2LG G Flex: First Curve in the U.S.
4The 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.
5Imitation 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.
6The 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.
7Big, Yes. But Better?
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.
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.
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.