Hands-On with the LG G Flex 2
LG is back with another bendable phone. It's best to think of the G Flex 2 as a curved LG G3 - especially since it carries over most of the specs.
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LG learned itself some hard lessons with the 2013-era G Flex smartphone. The phone was the first curved, flexible device and served as the very definition of bleeding edge tech. LG is back with the G Flex 2, which is a much more well-rounded, er, curved, device.
If you imagine the LG G3 put through the wringer, you'd have the G Flex 2. Nearly everything about the Flex 2 is better than the original thanks to the updated specs — stolen from the G3 — and improved design.
The first major improvement is the size and screen. Where the original had a 6-inch display with 720p HD resolution, the Flex 2 has a 5.5-inch display and 1080p HD resolution. That means the phone is significantly smaller and has a superior screen with dramatically higher pixel density. (The crummy screen was one reason I dinged the original Flex when I reviewed it.) The screen on the Flex 2 looks great. Like the Flex, the screen on the Flex 2 is plastic OLED, but it is coated with the same material as Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to give it resistance to damage.
The Flex 2 is curved along the horizontal axis, which is to say the phone is sort of shaped like a banana. It conforms to your face when you hold it to your ear. The top and bottom edges — where the earpiece and microphones are, respectively — are closer to your ear and mouth than they would be with a normal, flat phone. The curve is definitely visible from near and far, and it has sharp edges along the inside of the curve (or the front). It fits comfortably in your hand, but probably not so much in your jeans (unless you like putting your phone in your back pocket). It's still a big phone, as are all phones with screens stretching more than five inches.
There are no buttons along the edges as the Flex 2's buttons are on the back. The button and camera assembly looks and feels identical to those of the G3 and G Vista. The screen lock button is in the middle of the three-button array, with the volume above and below. The screen lock button is raised just slightly, while the volume toggles are dimples that dip below the surface of the phone. I had no trouble discerning between the three without looking. I liked that the volume directionals had a wee bit of texture to them. Travel and feedback of all three buttons is great.
The back surface is removable, but the battery is not. You'll find access to the memory card slot and the SIM card port once the cover is removed. The Flex 2's cover has a similar "self-healing" quality as the original. Where the original Flex could recover from minor nicks and scratches within about three minutes, the Flex 2's skin can recover in about 10 seconds. We didn't really get a chance to test this, though.
Both the headphone jack and the microUSB port are tucked into the bottom edge of the phone. There's an IR blaster on top for good measure.
The phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box with LG's user interface skin on top. It carries over standard LG UI fair, such as KnockON, Knock Code, QSlide Apps and Quick Memo. It also adds a new feature that lets you drag down on the lock screen to see the time.
Based on our time with the LG G Flex 2, I'd call it a much more consumer-friendly device than the original. It helps that the device will ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop, a Snapdragon 810 processor, a 13-megapixel camera with OIS and 4K video capture, NFC, and Qualcomm's QuickCharge technology all on board.
LG said it will go on sale "soon," but didn't specify where.
LG is a dominant force at every CES, and frequently they use their press conference to announce new phones, such as the Spectrum in 2012. LG has yet to make a serious play in wearables, and rumors are swirling about a possible CES unveiling of LG's answer to Samsung's Galaxy Gear.
The G Flex is LG's entrant in the new curved-screen superphone category. It has everything the G2 and G Pro have, plus a huge 6-inch curved screen.
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The G Flex 2 stands out from the crowd thanks to its curved shape, and it offers a flagship experience to boot. There's a lot to like with LG's latest Android smartphone.
6" display 720 x 1280 pixels
Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 processor 2 GB RAM
3,500 mAh battery
Headphone Jack (3.5mm), NFC
5.5" display 1440 x 2560 pixels
Snapdragon 801 processor 3 GB RAM
3,000 mAh battery
Memory Card Slot, Headphone Jack (3.5mm), NFC, Wireless Charging