While the world of technology is going ga-ga over the future of modular smartphones, South Korean electronics conglomerate LG has already translated the concept into reality with the G5 -- its flagship device that has upped the ante for other vendors in the customised smartphone market.
The Rs 52,990 G5 features a "slide-out" battery design and dual rear cameras -- the only device to feature dual primary cameras which work independent of each other -- taking us one step closer to the age of "one device fits all".
The G5 sports a 5.3-inch quad-HD display (2560x1440 pixels) featuring always-on display technology that allows users to check time and date even when the phone is in sleep mode.
The smartphone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, coupled with 4GB RAM and 32GB of in-built storage that can be expanded up to 2TB via micro-SD card and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system.
Let us see what works for the device.
The device has a minimalistic metal alloy body design and 3D Arc Glass gives the display a gentle curve on the top, providing it a refreshing look. It is also comfortable to hold.
The power button placed at the back also acts as a fingerprint sensor and unlocks the device within seconds.
The magic lies at the bottom which is removable, swappable and supports modules which LG calls "LG Friends" -- a collection of devices like LG CAM Plus, LG 360 CAM and LG 360 virtual reality (VR) set. The battery can be removed by pushing a button located at the lower left of the body.
LG CAM Plus is a versatile camera module that can be attached through the battery slot to deliver a comfortable grip and convenient control of a stand-alone camera.
LG 360 CAM is a compact 360-degree angle camera equipped with two 13MP 200-degree wide angle cameras, 1,200mAh battery and 4GB internal memory which can be supplemented by a micro-SD card.
While LG 360 VR is a goggle that can be connected with G5 via a dedicated cable and works exclusively with the G5 to simulate a 130-inch TV viewed from two metres away.
All the three modules need to be purchased separately.
The quad-HD display produced higher contrast and vibrant images. The pixel density has also increased from 538ppi in G4 to 554ppi in G5 that makes up for a brighter viewing experience -- even outdoors. Apps like Instagram were like a visual treat.
The touch response is smooth and has a super-responsive feel which comes to life with the slightest touch.
The Snapdragon 820 processor, coupled with 4GB RAM and Adreno 530 GPU, is capable of playing high-end games and offers a zero-lag computing performance.
For photo enthusiasts, the G5 comes with two rear cameras -- 16MP primary camera and a second 8MP camera for wide-angle shots. LG has tuned its software for both the rear cameras to work independently. (We found a great camera with good shutter speed that is fast to focus.)
The 8MP front camera captured amazing selfies, both in low and bright light conditions which many smartphones fail to do.
With 2,800mAh battery, we were able to get a 12-hour back-up with calling, social media apps, music playback, browsing and light gaming.
LG G5 has Quick Charge 3.0 which is 27 per cent faster and 45 per cent more efficient than the previous generation.
The speaker placed at the bottom is loud enough to watch movies or play games.
What does not work.
When compared with its nearest rival Samsung, LG G5 is neither quite as beautiful nor does its camera performance shine as brightly as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but there is still a lot that the smartphone offers and being modular is one of those.
Conclusion: LG G5 is an example of great engineering and a big leap for the South Korean giant in terms of design, display and camera performance. If you are a premium device lover, this modular smartphone is what you would love to see in your pocket.
(Anuj Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)