LG has officially launched its current flagship phone LG G5 in India. However, the big question that’s doing the rounds is whether it will attract enough purchasers. And the biggest sticking point here if of course the price, which at Rs. 52,990 does make it on the higher side. For a brand like LG that does not even enjoy as much of recognition as Samsung or Apple, at least in the handset business, it might turn out to be a nightmare.
A quick price comparison drives home the point better. The latest Samsung Galaxy S7 is priced at Rs. 48,900 while the Edge variant of the same costs Rs. 56,990. The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 costs Rs. 42,900.
All prices mentioned above applies to the 32 GB version of the S7 and offer similar specifications as the LG flagship. There are a few exceptions, though. For instance, the Samsung flagship enjoys water and dust proofing, something that’s missing in the G5. Further, the S7 comes with a slightly bigger battery – 3000mAh for S7 compared to 2800mAh for the G5. That might not seem too much of a difference though G5 does disappoint with its battery life, which definitely is not flagship stuff.
The LG G5 again might have an edge over the Galaxy Note 5 which is a year older yet again a direct comparison is quite futile considering the Note 5 is more productivity oriented and comes with a stylus, unlike the G5.
Further, the Apple iPhone 6S range in India starts at Rs. 46,499 which makes it a bit cheaper than the G5 even though the price applies to the 16 GB version of the Apple device. The iPhone has also seen a much higher uptake in recent times than any time before, which again is entirely commensurate with its bigger brand status globally unlike LG. From an Indian perspective, LG might have a sizeable market to itself in the consumer durable segment but definitely not in the field of computing and mobile handsets.
LG, however, does have an advantage with its G5 where other are lacking – modular construction. What that essentially means is that the entire bottom end of the G5 can be replaced with modules each for a particular role. For instance, the Cam Plus module which is now being offered free comes with an extra battery along with all the switches and gears that one usually associates with a digital camera. Needless to say, the G5 fitted with the Cam Plus module will allow the mobile to be operated as a full-featured digital camera.
Similarly, there is a module that allows for a far better music listening experience. Termed Hi-Fi Plus, the module comes with a 32-bit DAC and amplifier combo setup, something that isn’t available with any other mobile.
Another benefit with the G5 is its compatibility with the 360 VR headset unit that connects to the handset via a USB Type-C cable. It, in turn, negates the need to slot the G5 directly into the headset, thereby adding to its weight. However, the overall picture quality is nowhere near to what Oculus Rift or the HTC Vibe offers.
However, while the modular design strategy might seem to be an excellent idea on paper, what definitely works against it is the extra cost it accompanies. Similarly, when added to the base price of the headset, it will undoubtedly push it a few notches higher even though the exact cost of the modules is not known yet.
Further, the entire process of replacing a module with another isn’t as confidence inspiring as one might expect out of a flagship device. In fact, the same applies to the entire look and feel of the device itself, which does lack good specs and shine that one normally would associate with a device that costs upward of Rs. 50,000.
Overall, the LG G5 looks a step away from being fully finished, with some work still needed with the fit and finish while the device should have come with a better battery as well. As such, it remains to be seen if there will be enough customers for the device, more so when there already are better alternatives such as the S7 or HTC 10 also available at roughly the same price segment. Perhaps the LG G5 would have been a compelling buy had it been priced a bit low to take into account the extra price that the modules come for, though unfortunately, that isn’t the case.