LG G5 is a step in the right direction
Anyone remember Project Ara? The modular smartphone garnered a lot of attention back then, but probably due to the difficulty to engineer a platform and modules that support quick swapping, the project seems to be rather quiet lately. Step forward to MWC 2016, we are looking at the LG G5 and it’s two swappable modules. The LG G5 may not be as modular as Project Ara, but I truly believe that it is a step in the right direction. We aren’t going to talk about the amazing specifications of the G5, but only about the swappable module system.
Swapping modules involve removing the chin of the LG G5. According to Android Central there is a little button to depress on the side to pop out the chin, after which you can start pulling on it.
The battery of the LG G5 is fully removable, and very brightly colored too. This alone is enough to make it more likable compared to the other Korean flagship which sports a non-removable battery. The 2800 mAh battery is a small downgrade from the 3000 mAh one found in the G4, but the Always On display should help you save some battery life now that you won’t have to activate the whole display just to check the time.
The first module we will be taking a look at will be the LG Cam Plus.
As the name implies, the LG Cam Plus enhances the usability of the LG G5’s camera. The module feature an additional 1200 mAh battery, an analog zoom dial, two stage shutter key and a shortcut key for instant access to (and egress from) the camera. More battery life is always good especially when using the camera intensively. The analog zoom dial allows you to switch between the two cameras found on the LG G5. The LG G5 has two cameras, one 8 MP wide angle and one 16 MP normal one. I would have preferred for it to control manual exposure, but LG seems to have an aversion towards putting exposure in the hands of the user, so I guess zoom will have to do. The two stage shutter keys make the camera that much more intuitive.
The other module available for the LG G5 is the LG Hi-Fi Plus With B&O Play, to bring high definition audio to the LG G5. In case the native 24-bit output of the LG G5 is not enough, the Hi-Fi Plus module will definitely please the deep-pocketed audiophiles with its 32-bit output. The module can actually work without the G5, as you can feed it data and power via the USB Type-C port, and it will process audio for any other device that supports USB audio out.
The modules are not perfect though. Android Central commented that the LG CAM Plus is far from ergonomic with its squarish shape. Actually I kind of foreseen this comment as I am very sure that a square block stuck on the back of a phone will definitely not feel comfortable. The LG Hi-Fi Plus on the other hand, comes in every color as long as it’s black, which means that no matter what color your G5 is, the module will stand out like a sore thumb. However that might please some people who want to show off their G5’s enhanced audio capabilities. Pricing of the modules is also not available yet at the time of writing, so that’s another issue to ponder on.
While the G5 has not exactly succeeded at making a perfect modular system, it is definitely a step in the right direction. While features like microSD card support and removable batteries are being taken for granted, they are actually part of what being modular means. The G5 doesn’t forget those features either. To me, it is truly a step in the right direction, and I hope more smartphones will follow down this path, offering users the option to upgrade their smartphone to better suit their usage.
Images and information obtained from Android Central