LG G5 Hands On MWC AH 16

A Closer Look at LG’s CAM Plus, Hi-Fi Plus Magic Slot Add-Ons

February 21, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

Earlier today, LG announced the LG G5, their flagship smartphone for 2016 and the successor to last year’s LG G4. Just as we’ve come to expect from yearly releases these days, it features improvements across the board, such as an added fingerprint sensor and a more powerful Snapdragon 820 processor. We managed to go hands-on with the new G5 earlier today, but those who have been following the leaks will no doubt be waiting to hear all about the G5’s Magic Slot feature and its expansions. We’ve been able to take a closer look at these new expansions, and we’re going to focus on the two big ones announced during MWC 2016; the CAM Plus module from LG and the expanded audio module developed with help from Bang & Olufsen.

First of all, we’ll explain what the Magic Slot expansion system actually is. The LG G5 is a metal unibody design, but the bottom plate comes away from the body and can be replaced with a new battery or one of these accessories. It’s an innovative way of making sure that people can expand their device, without necessarily sacrificing overall build quality. As far as we can tell, the Magic Slot feature of the G5 uses the Type-C port on the phone to quickly interface with Android and then depending on the module’s look and feel it changes how the device actually looks and feels.

LG G5 B&O DAC Magic Slot AH 03

LG has been teasing this feature for some time now, but the Bang & Olufsen DAC module, dubbed the Hi-Fi Plus will certainly appeal to those looking for better sound quality on the move. The module adds a little extra bulk to the overall G5, but brings with it a 32-bit DAC that supports native DSD decoding and up-sampling of standard 16-bit files. The unit itself measures 73.9 x 43.85 x 7.4mm and weighs 24g or thereabouts, it also adds a microphone as well as a speaker. The good thing about this however, is that while it will perhaps work best with 24-bit and 32-bit files on the G5 itself, a better DAC will improve the overall sound from Spotify, YouTube or whatever else you’re listening to on your device. The little package will also work with Windows, Mac OS X and Android devices on its own, such is the nature of USB DACs these days. It doesn’t appear this module brings with it any further battery life.

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The CAM Plus on the other hand, adds an extra 1,100 mAh of battery to the G5, giving the whole package a 4,000 mAh battery which is rated for a further 15% of use. Obviously, the CAM Plus adds a lot more bulk to the device overall, but this makes the G5 feel much more like a camera than a smartphone, and the great thing about the MagicSlot is users can take it or leave it whenever they want. It adds roughly 25g to the overall weight and measures 73.9 x 61.4 x 15.9 mm. This also adds a two-step camera button, with half a depress giving a focus lock as well as a zoom button, a video record button and an LED to show when the device is recording. It does appear that that the overall package will still use the G5’s standard camera, but the idea here is to just make the overall experience much more useable.

It’s unclear, at the time of writing, how much these modules will cost and when they’ll be available. It wouldn’t surprise us however, if these would launch at the same time as the G5 does. An external DAC for Android isn’t new, and neither are the extra buttons from the CAM Plus module, but integrating them into the phone itself is. This will presumably be a big selling point against the Galaxy S7, which features little expansion at all compared to the G5.