[TechRadar] Updated: LG G5 release date, news and features
Updated: LG G5 release date, news and features

Updated: LG G5 release date, news and features

LG G5 release date, news and rumors

All of the LG G5 news you heard before the company's launch event at MWC 2016 is mostly true, and that's good news for anyone looking to upgrade their smartphone in 2016.

Sure, the LG G4 got a lot right, but with a couple of significant missteps and a few other minor niggles it didn't quite reach the heights of greatness we'd hoped for. The officially announced LG G5 is another chance the South Korean company to deliver the handset we all know it's capable of.

This is a 5.3-inch Android phone with a quad HD display and a metal body. It feels smooth in the hand with no seams if not a little plain compared to the Samsung Galaxy S6. That's okay because its internals and modular expansion idea are anything but ordinary.

LG G5 release date

There's no LG G5 price yet, and the release date is still a bit vague, so there's more to discover, but this is what everything we know.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? LG's next flagship smartphone
  • When's it out? It has launched today, expected in April
  • What will it cost? A lot – it's a flagship after all

LG G5 release date

You won't have to wait very long for the LG G5 release date. The company's flagship Android phone is arriving two months earlier than its typical annual refresh cycle.

It launched at MWC 2016 at the not-so-subtle "LG G5 Day," but it coming out in South Korea before it arrives in the US, UK and Australia.

When pressed, LG said that the handset has a "likely April" release date, meaning you have to get through all of March with your old phone.

LG G5 release date

It's still sooner than we expected. Last year, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 were announced at MWC and got a two-month headstart on April's LG G4.

LG isn't allowing the Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC One M10 to do the same all over again, so it's clear that we'll have our first look at the LG G5 later this month. This is going to be the first of two LG flagship phones this year, the company has confirmed, so it could be a big year for LG.

LG G5 design

We're finally seeing a truly premium LG flagship, a nice change from the plastic the company usually uses, and the less said about the leather-backed LG G4 the better.

LG G5 release date

It measures 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm and while this phone won't be curved like its predecessor, it is smaller and easier to hold thanks to its 5.3-inch display. It should be easier to reach all corners of the screen now.

LG is keeping the removable battery as well as a metal unibody look with an innovative new design. The LG G5 has a battery tray much like your SIM does in some flagship phones. It's just a really large slot in which the phone chin comes off.

LG G5 display

You're never going to have to turn on the LG G5 display to check the time because it features an always-on display that shows dimly lit critical information, even when it's off.

lg g5

Touting it as the screen that never sleeps, it shows the time, date and up to four notifications icons. It reminds us of the much-loved Moto Display on the Moto X Style.

The 5.3-inch LG G5 is smaller than last year's phone, so if you're upgrading, you won't have to stretch your grip quite as much. Almost every corner of the screen is in reach.

It's still a beautiful quad HD display that uses an IPS LCD, not an AMOLED. LG says this eliminate the chance of burn-in from the always-on display.

KnockOn is unchanged just like the screen resolution. The functionality in which you can double tap the display to wake the device.

LG G5 camera and battery

There's more than one LG G5 camera on the back of the phone, and that's exciting news if you ever had to back up in order to properly snap a wide photo.

LG G5 camera

It includes both normal angle and wide angle lenses, reaching as far as 135 degrees, wider than the human eye.

Yes, the wider camera is just 8 megapixels (MP), but the 16MP is meant for high quality photos at a camera angle.

The front-facing camera is also 8MP but has a normal angle. The groundbreaking idea behind the LG V10 and its wide selfie camera didn't make this cut here.

The battery dropped two hundreds mAh. It's a 2,800mAh capacity, instead of the LG G4's 3,000mAh size. That makes sense because the screen size and shrunk and the always-on display is supposed to stop you from checking your phone 150 times a day.

LG G5 Quick Cover

As you can see, there are going to several third-party LG5 cases to protect your new phone, but the South Korean company is also touting its own first-party LG G5 Quick Cover case.

lg g5

This form-fitting metallic case not only gives us a better idea of what the phone will look like, it features a window to see the always-on display notifications and touch controls it answer incoming calls.

Its see-through mesh lets you answer (or dismiss) calls without ever having to flip open the top part of the case. LG made sure the metallic finish matches the more luxurious, metal-based LG G5.

LG G5 OS and power

The LG G5 contains a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM, which is the same specs configuration we're expecting to see in other flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7.

LG G5 release date

It'll only come in one internal storage size, 32GB, but don't worry, you can upgrade that with a microSD card slot, up to a supposed 2TB of storage - whenever such a capacity comes out, of course.

LG G5 runs Android Marshmallow although, as expected, it's heavily heavily skinned by LG. The operating system tweak has gotten a splash of paint.

LG G5 'magic slot'

Although LG doesn't call it the "Magic Slot", its phone does indeed contain a way to add accessories such as a camera upgrade, new audio technology and extra battery power. It seems to take inspiration from Google's Project Ara with a modular design at the bottom of the phone.

LG G5 release date

To pull off Hi-Fi audio, LG partnered with B&O Play for "an enhanced high-quality audio experience" on the LG G5. Their direct-to-analog audio converter module plugs into the bottom modular slot and allows for 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC upsampling technology for crystal clear tunes.

The LG G5 takes cues from the Nexus 5X design, as it has a fingerprint scanner on the back, along with a new USB-C port on the bottom, moving it away from the standard micro USB data and charging port.

LG G5 rivals

The LG G5's biggest rival is likely to be the Samsung Galaxy S7. This phone will arrive at the same time as the G5, with an announcement a few hours after the LG's MWC press conference.

