Tech review: LG G Flex – World’s first curved, flexible smartphone

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Data pix.

Flip phones were all the rage in the 90’s but over the past seven years or so, candy bar style smartphones have taken over.  Flat phones.  Now, LG is out with what it calls the first ever curved, flexible smartphone. I had a few weeks to demo the new LG G Flex on Sprint.

First Impressions

The LG G Flex is big!  It has a 6” screen so it’s closer in size to a 7” tablet than it is to an iPhone.  The Phablet (phone/tablet) market has been growing over the past few years and the LG G Flex is one of the largest options in that category.

I also immediately noticed the awesomely bright and clear OLED screen.  The 720p resolution isn't mind-blowing but the colors and images pop off the screen.

Oh yeah, it’s also curved!  There is a slight curve in the phone that doesn’t seem like much until you start scrolling up and down on web pages.  The odd thing is that the cheesy tagline of making things more “immersive” actually fits.  When scrolling through pages it somehow feels like the screen wraps around your vision better.  It’s odd and I’m not sure it’s the future but I do like it.  It also helps that the bezels on the left and right side of the screen are super slim so the entire thing feels like 1 big giant touch screen in your hand.

Hardware

The curved screen is front and center on the LG G Flex but it also packs some pretty impressive specs inside.  The 2.26 GHZ quad-core processor helps keep the G humming along quickly.  LG designed a special battery that could truly “flex”but also managed to pack 3,500 mAh into it.  This means, despite the huge display (that sucks juice like a 3 year old with a Capri Sun) it should still last all day before you need a charge.  In my tests it seemed to match up to that.

The 13 megapixel camera on the back takes great pictures, the 2.1 megapixel camera on the front is fine for video chatting and the obligatory selfie.

Like the LG G2 you’ll notice the power button and volume buttons are on the back of the phone.  The phone is big so it makes sense to have the buttons in this position.

Overall, the hardware inside the G Flex is about what you would expect in a top of the line smartphone.  The only shortcoming is that the 720p screen isn’t 1080p like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the LG G2.  It’s won't be a dealbreaker for some but at 6” it would be nice to have those extra pixels.

Unique Software Tweaks

For the most part, the LG G Flex offers what you would expect on an Android smartphone.  LG does pack in a few nice software additions including the ability to multitask, running one app “floating” on top of the other.

I also really like the “Knock On” feature that lets you double tap the screen when the phone is off to power it up.  If my phone is sitting on my desk and I want to check the time or my notifications I can just double tap the screen instead of picking it up and turning it on.  This also works for turning the G Flex back off.  Simple yet super convenient.

Sprint Network

The LG G Flex I tested was on the Sprint network.  Denver was one of the early cities to get Sprint’s WiMax 4G network but when Sprint switched over to LTE, Denver was left out of the party.  The LG G Flex, like all of Sprint’s newer smartphones, only supports LTE 4G.

Yes, surfing the web and downloading apps on Sprint’s 3G network is frustrating at times.  We’ve grown accustomed to 4G speeds and 3G EVDO is simply not fast enough anymore.

There's light at the end of the tunnel.  Sprint assures me that LTE is already available in some of the outlying areas of Denver and work is underway to upgrade the Denver metro area to LTE by the end of June.  Sprint spokesman, Dave Mellin, says not only is Sprint upgrading to LTE but it’s also rebuilding the entire network so when all is said and done, the 3G experience should be much faster as well.

Overall

The LG G Flex is a slick phone with a curious curve.  It creates a cool effect that does actually feel a bit more immersive.  At 6” diagonal, it’s also a BIG phone.  Too big for me to carry around but if you’re a fan of the phablet movement, it’s worth checking out.  LG adds enough cool features to the mix to make it a fun experience without totally re-working the Android experience.

The LG G Flex is available on Sprint for $249.99 with a 2 year contract.

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