Over the last couple of years LG has been releasing amazing flagship smartphones, but it tends to get little respect for its efforts in a crowded Android smartphone market. The LG V10 is arguably one of the best smartphones of 2015, yet I've yet to see one out in the public.
LG acknowledges the competitive environment and with its new LG G5 modular smartphone it looks to stand out from all the others with smart accessories and connected devices.
With the removable battery, removable microSD card, metal uni-body design and modularity, the LG G5 may be the best enterprise Android smartphone available in 2016. Let's take a closer look at the first smartphone accessories and smart connected devices for the LG G5. The connected companion devices are part of the new LG Playground ecosystem and are known as LG Friends.
LG Cam Plus
Back in 2013, Nokia launched the Lumia 1020 with the Camera Grip accessory that added extra battery capacity, a traditional camera shutter button, and a form that made the Lumia 1020 feel like a traditional digital camera.
The LG Cam Plus module slides into the battery slot to deliver a similar experience. It provides an additional 1,200 mAh battery so you can shoot more photos and video while extending out the back of the LG G5 with buttons for power, shutter, record, and zoom. The module is designed to provide a much better grip for capturing photos and videos.
LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play
LG's V10 offers 32-bit hi-fi audio with an integrated DAC and amp by ESS Technology. For the LG G5, LG partnered with Bang & Olufsen to offer similar functionality for this new smartphone through an expansion module.
You slide out the bottom battery module, place the removable battery into the B&O Play module and then slide it back into place. The LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play, say that several times in a row, extends the bottom of the phone about an eighth of an inch. The new 3.5mm headphone jack powers the integrated digital-to-audio converter in the module.
H3 by B&O Play
You won't notice much of an audio improvement with the LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play without a pair of advanced headphones that support Hi-Fi audio. The upcoming H3 by B&O Play is a set of earphones designed to provide this high end audio experience. The headphones work with all Android smartphones.
To get the best experience here you will need high quality audio and headphones to match. This accessory is specifically targeted to the audiophile, but as more and more of us use our smartphones for enjoying music an accessory approach to this advanced audio functionality makes sense.
Check out the CNET image gallery of several of these accessories being shown at MWC.
LG 360 VR
Samsung kicked off the smartphone virtual reality ecosystem with its Gear VR powered by Oculus. In 2016 we are seeing broader adoption of VR, including with the new LG 360 VR that connects to the LG G5 through the USB-C port.
THe LG 360 VR is much more compact than the Gear VR with a foldable design. I like that the LG 360 VR connects to the LG G5 through a cable rather than requiring the phone to be mounted inside and then on your face. Samsung mounting approach adds an element of risk to dropping your phone while setting it up while LG's 360 VR simply plugs into your phone that you can keep in your pocket or on the desk.
LG 360 CAM
While the camera in the LG G5 is one of the most advanced available, the LG 360 CAM is a connected accessory that provides you with the capability to record 360-degree angle content. The LG 360 CAM has two 13 megapixel 200-degree wide angle cameras, a 1,200 mAh battery, 4GB internal memory, and a microSD card slot.
The LG 360 CAM provides 2K video and 5.1 surround channel recording that you can then use to enjoy on your LG 360 VR headset.
LG Rolling Bot
BB8 was a hit in the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie and the resulting BB8 remote control robot appealed to people with its smartphone control functionality. LG is offering the LG Rolling Bot as a companion device that serves as a way to capture images and video in various scenarios.
You can use the LG Rolling Bot for home monitoring, keeping an eye on pets and kids, and as a remote for compatible home appliances. The camera connects via Wi-Fi so you can remotely monitor with the LG G5.
LG Tone Platinum
LG is known for its around-the-neck Bluetooth headsets, check out my experiences with the LG Tone Active, and the latest model continues to offer an enjoyable audio experience. The LG Tone Platinum, model HBS-1100, is the world's first Bluetooth headset equipped with aptX HDcodec, providing lossless 24-bit audio wirelessly.
LG Smart Controller
Drone license applications have gone through the roof as people quickly adopt the use of drones. The LG Smart Controller allows you to use your LG G5 to control compatible drones (not yet specifically identified). With the LG Smart Controller you can check your drone video stream on the LG G5 and control the drone with the Smart Controller joystick.
Pricing and availability for these accessories has not yet been revealed.