When the LG G5 was officially unveiled earlier this year, we were struck by the innovative way in which LG had managed to combine unibody metal design and modular capabilities, features that had previously been considered mutually exclusive. But battery swapping wasn’t the only aim of this device’s modular ambitions. The LG G5 has the fairly unique ability to be modified with the help of “Friend” devices. With these Friends, users can customize their 2016 flagship device to turn it into a wholly different kind of smartphone. Other Friends serve as separate devices that bring new utility to the LG G5. Today LG announced that Friends have finally arrived in the US.
So what exactly can you do with Friends? Well, if you’re a photography lover, then you’re almost certainly going to want to pick up the LG CAM Plus, which turns your smartphone into a DSLR-esque camera. This addition makes the device heftier, and easier to grip while taking a picture. Physical buttons for the power, shutter, record, and zoom provide a much more intuitive camera experience than is available on other smartphones. This Friend also sports a bigger battery than the default one, so you’ll have a little bit extra time to complete your photoblogging adventure. This device sells for $69.99 from LG.
The LG 360 CAM is standalone, portable 360-degree camera equipped with two 13MP, 200-degree wide angle cameras. You don’t have to have an LG G5 to take advantage of this Friend; it and its companion app are compatible with any Android 5.0 Lollipop or later device and even apple products running iOS 8 or later. Pricetag? $199.99.
If viewing VR is more your thing, then you’ll probably be drawn to the LG 360 VR headset. This device appears to be your standard VR fare, but rather than function by having you insert the phone into the device and using the LG G5’s screen to display VR content, the headset interfaces with the phone via a dedicated cable. This lets the headset maintain a much lower weight than comparable VR viewers while your LG G5 remains safely in your pocket. It is fully compatible with standard 360-degree images and videos from YouTube as well as all of Google Cardboard’s content. You’ll drop $199.99 for this piece of tech.
Last but not least, LG is also making available the LG TONE Platinum, which they are touting as their “most premium of the LG TONE Series headsets to date.” These headsets support 24-bit audio and deliver incredibly high quality sound over a Bluetooth connection. LG is quick to point out that these are the world’s first Bluetooth headsets that come with the aptX HDcodec, meaning you get some pretty serious bass on these babies. All this for $199.99.
Head over to LG’s online store to check these Friends out. In the meantime, what do you think of the LG G5’s ecosystem of modular and companion devices? Are these useful compatriots for the smartphone, or just glorified accessories? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!