LG Electronics joined Samsung in the curved-smartphone market Oct. 28, with the introduction of the LG G Flex.
Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Round, which was unveiled in Korea Oct. 9 and is curved from edge to edge, shortening the distance between a user's thumb and the far side of its 5.7-inch display, the LG G Flex's 6-inch display is curved from top to bottom.
"The LG G Flex is the best representation yet of how a smartphone should be curved," LG CEO Jong-seok Park said in a statement. "The LG G Flex, with its distinctive design, innovative hardware and consumer-centric UX represents the most significant development in the smartphone space since 'smartphone' became part of our regular vocabulary."
The curve of the G Flex mimics that near-antiquity, the landline telephone, in using a curved design to reduce the distance between the user's mouth and the microphone, when the phone is held to the ear.
"The LG G Flex employs a curvature arc that is optimized for the average face, to deliver improved voice and sound quality," LG said, adding that the curve "increases the sound level by 3dB compared to typical flat smartphones."
The G Flex's curve, it went on, also offers a "more reassuring grip," fits more comfortably in a back pocket and, in landscape mode, "offers an IMAX-like experience, with the result being the most comfortable viewing angle for watching videos or playing games."
The G Flex features a 6-inch HD (1280 by 720) curved P-OLED, or polymer organic light-emitting diode, display; measures 6.32 by 3.21 inches; is between 0.31 and 0.34 inches thick; and weighs 6.2 ounces.
There's a 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 2.1-megapixel camera up front, a 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor, 2GB of double data rate type 3 (DDR3) memory, the Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system, and Long Term Evolution (LTE) and near-field communication (NFC) technologies.
Like the LG G2, the G Flex features button-free sides and instead what LG calls a Rear Key on its back—a trio of the power button and volume rockers in a spot theoretically ideal for reaching with one's forefinger. (In our review of the G2, the Rear Key was indeed easy to reach but not so seamless to use.)
The G Flex will include several features that were well-received in the G2, such as KnockOn, Guest Mode and Plug & Pop. But LG also created new features for the G Flex, including Dual Window, for dividing the 6-inch display into separate windows; QTheater, which offers access to videos and photos from the lock screen; a Face Detection Indicator for improved security (cue the inevitable comparisons to Apple's TouchID); and Swing Lockscreen, which changes the image on the locked phone, depending on how it's held.
The battery in the G Flex is also unique—a "world first" curved battery intended specifically for apps on the G Flex, said LG.
It continued, "The curved battery in the G Flex is designed with LG Chem's patented Stack & Folding technology, which reduces the physical stress on the battery pack when in the curved form and provides better stability and performance."
The battery is also said to provide enough power for "more than a full day of use."
LG plans to make the G Flex available in Korea in November, and eventually begin shipping to "additional markets."
The Samsung Round was released in Korea Oct. 10. As with the LG G Flex, there's no word yet about U.S. distribution.