Android Curveball: LG G Flex Review

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The LG G Flex has a large, 6-inch curved plastic OLED display that sports a resolution of 1280 x 720. By using a plastic OLED instead of a glass OLED, LG was able to make the panel bendable, thinner, lighter, and not easily breakable. To improve the image quality and clarity, LG used a Real RGB Stripe Pixel structure instead of a Pentile method. In comparison to screens with a Pentile OLED, the G Flex’s Real RGB stripe of sub-pixels is able to produce brighter and more accurate images with better color expression and a more genuine white color.

In real life, the G Flex’s display looks good. However, when placed next to the HTC One Max (which supports 1920 x 1080) with both screens at 100% brightness, the One Max’s higher resolution display offers a very noticeable difference in clarity and crispness of text.

 

The G Flex has a 700R (700mm radius) curvature that was selected after consumer research and testing. Interestingly enough, when holding the G Flex to our ear, it did feel slightly more comfortable than holding the similarly sized HTC One Max. When holding the HTC One Max in your hand, you get a feel that you’re holding a very sturdy, oversized smartphone. When holding the G Flex, the curved design and plastic body gives it a softer feel than the One Max. We preferred the feel of the G Flex in hand over the One Max since the G Flex didn’t make us feel like we were holding a monster-sized smartphone.

LG includes a durable coating on the back cover of the G Flex to help make the device more scratch-resistant from the everyday nicks of life that would normally occur while the phone is in a person’s pocket. Keep in mind however, that this coating is not designed for intentional scratching. This cover is smooth and doesn’t provide a lot of grip when you’re handling the phone.

In order to enable the curved design of the G Flex, LG developed a 3,500mAh curved battery. This battery is designed using LG Chem’s Stack & Folding technology. In order to offer stability and prevent distortion, LG embedded this battery. LG Chem also applied its SRS (Safety Reinforcing Separator) technology to help ensure battery stability and durability.

Initially, we had mixed feelings about the placement of the Rear Power Key. Although it can be very easy and convenient to use while holding the phone, it can be easy to push the Rear Key accidentally and turn off the display. While holding the G Flex to our ear, we found ourselves resting our index finger on the Rear Key. As long as you’re careful not to push this key while talking, there shouldn’t be any issue. While pinching the phone between our shoulder and ear, we pushed the Rear Key a few times, however.

After a spending a few days with the G Flex, we had become accustomed to using the Rear Key and our accidental presses were much less frequent. In fact, after a few days of use we actually grew to like the Rear Key placement in many situations.

The placement of the volume rocker on the back of the G Flex makes it very easy to adjust during a call. By long-pressing the volume up key, you can launch QuickMemo. A long press of the volume down key will launch the camera. When using the camera app, the settings menu gives you the option to control the zoom or shutter using the volume keys. By default, the volume keys will control zoom.

Above the display, you’ll notice the front-facing camera, proximity sensor, and notification LED in the upper left corner. When the screen is on, you’ll see an app launcher at the base of the Home screens as well as Back, Home, and Menu keys at the bottom of the display. On the back of the G Flex, you’ll find the 13 megapixel camera. An IR LED is located to the left of the camera and a flash is located to the right of the camera. Below the camera you’ll see the Power/Lock button which is surrounded by the volume keys. A speaker is located in the bottom right corner of the back of the phone.

The lower edge of the phone houses the microUSB charging port, microphone, and 3.5mm headset jack. On the left edge of the phone, you’ll find the micro SIM card tray.
 

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Comments

Comments
MCaddick 9 months ago

Thats a really low resolution for a screen that size. I've just got a Lumia 1520 (6" 1080 resolution) and its significantly nicer to use its screen than the 1320 which has the same size and resolution as this LG phone's 720. Its AMOLED which is nice, but forget having nice bright backgrounds and still keeping your battery life and outdoor visibility.

I suppose having such a lower resolution helps with battery life and performance, but having buttons on the rear of the device just comes across as LG thinking they had to do something different for the sake of it, not any practical purpose for the majority of users.

 

Oh, and no NFC?  While not a dealbreaker, its something thats becoming more useful and a stupid omission in any modern phone/tablet.

sevags 9 months ago

I still don't understand why a "fixed battery" would constantly end up in the con category! No SD card slot I understand even though having a sd slot is a BIG no no for me there are people out there who use it or need it while for me it will also be an empty slot just gathering dust and pocket lint. But the battery? What % of smart phones actually have remove able batteries?! And out of those that do how many people actually buy and carry spare batteries?! I would bet my savings account that a very insignificant amount of people around actually buy and use spare batteries. A fixed battery means a more solid construction, no back plate to worry about popping off or losing, and I imagine that all these phones with ANSI water and dust resistance are easier to design even though the new S5 has those features with a removable battery.

If you are going to carry around a spare battery for your phone here are millions of options for external battery packs ranging from the size of a smartphone battery to the size of desktop harddrives and it wouldn't even require turning off your phone to swap out.

Can we have a poll here on HH asking whether people prefer a fixed or remove able battery? The results might help a fixed battery stay out of the con column.

MarkJacobs 8 months ago

I'm on the road at client's offices and in the field all day. I carry two or three spare batteries and use them. I can't be tethered to a wall charger. So for me a fixed battery is a deal breaker.

marco c 9 months ago

It's not just about having the ability to swap out when dead. Not having a removable battery means taking the phone in for repair, should the battery need to be replaced.

MCaddick 9 months ago

And the battery needs replacing when?? The vast majority update our phones far far before any battery issues become apparent.

Dave_HH 9 months ago

I'd have to agree with MCaddick here. Really, the only time you need access to the battery is for a hard reset beyond what buttons or a software switch can deliver. You want to be able to pull the power source completely, just in case. Other than that, the advantage of a replaceable battery is pretty marginal these days.

Super Dave 9 months ago

An interesting-looking phone and I want to see it in person! The lack of an SD card and non-replaceable battery would kill the deal for me, though. My wife and I keep our phones for a long time (purchase outright w/no-contract) so it's important that we can replace a weak or faulty battery.

JaySleven 9 months ago

Wait no NFC? Hmmm, well the device is interesting. Seen videos of people laying them on a hard surface and pressing them flat. Interesting that the internals can withstand something like that. But the no SD card is probably what would kill me the most. I'd like to see this up close though. But I couldn't see me picking one up for my next phone

JefferyPruett 9 months ago

Yup ive seen it all now. Curveball me to the face someone

linusdoo 9 months ago

I'm just glad to see handset manufacturers pushing different designs than just a sheet of glass. We are in need of some different form factors in mobility

marvel14 9 months ago

it is true that the LG flex is a true innovation in mobile telephony, but it's still very useful for general public, plus the price is relatively high, at this price many people would prefer sacrificed curved shape and take a galaxy note 3 prix or galaxy s5

bigbendoe 8 months ago

Regarding the shape, I love the concept but it has been years since I have held a phone to ear. I do think it would ride nicely in my pocket. The fixed battery seems shady, and no sd card is a deal-breaker.

mgmackoul 7 months ago

LG G Flex, very bad quality. DO NOT BUY. Dust collects under the cover and into the camera area and you will not be able to take clear pictures. Contacted LG about the issue, and we sent the phone for repair. We paid for sending it. they cleaned the dust and sent it back. After a few days of use, the dust started to collect again. Contacted them again and they said to sent it again. Asked them to replace it, and they refused. Do not buy this phone.

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