A lot of mobile phone companies are starting to focus more and more on accessories for your phone. And it makes sense, in a world where Android manufacturers are trying to differentiate their devices from one another in anyway they can, accessories is a space less crowded that has a huge potential for innovation.
This year at MWC, LG is betting big on that fact. The new LG G5 was announced and with it LG also announced not one but a half a dozen or so companion devices to go with it including a small robot to terrorize your pets with.
First though let’s discuss the phone itself.
The LG G5 has a metal unibody design, a 5.3″ 2.5K display, is running Android Marshmallow on a Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GBs of RAM.
The phone has two rear cameras – no dual photo hijinks going on here – we have a 13MP standard camera and an 8MP wide angle lens with a 135 degree viewing angle. You can switch between each not these by tapping the tree icon at the top of the camera screen. This essentially allows you to fit a lot more into the scene should you need to and is kind of a novel feature actually.
On the front we have an 8MP camera, our volume riches and power buttons are in the side where your expect them, our headphone jack at the top, and we have a USB-C port at the bottom.
LG Friends & Modules
Also down at the bottom is where things get a little interesting. On the left side here we have a small button, that when pressed, releases the bottom section of the phone. Pulling this out reveals the 2800mah removable battery but, using one of LG’s modules can actually replace with a different unit to get extra functionality.
LG CAM Plus
The first such module is the LG CAM Plus. Putting the battery into the CAM module and then sliding that into the phone provides some extra camera functions like a dedicated camera button, a normal camera like grip, and a wheel used for zooming in and out.
In addition to the new camera controls it also provides and additional 1200mahs of power giving the device a full 4000 mah to utilize while snapping photos.
LG Hi-Fi Plus
There next module you can swap onto the LG G5 is the Hi-Fi Plus with Bang & Olufsen also. This swaps on in the same way as the CAM Plus and provides a new headphone jack and, as I’m told, enables the audio on the device to be played at a much higher bit rate giving you better sound quality and comes with a pair of B&O wired headphones as well.
The B&O module can also be used as a separate standalone Hi-Fi DAC for any smartphone.
In addition to these installable modules LG also launched a plethora of accessories from a Bluetooth headset to an over the ear B&O headset to a 360 degree camera similar to the Gear 360 Samsung launched. But there are two that stand out a bit.
LG 360 VR
The first is the 360 VR. This almost glasses-like VR headset has a 661ppi resolution but thanks to the phone not being the screen and instead having connect via a cable it is super lightweight and has a foldable design that allows it to be more portable.
Now I won’t lie, the device isn’t the best VR headset in a big part due to the buyer of vision not being blocked out completely leaving a small gap to reality which sort of breaks the illusion VR offers, but, if I’m right in my assumption on how LG is positioning this and the device in general, the price can be lower and therefore make VR more accessible to a lot of people.
LG Rolling Bot
The next interesting “friend” as LG calls them is the LG Rolling Bot. Not only is it a rolling ball that you can control via your phone but it’s also controllable via IP. That means that you can, say, leave it at home, and control it from anywhere to view your house via the 8MP camera.
It even has audio output so you can use the mic on your LG G5 to perhaps talk to your dog while your gone and let him know you’re running late.
It even has a toy for your cat – a laser pointer – so, you know, is an all around pet terrorizing machine.
So there you go, the LG G5 and “friends”. While I don’t think the modules are anything particularly high end and mind blowing I have a feeling that’s the point. These modules and perhaps the G5 itself are broken up to allow LG to not only give specific people access to features that they might find particularly useful – audiophiles will like the B&O module, photographers the camera – but it allows LG to keep the price down for everything so people don’t have to pay for features they don’t need.