LG G Flex: 6 Inches, a Curve, but Nothing to Call Home About

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-02-18 Print this article Print

The LG G Flex is a very large smartphone—a phablet, if you go for that term—with a 6-inch curved display. The size of the G Flex is a nonissue. Some people like a lot of screen real estate, and the market now offers them plenty of options. What's disappointing about the G Flex is that it brings nothing new to the mobile conversation. It doesn't run the latest version of Android, it sounds and feels and rather even looks like a Samsung from one if not two years ago, and its distinctive display ultimately feels like little more than aesthetic kitsch. Few people will be inclined to hold such a large slab to their heads, so it doesn't matter that the curve positions the microphone slightly closer to their mouths, as LG points out. And the music-listening enhancements the curve is said to offer are minor, unlike HTC's fix of moving the speakers to the front. One good use of that giant display, however, is Dual Window, a feature that makes it easy to run two apps (one on top, one on the bottom) simultaneously. It's back to the drawing board, LG. And when you go, remember to do away with those buttons on the back. The design didn't work with the G2, and it doesn't work with the G Flex.

  • LG G Flex: 6 Inches, a Curve, but Nothing to Call Home About

    by Michelle Maisto
    1 - LG G Flex: 6 Inches, a Curve, but Nothing to Call Home About
  • LG G Flex: First Curve in the U.S.

    The LG G Flex is now available on the T-Mobile network. It runs Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) and has a 6-inch OLED HD display that curves slightly from top to bottom.
    2 - LG G Flex: First Curve in the U.S.
  • Self-Healing Back

    The G Flex has a "self-healing polymer" back cover that LG says protects it from being kicked by change or keys in your pocket or bag. It's also great at picking up lint.
    3 - Self-Healing Back
  • The G Line

    LG has continued a design feature it debuted with the G2, moving the power and volume rocker buttons from the edges of the phone, where they can sometimes be pushed inadvertently, to the back, exactly where the tip of most forefingers will land when holding the phone. In theory, this is a nice idea. In practice, it's hard to hit the right button without flipping over the phone and looking, and it's easy to smudge up the camera glass while trying to adjust the volume.
    4 - The G Line
  • Imitation Is Flattery

    In many ways the G Flex could be mistaken for a Samsung smartphone. It's packed with features, and new users are constantly being offered "helpful" tips and shortcuts (you have to tick a box to make it stop popping up and telling you, for example, that double-tapping the display wakes up the phone and puts it to sleep). Even the water-focused, someone-stepping-out-of-a-tub sound it makes when unlocked and the almost slimy feeling of its plastic back cover are very Samsung Galaxy S III and 4.
    5 - Imitation Is Flattery
  • The Tip-to-Stern Curve

    Samsung's Galaxy Round, not yet officially available in the United States, is curved from side to side, while the LG G Flex curves from top to bottom. LG says this offers better sound quality while talking (if you're holding this electronic slab to your head); lifts the speaker off the table, for better sound; reduces glare for better viewing; and makes it easier to hold. Using the G Flex, these benefits felt negligible.
    6 - The Tip-to-Stern Curve
  • Big, Yes. But Better?

    While the G Flex's large display is a pleasure to watch videos on, in some apps the display can feel overstretched—less crisp and saturated than on smaller, more pixel-dense displays. On the left is the G Flex; on the right, an iPhone 5S. When looked at closely, the G Flex image is more pixelated.
    7 - Big, Yes. But Better?
  • The Camera

    The G Flex has a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera and a 13-megapixel primary camera. Taking photos is a nice experience—the screen captures a lot of light and, even in very dim conditions, you can really see what you're shooting. But the resulting photos can be disappointing. These photos were taken without zoom, from the same spot and with no filters. The photo on the left is from the G Flex and the right is from an iPhone 5S.
    8 - The Camera
  • The Camera

    Another photo comparison, with no filters, no zoom and taken within seconds of each other: iPhone 5S on the right, LG G Flex on the left. The G Flex's shutter is also a little slow, making it tricky take very crisp shots.
    9 - The Camera
  • Dual Window

    One very nice feature on the G Flex is Dual Window, which stacks two apps for simultaneous use. While reading a restaurant review, one can pull up its location on a map or text the link to a friend. It's easy to give one app more space, or to flip which goes on top. To use the feature, just hold down the Back button.
    10 - Dual Window
  • In Summary

    The LG G Flex isn't a terrible device—if you like reading on a phone, it's nearly the size of a small paperback. But there's nothing new or interesting or compelling about it. It could easily be a year-old phone. And when it comes to size, there are other phones (the HTC One Max comes to mind) that do big much better.
    11 - In Summary

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