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LG G5 preorders begin today; here are 3 things you need to know

Before you grab your wallet to buy the LG G5, here's a quick rundown of what you need to know about the phone.

James Martin/CNET
Now playing: Watch this: LG G5 hands-on: Taking one small step toward the modular...

If you've been waiting with bated breath for the LG G5, your waiting days will soon be over.

The device will hit many retailers and carriers this Friday, April 1, and you can preorder the handset starting today. Though official pricing for every market has yet to be announced, in the US the phone starts out at $636 unlocked through the carrier U.S. Cellular (that converts to about £446 and AU$853).

The G5 is unique because you can detach its bottom bezel and remove the battery. You can also swap out the bezel for other accessories, like a camera grip (more on that later). But before you make a purchasing decision, there are three key things you should know about the device.

It's a big change for LG

The G5 marks a new direction for LG, one that integrates many ambitions into a single product. With this phone, the company is throwing its bid into mobile modular computing -- otherwise known as the concept of swapping out and customizing certain pieces of hardware. Up until the handset's debut, the biggest name in mobile modularity was Google and its yet-to-be-realized Project Ara. LG is also releasing a line of accessories (I'll get back to this later), dabbling in the worlds of virtual reality and smart home appliances.

Now playing: Watch this: LG G5 discussed: Is LG's modular mobile a game changer?

While this is all very exciting for the company itself, time will tell if its efforts will be successful. CNET's own Jessica Dolcourt, Andy Hoyle and Luke Westaway agree that the device itself might not bring a sea change to the mobile industry. For one thing, it doesn't come nearly close enough to realizing the "modular fantasy" that many have been wanting for a long time and that Google promises to do with Project Ara. In addition, the G5's swappable features depend mostly on third parties taking the initiative and designing accessories for the handset to truly make it useful.

Senior Editor Roger Cheng also pointed out that while the G5's approach is clever in its novelty, the biggest challenge for LG is its marketing presence. Dwarfed by Apple and Samsung, the company faces an uphill battle in getting its name and devices out there to the masses.

It comes with a whole ecosystem of other devices

When LG introduced the G5, it took the wraps off a bunch of other gadgets too. Two of these devices (a camera grip called the Cam Plus and the Hi-Fi Plus, which is a digital-to-analog audio converter) take advantage of the handset's modular capabilities by attaching to the bottom of the phone when its bezel is removed.

The others simply work with the G5 and build out the company's efforts in the virtual reality and smart home industries. These include a VR headset and a 360-degree camera, as well as a rolling bot that can monitor your home while you're away. Finally, LG released a new generation of its headphones that you wear around your neck called the Tone Platinum.

It faces serious competition

Aside from the Google Android 6P and the upcoming HTC One M10 (which is expected to debut on April 12) the biggest rival to the G5 is the Samsung Galaxy S7, a 5.1-inch device with a 12-megapixel camera, a 3,000mAh battery and a water-resistant design. For more on how these handsets stack up against one another, check out our spec-to-spec comparison here.

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs. LG G5

I conducted a few preliminary tests on a preproduction G5 model and the Galaxy S7 edged out LG's flagship in both processing speed and battery life. However, the G5's novel modular capabilities and removable battery still make it a compelling buy, and I wouldn't fault anyone for finding it difficult to choose between the two.

For more information about the handset, be sure to check out my deep dive with the G5 and let us know in the reader comments below if you plan on preordering the phone.