LG G Flex review: There is more to this phone than the curve

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 26 2014, 15:21pm hrs
LG G FLEXLG G Flex, the latest device in LG Electronic's premium G Series, is priced at Rs 69,999.
I have always felt that Android phones have had a problem in finding differentiators. That is why many of them came packed with features, mostly software, that are at the best gimmicks. But it is hard to sell a phone on a gimmick, however good the gimmick might be. That is why of late some manufacturers have been looking at design to be the big differentiator. The most different phone as far as design goes has to be the LG G Flex, with its curved screen that can flex itself if needed.

Design

Yes, with a curved screen you have a design that is bound to make some heads turn. But this is not just a gimmick of a design and seems very practical. The shape seems more conducive to making calls as it corresponds to the shape of the face. But you tend to poke your ear with the top of the phone.

LG G Flex

The curve is also a bit awkward when you are carrying the phone in your shirt or jeans pocket. And, no it does not fit better in your back pocket. But the form factor is really innovative. In fact, the phone can take a bit of pressure and straighten up. This could be helpful if you accidentally end up sitting on the phone. Now you know why it is called Flex.

Another unique feature in this phone is the placement of the power and volume buttons. They are placed on the rear panel, bang under the camera. This seems a more natural place for these buttons as it is here that your finger rests while making a call. However, you have to fight years of muscle memory to get your brain to start using these buttons as default. The phone is also supposed to have a self-healing back cover. But the review unit I got already had a couple of scratches and I did not want to hurt it further. Obviously, it is not healing all that fast.

LG G Flex

Display

It is the display that is crucial with a phone that is curved. For it is the curved screen that you will feel and use the most. The G Flex has a curved plastic OLED screen, which is sadly only 720p HD. I was quite happy running a 4K YouTube video on the phone. I have to tell you this 6-inch screen has been among the best video experiences I have ever had. The curve does work to the benefit of those who love to watch long movies on the phone, especially when they are in office and not supposed to do so. This is also among the loudest phones around and can easily recreate a home theatre experience along with the cinemaesque display. Also, the curved screen is quite effective when you are browsing or reading something online.

Performance

The G Flex is powered by a 2.26-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. The benchmark tests scored it above the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

This phone has a very practical software tweak that I really loved. A double tap can wake up this phone and that seems to be quite an achievement for Android. The phone runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and is devoid of any major user interface tweaks.

Camera

LG calls it a high performance camera, but I was not all that impressed. It has some good features like a manual focus. Overall, the pictures are good in natural light and very iffy in artificial light. The front camera is 2.1 MP. The battery reminded me of the Note 3 and lasted well over a day, which is an achievement for a six-inch screen. It is more of an achievement as this one has a curved battery.

So, should you buy this curved phone There is nothing in the curve that really makes you buy this phone. But there is a lot in the phone that can make you take this curve. For one, it is among the most powerful Android around. It is the currently the most expensive phone in the market, if you are not the one to consider a Vertu or a special edition BlackBerry in the list. For the R69,999 price tag, it is really cheap that this phone does not have a Full HD screen or a 5MP front camera. But then you can always overlook these minor shortcoming to enter a very elite club, a curved club.

Estimated street price: Rs 69,999