LG G Flex review
|Review: March 2014|
In a nutshell: The future's bright, the future's curved, or so the Koreans would have us believe. LG is giving us a taste of flexible OLED screens with the G Flex smartphone. It's interesting for sure, but just serves to demonstrate some of the teething problems of this new technology.
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Style & design
LG has wowed us in the past, with a transparent phone, a phone with the buttons on the back, and a phone that looked like a bar of chocolate. Now it's made a curved phone. Here's the conversation we feverishly imagined with the designers at LG:
S21: So, tell us why you made a curved phone.
LG: Because we can.
S21: But why?
LG: OLED display technology has now advanced so much that we can make curved and flexible screens.
S21: But why make a curved phone?
LG: The curve is the natural shape of the world around you.
S21: Buy why a curved phone?
LG: The LG G Flex fits the contour of your eyes, the palm of your hand, and the form of your silhouette.
S21: Dude, why make a curved phone?
So, OK, we get it. It's a curved phone. More than curved - actually flexible. It fits in your hand in a way that every other phone in existence totally fails to do. We can't say that this is a gamechanger for us, to be honest. It certainly doesn't justify the near-£700 price tag of the phone. But it's undeniably cool.
Like the LG G2, the buttons are on the back of the phone, and in many ways the phone looks very much like the G2. The screen is even larger though, measuring an enormous 6 inches. It's a bright OLED display with plenty of contrast, but sadly only HD, not Full HD, and at this size, the difference shows. There are other problems with the display too, as noted by Digital Versus in their detailed review. In particular, they noted a blue colour cast, coloured dots on the screen, and distortions whenever you touch the screen. For a high-end touchscreen phone, this is really unacceptable.
Spec & performance
The G Flex is priced at the very top of the smartphone market, so it had better have all the latest gear inside. It's very nearly there. The processor is the same quad-core 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 used in the LG G2. Although faster phones have been announced (the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2), right now this is as fast as it gets. There's 2GB of RAM and 32GB of memory, although no microSD card.
The camera is also the same as we saw on the G2 - a 13 megapixel BSI camera with 1080p video recording. A front-facing 2 megapixel camera completes he package.
You'll also find a full set of connectivity options, including 4G.
The battery is exceptionally large, rated at 3,500mAh, which is the largest we've ever seen in a smartphone.
Somewhat surprisingly however, the Android version is good old Jelly Bean 4.2, which is really quite dated now.
Conclusion - the good, the bad and the flexible
The pricing of the G Flex makes it certain that few will buy it. Only those who want to be ahead of the curve will be looking to invest £700 in a flexible, curved phone. The phone certainly has wow factor, but it also has "why?" factor, which is less cool. Having said all that, the ability of the phone to flex does make it much less likely to break if you drop it or sit on it.
As a flagship phone, it delivers the goods, although the old version 4.2 of Android is looking quite dated now. Apart from that, and the screen problems, it has all the credentials for a state-of-the-art phone.
Yes - those screen problems. We could tolerate the blue colour cast. We could just about endure the coarse 245 ppi resolution. The posterised (coloured dots) effect we couldn't endure for long at all. And as for the image retention effect when you touch the screen, we couldn't endure that at all.
The G Flax is basically a concept phone that's designed to generate headlines rather than sales. Does it mark a future trend, or is it just a curiosity? We don't know. 2014 is the year that curved TVs are going to hit the shops in a big way, and we'll have to see how that works out. It might just be that curved is the shape of the future.
LG G Flex features include:
- Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
- 13 megapixel camera with BSI, LED flash, autofocus, panorama shot and 16x digital zoom
- Full HD video recording (Up to 1080p) plus 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera
- Display: OLED, 16 million colours, 1280 x 720 pixels (6 inches)
- Music Player
- AGPS with Google Maps
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, email, Google+ Messenger, Google Talk
- Personal organiser functions
- Processor: Quad-core 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
- Memory: 32GB, 2GB RAM
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, micro-USB 2.0HS, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC, DLNA
- Internet: Chrome web browser
- 4G LTE, GSM/EDGE, multi band 3G (HSPA+42Mbps/HSPA+21Mbps)
- Size: 160.5 x 81.6 x 7.9 mm
- Weight: 177g
- Battery: 3,500mAh Li-Polymer
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LG G Flex user reviews
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Average rating from 1 review:
Reviewed by Gavin
on 6th Nov 2014
Had my flex for about a month.yes if you look closely the screen is not as sharp as say a s5 or one m8 but it's perfectly adequate.no lag or slow down at all.some great simple features such as the back buttons which the power key also doubles as a notification light.all round brilliant..well done lg