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LG G5 Unveiled: 5.3" QHD Display, Snapdragon 820, Modular Magic Slot Expansion (hothardware.com) 115

MojoKid writes: Rather than just bring another smartphone update with the typical yearly iterative tweaks, the folks at LG have really done something transformative with their next generation G5 flagship smartphone. The aluminum unibody construction of the G5 brings with it a 5.3-inch QHD display, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor that is paired with 4GB of RAM. 32GB of internal storage is standard but there is a microSD card slot to allow for up to 2TB of expanded storage. On the rear, you'll find a fingerprint scanner and two cameras, a standard 16MP sensor and a 135-degree wide angle 8MP sensor. In addition, LG has included a USB-C port and removable 2800mAh battery. That's all rather routine stuff; what's truly innovative about the G5 is its Magic Slot, which brings a new modular twist to the Android platform. Pressing a key on the side of the G5 will eject its bottom section, which will also allow you to remove the battery. Then you can proceed to attach new modules, like the LG Cam Plus. The LG Cam Plus adds a camera grip to your G5 along with a dedicated camera button and a jog wheel for zooming. The module also boosts the battery capacity from 2800mAh to 4000mAh. The second module is the LG Hi-Plus, which brings with it an external 32-bit DAC and amplifier. This particular module was developed in conjunction with Bang and Olufsen and comes with a pair of H3 headphones that support native (Direct Stream Digital) DSD playback.
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LG G5 Unveiled: 5.3" QHD Display, Snapdragon 820, Modular Magic Slot Expansion

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  • Removable battery (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 21, 2016 @01:35PM (#51552785)

    This is far from routine and deserves special mention.

    • Re:Removable battery (Score:5, Interesting)

      by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @02:46PM (#51553103)

      Yes, it's why I bought the LG G4 when my Galaxy S3 died. I won't buy a phone without a removable battery and microSD slot, it's planned obsolescence. FWIW, the G4 also supports a 2TB expansion slot.

      I don't replace my phone every 1.5 years, having a removable battery is a very important feature to me.

      • I replace my (i)Phone once every 4 years. It hasn't been an issue for me. Maybe ask LG to use higher quality batteries.

        • It should still be removable and replaceable. The phone could explode if you can't *eject the core*

        • I had an iPhone a way long time ago - a 3G. After a year and a half, the battery wouldn't last longer than 4-5 hours. I ditched it then and only bought phones that had a removeable battery and microSD slot. With my Galaxy S3, I had already replaced the battery and used that phone over three years. I use the phone a lot for work (primarily email and scheduling) and don't have hardly any apps installed.

          I've always wondered if humid environments are harder on batteries? I've even had to replace the battery in

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Here's the thing for the wilfully obtuse (with glaring vested interests). I can sell my second Note 3 with a cheaply replaceable battery and voilà the person who buys it has a phone with full battery life because they can cheaply buy a new battery. This versus a battery change to regain full life as a major expenditure coming straight off the second hand value of the phone. So when I choose to swap phones that means at least, at the very least $100 more in my pocket (reality is phones without readily

        • by slaker ( 53818 )

          If you're shooting a lot of images or video or making heavy use of the screen and your LTE connection, you'll drain a battery, no matter what the device is. In those circumstances, I'd far rather slap in another battery than be semi-permanently tethered to an external battery pack (although nothing stops an LG G-series phone from using those as well - the external charger that came with mine can even act as one).

          Most smartphones I have some experience with will shoot two or three hours of full HD video befo

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        FWIW, the G4 also supports a 2TB expansion slot.

        Technically any phone that supports SDXC should be able to do that, it's the maximum defined in the standard but most just list the capacity available on release. And I don't think cards bigger than 512GB exist yet, so no you can't actually have that at least not today.

        • And I don't think cards bigger than 512GB exist yet, so no you can't actually have that at least not today.

          Yes, but it is nice to actually *know*. Versus other phone manufacturers who don't publish that information, leaving you to wonder if a 128,64,32GB card will even *work* in the phone.

      • Same here except i replaced an S5 with a dual sim G4. That S5 had a replaceable battery AND was waterproof. A great feat imho. I still don't understand why the S5 had mediocre sales and the S6 was considered in all the press to be a major improvement.
    • Good news indeed but it's very very sad that this is even news. This should be the standard.
  • 'Magic Slot' in translates to the English phase 'proprietary, non interoperable interface'

    • I thought it translated to "Springboard Expansion Slot" [wikipedia.org], but I guess I'm showing my age.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Do you know another maker doing add on modules that it needs to interoperate with? Maybe first to market can set standard?

