LAS VEGAS: KOREAN PHONE MAKER LG outed the G Flex, its first curved smartphone, a while back, and we managed to get some hands-on time with the phone at CES ahead of the G Flex's UK release next month.
With the LG G Flex set to be the first curved smartphone to go on sale in the UK, it's unlikely the handset is going to be a huge success, as consumers are still unconvinced that flexible displays are the way forward. However, during our hands-on time with the handset in Las Vegas this week, LG might have managed to convince us otherwise.
Of course the design of the LG G Flex is the handset's main talking point, and it's the first device we've ever handled that boasts a curved chassis.
Thanks to its curved display the phone sits more comfortably than most when held in the palm of the hand, and although this sounds a little silly it really does sit more nicely against the side of your head, although the handset's large size means that you're still likely to look pretty odd. That said, at 8.7mm thick and 177g, the LG G Flex doesn't seem bulky or unwieldy.
The device is truly flexible too, meaning that you can push down on the handset's screen, and the phone, as its name suggests, easily flexes itself back into shape. We can't see a practical use for this, but it's likely to get heads turning nonetheless.
Another interesting feature of the LG G Flex's design is that the plastic casing is capable of 'self-healing', meaning that if you accidentally scratch it with your keys it should be able to fix itself. You'll also find that the handset's main hardware keys on the rear of the device, much like on the LG G2, and these seem to fall into a natural position when the phone is held in the hand.
While the design of the LG G Flex is impressive, the screen is its most impressive feature. Measuring 6.1in with 1280x720 resolution, the curved P-OLED display, despite our doubts, does match LG's claims that viewing images and video on the device is more immersive than on your regular smartphone.
While its 1280x720 resolution is usually found on mid-range smartphones, the OLED technology makes colours look vibrant and natural, while the slightly concave curve of the screen offers an immersive viewing experience.
Performance and software
Under the bonnet, the LG G Flex has a quad-core 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and despite LG's close ties with Google, it runs the now somewhat dated Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system.
Although we have yet to benchmark the phone, we found the device impressively nippy, and despite putting it thoroughly through its paces - opening apps, browsing the web and multitasking - the phone showed no sign of stuttering.
Impressively, LG has left the Android mobile operating system largely untouched on the G Flex, offering a clean, almost vanilla user interface. However, it has added a few software features to the bendy smartphone, including a split screen mode and a knock to unlock function.
Before we got our hands on the LG G Flex we couldn't see the benefit of owning a phone with a curved display. However, during our brief time with the device on the CES show floor in Las Vegas, LG managed to convince us otherwise.
Sure, there's still no compelling need for it, but we found that the display offered a much more immersive viewing experience than other, similarly specified smartphones, and the handset's flexible nature is likely to get heads turning on the tube, unlike the usual oncoming hordes of black rectangles.
However, we still were a little let down by the handset's back level mobile operating system and low screen resolution. We're also not convinced that LG will manage to convince buyers that a curved screen is the next big thing, or at least, not yet.
Check back with The INQUIRER soon for our full LG G Flex review. µ