LG G Flex 2 full review
After launching one of the first curved screen smartphones, LG is back with a second generation in the form of the G Flex 2. After first seeing the new banana phone at CES 2015 so here's our LG G Flex 2 review. See also: The best smartphones.
The original G Flex was an interesting idea. We had seen curved displays used in other products such as TVs but not a smartphone. Its convex design was ergonomic (and made far more sense than Samsung's Galaxy Curve which curved side-to-side). However, there were various elements which let the device down such as its size with a huge 6in screen which was only 720p.
LG hasn't given up on the idea though and seems to have taken the feedback on-board with this new model which is refined and much more desirable. Also see: Best MiFi 2016.
LG G Flex 2 review: Price
While Clove has a relatively high price for the G Flex 2 at £457, you can save a lot of money by heading over to Amazon or Expansys where the phone is reduced to just £272 and £234 which is a bargain in comparison.
The phone has been around for a while (we had to wait a long time to receive a sample for reasons unknown) so that's why it's now much more affordable.
LG G Flex 2 review: Design and build
In general, the phone looks the same as the original G Flex but it's smaller and lighter which is exactly what we hoped would be the case – it's 7.1mm at the thinnest point and 152g (down from a hefty 177g). It feels lovely in the hand and the curve of the phone does match the contour of your face like a traditional home phone.
This is, of course, the main selling point of the phone and while it's not necessary it does make some sense.
Furthermore on the design side is an improved version of the self-healing coating which graces the rear cover. This was introduced with the original G Flex but now takes seconds to perform its magic rather than minutes. LG's demonstration at CES with wire brushes was certainly impressive and after a number of weeks with the phone, it's remarkably scratch-free and pristine.
The G Flex 2 comes in Platinum Silver or Flamenco Red with the latter looking particularly nice.
LG G Flex 2 review: Hardware and specs
As we mentioned the phone is smaller and uses a 5.5in screen which matches that of the LG G3 – 6in on the original G Flex was just too big in our eyes. The firm says this is the sweet spot between and decent amount of real estate and usability.
As with the G3, the G Flex 2 doesn't feel like a phone with that screen size. LG has consistently impressed in the way with thin bezels. The bump in resolution to Full HD is much needed and the P-OLED display is now nice and crisp although a little way behind Quad HD. Still, the pixel density has jumped from 245- to 403ppi.
So LG has addressed two of the main problems but has continued to make improvements on the hardware front. It was the first phone we saw with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor earlier this year which is 64-bit, 2/1.5GHz and octa-core and accompanied by an Adreno 430 GPU.
Like the G3, it comes with either 2- or 3 GB of RAM and 16- or 32 GB of internal storage. There's also a microSD card slot which can take up to 128GB – a nice upgrade since the original G Flex didn’t have a card slot at all.
We haven't found the G Flex 2 to overheat despite the Snapdragon 810 powered Xperia Z3+ doing exactly that which is good. However, the performance isn't as smooth with a perceivable lag when using the OS and opening apps which is a shame. It's not all the time but is something we've run into a number of times.
On the power front, there is a decent sized 3000mAh battery which LG says can be charged from 0 to 50 percent in just 40 minutes. In our battery benchmark the G Flex 2 lasted a poor four hours and 16 minutes with a score of 2501 which is one of the lowest times we've seen – the LG G4 didn’t manage much more at four hours and 44 minutes.
Although the rear cover is removable, the battery is not, which is a disappointment – especially as this is something LG offers with the LG G4.
It's good news to see the same 13Mp rear camera which is found in the G3 which we know is a class act with OIS+ (optical image stabilisation), dual-tone LED flash and a laser auto focus. At the front is a more standard 2.1Mp selfie camera.
There's a strong line-up of wireless tech with 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart Ready (aptX) 4.1, NFC, SlimPort, GPS and 4G LTE. There's also an IR blaster so the only things missing really is wireless charging and a heart rate monitor with the former being the more useful.
LG G Flex 2 review: Software
It's predictable but good to see Android 5.0 Lollipop (the latest version) pre-loaded out of the box. The interface is essentially the same that of the LG G3 with the firm's own UX. A nice new feature is called Glance View and allows you can quickly see key information such as the time and notifications when the screen is off with a downwards swipe.
One of the main differences is the drop down notification bar which isn't stock Android at all. Quick settings are shown in a scrollable bar at the top while sliders for screen brightness and volume sit below.
There are a few extra apps on the phone out-of-the-box such as LG's own SmartWorld, QuickMemo+ and box but there aren't too many. To the left of the main homescreen is LG's own design rather than something third party like Flipboard. This primarily gives you health data and Smart Tips but you can remove it if you want.
Selected QSlide apps, such as Video, Internet, Phone and Messaging, can run in a pop-out window which can be moved around the screen (while you carry on in the background) and a slider adjusts how transparent it is. We haven't found it overly useful but you can switch it off in the drop down bar so it doesn't take up valuable space.
LG G Flex 2: Specs
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- 5.5in Full HD curved P-OLED screen, 403ppi
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 2GHz 64-bit octa-core processor
- 2/3GB RAM
- 16/32GB storage
- Micro-SD card slot (up to 128GB)
- 13Mp rear camera with OIS and laser auto focus
- 2.1Mp front camera
- 11ac Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX
- IR blaster
- 3000mAh battery