Modular add-ons help LG's new G5 handset stand out

LG's new G5 smartphone.
LG's new G5 smartphone.PHOTO: LG
The LG 360VR set.
The LG 360VR set.PHOTO: LG
LG Friends.
LG Friends.PHOTO: LG

BARCELONA - LG’s latest G5 flagship handset comes with a whole ecosystem of add-ons and accessories to enhance the smartphone experience.

They announced the gadgets at a press conference earlier on Sunday (Feb 21) in Barcelona, one day before the start of the Mobile World Congress. 

These companion devices include virtual reality goggles, a 360-degree camera and a spherical rolling camera that can be used as a home monitoring device. 

Body-wise, the G5 has ditched the leather and polycarbonate variants of the current-generation G4 for a sleeker aluminum body. 

The 2,800 mAh battery is still removable though, and can be swapped out for a fresh one when needed.

The 5.3-inch phone is slightly smaller than the 5.5-inch G4, and is also the first flagship phone to ship with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Processor. 

It has 32GB of on-board storage that can be expanded up to 2TB with a microSD card. 

But what makes the LG G5 unique is how the Korean electronics company has built a whole environment around the handset. This is the first time that any handset manufacturer is offering such a variety of modular upgrades. 

There are modules which can be attached to the smartphone, such as the Cam Plus, which adds physical buttons for functions, as well as 1,200 mAh of extra battery life.

The phone can also be turned into a portable music player with the LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play module, which can also be used with any other smartphone or PC.

Aside from attachable modules, the company has also released a slew of companion devices, dubbed LG Friends. 

One of the new companion devices is the LG 360 VR, a pair of virtual reality goggles. While other phone-compatible virtual reality devices such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Google Cardboard use a handset as a screen, the 360 VR has its own screen and can be connected to the G5 via a dedicated cable. It weighs 118g, and simulates a 130-inch television viewed from two metres away. 

The 360 VR is complemented by a 360-degree camera, called the 360 Cam, which can be The device has two 13-megapixel cameras with a 200-degree field of view placed back-to-back. 

It has 2K video recording, as well as three internal microphones to create an immersive 360-degree audio experience as well. 
LG also announced the Rolling Bot, a spherical camera that can roll around on flat surfaces. The camera, which has Wi-Fi connectivity and an eight-megapixel camera, can be used for home monitoring and security, or to interact with pets that are left alone at home. 

Other add-on devices include the LG Tone Platinum Bluetooth headset, the H3 by B&O Play high-end earphones, and the LG Smart Controller, which allows the user to control certain models of drones. 

There is no word yet on if and when the G5 and its accompanying devices will be available in Singapore.