LG is one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in the world and has risen to such popularity in a relatively short time. The LG G3 was launched in 2014 and it was the first flagship from the company to gather a serious fandom. This year, they launched the LG G4 and the LG V10 flagships to mostly positive reviews, but people seem to be ready for something new. The company’s next phone is supposed to be the LG G5, whose release date is pegged for February or March 2016, but what will that change?
The beans have already been spilled about the LG G5, or at least a few details of its design have emerged from within LG’s home country. Apparently, the LG G5 design will stray from the usual smooth plastic elements that we got used to with the LG G3 and LG G4. A metallic unibody is going to be the main difference between the LG G5 and LG G4, although what kind of impact that will have on the handset’s design is uncertain. Metal is a harder material to work with and since the company’s flagships tend to be relatively affordable compared to Samsung, Apple, HTC and others, a metallic design might impact the LG G5 price negatively.
The plastic design of the LG G4 is simple enough, almost the same as its predecessor. Nonetheless, an overwhelming number of Android fans enjoyed it because it allowed for a removable battery, removable back cover and microSD storage. These features used to be representative of the Android community, but since the Nexus line-up started becoming popular, major manufacturers in the industry have slowly started dropping these signature features. The same is going to happen with the LG G5.
Samsung surprised everyone when it renounced a few of its signature features from the Galaxy S5 and implemented a different strategy when it launched the Galaxy S6. Instead of a plastic design, removable battery, waterproof case and expandable storage, Samsung decided to go with a metal and glass design and emphasize premium design instead of user-friendly and customizable features. The trend is obvious in other manufacturers as well, so I doubt there’s a way out for those who used to like these features.
The LG G4 was a surprising release exactly because of this reason. While others launched phones with sealed components and no storage expansion, LG launched the LG G4 and even the LG V10 with these features on board. There are pros and cons to having them, but these features are undoubtedly helpful for power users. The consumer market doesn’t concern itself that much with durability and power user needs, so it’s not surprising that features developers and tech-savvy people enjoyed were removed in favor of flashier designs. Of course, Samsung as well as others, added other bonuses to compensate for the changes, such as wireless charging, fast wireless charging and a lot of faster internal storage with better technology. Is that what’s going to happen with the LG G5?
The LG G5 is very likely to sport a metal unibody, which inevitably means little opportunities for at-home fiddling. Metal unibodies seal batteries inside and use trays for SIM card access, usually. While we don’t know what kind of approach engineers will take with the LG G5 release, the handset will most likely keep at least one neat feature – like expandable storage. With the help of pull-out trays, LG could easily keep fans happy by providing them with the option of expandable storage while compensating for the lack of removable battery with a larger cell that can be wirelessly charged in a short amount of time.
With that in mind, one of the main differences we should see between the LG G4 and the upcoming LG G5 concern design and its limitations. So, we’re going to have a metal unibody, a non-removable battery, fast wireless charging and expandable storage – most likely up to 2 TB, like with HTC’s One M9. With this setup, I believe balance could be reached and the Android community would still be able to consider LG the same old supportive brand with pretty good update cycles and prices.
Since we’re on a financial topic already, let’s see how the LG G5 price is expected to change due to the new design. If metal is going to be the main component of the flagship, we should expect a rise in its price, too. Metal, aluminum and magnesium are materials used often in smartphone design, but we know that they do require more time and money to process and engineer. In my opinion, the metal LG G5 should still be relatively affordable and LG will no doubt keep its slightly lower prices for the sake of its fans. The LG G4 price at launch was around $500, depending on market and such, so we expect the LG G5 price to be just slightly higher, at maybe $550 if we only consider the design change.
The LG G4 price right now sits at around $400, which is more than an excellent price to pay for the handset. Considering that mid-range smartphones from Samsung, HTC and others already cost that much, it’s definitely one of the smartphones with the best value for money on the market. I might even go as far as to say that long-term, it’s a much better investment than even a OnePlus device (be it the X or 2, same deal). If LG keeps its prices so competitive, and all signs point towards it, the LG G5 release should be a very memorable one.