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      Sony Vaio's had the Magic Gate SD Card (MSAC-M2) which of course isn't readable by anything else.

    • Actually, according to Ars Technica [arstechnica.com], LG is planning on creating some sort of open ecosystem for third-party hardware. What exactly that means is yet to be seen, but they've at least said that is in their plans.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        LG is planning on creating some sort of open ecosystem for third-party hardware. What exactly that means is yet to be seen...

        It means it will be like Apple... anyone is free to develop products for the proprietary, non interoperable interface, you just have to pay LG a nice fee to do so.

        • And you know this because you've consulted with LG about developing something?

          • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

            The third-party hardware has to interface with the phone -- and the software on it. That means all sorts of legal considerations. Probably licensing for each product -- can't have a rogue add-ons stealing mobile payment platform credentials or using phone features for nefarious purposes.

            No, I haven't talked to LG about a new "gamechanger" product I want to develop. But I also live in the land of reality where LG is a corporation looking to make money.

            • by Mouldy ( 1322581 )
              As a company who wants to develop some hardware to plug into people's phones, I want the most potential customers to be able to use my new hardware because it is very expensive to develop bespoke hardware and even more so if there are a bunch of competing platforms and my same piece of hardware needs to be rebuilt, re-certified & re-licensed 5 times for the top 5 device manufacturers.

              LG's market share is tiny, so it's going to be hard to justify developing something that can only ever be used on LG's
    • We're talking cell phones here; every single thing about them is proprietary and non-interoperable. Heck, even the same manufacturer will make things incompatible with their own previous generation product, just for the fun of it.

      External expansion also makes the phone incompatible with just about any case you can think of, and kills any hope of having a splash-proof or dust-proof phone; so you're in the position of needing a case (to protect it), but not being able to use a case (because then the expansion

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        every single thing about them is proprietary and non-interoperable

        I know, they all have different headphone sockets, different USB connectors, different charging sockets, different UIs and you have to use wireless peripherals from the same manufacturer.

        I particularly loathe the way they only work on manufacturer specific networks; if only they'd come up with some form of standard.

        • A good example of what GP is talking about is the batteries in the G3 and G4, both have identical dimensions, both have the contacts in the same place, but for some reason the + contact has swapped positions with a neutral contact in the change from 3 to 4. Both 3000 ma/h, physically fits in both phones, it's just that LG wanted to be able to sell batteries to all the loyal customers that upgraded from G3 to G4 rather than have an extra battery for their new flagship.
    • Any chance they're using Project Ara [projectara.com] for this? That'd at least mean future interoperability.
  • I've got a smartphone...sure, it's great. But I can't honestly say that I feel I've gotten the upfront price plus the monthly fee's worth of utility/entertainment out of it.

    What's everyone else's experiences with smartphones?

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      I feel that I get my money's worth.... but then I actually understand that $100 is nothing today, A lot of people don't or tell them it's worth something in an attempt to delude themselves to think they make a good wage... where in reality they are making almost nothing.... yes unless you are a burger flipper or store shelf stocker, you should be making $25 an hour at least.

    • Smartphones have kept me from boredom for innumerable hours and kept me employed by being connected at the right moments. Add to that saving me so much frustration and they are worth a lot. They don't cost any more than the price of buying a separate device to do all the same things.

      Now, I don't find all high end smartphones to be enough better than their competitors to be worth the price difference. Even some low end smartphones are fantastic. We live in remarkable times.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      I've got a smartphone...sure, it's great. But I can't honestly say that I feel I've gotten the upfront price plus the monthly fee's worth of utility/entertainment out of it. What's everyone else's experiences with smartphones?

      I feel there's great utility in having a smartphone, but that I don't really care which one. I used to have an iPhone 4, but the screen broke and all the other phones were growing so I decided to get a really cheap-ass Motorola Moto E (4.3" screen) as a holdover and it doesn't impress but it also hasn't disappointed me. I'm also not a heavier user than that I'm on the lowest data use tier anyway, so it doesn't get any cheaper with a dumbphone. That said, Android 6.0 seems to bring some nice improvements and

      • In the online reviews of the Moto E when it came out over a year ago, it was a $150 phone. It's a hell of a deal now on the pay-as-you-go providers because the price has settled to $40.

    • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @02:48PM (#51553121)

      With root access, along with Linux Deploy and SSH/VNC client apps installed, I get my money's worth.

