Remember the dots that you used to press on to bring up the app menu that you press on practically every Android phone outside of those from Oppo or Huawei? They’re gone.
Instead, the app drawer and widgetised home screens are now one long running flow, with menu-to-menu delivery of app shortcuts on screen-to-screen swiping, similar to what you might see on the Apple iPhone, or the Oppo and Huawei phones we mentioned previously.
We’re not sure why on this, to be honest. It’s a bizarre jump for LG, which has predominantly kept things pretty close to what Google has offered, and while it might change, Google’s Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” does not look like what LG’s G5 is showing it, at the moment.
There have been rumblings that it might by Android N, but we’ll wait until Google announces that.
And that means the LG G5 isn’t Android the way most people familiar with an LG phone — or most other Android phones, for that matter — experience it.
You can get used to it, mind you, because it’s more or less the seamless scrolling menu system we’ve seen time and time again, but you shouldn’t necessarily have to, and there should be an option to go back.
There is, of course, provided you download a secondary launcher on the Google Play Store, but this isn’t really the same, and we’re still a little surprised by the sudden app-menu-less change LG has taken.
A few bugs also pop up here and there, such as with notification sounds stopping the music instead of fading it down and playing the alert on top, or even the physical shortcut for the camera — double press the volume down button — not working when headphones are plugged in, understandably so, but bugs are to be expected.
Fortunately, not all is problematic. Some of the changes are actually great.
After complaining about an LG on-screen keyboard for a while, it has finally improved, with not just customisable height, but more responsiveness and a gesture typing mode that works better than nearly every other gesture typing keyboard out there.
Gesture typing, also known as “Swype” or “Swyping” (capitalised and spelled differently from “swipe” because Swype popularised the concept) is basically a path writing system where you run your fingers from letter to letter on the screen and the software works out the word based on the letters you’re gliding your fingers to and from.
Often considered one of the fastest ways to type on a smartphone, keyboards with the concept often get words wrong because letters in gesture typing are of course close to other letters, and so the keyboard is doing its best to extrapolate what it thinks you’re going after.