LG G Flex 2 review
|Review: April 2015|
In a nutshell: The LG G Flex 2 is something different - a smartphone with a curved screen and body. It's certainly designed to attract attention, but is a practical option too, with careful thought going into its unique design. It's also a high-spec smartphone with an 8-core processor and an excellent camera.
Today's best buy: LG G Flex 2 16GB from Laptops Direct (£179.97)
A year ago, LG gave us the G Flex, a phone with a curved screen. That was little more than a proof of concept, but now LG has returned with the G Flex 2 (H955), a much more polished version.
The G Flex 2 is more compact than the original, making it much more practical. A curved phone can't be too big, or else it becomes cumbersome. This one will fit easily into your back pocket. The new version is significantly lighter too, and that's also very welcome indeed. In fact, the phone feels surprisingly light, and the curved shape makes it easy to grip. Overall it's a very tactile phone, and pleasing to handle.
The phone is very slim, and unusually has no side buttons. Just like the LG G3, the buttons are sited on the back. It may take a little while to get used to this configuration, but soon it becomes second nature, and makes for easy single-handed use.
The screen measures 5.5 inches, making it larger than most other flagship smartphones. It's slightly smaller than the first G Flex phone, but has a higher resolution, making it very sharp. The Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels equates to a high pixel density of 403ppi. The screen is a plastic OLED display, giving good levels of contrast and brightness, and being made of plastic should be less prone to breakage.
Another interesting feature of the phone is its use of "self healing technology" on the casing. We haven't been able to test this, but in theory the back surface of the phone is able to heal itself, naturally removing scratches over a period of time.
The phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and has some cunning user interface mods in addition. Since there are no buttons on the side of the phone, it's not as simple to activate the phone when you want to check for messages or answer a call. LG has solved this problem very neatly. You can check the time and other notifications while the screen is off simply by dragging down on any part of the screen - a feature called Glance View. You can activate the screen fully by tapping it twice. Perhaps smartest of all, when you receive an incoming call, you can automatically answer it by picking up the phone and holding it to your ear.
Spec & performance
When it comes to performance, this thing flies. Equipped with the latest 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor running at a speedy 2.0GHz, there's really nothing that this phone can't handle.
The onboard memory is just 16GB, but that's more than compensated by the inclusion of a microSD card slot, which can accept cards up to 128GB. This gives the device plenty of storage potential. The 2GB of RAM is plenty too.
Not too much has changed with the camera, but there have been some useful enhancements. It's still a 13 megapixel BSI camera with super-fast laser focus. It now also includes optical image stabilisation, and is a fine performer even in low lighting conditions. Video performance has been upgraded so it can now record 4K ultra high definition video. The front camera hasn't really changed, and is a 2.1 megapixel camera that's good enough for selfies.
The phone is 4G compatible, and you'll find a full set of connectivity options, including infrared.
The battery has been reduced in size slightly to 3,000mAh, but that's still a very respectable size - bigger than the battery in the Samsung Galaxy S6, for example. The battery is fast to recharge, and up to 50% of capacity can be recharged in about 40 minutes. On a full charge, you should get at least two days of use.
Conclusion - unique and different
The G Flex 2 isn't cheap by any stretch of the imagination, costing about the same as the Samsung Galaxy S6 or HTC One M9. But it's no longer a concept phone, and is now slick and polished enough that people might actually want to own it.
It's certainly not a risk-free investment, and you might find that the curved design with the buttons on the back just doesn't work for you. We suspect, however, that if you're already considering this phone as a serious option, then the novelty of owning a curved phone will outweigh such considerations. The phone is definitely a viable option, it's just a question of personal preference.
A phone that costs this much has to do more than look good, and the G Flex does a lot. It has a superfast processor and expandable memory. It has a superb camera. It has excellent connectivity and strong battery life. It's not perfect, and it's certainly not for everyone, but therein lies the secret of its appeal to the few. If you want something that's totally different, the G Flex 2 is the phone for you.
LG G Flex 2 features include:
- Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
- 13 megapixel camera with BSI, optical image stabilisation, dual LED flash, laser autofocus and digital zoom, 4K video recording
- 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera
- Display: OLED, 16 million colours, 1920 x 1080 pixels (5.5 inches)
- Music Player
- AGPS and GLONASS with Google Maps
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, email, Google+ Messenger, Google Talk
- Processor: 8-core 64-bit 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
- Memory: 16GB with microSD card slot (up to 128GB), 2GB RAM
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, micro-USB 2.0HS, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC, infrared port
- 4G LTE, quadband GSM/EDGE, multi band 3G (HSPA+42Mbps/HSPA+21Mbps)
- Size: 149 x 75 x 8.9 mm
- Weight: 152g
- Battery: 3,000mAh
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