The modular nature of the LG G5 is easily its most intriguing new feature, not only for the range of standalone peripherals and insert-able modules it supports but also for what it means for LG going forward. If the idea is picked up it could mean huge things for not only LG but smartphones in general, but it could also signal bad things for the G series if it doesn’t catch one. Let us take you through all the new LG G5 modules announced at MWC 2016.
First thing’s first, the name. In the lead-up to launch, the LG G5’s modular design was known as the Magic Slot. This is not the official name and in fact there is no official name for the slot itself. Rather, the various modules and peripherals are called LG Friends, complete with a new cool cat icon and signature lime green color. Depending on how well the modules are received, other LG devices might also support modules in future.
The LG CAM Plus is the module we leaked a few days ahead of the LG G5 launch. It is a bulky module that adds finer controls to the G5’s existing camera functionality at the same time as providing additional grip and an extended battery.
The bottom of the LG G5 is removed via a small button on the lower left hand edge to disengage the locking mechanism. The default module can then be removed and the battery popped off the base. The battery is then snapped onto the LG CAM Plus module and reinserted into the G5. The LG CAM Plus adds an extra 1,200 mAh to the G5’s 2,800 mAh battery for a total capacity of 4,000 mAh. There’s also a dedicated shutter button, which can be half-pressed for focus lock, a zoom dial, video record button, LED and power switch. LG is claiming an additional 15% usage time and “real camera UX with one hand”.
The LG Hi-Fi Plus is an audio module made in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen. The module features a 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) and dedicated amplifier. The Hi-Fi Plus DAC supports up to 32-bit source files and native DSD playback. It also boasts audio up-sampling to 384kHz and there’s an “up-bit” feature to convert lower bit-depth files into a 32-bit format before they head out of the DAC. The LG G5’s standard DAC supports 24-bit bit depths.
When the Hi-Fi Plus is attached, the existing headphone port on the top of the G5 won’t work, as the headphone port located on the bottom of the module is prioritized for its superior sound quality. The Hi-Fi Plus does not contain a battery, so it only works when attached to the G5, but it can also be used with other USB Type-C-equipped devices. The standard G5 headphone port provides 24-bit audio tuned by LG, whereas the 32-bit Hi-Fi Plus is tuned by Bang & Olufsen, to provide a greater audio experience for audiophiles.