      I buy retro phones with HW keyboards. They feel more like a very portable linux pc that way. In the linux chroot environment, I can run any linux usermode app I want, run any system daemon I want, and muck about with custom mounted filesystems. (even mounting image files on the sdcard into useful places that are visible from android.)

      I bought my HTC Doubleshot second hand off ebay, and put a custom built cyanogenmod on it with some additional kernel modules (like binfmtmisc, zram, nfs, and pals) to make the chrooted linux more useful.

      I have gotten my money's worth.

    • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @02:50PM (#51553133) Homepage Journal

      The one I'm using now cost $30. I don't mean "$30 plus a two year contract", I mean that was the contractless cost of it. That's roughly what I paid for my last featurephone.

      One thing I've learned from the experience is that a cheap phone is generally going to be better than a hipster phone. The cheap phone will have buttons on it, something hipsters demand be removed on your $300-600 models because they, uh, destroy the fine lines of the phone or something? The cheap phone will have an SD card slot because it knows it doesn't come with enough memory, the hipster phone will assume 16Gb is enough for anyone. The cheap phone will have a long life removable battery because they're trying to sell to people with "You'll find this useful, and it's cheap!" rather than "This is the most exotic thing you will buy for three months, after which you'll throw it away and spend $300-600 on the next model."

      Weird, and not what I was expecting. And yeah, I like it and think it was totally worth $30.

    • What's everyone else's experiences with smartphones?

      I can communicate by text anywhere and everywhere... I am expected to do so, too.

      I can use the web anywhere and everywhere.

      I no longer get lost outdoors. I still get lost in large shopping malls and other large indoor places.

      I always have a decent compact camera with me.

      Podcasts, music and ebooks are invaluable whenever I have to sit and wait somewhere.

      (Of course, you can get all of these benefits by carrying a tablet, like an iPad Mini or a small Android tablet with you.)

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @03:57PM (#51553441)

      I buy a top of the line iPhone every year and it gets used hard, for four years, by every member of my family. By the time four years are up and everyone has used it, it's largely obsolete in terms of performance due to operating system changes. At that point, I keep it around for another year mostly as a test platform for email connectivity on whatever the newest OS release it will run.

      So far, the hardware has held up. Only the 3GS had a problem with the up/down volume rocker button cover falling off, every other one has been fine other than the decline in battery capacity.

      As for value, that's highly dependent on your income and perception. I feel like I've gotten 4+ years of value out of it personally, but it's a minor expense relative to our income and about half of the cost is compensated by our employers, too. I work as a consultant, so it's my primary voice phone, supplies a good chunk of my internet access on the road, provides mapping and entertainment in the car, so I feel like I get a lot of overall value out of it.

      • You've definitely gotten 4 years of value out of it if you've been able to use it to define peerage and hierarchy in your family. Little Jon, your youngest son, knows his place, and he'll probably turn out to be the nerd, since he always has to figure out ways around the aging problems in the fourth hand gadget.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          He's also 11, so he doesn't even use the phone part, just the iPod part, and only when we go on vacation or long car trips so by then the small loss of battery capacity and performance issues really aren't a problem.

          The good part is that we've gotten four years out of a single handset.

          But I suspected this would troll somebody into jealousy of some kind, given the usual round of Slashdot postings that come out when smartphones are discussed and people trot out how they use the cheapest handset they can find

          • There are a lot cheaper and shittier phones than a Moto E that you can use on a pay-as-you-go plan. But the Moto E was only $40 and it's vastly better than the 3G and 4G iPod Touches that I own but no longer use. You should get your kid something that isn't crap that Apple has forced into obsolescence. Maybe even with a replaceable battery.

            Jealous of Apple crap?

            I have NetBSD installed on one of my SE/30's. It's a good use of Apple hardware.

            A cheap pay-as-you-go plan would work fine. But you'll never kn

    • I typically spend about $125 to get a phone similar to what cost $600 a year prior, and I spend $25/month with Boost mobile.

      Right now, I'm in the car, waiting 10 minutes while my wife runs into the store. Normally when I have to wait a few minutes, I spend the time studying on my phone. While I'm driving I listen to lectures I downloaded to my phone. Between listening while driving amd reading or writing while waiting, I get about an hour of school done per day, using time that would otherwise be wasted.

    • I definitely do. Taking out of it the actual phoning component the always access to data where ever I go, the maps & navigation, the note taking, and access to useful apps as well as nice time eating games I would use it far more than say a PS4 which have the similar price upfront.

      As for the monthly cost, it will depend on your usage patterns for voice and data as to whether that is important. Because of my job I average 5 hours of talk time a day so I see the monthly cost as funding that.