Not only does it have a huge name behind it, but rumors point to a sleek, premium design, a QHD screen, an improved camera and a whole lot of power, so LG could have its work cut out to compete.

The HTC One M10 will also probably be launching soon and while not much is yet known about that it's sure to have a stylish look and flagship specs.

LG G5 price

There's no word yet on what the LG G5 will cost, but it's a flagship phone, so it won't come cheap. If it's as packed full of tech and features as rumors suggest it could easily come in at over £500/$600/AU$1000.

However, the great thing about LG's phones is the cost will plummet quickly over the course of the year, so it could be well worth waiting.

LG G5: what we want to see

1. An all-metal build

LG G4 back

LG moved away from plastic towards a more premium design with the LG G4. It…didn't go well. The unusual choice of leather was certainly novel, but it felt cheap, looked odd and wasn't anywhere near as visually pleasing as the metal HTC One M9 or iPhone 6.

So hopefully the LG G5 will have a more conventional all-metal design. It's hard to go wrong with metal and it should make the phone even more premium and less divisive. Thankfully rumors suggest a metal G5 is on the way.

2. A fingerprint scanner

While many smartphones are now incorporating fingerprint scanners LG has so far resisted, and it's a shame as the prominent power button on the back of its devices is crying out for one.

Turning the button into a single touch biometric scanner seems like an obvious decision and it would give the LG G5 one more useful feature.

The company is rumored to be working on one, but some sources reckon it's even going a step further and working on an iris scanner. While we wouldn't say no to that a fingerprint scanner is probably a safer choice.

3. More innovative edges

We're bored of flat phones and if the LG G Flex 2 is anything to go by so is LG. But companies are yet to crack curves and we want to see LG try something new with the G4, so how about taking a note from the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, but rather than having curved sides have the screen spill over the top and bottom edge.

That would give it an eye-catching look, but it wouldn't just be for show, the curves could also display extra notifications depending on which way the phone is held.

4. A 4K screen

LG G4 screen

The LG G4 already has a QHD screen and it's glorious, but even the LG G3 was offering QHD so it's time for LG to move things along and give the LG G5 a 4K display.

Assuming it stays at 5.5 inches a 4K (3840 x 2160) screen would have a pixel density of 801 pixels per inch, making it one of the sharpest displays around. Why? VR of course! Making this the perfect phone to strap to your head needs a really pin sharp display.

We only want this to happen if LG can avoid giving the battery life a hit in the process, but LG had a reputation for being ahead of the game on screen resolution and that's something it should try and hold onto.

Current rumors are that the screen will be growing to 5.6 inches but sticking at QHD, so we may not see LG fully embracing VR just yet.

5. Better battery life

LG G4 battery

The LG G2 had great battery life but in the last couple of years LG has struggled in this area. Perhaps it's the move to a QHD screen or perhaps it just needs to use bigger juice packs or a more efficient processor, but whatever the reason the LG G4 barely makes it through a day and that's just not good enough.

So we really want to see better battery life on the LG G5. Phones should be pushing at least two days of life as far as we're concerned, not struggling to manage one. We'd rather this than a high res screen, to be honest.

6. Slicker performance

Despite being a flagship phone the LG G4 isn't always that fast. We've mentioned that the camera can be slow to launch but flipping between running apps can take a second too and the interface sometimes occasionally even needs to rebuild itself after jumping between apps.

This could be down to the Snapdragon 808 processor powering the G4, but we'd think that coupled with 3GB of RAM it should be more than enough to deliver slick performance. So whether through a power injection or better optimised software we hope the LG G5 is a smooth operator.

Word is that we'll see a Snapdragon 820 chip in the G5, in which case slicker performance is likely.

7. A faster camera

LG G4 camera

The LG G4 has a hugely impressive camera, but it's not always the fastest to launch. Tapping the camera icon should see it boot up in just 0.6 seconds, but if using a double tap of the volume button to launch it when the phone is asleep it takes more like 2 seconds.

That's still not slow but it can be long enough to miss the perfect time to get a snap, so hopefully LG will speed the process up on the G5.

8. Knock Code improvements

Being able to double tap the screen to wake it up is great and generally works well, but with Knock Code LG went one further and allowed you to unlock the phone with a series of taps too.

Sadly this doesn't work quite so well or consistently and it's enough of a problem to render it less useful than more conventional unlock options like a PIN or pattern, so hopefully LG will tighten this up for the G5. Then again if it includes a fingerprint or iris scanner it could probably just ditch Knock Code altogether.

9. A more compact design


We don't necessarily want LG to put a smaller screen on the G5, especially if it's going to keep pushing the pixels to this extent, but there's no denying that it can be a little more unwieldy than a smaller phone, so one solution would be to trim down the bezels.

There's still quite a lot of empty space, especially above and below the display, so if that goes on the LG G5 then we could see a 5.5-inch phone that doesn't require hand gymnastics to use.

10. Less bloat

LG clearly puts a lot of work into its interface and the version found on the G4 is fairly clean and colourful. It even has a few genuinely useful features, such as Smart Notice, which is hugely improved since its debut in 2014.

But there are a number of less useful features, apps and widgets which we'd just as soon see the back of. From Q Slide to LG Health there are a lot of things here that feel like they're just ticking boxes or exist purely to help the phone stand out without really having been thought through.

There are more than enough apps on Google Play already, so hopefully LG will cut out a lot of the bloat for the G5 and let buyers decide for themselves what apps they want on the phone.


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