LG unveils modular G5 flagship phone

LG has shown off the G5, its next flagship smartphone, at Mobile World Congress. The phone comes with the kind of high-powered specifications we've come to expect in flagship devices, but it adds a swappable battery and a degree of modularity to the mix.

The swappable 2800-mAh battery in the G5 sits in the phone's slide-out bottom bezel. Owners can exchange the basic bezel that comes with the G5 for modules that add extra functions, like one with a set of external camera controls or another with high-quality audio circuitry inside.

Along with these modular add-ons,  LG wants to build an ecosystem—what it's calling "LG Friends"—around the phone. These devices connect through more standard means like Bluetooth or physical connectors. So far, these devices include a low resolution set of VR goggles, a 360-degree camera, and a home-monitoring robot.

Aside from the bottom bezel, the G5 features an aluminum unibody construction. The 5.3" IPS LCD screen offers a 2560x1440 resolution good for 554 PPI. LG says the screen is capable of up to 850 nits of brightness, a spec which should make the G5's screen viewable in broad daylight. LG has also included an always-on display mode that illuminates only part of the screen, allowing the display to show the time and other glanceable information without draining as much battery life.

The G5 is powered by a Snapdragon 820 SoC that includes an Adreno 530 GPU. That chip is capable of LTE speeds of up to 600Mbps for downloads and 150Mbps for uploads. The SoC is paired with 4GB of low-power DDR4 RAM. The G5's 32GB of onboard storage can be expanded with microSD cards as large as 2TB. Not two, but three cameras are included. A 16MP back camera can take shots with a 78-degree field of view. A second, 8MP wide-angle shooter produces vistas with a 135-degree field of view. Selfie shooters get an 8MP camera on the front.

The G5 will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and it'll be available in silver, titanium, gold, and pink. There's no word yet on availability or pricing.

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