    • What's everyone else's experiences with smartphones?

      I have tried out a number of the low-medium end phones.

      Right now I am using a Moto E, which is locked to Virgin Mobile.

      It's a $40 at WalMart right now and 300h Voice and unmetered Data is $30 per month.

      It's a nice little phone, IMHO. Previously I was using a Nokia 535 on Virgin Mobile. It's another $40 phone but it runs Windows 8 Phone.

      Back when I wanted a mobile pocket computer but couldn't justify a monthly cell phone, I had an iPod Touch. It lasted a

    • by RoboJ1M ( 992925 )

      After a bad experience with a 2 year contract with a phone that was only really good enough for 1 year (Android 2 days)
      I vowed never to pay for a contract that wasn't a monthly sim only plan.
      Saved up for and purchased a Nexus 4, still using it.
      Now that official support has ended I'm using CyanogenMod 13 (Android 6)
      It works.
      I use the thing endlessly, handy camera, social media, media player, tv, web browser.
      It's literally my only computing device now.
      Batteries a bit naff but at least with Android 6 it doesn'

  • Because I'm really sick and tired of being forced to buy new phones every time I want to switch carriers.
    • That shouldn't be the case any longer, if you look carefully. Certainly, my Nexus 6P is (allegedly) compatible with the standard carriers -- there's no carrier-specific version of the phone.

    • by Computershack ( 1143409 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @01:59PM (#51552885)

      Because I'm really sick and tired of being forced to buy new phones every time I want to switch carriers.

      Seems to be only a situation that exists in the USA. Here in Europe at most we just have to unlock the phone to work with all carriers assuming its locket at all, shove a new SIM card from the new provider in the phone and turn it on.

      • Europe has two things going for it here. The first is that they've been careful allocating frequencies, and the second is that they've told the carriers that they have to agree on common standards and interoperable equipment (with "personal mobility" - that is, SIM cards.) The phone companies came up with the GSM family of standards (GSM, UMTS, and now LTE) and it all pretty much just works.

        The US didn't do any of this, partially because of lobbying by a certain semi-conductor/wireless research company,

      • This is the main reason why US customers keep paying so much for their contracts and is so difficult to change carriers. The only carrier supporting the European (and actually most worldwide carrier models) is T-mobile. If you live in an area with a decent T-Mobile coverage, I'd suggest people to switch to them and vote with their SIM cards. Maybe other carriers would follow up.

    • With the LTE phones that isn't the case anywhere I am aware of. Thre are many countries with incompatible 3G frequencies and standards, but that is a different issue.

  • yet another phone that requires a fucking degree in computer science to be able to make a call on!

    • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

      yet another phone that requires a fucking degree in computer science to be able to make a call on!

      You use your phone to make calls with? How quaint.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        You jest, but we should stop making calls. They are unencrypted and leak lots of metadata. At least upgrade to Signal or something.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @02:17PM (#51552981) Journal
    I mean I could see third party peoples like Beltek making docking stations to attach the phone to TVs, or keyboard+monitor+mouse combo or interfaces to A/V receivers...
  • The phone ecosystem is in dire need of a REAL system bus expansion architecture.

    Android especially is based on linux (while iOS is based on MacOSX, which is based partly on BSD), which has baked in support for mixed CPU types, exotic memory technologies, and other goodies. A proper system bus implementation could get all that footwork brought to work for the device in question.

    Say for instance, another CPU, or added RAM, a different cellular modem (or satellite modem), an ethernet jack, perhaps even eSATA

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      How would I do it? A bog standard USB3 port on the base of the phone combined with an easy to manufacture locking mechanism (e.g. modules can be made on a decent 3D printer) and an interface in the OS to support the necessary drivers to make whatever hardware gizmo you just crowdfunded actually work, if any. How would/will the phone manufacturers do it? Almost certainly something completely proprietary and tied up in IP patents/licenssing fees... which will then be reverse engineered anyway leading to c
      • USB (including 3.0) is still a polled-state system, requring the CPU to constantly talk with the ports.

        It's reasonably fast, and has a wide install base for devices, but not all devices lend themselves well to USB in a serious fashion. Specifically, you cannot really add RAM or a CPU over the USB bus, and things like USB serial ports are quirky beasts. Not to mention the penalties that the polled-state design of USB imposes if you want high speed disk drives attached.

