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LG G Flex: Software, Performance and Interface

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

6

User Score:

LG G Flex: Software

The LG G Flex runs a customised version of Android 4.4 KitKat. The interface doesn’t feel dramatically different to standard Android, but every element has been given the LG visual treatment. They include, app icons, wallpapers, the lock screen and even the virtual soft keys.

LG has made a new 'Flex' theme for the phone, which includes all these elements, but you can switch to the default LG style if you like too. The Flex look is better, but there’s still a little visual inconsistency, which has made LG’s previous Android interfaces look a little wonky in part. LG G Flex 19

For example, the LG-designed app icons have translucent black backgrounds, but these don’t sit under all apps, just the ones LG has had a hand in. It makes you app drawer look a little messy. Things like this are where third-party interfaces fall behind the generic Android UI.

The notifications bar is also a lot worse than the standard one. It’s home to features and apps shortcuts, and brightness/volume sliders – as well as your notifications. While notifications are up top to start with, in use they soon get sidelined under a these controls, which take up half the screen. Alterations like this see LG take a proverbial pee on something that has been carefully tweaked bit-by-bit since 2008.

A fully-loaded custom interface also eats into the available storage. With a 32GB Nexus 5 you’ll have around 28GB storage to play with. An LG G Flex gives you 23.8GB.LG G Flex 12

This space isn’t taken up simply by app icons, though. There are several custom apps you won’t see on the phones of other manufacturers. Here are the main ones –

QuickRemote

This is a universal remote control app that uses the IR transmitter on the back of the phone to control your home entertainment gear. It works much like the alternatives found on the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4.

You pick the sort of gadget you’re trying to control, the manufacturer and then have to attempt a bunch of different configurations to see which is the right one. It’s not as good as the Logitech Harmony system, but it does work.

QuickTheatre

A quick media player and photo gallery, QuickTheatre is an app that you can launch from the lock screen when holding the phone in landscape orientation. It’s really little more than a pretty shortcut to the Gallery, video player and YouTube apps. But it is quite convenient for mobile video watchers out there.

G Flex radio 1

Safety Care

Far removed from the glitz of the curvy screen, Safety Care notifies selected contacts when you make an emergency call, when you haven’t used the phone for a certain time or when the phone ends out of – or in – a certain area.

FM radio

Essential to some, utterly redundant to others, it’s an FM radio. This is an interesting inclusion as FM radios are often left out of top-end phones, but are still quite common in cheap ones.

G Flex radio

Like Samsung's large-screen phones, the LG G Flex also offers some ways to make use of - and help with - the large screen. You can split the keyboard for two-thumb typing, and run two apps on-screen at the same time.

LG G Flex: Performance

The LG G Flex uses the same processor as the fastest Android phones of 2013 – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. It’s a quad-core 2.26GHz processor and the phone has 2GB of RAM.

In 2014 we’ll see phones with faster processors and more RAM, but performance is nevertheless great. In the Geekbench 3 test, it comes out with 2,245 points. It's a decent score that beats older phones like the HTC One and Galaxy S4. It's a way off the 2800-plus score of the Snapdragon 800-using Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, but after hearing so much about manufacturer's turbo-boosting their phones for benchmarks, we've learned to take such disparities with a degree of scepticism.

It's a powerful phone that can handle any game - albeit one that will soon be beaten by the phones of early-to-mid 2014. Snapdragon 800 is at the end of its reign as king of Android CPUs, but it's more than powerful enough for the forseeable future.

LG G Flex as a Video and Music player

As something that has a cinema-like screen and claims to offer high quality 192kHz audio output, we decided to see how the LG G Flex fares as a media player.

Video is a mixed bag. The QuickTheatre video launcher is handy and the video player itself is pretty great. It can handle most file types including MKV and DivX. At the right distance from your face the screen’s curve starts to make some sense, too. At around 30cm it’s a pretty immersive, face-filling surface.

However, the screen issues do take the shine off of what would otherwise be a cracking mobile video player. It’s not the resolution that matters here but the weird screen texturing problem. If you manage to delude yourself it is film grain you might be happy, but to our eyes it spoils the effect of any good-quality video.

The G Flex fares a bit better with music. The internal speaker isn’t hugely beefy, but does offer reasonable treble tone. And when the phone is laid ‘flat’, the area between the surface and the Flex’s curve amplifies the sound making it significantly louder. G Flex radio 5

You wouldn’t want to use the Flex as a regular mini speaker, but for listening to music or internet radio while you’re cooking or doing the ironing, this reverberation effect is a big plus.

Plug in headphones things get a bit more serious. Audio output is extremely clean, and top volume is good. The G Flex comes with a reasonable entry-level pair of IEM earphones too – the LG QuadBeat 2.

The LG music player app also supports FLAC – a must for any device that wants audio cred. We tested a few 24-bit 192kHz files and, as LG claims, they work fine. Plenty of third-party audio player apps can provide this for just about any Android phone, though, so selling it as a key feature of the phone is perhaps a bit much. The Snapdragon 800 processor has its own DAC so hardware-wise the G Flex doesn’t have any bespoke hardware to shout about. Audio quality should be much the same as any Snapdragon 800 rivals.

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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