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LG G Flex review

Andrew Williams

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LG G Flex
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Summary

Our Score:

6

User Score:

Pros

  • Decent processor
  • Interesting tech packed-in
  • Detailed daylight photos

Cons

  • Seriously expensive
  • Serious screen quality issues
  • Some camera focus problems

Key Features

  • 6-inch flexible plastic OLED display
  • Self-healing rear
  • 13-megapixel camera
  • Manufacturer: LG
  • Review Price: £649.99

The new version of the G Flex was announced at CES 2015. Check out our hands-on of the LG G Flex 2 here.

What is the LG G Flex?

The LG G Flex is not a normal phone. It’s not here to square up to mobiles like the Samsung Galaxy S5. It is here to prove a point, to prove that certain things can be done. It is a curved phone with a self-healing back. It’s a mutant, a weirdo – a proof of concept, if not quite a statement of intent for the rest of LG's 2014 phones.

As a demo of new technologies it’s interesting. However, as a phone you’ll have to pay more than £500 for, it’s a no-go

SEE ALSO: 10 best phones you can buy

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LG G Flex: Design and the Curve

The LG G Flex’s curved screen is its spotlight-stealing feature. However, its sheer size is also worth noticing. This is a 6-inch phone, sitting in the awkward middle ground between a phone and a tablet.

It’s 81mm wide, making it feel gigantic even when compared with big 5-inch phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4. Despite having a skinny bezel, reaching from one end of the screen to the other will be either tricky or impossible – depending on how big your digits are.

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This is a plastic phone, pretty predictable given its bendy design, and the faux-metal glossy plastic finish doesn’t give you the surest grip either. The LG G Flex demands a degree of caution.

Its initial appearance even takes some getting used to. This is the first curved phone to get a general release, and that it doesn’t sit flat seems deeply odd at first. Some will say it looks broken, others that it looks weird or ridiculous. But there’s no chance of a measured, neutral reaction when it comes to the LG G Flex. It’s an attention-grabber.

There are two main questions the curve raises – how, and why? We’re going to try and answer both.

SEE ALSO: Best Android Phones Round-Up

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How did LG make a curved phone?

There are several elements that allow the LG G Flex to have a curvy screen. The most talked-about is the relatively new sort of screen it uses.

The LG G Flex has a P-OLED screen. The core OLED display tech is comparable to the OLED you see in phones like the Galaxy S4. It uses pixels that emit their own light, meaning there’s no need for side-firing backlight LEDs – which probably wouldn’t work too well on a curvy screen.

However, the core difference is that while most OLEDs have a glass backing or substrate - as is the more technical term - the G Flex’s is plastic. And plastic is bendy.

A few other bits have to be curved and flexible too – the battery and the top layer of the screen. The G Flex has what LG claims to be the world’s first curved battery. You can’t pop off the back of the phone to have a look, but the battery curves around the frame to fill any empty space. LG’s battery bods have worked on a new internal structure for the battery that makes all this possible. Clever stuff.

SEE ALSO: LG G Flex vs LG G2

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The last bit of curvy cleverness is down to Corning, not LG. It makes the curved plate of Gorilla Glass that covers the phone’s top layer. Yes, this is bendy, flexible glass.

It works more as a showcase of quite how great Corning’s work into toughened glass is. Standard Gorilla Glass can withstand being bent out of shape without shattering, but with a ‘straight’ phone this is never shown off. Gorilla Glass is used in a great many phones, often without Corning getting much credit or recognition.

The combination of a plastic OLED screen, the curvy battery and curved Gorilla Glass let the G Flex keep its curve. And the phone can be pressed flat without any damage. You can do it with your hands - no clamps needed here.

Repeated flexing of the display reportedly causes two dots to appear on the display – the result of internal components press against the panel. However, LG has recognised the issue and says it should fade without lasting damage.

We’ve flexed the phone liberally a half-dozen times or so and had no such issues, though.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 6 release date, news, rumours, specs and price

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Why is the G Flex cuved?

A curvy screen has won the LG G Flex a bunch of attention. But the most common question it raises is – why? LG offers a bunch of different reasons.

Its curved display has a slight IMAX-like effect – where the screen’s bend matches the curvature of your field of view to an extent. Held about 30cm from your face, the screen does offer pretty great coverage of your vision compared with a (relatively) tiny iPhone 5S, or even the Galaxy S4.

However, it’s predominantly the screen size that makes the G Flex a phone we can imagine watching a film on, not its curvy style.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S5 release date, news, rumours, specs and price

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Argument number two is about your bum. LG says the G Flex can be sat on without damage, and it’s no lie. Put in in your back pocket and you won’t have to worry about shattering the display. However, this is for peace of mind purposes only. It is not comfortable to sit on.

Argument three is about screen reflections, and this one does hold up better. The G Flex’s display is as reflective as any top-end phone (i.e. quite reflective), however the curve means that a good portion of the screen is reflecting nothing more than a slightly distorted version of your face. Unless there’s a light source directly behind you, it shouldn’t pose a serious problem. It doesn’t solve the screen reflection issue, but does make it easier to deal with.LG G Flex 13

The real reason why the curve of the G Flex is important, though, is that it acts as a declaration that LG is a leader in innovative mobile technologies. It doesn’t want to be seen as a small player anymore.

Its release is also a response to the Samsung Galaxy Round, to some extent. This rival is a curved but non-flexible AMOLED phone, but you won’t find it on shelves in the UK. The LG G Flex is a curved and flexible phone that you can actually buy. LG has gone a few steps further.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

esseff

December 20, 2013, 11:46 am

It's all well and good having a curved screen, but not if we have to go back to plastic screen coverings like the ones we used to have with the old resistive technology. It took ages to move to glass, and then a good glass that won't scratch easily. Plastic scratches far too easily, so unless we're going to see Gorilla making curved glass to fit these soon (thus removing all the flexibility you like) I know I won't be having one.

aeonturnip

December 21, 2013, 7:14 pm

"the world's first curved battery" - I know what you mean, but I think I'd describe a regular AA battery as curved given that it's a cylinder. However, Apple may have something to say about this claim also as they patented the curved battery back in the summer... http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

Prem Desai

December 23, 2013, 9:02 am

Is a curved screen what people really want?

From the specs alone, it would seem that this is of inferior quality to current glass based screens.

What I would really like is for manufacturers is to focus on practical things liks a battery that lasts a week and takes minutes to fully charge or a phone that is robust enough for daily use but doesn't need screen protectors and bulky cases.

betelgeuse

January 9, 2014, 4:01 pm

this will go the same way as the "chin" did.

Bobtheblob

February 10, 2014, 5:48 pm

I suggest you actually read the article before posting comments like this. If you look at page 3, you'll clearly see that it does have Gorilla Glass. Corning have already made Gorilla Glass flexible enough to work on this phone.

danielfrisbee

February 11, 2014, 12:48 am

I bent one in the shop today and it made a terrifying creaking sound, it seemed like it was breaking. Seemed quite pointless

james douglas

April 28, 2014, 5:33 am

Well i bought one off ebay and now every one who has seen and used it wants one!
Dont care what people think i love it, its different, its bold and hey wait a minute thats me.
oh by the way battery life 3 days!!! with heavy use. makes my note 3 seem pathetic!

Daniel Lamb

May 25, 2014, 4:27 pm

you obviously didn't read the full article, as they state quite clearly that the phone DOES use Gorilla Glass, and it IS flexible. Make sure of your facts before you write smack dolt...

Micah Fletcher

June 23, 2014, 11:04 pm

Just bought two LG G Flex phones. One of the units has a defective front facing camera that causes the error "Cannot connect to camera" to be thrown when selecting camera switch icon. The only way to recover the rear camera function is to Factory Reset. (tried all other options force stop camera app, restart unit,...). Even after Factory Reset front camera does not work and throws error (requiring Factory Reset again).

SHLina87

November 13, 2014, 8:29 am

Iv had my G Flex since the end of this last summer 2014 and I absolutely love the thing!!! I have always personally favored and leaned toward the brand LG my reasoning being that of I have absolutely NEVER had any sort of kind of ANYsuch issue, no kind of problem absolutly nothing has ever occured with anything I have owned or even used of the brand LG! I have had accidentally drops or have had it slipped out of my hands or off a piece of furniture, it has landed on the screen on various surfaces such as pavement, cement, gravel (large & small & pee sized), sand, grass, carpet ect! I have yet had a scratch appear on my screen thank the lord, I try to keep it as safe as I possibly can so that nothing to horrendous does come about and happen cause forking out a hefty $200 or so deposit is insane, and not being guaranteed a brand new phone even having to pay that much is just flat out insanely ridiculous! If you pay for coverage and still have to pay a deductible of $200 you should absolutly be guaranteed a new phone not a phone that has been refurbished, cause no sooner than not there is going to be issues if not already have one two or 150! But yes my G Flex has absolutely been amazing I have had NO issues or problems my bettery has worked and still works amazingly and last depending how much I use my phone but can last up to 1.5-2 days, the shortest amount of time has been about 3-4 hours because of me using it non stop!
I hope people who have gotten it or that are thinking about getting it enjoy it and at least give it a.try cause it is a lot of fun and does wonders!! The video is absolutwly awesome as well I watch shows movies and recordings all the time and pictures are even more fun ont his thing I am in love with the thing!!! I wouldnt mind trying out the
LG G3 for my next phone or if somethng else cokes out along this line I would defintly not hold back!!!

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