        Most SoCs already resemble a mini inter

        • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
          All true, but a SoC bus is going to be vendor specific at best, and quite likely would need to be changed every couple of SoC generations; more than likely your peripherals will be vendor specific and probably only good for couple of phone generations, three at best. While technically it ought to be possible to come up with a standardised SoC bus socket that could be SoC agnostic, the chances of that happening any time soon are probably zero, so we would essentially have the proprietary solution I proposed
        • by swb ( 14022 )

          USB 3 is event driven and 2 and older were polled. USB 3 uses almost no CPU, you can pin a SSD drive at 90 MB/s on USB 3 and barely notice the CPU change. USB 2 would burn a third of the CPU at 30 MB/sec.

          For whatever its faults, 3 isn't really that bad for the performance it delivers. I've used gig NICs and SSDs off USB 3 without performance not noticeably different than PCIe NICs or SATA SSD. The latter are really only better at the outer limits of performance, not ordinary desktop workloads.

          3.1 will

    • Damn right: I want a PCI slot so I can install a SCSI card - I need tape backup of my phone - NOW!
      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        Sigh. Children around here.. you just need a SCSI slot, none of this new-fangled PCI stuff.

        Anyway for tape backup ISA should suffice if you really need it onboard, or a DB-25 port to use a peripheral.

  • A metal phone which keeps the removable battery. THAT is a feature I'd like some other phone manufacturers copying.
    I don't care much about metal, plastic is fine by me but since all flagships seem to going to metal it's nice that someone still gives you the posibility of changing the battery on your own.
    Also the expansion slot is a nice tech.
  • I'm normally an aggressive tech upgrader but didn't see anything in the G4 worthy of an upgrade and these G5 specs don't excite me either.
    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      A fellow LG G3er here. It's a nice phone, and the d855 has a stable Cyanogenmod release for it now. Removable battery, expandable SD card slot (I have a 128GB expansion!). Can't see myself switching away from it for a long time.

      • I went from a G2 to a G4 and my wife from a G3 to a G4. From the G3 to G4 the primary reason to make the move is the quality of the camera. The G3s camera was never that crash hot and was beaten hands down by the Samsung S4. The G4s camera though is very good, especially in low light situations. Given I have two little ones and a wife that likes to chronicle every step of their lives in photo format the g4 camera was enough for her. But this happened after I had had mine for 6 weeks and she had played

        • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

          The G4 was too big for me. Even the G3 barely fits in my pocket but the G4 is even bigger. It's basically a phablet.

          • There really is almost nothing between them when it comes to size. The G4 is 2mm wider and 2mm longer and 1mm thicker....
            G3 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
            G4 148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm

  • We heard a lot of talk about phones that can be built up like LEGOs, and now this phone has one card slot of some kind. Maybe what we need is a standard (that 10% of the phones would adopt) for an expansion slot. The trick would be standard device drivers, as that would mean a major rewrite of Android, and only Google can do that.

    • 1. Of course the expansion slot would not be ExpressCard; It would be a different serial interface, possibly with a way to rapidly read and write to the SD Card or to the internal flash memory.

      2. We already have a universal expansion slot: USB! The problem is that almost no phone manufacturer will build in a USB-A-Female connector and a decent power supply. (If only ZeroLemon would build such a thing into one of their cases, and provide a firmware update to make it useful.)

  • Top of the line hardware with bottom of the barrel firmware updates. Im betting you will be lucky to get 1 update for the two years they expect you to own this phone and zero updates after 2 years. Meanwhile your Google nexus phone has monthly updates for a good 4 years.

    • Well the Lg G2 started on Jellybean and got both the Kitkat and Lollipop releases. Rumour is saying Marshmellow will roll once it has hit the g4.

      • My G4 has been running the OTA marshmallow update since early January.
        • Where abouts are you? I know it has hit Poland, South Korea and a few places in Europe. I also think they were rolling it out in Canada in Jan so perhaps that is yours. I don't currently have it in Australia.

  • "The aluminum unibody G5 brings with it a 5.3-inch QHD display with an Always One mode"

    So I was confused as to what "Always One" was about, but apparently that's just a typo of Always-On. A better description is here [pocket-lint.com], where apparently the display can stay on using 0.8% battery/h due to not being tied to the primary processor.

    Sounds neat, although I'd still like to see a phone that tries something like a hybrid e-paper display or something of the like

  • I dig that LG is using the slot to allow them to create 1 base phone and allow the end user to pick the guts inside of it... but I worry that this will lead us down the road of manufacturers creating expensive sub-par devices, and then forcing us to buy a bunch of "PLUS" or "Premium" expansions bring the phone up to a respectable spec.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva