LG made a lot of buzz last week at Mobile World Congress when it unveiled its latest flagship, the G5. What makes the G5 unique is that it has a slot on the bottom that you can use to plug in various accessories, like the Cam Plus which adds a battery extender, video record button, a shutter button, and more.
This sparked interest in the audiophile community, as one of the other plug-in accessories, or “Friends” as LG calls them, is the Hi-Fi Plus module. The module is a 32-bit DAC co-designed and tuned by Bang & Olufsen, which means it allows you to listen to high-quality tracks via streaming, or with the songs you may have downloaded onto your phone. You’ll still need a good pair of headphones with good drivers to really notice a difference, though.
It was briefly mentioned that the Hi-Fi Plus would be compatible with other smartphones when it was announced, and a YouTuber going by the name of TK Bay shows that this is indeed true. He connects the Hi-Fi Plus to the Nexus 6P, offering the same hi-res playback experience. That’s certainly a good thing, as it confirms that the B&O DAC isn’t useless without the G5.
Digital-to-Analog Converters for phones aren’t new — in fact the phone you’re using right now has one embedded in it. External DACs for phones usually provide higher sound quality, but LG has embedded that as a plug-and-play module for the G5, so you don’t have to lug one around with your phone as you listen to music.
TK Bay used a USB Type C cable to connect a Nexus 6P to the Hi-Fi Plus, and then plugged his earbuds into the DAC to show that it works. It’s a bit of a clunky mess, with a lot of dangling wires — and it’s certainly not something that average listeners will be all that excited about, unless they’re already considering a G5. Still, it’s interesting to see that the Hi-Fi Plus is as easy to use outside the LG family as advertized, and it’s definitely worth noting for any audiophile who’s taking a long look at the G5.