LG G5 Review - Camera, Battery & Summary
Straight off the bat the camera on the LG G5 is the highlight of the whole experience, it’s hard to describe but it manages to cram in a lot of options without overpowering matters if this makes sense.
This is because you have multiple modes to play with, a simple mode that strips down the interface to a tap on the screen to take shots or you can switch to an auto mode with additional options, such as 4K UHD capturing, panoramic, HDR and multi-shot (more on this in a moment) or you can switch to the advanced manual mode.
It’s here that you can control most aspects of the camera, including taking photos in Raw format which is something I have not seen on a smartphone camera or at least I can’t remember seeing it.
Image size is much greater as an offset, so a photo taken with Raw could be 20MB for example and the same photo captured in jpg could be 4MB. Even so it's a great feature to have!
You also have control over white balance, exposure, manual focus, shutter speed and ISO. All of the controls are done using a handy on-screen wheel. Yet for me it’s the level of control you have that is impressive, so for example on the exposure side you can go from -2 up to +2 and ISO from 50 up to 3200.
To be honest the auto mode is something I used the most and despite not having the same level of control it did take some superb photos which I have uploaded to my Flickr account that you can view in there unedited format below.
Best of all you can switch between the standard and wide angle camera lens on the fly during recording. You will notice a drop in quality as it goes from 16MP down to an 8MP sensor, but the wide camera lens is awesome for taking landscape shots or shots that require groups of people to be included at a shorter distance. It just has a GoPro style curvature to the output when you view them back on the computer, but even so it’s a great addition!
You also have a multi-shot mode which combines the front-facing camera with the two rear cameras, so hence you get a multi-shot photo which is pretty cool. Additionally the 8MP front camera even has an 1080P video recording function which may suite those who want to capture vlogs at a higher resolution.
LG have also simplified the settings option for the camera/video by not including the resolution next to the options, so for example you just have 16:9 for the camera and UHD for video. Thus, it moves away from all the technical jargon. The only snag is you need to know what these abbreviations are in the first place!
Basically UHD is the 4K video recording mode and it provides up to a maximum of 5 minutes of recording at one time. The latter restriction is to prevent the phone from overheating and shutting down the app, which is a big problem on devices like the Sony Xperia Z5. I know, as I used one!
4K recordings however are great (albeit all video recordings are 30fps) and I liked that you can lock the focus down which is ideal if you don’t want the changes in focus ruining your videos.
The quality when viewed back on my 4K TV was similarly top draw, so this camera takes great photos and videos in one.
My only grumble is that volume button, which I believe was the cause of the camera seemingly taking photos by itself.
I don’t know if it was a bug but if my hand got in the way of the volume controls it would take a snapshot, but this is the only drawback from the whole experience.
I also need to mention that you get various editing tools with the phone and a handy share option, which is accessible from the top drop-down icon. This will allow you to attach the last shot you took to the supporting app I.e. Google Mail.
By now you will have read that I have not been positive about its battery life and the reason for this is the device does tend to drain battery life pretty quickly. Especially if you enjoy the odd game or to. In fact if you enjoy any media content full stop, like I did, I was finding I had to charge the device each day guaranteed!
You do have a lot of battery saving modes, the Game optimisation was one of these I spoke of before and this does help, as does the fact that you can at least swap out the battery on the fly,
From a movie point of view I did run a local file with the wireless antenna left on and the backlight on full. After a two hour film the battery drained by about 32% which does not sound too bad, but this was a locally stored film (I could not get the streaming to work), whereas the other devices I ran the same test on were all streaming and still had less battery drain.
I have to admit I’ve still enjoyed using the LG G5 and on-contract the price is no-where near that of the iPhones and yet you are getting a lot of features for your money! More i'd admit on the camera front (which is superb) and the phone's general performance!
The only questionable niggles are the modular approach, which in my opinion has an impact on design and build quality. Additionally the volume rocker tended to interfere with the camera functionality a touch.
For the most part though the module system doesn’t seem to have much support from 3rd parties yet, so things may improve. Of course battery life is not great but at least you can hot-swap the battery out on the fly.
So on the whole it’s a balance with this handset, there is certainly a lot to like, but yet there is still a niggle at the back of my mind stopping me from fully recommending one. I think it’s just the module aspect if I think about it, for example if this module is taken out repeatedly to swap the battery out, how long will the device last before it breaks. I could just be over paranoid, but I think it’s something worth considering before you buy.
7.4Overall6Design8Features7Ease of use8Performance8Price
Product sourced from Vodafone prices vary depending on the chosen contract.