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LG G Flex review

Do real phones have curves? We test this phablet to find out

Our Verdict

Giant phablet with great battery life and interesting curved design

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 32 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 13 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 15 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 720
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Great battery life
  • Solid camera
  • Lots of perks and features

Against

  • Not the sharpest display
  • Polarizing back button design
LG G Flex review

LG G Flex review

LG G Flex review

LG G Flex review

LG G Flex review

Real phones have curves. Or something like that. And with the LG G Flex, there is certainly no shortage of curves: around the edges, its packaging and especially the entire phone itself. If you're looking for something different, something that stands out against the rest, look no further.

Thanks to flexible display technology, we'll soon be seeing more curved devices and wearable gadgets and gizmos. In some cases, it makes perfect sense - like wristwatches or any other wearable that wraps around you or parts of your body.

On the other hand, we have to start questioning its use in devices that have always been flat, like smartphones and TVs. What benefit, if any, does a curved display have in these cases?

LG G Flex Review

Our instincts tell us there really isn't much of an upside. We've become so used to living in a flat-screen world that introducing curved displays would garner Christopher Columbus-like reactions. Curved?! Nonsense! Except that was a myth.

First, let's make one thing clear about the LG G Flex: It is a phablet more than just a smartphone, with a display six inches on the diagonal. It's huge, like the Nokia Lumia 1520, but its gentle curve makes it somewhat easier to hold.

However, with its size come some benefits, like better viewing for videos and photos. A bigger phone also means, presumably, a bigger battery, so you'll get through your day with a more peace of mind.

In fact, LG claims that the G Flex will get two to three days of mixed use, but more on that later.

So, is there a reason for you to buy a large, curved smartphone? Let's find out.

Hardware

(Note: We are using a Korean version of this smartphone loaned to us by LG because the device is not yet available worldwide, and LG was unable to disclose whether it will hit U.S. or European markets.)

The LG G Flex is large, there's no doubt about that. It's a six-inch display with a 700mm radius of curvature from top to bottom, which LG says is just the right amount of curvature for viewing, holding, manufacture and so forth.

LG G Flex Review

The display is 720p, which isn't the sharpest on the market by any means, but LG says it's because it was the only way to get the RGB stripe on the curved display without resorting to PenTile for higher resolution.

At any rate, the display looks nice enough, but for a device this large, you can definitely tell that it isn't as sharp as the Nexus 5 or HTC One. It also has a strange, matte quality to it: it looks like it has some kind of grain or noise like you'd find on a photo shot with film or high ISO digital. Except it looks a lot more like color noise than luminance noise. In some cases, it's quite pleasing and somewhat cinematic, but other times you wish the images and video were cleaner and sharper.

LG G Flex Review

It seems like that noise may also be a quality of the coating of the display, just underneath the glass. Either way, it's very noticeable.

Above the display is the earpiece and front-facing camera along with ambient light sensors, and at the bottom edge of the phone is the microphone, charging port and 3.5mm headset jack. The top edge has another small microphone, presumably for helping in noise reduction.

On the back is a 13MP camera with flash, and the volume rocker and power button, placed just like it is on the LG G2. We're not too fond of this particular design, but we've learned to live with it.

At the bottom of the backside is the speaker, which works nicely with this phone's design. When the phone is resting on its back, the speaker is slightly elevated thanks to the device's curvature. This makes speakerphone calls and music much louder when the phone is on its back.

At the very base of the phone, there is also an antenna that you can pull out for watching TV, though we were unable to test this feature in the U.S.

Inside, there is a 2.26 GHz Snapdragon 800, like the Nexus 5, with 2GB RAM and 32GB on-board storage. There is no memory card slot on the device.

LG G Flex Review

LG added a 3,500 mAh battery for the G Flex, which is higher in capacity than the LG G2's stellar 3,200 mAh unit. We've had limited testing with the G Flex's battery life so far, but we expect it to outperform the LG G2 by a good margin.

The backside itself has what LG calls a self-healing coating. When you feel it, it feels like the thick, transparent plastic you'd find in some packaging materials. LG tells us that its molecular structure allows it to recover from scratches from springing back. But common sense makes it feel like it's just springing back from a dent, rather than a true scratch.

LG G Flex Review

We scratched the back lightly with the corner of a USB jack, and in 24 hours it has yet to recover. The scratches are superficial and light, rather than the deep scratches you'd expect to be permanent.

Design

The most noticeable feature of the LG G2 is its curved design, and that's really the whole schtick for this smartphone, too.

Without that soft curve, this would likely be just another phablet on the market from LG. The curve happens from top to bottom, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Round prototype, which curves from left to right.

LG G Flex Review

As far as we know, the phone only comes in a dark gray or silver color, but that could change in the future.

Otherwise, you can picture the G Flex as an oversized G2 with a curve and you wouldn't be far off.

The back buttons are also going to be a trend from LG moving forward, as we were told during our meeting that it has to stick with something to distinguish it from the rest of the smartphone makers out there.

LG G Flex Review

Long pressing the volume down button activates the camera, just like it does on the G2. The power button glows as a notification light if your phone is facing downward on a table so you know when you have missed messages or notifications.

Beside the camera, opposite the flash, is an IR blaster, though we find very limited use for those when we do review new smartphones. However, if you like controlling your TV or music player from afar and it supports it, having the IR blaster is convenient.


One last word on the not-so-self-healing coating: it tends to attract dust and dirt, and it sticks to it as if it's statically charged. You can wipe all you like, but it seems difficult to get the stuff off, especially if it's been in your pocket or bag for a while. It'll eventually all come off if you wipe it well enough, but will attract dust and dirt once again as soon as you put it away.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, LTE
SAR Value0.38 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyG Flex
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution13 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameLG
Battery Talk Time15 Hour
Product ModelD955
Screen Size15.2 cm (6")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)177 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density245 ppi
Front Camera Resolution2.1 Megapixel
SIM Size SupportedMicro
Height160.5 mm
Width81.6 mm
Depth8.7 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time720 Hour
ManufacturerLG Electronics
Product NameG Flex D955 Smartphone
Processor Speed2.26 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon 800
Product LineG Flex
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberF340L
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.lge.co.uk
Marketing Information

Ergonomic Curved Design

In portrait orientation, LG G Flex follows the curvature of your face, enhancing voice quality by reducing the gap between the mic and your mouth. And, when held in the landscape position, it is the perfect platform for watching movies or playing games.

Intuitive Rear Key

The LG G Flex's rear key is cleverly placed directly under the index finger when held in-hand making it easy to use with convenient shortcuts and volume control.

Self-Healing Back Cover

The self-healing coating of LG G Flex's back cover will protect it from scratches that come from daily use, so it maintains a clean, like-new appearance.
Standard Memory2 GB