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LG Hi-Fi Plus: An audiophile add-on for the G5 smartphone

The snap-on module will offer better audio quality and a more powerful speaker for LG's new G5 phone.

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Ty Pendlebury
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Ty Pendlebury

Editor

Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.

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The new LG G5 phone has the unique ability to swap out its bottom bezel and replace it with proprietary snap-on modules. And one of the first such add-ons is the Hi-Fi Plus, which includes an upgraded digital-to-analog converter (DAC) designed in partnership with high-end Danish brand Bang and Olufsen.

Snap on the Hi-Fi Plus, and audio connoisseurs will be treated to upsampled 24-bit/384kHz audio, which -- for discriminating listeners -- means better than MP3-grade digital audio through its headphone jack and speaker. Don't have a G5? The Hi-Fi Plus comes with a second snap-on module that offers outboard compatibility with other phones when connected via its USB-C port.

While the Hi-Fi Plus offers an intriguing first-generation example of the G5's modular ambitions, it also has the potential to give the new G5 the sort of audiophile street cred that comes from offering an alternative to the niche popularity of portable headphone amplifiers. It also boosts the G5's profile as it competes with audio stalwarts like Apple's iPhone -- which has an audio heritage having evolved from the iPod -- and archrival Samsung, whose Galaxy S6 is arguably one of the best-sounding phones on the market; further, it's competitive with dedicated high-res audio players like the $300 Cowon Plenue D.

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The Hi-Fi Plus specs are as follows:

  • DAC module is slightly bigger than the G5's original chin
  • Includes an adapter for other phones with USB Type-C connectors
  • 24-bit/384kHz audio
  • Pricing and availability to be announced