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    Device reviews
    20 May 2014

    Vodacom

    Review: LG G Flex

    The LG G Flex is the world’s first curved smartphone – but does the 6-inch device deliver the goods? NAFISA AKABOR finds out.

    First impressions  

    The first thing you notice about the LG G Flex  is the large curved screen. It’s fascinating and makes you feel somewhat amazed that what you’re holding is in fact a smartphone. It sits comfortably in the hand and feels natural against your face when making or taking phone calls.

    Design and build 

    The actual curve of the smartphone is very subtle, which is why it feels so natural in the hand. However, at 6 inches the handset is little too large for regular use, unless a phablet is what you’re after. The phone, as its name suggests, is flexible. If you attempt to flatten the curve, it will go back to its original shape when you let go. The back cover is made from a ‘self-healing’ coating, which fixes scratches and nicks. We intentionally tried to make scratch marks, and it was nearly impossible.

    Display

    The 6-inch curved OLED display, unlike the G2, is not a full HD screen, but rather a 720p HD screen. It has a screen resolution of 720x1280 pixels and a pixel density of 245ppi – not as impressive as the full HD screen on the G2 and its 424ppi. The screen is quite average compared to other 6-inch handsets but the size is ideal for viewing multimedia content like movies or games in landscape mode. It’s also here that you will appreciate the curved screen a little more. 

    Software/interface

    The G Flex runs on a dated Android 4.2.2, seeing as Android 4.3 is out already and has since been replaced by Android 4.4 KitKat. The handset comes standard with the LG Flex theme, which we weren’t too fond of as the icons appear too bright. This can be fixed by switching to the default LG theme. The handset comes preloaded with a whole bunch of apps like social networks, the Google suite of apps plus file manager and back-up. LG’s own Quick Translator app is quite impressive, especially when travelling. Use the app by speaking into the microphone or using photos for a translation.

    Camera

    The camera on the G Flex is 13 megapixels with LED flash, same as the G2, however there is no optical image stabalisation (OIS). The camera takes photos quick enough in succession, but due to the lack of OIS photos in low-light conditions aren’t great. It has modes for almost any scenario and has a useful set of built-in editing tools. The camera shoots videos in full 1080p at 60 frames per second. The front-facing camera has a 2.1-megapixel sensor and is capable of 1080p video at 30 frames per second. 

    Performance/ battery life 

    The G Flex is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. It’s the same speedy chip found on the G2, so it’s blazingly fast. It handles switching between apps well, especially if you are running a whole bunch and don’t necessarily kill what you’re no longer using – it’s still responsive. The battery capacity on the G Flex is a step up from the G2 at 3 500mAh, which is excellent. You don’t have to worry about extra battery packs. At the end of a working day, you’re still on 50% and you won’t need to use ‘battery saver’ mode either. 

    Verdict

    LG clearly wants to be a manufacturer to hold a ‘world first’ title, which they’ve done successfully with the curved G Flex smartphone. It’s a marvel to look at initially, but the novelty may wear off. Its speedy processor and fantastic battery life is where it shines, but the screen should have been full HD and OIS included in the camera.

     

    Specifications
    Display 6-inch HD Curved Plastic OLED
    Resolution 1280 x 720 pixels (245 ppi)
    Dimensions 160.5mm x 81.6mm x 7.9/8.7mm
    Weight 177 g
    Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Processor
    OS Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
    Camera 13MP rear, 2.1MP front
    Video 1080p
    Battery 3 500 mAh

    Vodacom