LG's modular G5 smartphone available in Australia from May 2

LG's modular G5 smartphone available in Australia from May 2
LG's modular G5 smartphone available in Australia from May 2

LG will bring its modular G5 smartphone to Australia from May 2 at an outright price of AUD$1,099. Optus and Harvey Norman will both start selling the device on May 2, while Telstra will range it from May 3.

LG Australia General Manager of Mobile Communications Gino Casha called out the G5's modular design, dual camera setup, and optional accessories (or "Friends") as three key innovations that help it stand out from the competition.

"In 2016, we really needed to innovate," said Casha. "We didn't want to be a copycat manufacturer; we went out on a limb."

The LG G5 eschews the plastic and leather combo used by its predecessor in favour of an all-metal build. While aluminium phones typically mean users aren't able to remove their device's battery, the G5 is an exception to the rule thanks to what LG is calling a modular design.

Pressing a small button near the bottom bezel pops it off, enabling users to slide out the G5's battery. This process also allows users to replace the bezel with an add-on that can extend the phone's functionality.

To date, LG has announced two: the CAM Plus and the Hi-Fi Plus. The CAM Plus gives the G5 a grip, hardware controls for photography, an additional 1,200mAh of battery. The Hi-Fi Plus, built in collaboration with Bang and Olufsen, is a high-resolution DAC (digital to analogue converter) audio player that allows the G5 to playback 32-bit 384KHz high-definition audio. This kind of audio quality is typically only found in dedicated audio devices.

Both of these will be available when the G5 launches in Australia. Hi-Fi Plus will be available for AUD$229 from both Telstra and Optus, while the CAM Plus will cost AUD$129 and be available through Optus and Harvey Norman. Notably, Harvey Norman will offer customers who pre-order the LG G5 a free CAM Plus.

While LG's flagship smartphones have measured in at 5.5-inches over the last couples of years, the G5 is a little smaller at 5.3 (still running at Quad HD). The display has a new always on mode, showing date, time and notifications even when the G5 is in "sleep mode". LG says this will use 0.8% of the phone's total battery capacity per hour.

Other hardware includes the new high-end Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, a rear-facing fingerprint reader, a USB Type-C connector, and a 2,800mAh removable battery.

On the back of the G5 is not one, but two cameras; a 16MP shooter, and a smaller 8MP lens with a much wider, 135-degree field of view. Users swap between these with a toggle in the G5's app. The wider camera makes it easier to shoot landscapes or large group photos without having to move.

The G5's front-facing camera measures in at 8MP.

In addition to interchangeable modules that replace the G5's bottom bezel (such as the CAM Plus), LG will support the G5's local launch with a number of other accessories or "friends". The first of these is a 360-degree camera called the LG 360 CAM. The device is a thin, standalone camera that can shoot both 360-degree photos and video. Notably, it's also compatible with other Android and iOS devices. The 360 CAM will be available from Telstra and Optus at launch, priced at AUD$399.

Telstra will range a Battery Charging Kit from mid-May for AUD$69. This includes a spare G5 battery, as well as a cradle recharging the battery currently not in the phone. If the battery inside the cradle has some juice left in it, the cradle can be used to recharge other USB compatible devices.

A small sphere called the Rolling Bot will follow in June for AUD$399. The Rolling Bot is essentially a Wi-Fi enabled ball with an embedded 8MP camera. Users are able to remotely connect to it via the internet to monitor their home while away.

LG has also announced a G5-compatible virtual reality headset, but pricing and availability for Australia has yet to be confirmed.

Telstra and Optus are both yet to confirm LG G5 plans.  

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