Curved displays have been around and becoming more popular in interest over the past year, and now LG is looking to bring that same technology to a smartphone with the G Flex. Now we have seen the G Flex and another similar curved device in the Samsung Galaxy Round in international waters but the G Flex is the first to make it in the US and on major US carriers. I had some time to use the G Flex as my daily driver, here is my review.
The G Flex is definitely a different approach when it comes to manufacturing a smartphone. We have already seen the G Flex and Samsung’s Galaxy Round over seas, but the G Flex is the first curved device to hit the US – and it seems only right that you have a curved mobile device to go along new curved smart TV’s. Along with the design of the device is a much larger 6-inch P-OLED 720p HD display. Similar to the G2,the only physical buttons lie on the back of the phone with a power button in between the volume up/down buttons. You get a Sim card slot on the left of the device, and if you’re wondering, you can’t install external memory but the 32GB of internal memory could be enough for most people. Surprisingly the phone feels really nice in the hand, even though it’s literally a giant curved glossy piece of plastic – and we know exactly how people feel about plastic. The display as mentioned is 720p and has its moments where it shines and feels a bit dull. I had pointed something out to a couple of friends where as the actual display was underneath a sort of coating under the glass which made the display bleed a bit when transitioning – also showed a bit of fuzziness.
The curve adds a bit of an immersive experience when viewing videos as your peripheral vision is catered. It also adds a very comfortable feel when in the back pocket, or even on the phone.
The G Flexs’ camera is also taken from the G2 with some minor changes. It’s 13-megapixel camera can still snap photos very quick and of course comes packed with LG’s Optical Image Stabilization that was first added on the G2. Photos shot during the day come out OK with good color reproduction and clarity. Some photos do tend to have a bit of washed out colors that do look sharp, but just plain and dull. Low light shots are a bit hit or miss but the flash does help out in many situations.
The G Flex can also shoot 1080p HD (30 or 60 fps) or 4K/UHD (3840×2160) video with great clarity, smooth frame rates and crisp audio quality. Though you aren’t able to get the true 4K playback unless you have an external device that plays 4K. I have recorded several videos with the G Flex and most people believe I added the voice from an external mic. It’s one of the better on camera mics we have seen since the Lumia line and G2.
The G Flex handled normal usage with ease and never skipped a beat when pressured. Powered by a Quad-core 2.26 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, Adreno 330 GPU, and 2GB of RAM, it handles Slide Aside apps and Dual Window with ease. Multitasking on the G Flex is a blessing – considering you have 6-inches of display goodness to work with.
Games also played very smooth on the G Flex with no noticeable lag or hiccup. Where the G Flex does shine is in its battery. The 3500 mAh non-removable Li-Po battery is fantastic, as I was able to go farther than 24 hours with normal usage on a full charge, though I wish the G Flex could have had Wireless Charging built in; here’s to hoping they make a curved charging panel in the future.
The G flex actually scored pretty well when it came to benchmark tests – out placing most smartphones from last year, but still falling short to the monster that is the Galaxy Note 3.
LG’s Optimus UI is once again present and just like I mentioned back on the G2 review, this isn’t my favorite Android skin. Though a lot of new features to LG’s are ones we have seen in the past, and it’s good to finally see them make their way to LG’s flagship line. LG has fine tuned their UI since the G2 but just like TouchWiz it’s going to need a bit more work. Or even of the biggest gripes to me is clutter within the Notification Drawer. What I will give LG credit for is the ability to still customize app icons – which is one of my favorite things to do. But if you are those looking for a bit more personalization, I suggest checking out some Home Launchers or Rooting your device.
So not only is the G Flex a curved smartphone, but it’s one that can heal itself as well. LG has placed a special coating on the back panel of the device that allows the phone to heal itself when scuffed with light scratches from coins or keys. I actually took my keys and scrapped it on the back until I started to notice some marks, now there are two ways to really make this work. You can either leave the device under the sun or a lamp where it can take some heat and heal itself, or rub the scrape with your finger to apply heat. The rubbing of the scratch relatively worked on smaller not so deep scratches – but beyond the gimmick, it actually does work.
I had the chance to use the G Flex on T-Mobile’s LTE Network in New York City and got some incredible coverage, with fast data speeds and superb call quality. Though I did see some loss of coverage on a road trip to Boston where certain places I was stuck with 2G service or none at all. For those of you outside the T-Mobile network, it’s also available on Sprint and AT&T – with pricing varying the carrier.
The G Flex is not a bad phone, it’s actually pretty good. The curve aspect of the device is a good conversation starter and really helps you indulge into whatever video you’re watching, but I’d it necessary – no. The G Flex relatively feels like a bigger G2 with some body add-ons, a dumb-ed down display and over washed camera. It isn’t for everyone, but if you’re in the market for a phablet like device that isn’t a Galaxy device than I say give it a try.
- Battery Life
- Curved Display
- Self Healing Back Panel
- Low Resolution Display
- LG Android UI