Interesting design and innovation is becoming difficult to pull off in mobiles right now. Android and Apples iOS dominate much of the world, except in South Africa, where Blackberry and Nokia are still king. The brand new LG G Flex arrived in my jaded hands a few days ago and reignited my excitement in gadgetry. The hugely innovative LG G Flex rewrites the mobile handbook and gives us a solid clue as to what’s coming from mobiles in the next few years.
The future of Mobile is curved and flexible, of that there is no doubt. Roll up your phone, tablets, or screen, and off you go. Back to the LG G Flex. This is a huge device, the LG G Flex has a 6” screen making it firmly a Phablet. The size is partially compensated for by an almost bezel less design, where the screen is practically edge to edge, and the actual curve of the screen.
The Curved screen is one of many key innovations and most noticeable aspect introduced by the LG G Flex. According to LG the degree of curve was in itself a major task, much time and expertise went into the design and it shows, this is a hugely comfortable phone to hold, use, and work on. The curve actually adds to the experience and is not a gimmick in any way.
The key Technology.
The curved screen is a technological marvel. It is the first Plastic OLED (P-OLED) screen, instead of glass. This makes the actual screen flexible, it does indeed bend significantly, without any breakage. The quality of the screen is outstanding, with much more accurate colours than current glass based AMOLEDS. The only compromise was the absolute resolution, which is behind its own smaller brother the LG G2 which is full HD, the G Flex manages only basic HD. In comparison to smaller higher resolution screens this lack of pixels is noticeable. In isolation I found that the LG G Flex screen was outstanding, bright, sharp, and easy to read, the lack of absolute resolution was not problematic.
A second huge innovation which works hand in hand with the flexible P-OLED screen is the flexible battery. LG manufactures its own batteries and had to pull out some technical magic to make a battery that is both flexible, light and compact. In daily use the battery life is outstanding, I managed almost two full days use from the phone, and this was heavy use, watching movies, playing music making calls and tweeting away.
A third key innovation is the back cover. The G Flex does not have a removable battery and is way too large to use another cover to protect its looks. LG came up with a scuff proof self-healing coating for the back cover. Sounds minor, but a shiny large surface like the back of the LG G flex would quickly show wear. All I can report is that it actually works, minor scuffs and scratches from normal use actually fade away over an hour or so, and a quick buff to get rid of smudges leaves the LG looking pristine.
Basics are covered
The internals of the phone are basically identical to the LG G2, which is to say they are at the top of the current pile, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad core processor. The camera is also very good. Not as high resolution as the Sony Xperia Z1 or the Nokia Lumia 1020, but very respectable at 13 Mega Pixels. The G Flex forgoes optical Image stabilisation (OIS), which allows better low light pictures, but compensates with a larger sensor. Overall the camera delivered very good pictures in all lighting and was fast and very easy to use.
The LG G Flex runs Android with a custom skin by LG. Due to its powerful processor and ample main memory the phone is butter smooth and never lags or stutters, even when loading big pictures and running lots of apps in the background. Some of the LG apps are not as good as the standard Google versions, but overall the skinning is fairly light and never gets in the way of actual functionality.
Another, not to be overlooked benefit, partly due to the size and also the technical prowess of the LG G flex, was its outstanding radio performance, and that is all the radios. The G Flex had the best Wi-Fi reception I have yet experienced on a phone. The sound quality and reception of cellular calls was excellent and Bluetooth was fast and solid for music and for my car kit. LTE on MTN was very fast and consistent, even 3G worked well.
Summing it up
The big question I got asked is this the best mobile phone right now. The answer is yes, and maybe. The LG G Flex is truly innovative, performs as well as, and in fact better than, most phones available right now. There are phones with higher resolution screens, more features, and perhaps a more reasonable overall size. However in my estimation the LG G flex is the coolest most innovative device on the planet right now. It adds truly useful technology and clearly shows where mobile is going in the next few years. The fact that it actually does bend and can do so without breaking, is just the icing on the top of a remarkable device from LG.
The LG G Flex goes on sale in South Africa in late April or early May at around R10 000-00
- True innovation from LG as far as screen, battery, and ruggedness.
- Cutting edge processor and technical attributes.
- Comfortable to use for a phone of this size
- Battery life
- Size, it’s a very large device, try before you buy