Last week, we wrote a story about potential findings that LG is using plastic in the LG G5. While this might not sound like a problem, the company was advertising the device with a metal unibody build. Thankfully, we finally have our answer from the South Korean company.
LG today issued a statement explaining the metal build of the LG G5 and the process they used to achieve the effect they were after. Here it is in full (jump past it for the TL;DR):
Contrary to erroneous reports online that the LG G5 body is composed of plastic, LG would like to state unequivocally that the uni-body casing of the G5 is composed of a special aluminum alloy, LM201 (Feb. 2016 patent pending). LM201 was developed by LG in partnership with the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology for use in high-end sports cars, aircraft and consumer electronic products where durability, rigidity and lightness are required.
As a die-cast metal, LM201 was determined to be most appropriate material to accommodate the curves of the G5. After the die-casting is complete, the insulating antenna slit is applied directly to the aluminum casing followed by a coating of primer which provides additional insulation and enhances the surface profile for the “microdizing” process, where pigment containing tiny metal particles is applied directly to the primer to provide a smooth and durable finish.
While both anodized aluminum and microdized aluminum will scratch if enough pressure is applied, in the case of the G5 the gray primer beneath the pigment layer may be mistaken for plastic when the coloring is scratched off. We want to reassure our customers that the uni-body of the LG G5 is advanced aluminum alloy, not plastic.
Long story short: the LG G5 is made of aluminum alloy, but the company uses a primer topped with a special microdizing coat of metal-infused paint to enhance the device’s exterior look and feel, and to hide the antenna strips used to ensure proper attenuation through metal. Scratching that paint off (which is pretty hard to do without deliberately taking a sharp knife to its backside) reveals the primer, which is easily mistaken for plastic.
So, the LG G5 does technically have a metal unibody construction, they’re just going about it a different way than others have. Either way, it’s still a solid device that feels good, looks good and should withstand the test of time (because companies like LG wouldn’t dare release a product unless they were absolutely sure it could).