LG G5 and its modular system, is it worth it?

The LG franchise phone of this 2016 brought us several surprises: new design, metal body, double camera and the most innovative: a system of modules to be able to improve certain sections of the smartphone.

The new LG G5 is quite possibly the most different smartphone this year. At Xataka we have submitted to our One to One the debate on whether the modular system has a future and is currently worthwhile, we have reviewed what the modules already available on the market are like and analyzed the most relevant module: LG Cam Plus. And this is our verdict.

The modular system of the LG G5 under debate: our One to One in video

LG has been the bravest of the top-tier brands in this 2016. They have completely played with their new LG G5, terminal with which they have released a module system. They could have chosen to leave their franchise out of experiments and offer the module system in a new terminal, but they've thrown out the rest and we feel they've been very daring. Too?

The module system of the LG G5 allows first of all to have a one-piece metal body where we can remove the battery. With this starting point and in the absence of third-party manufacturers joining the Korean proposal, the two modules available for now are:

  • LG Hi-Fi Plus. By the hand of B&O this module has been created for those who are looking for more sound quality. Includes a 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC and amplifier.

  • LG Cam Plus. Basically it is a grip that provides us with an extra 1,200 mAh battery to compensate for the energy expenditure in more intense photo shoots. Also add some physical button for shooting, video recording and a zoom mode that takes advantage of the double sensor to simulate it

A success and input value of the LG module system is that, whether we want to use its modules or not, the system allows you to remove the battery and have a replacement one.

We tested the camera module: it could have given more of itself

Of the first accessories that we have available for the modular system of the LG G5 we have already tested the so-called LG Cam Plus. It is a module that does not add length to the terminal but does add some weight and above all thickness, which will make it not as comfortable to carry in a pocket as without it.

That increase in thickness is purposely done and what we achieve directly and immediately is a better grip to use the LG G5 in photographic mode. Be careful because the accessory is only available in silver so when placing it in a gold model, there is contrast. They are small details, but they are there to meet them.

We can keep this module for as long as we want, since we don't lose the charging port or the speaker or the microphone to make calls. Everything in the main module is replicated in this Cam Plus. And we also gain an extra battery, specifically 1200 mAh that must be added to the 2800 mAh of the removable battery as standard, which we can extract (we must pull forcefully and without fear) from the serial module and add to the camera module.

Once placed, the module is detected by the LG application to manage these additions, and with a fairly quick and simple configuration, the new controls are assimilated by the terminal and ready to use.

The camera module of the LG G5 fulfills what it promises, but both for price and for idea we are far from what we aspired to see

The LG Cam Plus effectively fulfills its purpose of being able to manage the LG G5 to take photos more comfortably. We can operate it with one hand without destabilizing it and it also adds a series of physical controls such as the fire button, another for video, one for power and the zoom wheel.

This last element is not logically a classic zoom but instead switches between the two 12 and 8 MP sensors to simulate a digital zoom. Once we have it in place, the accessory is at least a good solution to go from shooting with the 12 megapixel sensor to the wide angle of the 8 MP sensor, although the zoom wheel is continuous and has no stop, so sometimes we go blind.

Panoramic image with the 8 MP sensor

The one we get with the main sensor, 16 MP, is the best quality by far

At full zoom, this is the result

The location of the physical buttons is correct for that zoom and the photo trigger button, but not for the video button (too small and close to the photo button), much less for the power button. If the idea is that the grip is used to operate the camera mode with one hand, it does not make sense that to turn on the camera we have to take the terminal with two hands or juggle to reach and activate a button that could have been perfectly in the area that we reach with the index finger in the logical way that we take the terminal with a grip.

For us it was more logical to activate the camera by pressing the physical shutter button all the way, as it happens with other terminals. But this is not the case. It does allow us to access the camera by pressing it for a second if the terminal does not have the screen locked.

Generally speaking, there is nothing to object about this LG G5 accessory. It complies with what it says but at the rate of 99 euros, quite high for what we get in return. For that price and making use of the module system we expected more. A connector to be able to place it directly on a tripod, a Xenon flash or something that we would have wanted very much: a larger sensor taking advantage of the fact that there is no space problem in that accessory. That would have been a great photographic module that would justify the modular system and give it value beyond the battery exchange.

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