One of these is a rolling ball you’ll be able to control, a bit like a drone but for your home, with the Rolling Bot patrolling the floor and sending back imagery so you can check up on the homestead.
Two other accessories from LG “friends” category include a small 360 degree camera and a small 360 degree virtual reality headset. We’ll admit that from our brief time with both the 360 Cam and the 360 VR headset, we like the camera more.
Granted, the gadget feels like it might be a rebadged version of Ricoh’s Theta camera, with two ultra-wide lenses on either side of the camera, a microSD card slot, Bluetooth for transmitting back to the phone, and a USB Type C charge port below.
The images captured here appear to just be 360 degree images, not video, but the camera is very easy to use, and works with other Android phones, tested with Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge, for instance.
The other gadget is a little different, with a VR headset made to compete with Samsung’s own Gear VR, but smaller and using different technology.
Instead of strapping the phone to a pair of goggles, these feature LCDs on the inside, one for each eye, and that allows the headset to be more compact. There’s also no battery inside, so to get power to the headset — and video and data, for that matter — the headset has to be plugged into the LG G5 using a wired USB Type C connection.
When paired, the screen on the LG G5 switches off and turned the touchscreen phone into a touchscreen mouse, allowing you to flick left and right and up and down and control what happens on-screen with the phone.
We like that, and it reminds us of what Epson is accomplishing in its Moverio augmented reality glasses, but the LG 360 VR headset requires individual ocular adjustments on a “per eye” basis, as well as really lacking an app ecosystem. Instead of just being another Google Cardboard, LG has had to make its own app listing with its own VR apps, and it just needs more. Or anything, because there’s not much there.
The headset itself feels like it could do with a lot of tweaks, too, because while we can get used to the headset, it lets light in, is harder than it should be to tweak the dioptre while worn, and has that annoying cable which would be better again if it were wireless.
Super compact, sure, but it keeps you tethered to the phone. It even has a few refresh and lag issues.
But the ideas are sound, and while the docking thing has been done with Apple for ages, you have to appreciate the temerity in LG’s plan with accessories that mount directly to your phone. We’ve seen attempts like it before, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s LG, provided it sticks with the design and makes the G6 compatible with G5 accessories, as well as releasing more “friends”.