However, if we consider the LG V10 price, design and features, we might end up with a very different price estimate for the LG G5. The LG V10 price is between $650 and $750 for an unlocked unit. The handset has quirky extras like the secondary display and massive screen, which are surely going to be omitted from the LG G5 design. However, the hardware within the new flagship will most likely be newer and better, and we’ve a good idea what to expect in that department at least.
The LG G4 was launched last year featuring a 5.5-inch IPS display with QuadHD resolution, Snapdragon 808 CPU, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage, microSD expandable storage up to 128 GB, 16 MP rear camera with laser autofocus, optical image stabilization, 8 MP front camera and a removable 3000 mAh battery cell within. Android 5.1 Lollipop is now on board the handset, and wireless charging is also enabled or rather, optional. The phone is also capable of fast charging thanks to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 standard. Impressive for a $400 device right? Much more so than the $1000 iPhone 6S Plus, despite all that 3D Touch goodness.
The LG G5 specs are going to have a hard time topping those features, especially since it looks like the South Korean company is going to follow down the Samsung road and focus on design and redesign with this launch. I honestly hope that won’t be the case and LG focuses just as much on providing an affordable, yet premium user experience and performance as on offering a premium, shiny design. With that in mind, this is more of a wishlist, but it’s also based on research and insider information about the LG G5 development process.
Apparently, the LG G5 will use the Snapdragon 820 processor, because LG’s Nuclun SoC hasn’t really reached a viable point of development for flagship devices. 4 GB RAM are rumored to be on board all variants, but our sources tell us there will be at least one model of the LG G5 featuring 3 GB RAM. Apparently, internal storage will get a big bump in the flagship, insiders telling us to expect to have at least 64 GB internal storage on the base model, with a 128 GB variant also expected. I don’t think LG would have much to gain from the development of any larger storage configuration model, so the handset will most likely top out at 128 GB. If there’s a microSD slot included, that will be more than enough. Actually, if the LG G5 will be available in a 128 GB model, there won’t even be that much need for a microSD slot, although it would still be nice to be able to hold on to media and switch it out.
Since the battery of the LG G5 is going to be sealed in, we expect it to be at least a bit bigger than the LG G4 battery, which measures 3000 mAh and is good for about two days of regular use. The LG G5 battery life should at least try to hit the 3-day mark and if rumors are true, it might. Apparently, LG is working on new battery tech, and while it’s supposed to be mainly flexible, it is also supposed to provide longer autonomy. People familiar with the matter revealed that LG might be using cells 4200 mAh big in the LG G5, which could be a nice bump compared to the LG G4. Unfortunately, if the metal design leak is accurate, the battery won’t be removable. However, Quick Charge 3.0 should provide super-fast charging, so that can be viewed as a bit of a consolation feature.
Pinpointing display technology might be a bit of a harder task. The LG G4 display is stunning, and many agree that it’s not yet time to make upgrades in this respect. However, at least a minor upgrade is due and I suspect that LG will start using AMOLED panels in the LG G5. Although Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium has a 4K display, popular opinion says we don’t need such high resolutions on smartphones. With that in mind, I think we can safely say that the LG G5 display will measure 5.5-inches and come with QuadHD resolution. The display tech might change and a higher water resistance might also be added to the phone, facilitated by the metal design, so we definitely have a few things to look forward to.
So, the question that remains is whether the LG G5 release date is actually as close as perceived. The LG V10 isn’t even a month old, and the LG G4 is still a very future-proof device. Nonetheless, the release cycle for the company’s flagship is ending, and fans will want to at least see a new version, if not buy one. As such, I think it’s safe to say that the LG G5 release is pretty much happening, although it might occur later than expected. The LG V10 needs to get some feedback, which LG most likely wants before it starts mass-producing the LG G5. Who knows, maybe it’s already in mass production, but we don’t know it yet.