“Same is not sexy”. This is the rather bold statement LG is going with to describe its intriguingly shaped Flex 2. We’re not sure how true this is in the grand scheme of things but we’re inclined to agree that as far as sexy tech goes, LG may have a point. It’s nice to see something new in a market swarming with great looking devices that can genuinely turn heads again.
The curved 5.5”, full HD P-OLED screen on this beautiful creation was the main reason why it collected 14 “Best Phone” awards at the 2015 International CES show and now that it’s heading to the UK we’re dying to know if it has the brains to go with these looks.
Fortunately it’s no slouch when it comes to interiors, with a 13MP rear camera and 4K Ultra HD camcorder, so you can finally get your hands on some content for that snazzy new TV. A 2.1MP selfie and full HD video recorder on the front should do most people quite nicely, and with an octa-core Snapdragon 810 2.0GHz CPU keeping things ticking over should have no problems with responsive operation. 32GB of internal memory with an important option of microSD up to 2TB means you won’t run out of space if you’re getting carried away with 4K video, and a 3,000 mAh battery should mean you won’t run out of juice either.
So on paper at least, the G Flex 2 seems like it could be the complete package, but how does it all stack up together, and are there any hidden downsides to a bendy display? We had a read around to find out.
As TechRadar points out this is LG’s second attempt at a curved smartphone and one in which it has appeared to address many of its predecessor’s problems, but that the all-important display isn’t quite as radical as LG would you have you believe: “Instead, the curve gives it a subtle bow in the middle so, like one of LG’s new 4K TVs, its faint curvature goes from a 400mm to a 700mm radius.” What’s interesting here is that it isn’t just curved; it’s also flexible, which importantly makes it more durable and gives the user some degree of comfort control depending on how they’re using it.
“The Flex 2 felt contoured to my face and more accessible with one hand than a normal 5.5-inch phone. I’ve seen the G Flex withstand 1,000 pounds of pressure, and LG claims this one is even stronger. It’s the ultimate anti-iPhone 6 BendGate phone.”
It notes that the flexible nature makes it a little more effective for viewing multimedia, taking phone calls and fitting snugly into a pocket. And like the previous Flex, the Flex 2 has an “advanced self-healing back”, which can recover from light scratches in around 10 seconds. It’s an impressive claim, but may be a little far-fetched as “looking at the back cover, I still received what must be considered “medium” scratches that haven’t gone away. Sadly, it doesn’t live up to the hype.”
The only other potential issues with the design are based around the controls and speaker. The sides and top are devoid of power and volume buttons. These have been placed on the rear, which can take a bit of getting used to, and a relatively powerful speaker loses significant appeal if it’s not pumping the tunes in your direction. Despite these foibles Techradar is impressed overall, awarding it 4/5.
Moving away from the USP and onto more conventional matters we’ll pick up TrustedReviews and its 7/10 review as it delves a bit deeper into the core functions. The quality of the display itself is pleasingly impressive. It writes that the smaller 5.5” size feels more manageable and the benefits of OLED (or P-OLED – since it’s made from plastic for the flexibility) shine through.
“Its sharp, black levels really impress for watching films, and viewing angles are excellent. The 403ppi pixel density of the 5.5-inch screen means it impresses for clarity as well.”
With Lollipop 5.0.2 and LG’s UI on top the Flex 2 is pretty up to date on the software front, and many of LGs additions, such as the gesture-related features and smart keyboard, are quite effective, though it is running the risk of feeling a little overwhelming. The processor keeps things ticking over nicely, allocating its cores as and when needed to cope with intensive tasks and optimise performance, but it can run uncomfortably hot, which seems largely to be a drawback of the curved design.
On the camera front you’ll find the same array as the impressive G3 with a few extra features to improve the experience, such as a dual-LED flash for better close-ups, optical image stabilisation and something called Gesture Shot, which allows you to take pictures without having to touch the screen or device itself. Overall the results are impressive, though it does note that with when it comes to shooting video, the 5-minute limit for 4K might mean that 1080p is a better default option.
We’ll let AndroidPit fill in some gaps for us with a look at the battery, which it points out is a step down from the 3,500 mAh of the original, though doesn’t suffer because of optimisations in other areas. The G Flex 2 also offers fast charging, which offers a couple of benefits. “The G Flex 2 can charge up to 50 percent capacity in less than 40 minutes. The G Flex 2 also makes use of stepped charging technology; where standard battery charging comes in at 1.8A, the G Flex 2’s stepped charging is capable of 2.6A.” It made it through a full day of fairly heavy use quite well, though the more demanding consumer might be asking for a little bit more considering the competition.
AndroidPit also emphasises the durability that a flexible phone can bring and the peace of mind that comes with it for more accident-prone users. LG has actually produced something called Dura-Guard Glass for the Flex 2, which is effectively customised Gorilla Glass that’s 20% stronger than Gorilla Glass 3 with improved strength and shock absorbency at the edges, which are most vulnerable to drops. This all culminates in:
“a premium device with serious hardware backed up by all the benefits of superior durability, flexibility and ergonomics. As a normal phone the G Flex 2 would be great, but adding a near-indestructible build quality makes it truly outstanding.”
The LG G Flex 2 will be available exclusively on Vodaphone for six weeks from 19th March when it’s officially launched, and you can expect to pay around £500 SIM-free.