LG G Flex review: Who will buy flexible, curved smartphone for Rs 60,000?

Footballer David Beckham became famous for his “bend it like Beckham” skills and he scored goals from free kicks. Can LG convert mobile users to buy its G Flex curved smartphones? Because the price of the device in India will be around Rs 60,000, there will be fewer takers for the new device from Korean consumer electronics vendor.

Quick Specs

  • Chipset: 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM 8974); GPU: Adreno 330, 450MHz
  • Display: 6-inch HD (1280 x 720), Curved P-OLED (Real RGB)
  • Memory: 2GB LP DDR3 RAM / 32GB eMMc
  • Camera: Rear 13.0 MP / Front 2.1 MP
  • Battery: 3,500mAh (embedded)
  • OS: Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
  • Size: 160.5 x 81.6 x 7.9 – 8.7mm; Weight: 177g

I want to mention one more thing about the price. This is not the final price. Final price will depend on dollar rate, availability of other competing phones in the market, demand for LG G Flex, etc.

You will flaunt your devices for approximately two years because two years is the usual life of a device. This means, your annual cost to connect with people with a flexible phone is around Rs 30,000. If you can opt for more useful smartphones within this price range, who will opt for a costly device? This price was revealed by LG marketing in India during its product demo in Delhi.

Back button (LG G2) innovation from LG did not attract its competitions to follow. Before LG could launch its flexible and curved phone, its rivals have also started working on the breakthrough idea. Market will decide whether it will be known as a breakthrough smartphone. The phone will be available in India in January / February 2014.

I used the phone at the LG G Flex demo zone. That means it was not exhaustive enough to do a good review. My review is based on my limited exposure and discussion with the LG marketing and sales team.

Clone of LG G2 with a curve

First, G Flex is a new version of LG G2. The main difference is its curve and flexible feature. Curved phones can be used easily for making calls as its both ends touch your ear and mouth. In a country like India, where you have more missed calls than high quality voice calls, this curved phone will be handy.

But there are challenges because the phone now hugs the curve of your face while making a call, putting the microphone closer to your mouth. We usually avoid our mouth and face touching the phone to avoid excessive heat generated from a long call. We are also scared about radioactive rays coming from smartphones.

The LG G Flex is a new 6-inch smartphone and the first to benefit from a curved plastic OLED (POLED) display that is capable of bending under pressure. It can withstand 40 kg pressure. This means, it will not sit comfortably in your rear pocket of your jeans if you think that it will bend the moment you occupy a chair and manage pressure. This is because your average weight is more than 40 kg and the pressure you exercise while sitting will not be enough for the LG G curved phone. On the other hand, how many users crushed a phone by sitting on it? Do you really need a curved phone?

LG G Flex, a phablet-sized phone, will be remembered for the attempt to create a flexible phone. I do not think that many vendors will be joining the league of curved phone makers because of the less attractive use case for the mobile phone users.

Analyzing the launch plans of the Korean consumer electronics maker, one can easily make out that LG G Flex is trying to get feedback from consumers before launching in other markets. That’s why the phone is not available in majority mobile markets during the launch stage itself. India will have the phone in January / February 2014, while U.K. may get in early 2014. There is a significant time difference between its Korea launch and other markets.

The curve of LG G Flex will not be unnoticed by anyone. With both the phone’s body and screen featuring a vertically concave bend, the G Flex’s curve is relatively deep with a 700mm radius.

I agree that the G Flex is capable of withstanding considerable amounts of pressure. Indian phone users can, for example, bend the phone into the shape of a standard, non-curved smartphone without any trouble.

What LG says

The LG G Flex employs a curvature arc that is optimized for the average face, to deliver improved voice and sound quality. The curved form increases the sound level by 3dB compared to typical flat smartphones. The curved design also offers a more reassuring grip and fits more comfortably in one’s back pocket. What’s more, in landscape mode, the display offers an immersive, cinematic experience, with the result being the most comfortable viewing angle for watching videos or playing games.

LG G2 came with a revolutionary back button. LG G Flex’s physical buttons are all on the rear. As I mentioned earlier in another review, how many people are comfortable in using index figure for handling majority functions of a smartphone?

One thing I need to mention about LG G Flex is its weight. It weighs 177 gram. It does not look like a BIG phone like Nokia Lumia 1520.

They feel more natural than on the G2, too, which makes us wonder whether the G2’s design had half an eye on the G Flex all along. In addition, the G Flex is much lighter than the identical size Nokia Lumia 1520 and almost 50 gram heavier than the rival Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Best innovative feature –Self Healing

I am sure you will like the new feature of LG G Flex: a self healing body that avoids usual damages. Its self healing rear absorbs wear and tear thanks to a specially modified resin coating over the standard plastic body.

My warning: do not try to create a scratch mark using a knife on the rear of the phone. No self healing technology can wipe out such marks. LG G Flex’s self healing is only for usual dust related marks.

Screen

I noticed some questions about LG G Flex screen quality from mobile phone reviewers. While the LG G Flex’s screen is pleasantly bright and vivid, it only has a 1,280 x 720 resolution where 1,920 x 1,080 has become the norm.

Camera

For a costly phone, you may expect a better camera. Nokia Lumia 1520 has 20MP PureView camera. LG G Flex comes with 13 MP camera with traditional camera capabilities. With a 13 MP camera, one would not expect too much. By the way, LG G Flex is not meant for camera buyers. It is dedicated as the curved and flexible phone.

During my initial review of LG G2, I experienced lag related problems with the 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM. LG G2 Flex is from such issues. But it’s still not one of the fastest phones. Nokia Lumia 1520 is better than the curved phone for processing speed.

LG G Flex runs on Google’s Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS with LG’s UI overlay.

3,500mAh battery offering will be good for average users.

Anand B
[email protected]