’s sure to be more ac­ces­sories launch­ing over the next few months, too. While the G4 has a re­mov­able bat­tery and a mi­croSD slot, it has noth­ing like the G5’s ac­ces­sory slot.

Cam­eras

On the G5, it has a 16Mp rear cam­era like the G4. But in ad­di­tion it has an 8Mp, 135 de­gree wide-an­gle lens. This gives a fish-eye view sim­i­lar to a GoPro ac­tion cam that cap­tures more of the scene when you can’t phys­i­cally move fur­ther back.

The dual cam­eras also let you take a stan­dard and wide-an­gle photo at the same time. You can then com­bine th­ese with var­i­ous ef­fects af­ter­wards, if you want to.

Dis­play

On pa­per, it looks like LG has just re­duced the LG G4’s screen by 0.2 inches and kept the same Quad-HD res­o­lu­tion of 2560x1440. How­ever, the changes go a lot deeper.

For a start, a por­tion of it is al­ways on. De­spite be­ing an IPS screen rather than AMOLED, LG has de­vel­oped new screen tech so it can run a seg­ment of the back­light at a low level which al­lows the time, date and no­ti­fi­ca­tions to be shown on screen all the time so you don’t have to wake the phone.

If you buy LG’s of­fi­cial cover (or one of the ex­pected third-party op­tions with a hole in the right place) you’ll be able to see this info even when the screen is cov­ered up.

The back­light is also ca­pa­ble – LG says – of 800 nits. This is great for fram­ing pho­tos (or read­ing an email) when it’s bright and sunny out­doors.

Fin­ger­print scan­ner

Gone is the G4’s un­usual power and vol­ume but­ton ar­range­ment from the back of the phone. In its place on the G5 is a fin­ger­print reader. This may seem an odd lo­ca­tion, but we’ve used this on sev­eral Huawei phones and know that it’s ac­tu­ally very er­gonomic. And, just for the sake of clar­ity, the G4 didn’t have a fin­ger­print scan­ner.

The vol­ume but­tons are on the side, as you’d ex­pect, and the head­phone jack is on the top edge.

Metal body

The G5’s de­sign is also quite a de­par­ture from the G4’s which was very sim­i­lar to the G3. In­stead of a re­mov­able rear cover, the G5 has a metal uni­body. But un­like most uni­body phones, the bat­tery is re­mov­able: it slides out of the bot­tom when the lower panel is re­moved.

The bat­tery it­self has dropped in ca­pac­ity by 200mAh. While that may be a dis­ap­point­ment to some, the bet­ter ef­fi­ciency of the Snap­dragon 820 should negate this and mean the G5 lasts as long as the G4. How­ever, we’ll have to wait un­til we can run our bat­tery tests be­fore we can say this for sure.

Soft­ware

It goes with­out say­ing that the G5 gets the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid: Marsh­mal­low. The G4 shipped with Lol­lipop but an upgrade to Marsh­mal­low is on the cards if not avail­able to in­stall al­ready.

The G5 gets a unique app, the Friends man­ager. This is a hub where you can man­age ac­ces­sories for the ‘magic slot’ plus those which con­nect wire­lessly such as the 360 cam­era and those you con­nect via a wire – a USB ca­ble in the case of the 360 VR head­set.

Con­nec­tiv­ity

The G4 wasn’t lack­ing in this re­spect, but the G5 has an up­graded LTE mod­ule sup­port­ing Cat 9 for faster speeds and also re­tains the in­frared port.

Both phones have 802.11ac Wi-Fi and the G5 has the lat­est ver­sion of Blue­tooth, 4.2 vs 4.1 in the G4. For GPS, they use A-GPS with GLONASS. The G5 also sup­ports BDS, which is a Chi­nese GPS sys­tem cur­rently un­der de­vel­op­ment.

Ver­dict

This is a tricky ques­tion right now. Clearly the new model is su­pe­rior in most re­spects. The mod­u­lar

na­ture is ex­cit­ing and could make it more fu­ture proof. But, given how quickly phones are su­per­seded, there’s only 12 months for the LG and Friends ecosys­tem to es­tab­lish it­self. Will LG con­tinue with the same slot in the G6? It’s im­pos­si­ble to know.

The G4’s price is likely to drop even fur­ther now that the G5 has been an­nounced, and it’s al­ready a bar­gain at un­der £300.

We don’t yet know how much the G5 will cost since nei­ther LG nor mo­bile oper­a­tors have an­nounced a SIM-free or con­tract pric­ing. We ex­pect it to be £500+ un­locked – it is a brand new flag­ship phone af­ter all.

For some peo­ple, the ex­tra cost won’t be worth it, but for oth­ers the new fea­tures will be ex­actly what they want. Buy­ing into a mod­u­lar sys­tem is a risky busi­ness, but if pho­tog­ra­phy and video is a pri­or­ity, the G5 looks to be a win­ner. We’re ea­ger to test out the built-in cam­eras as well as the LG Cam Plus and 360 add-ons to see how they com­pare to the best phone cam­eras. Jim Martin

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

LG G4 5.5in IPS (1440x2560) An­droid 5.1.1 Lol­lipop. Qual­comm Snap­dragon 808 pro­ces­sor 3GB RAM

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