LG's modular smartphone steals the gong from the likes of Apple and Samsung, thanks in no small part to the Hi-Fi Plus DAC tuned by B&O Play.

These days, more and more of us are using a smartphone as our main source of music on the go, so ensuring it sounds good should be high on your list of considerations.

LG went above and beyond any other smartphone manufacturer this year in this department, by offering a modular design for its LG G5.

It means the flagship device can mould itself to the phone you want it to be, switching out its bottom section so that various other elements can be added.

The most important one for us of course, is the Hi-Fi Plus DAC. Tuned by B&O Play, it offers support for hi-res playback up to 32-bit/384KHz, boosted from the 24-bit/192kHz available natively.

It delivers the space, subtlety and dynamic handling that its native sound can’t muster, and neither can its competition. It transforms the G5’s music performance and taking the phone as close to a standalone high-res player as we’ve ever heard.

It’s not just the sound that wowed us though – the innovative G5 also offers a sharp QHD screen, with a natural colour palette and stacks of detail, a superb camera with enough manual controls to keep wannabe photographers happy, and a snappy performance that’ll never keep you waiting.

The LG G5 with Hi-Fi Plus by B&O Play may be a mouthful, but it is the complete package, and that’s why it's our smartphone of the year.

MORE: Awards 2016: Best smartphones

More after the break

As for tablets, it’s round two for the Apple iPad Air 2, which picks up our tablet of the year for the second year in a row.

Despite some stellar competition, not least from Apple’s own stable with the iPad Pro 9.7in, the Air 2 still balances price and performance the most convincingly – particularly thanks to a recent price drop and storage boost making it better value than ever.

MORE: Awards 2016: Best tablets

See all our What Hi-Fi? Awards 2016 winners


Gogi. gp's picture

LG g5????

Disaster decision. I am speechless.

beartronik's picture

Im with you..very strange

Im with you..very strange decision.You fail to mention that the Dac costs over £100 extra on top of the price of the phone..

The other LG friends(add on units) are poor at best and  the software that lg puts over android isn't the best either.

Yes it tried to be different and that has to be applauded but it didn't take off and i think for high res music the LG V20 seems a better option as the dac is built in rather than it being an expensive add on

Gogi. gp's picture

LG V20 would be fine choice

But, you know what... There are lot of things I don't know a lot, there are things I know more... But what hi fi with this choice eliminated itself from reliable source of information. I will unfollow this site instantly. LG g5 is not terrible, but it's, most of all flagships of 2016, most faraway from this title. And the only one worse than google pixels.

Tipsy T-Rex's picture

Absolutely baffling. Not only

Absolutely baffling. Not only is the G5 almost universally considered a failure for its terrible build quality and terrible implementations of its mod system, The high quality DAC isn't even part of the system! It costs 100 dollars more.

Heck, you can just get the V20 now, it has a better screen, feature set, camera and the same high quality DAC actually built into the device.

This article is such a joke it might as well be a resignation letter. If I was running this site, thats definitely how I'd interpret it.

Anthony Rintala's picture


The HTC 10 has a much better 3.5mm Headphone jack. The Moto Z force implemented phone compartmentalization better. What a terrible choice. You could of at least chosen the LG V20.