LG G5 review

LG takes 5 and retools its flagship Android phone

LG G5 review
LG G5 review

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The thing I like about LG and its smartphones is that it always seems to take chances with new technology, and that inventiveness is fully realized in the LG G5's dual rear camera.

Unlike previous handsets such as the HTC One M8 and Honor 6 Plus which combined both lenses to create one image with added depth, the LG G5 wants you to use each of its cameras independently.

Round the back you'll find both a 16MP and a wide-angle 8MP camera. It's super easy to switch between the two from the camera app. Just hit the rectangle with a tree in to use the 16MP snapper, or the rectangle with three trees in to switch to the wide-angle option.


The dual rear camera is another unique LG camera concept

While the second camera automatically feels inferior thanks to its lower megapixel rating, it's actually my favorite due to its use of a wide-angle lens.

At a dramatic 135 degrees, the camera actually sees more than the human eye (about 120 to 124 degrees). It's field of view is able to capture everything you see and more.

That means the iconic tall building, wide beach or long spaceship behind you in vacation photos can be captured without your stranger-photographer having to back up to a seemingly infinite degree.

I was able to capture the entire Space Shuttle Endeavour, which is normally an impossible task in a tight hanger at the California Science Center. Panoramas don't work with the other people milling about.


I was able to capture an entire spaceship

The LG G5 camera in wide mode got everything I wanted in the shot, but I did notice a drop in quality between the 16MP normal and 8MP wide photos when blowing them up on a computer.

I also found that the 8MP shots could look a little washed out, with the 16MP images providing more vibrant colors and better exposure levels.

You could resort to a panoramic photo, but that's more time-consuming and I wouldn't trust anyone else but me to smoothly pan with my new phone. If I want to get myself, my loved ones and everything else in the shot, this is a cleaner way of doing it.

LG G5 review

Snapping away on the beach, I was able to capture the entire horizon from end to end, not just a small segment of the sand. There's a little bit of fisheye, but it looked good, even if its practicality is limited to a few scenarios.

It's not without its faults though, and I found WhatsApp defaulted to the 8MP wide-angle lens when I launched the camera from within the app, and close up the fisheye effect is very noticeable. This didn't happen with other apps, with Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all choosing the 16MP lens as default.

This could just be a software quirk, as the G5 I'm using isn't final, so fingers crossed this will be fixed in the final software. It would be nice to have the option to flick between the two lenses within the viewfinders of third party apps - but this option is unlikely to ever arrive.

LG G5 review

While the 8MP wide-angle camera is the definite highlight of the G5's shooting arsenal, its 16MP camera shouldn't be overlooked either. In our smartphone camera comparison video, we found that images shot with that lens are typically bright and detailed and stand up well to rivals. They just aren't always quite up to the standards of the Samsung Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6S.

What's missing from the LG G5 camera is selfie lens that also offers the same expanded field of view. I found the wide angle format even more useful in the LG V10, but its all-seeing front-facing camera hasn't managed to transition over to the G5.

My arm is only so long and no, Samsung's software-stitched wide selfie mode photos almost always turn out blurry. It's not a real solution.

I want the best of both worlds, and this one falls short of providing that.

Camera samples

Matt Swider