LAS VEGAS: LG ANNOUNCED its latest curved smartphone at CES this week, the LG G Flex 2, and we managed to spend a short time with the phone at the firm's booth at CES ahead of its release.
Like its predecessor the G Flex, which was announced in October 2013, the LG G Flex 2 lacks physical buttons on the front or side, relegating the home and volume buttons to just below the rear-facing camera. But it also brings some new features in a smaller form factor.
The G Flex 2's curved display means the phone sits more comfortably than most when held in the palm of the hand and up against the curved contour of the face.
LG claims that the shape is "optimised for the average face", offering better voice quality as the microphone is closer to the mouth when making calls.
The problem we had with its predecessor was that the handset's large size meant that you're still likely to look pretty odd holding it up against your face when making voice calls.
That's probably why LG has shrunk the size of the G Flex 2, although only slightly, as it now features a 5.5in plastic OLED (P-OLED) screen as opposed to the 6in display on the G Flex.
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 2's design is that, like the G Flex, the handset's main hardware keys are on the rear of the device and these seem to fall into a natural position when the phone is held in the hand.
Measuring 7.1mm thick and weighing 152g, the G Flex 2 is much thinner and lighter than its predecessor, which measured 8.7mm thick and weighed 177g. Like the original, it doesn't seem bulky or unwieldy either, and feels really natural to hold.
While the design of the G Flex 2 is pleasing, the screen is its most impressive feature. Measuring 5.5in with a full HD 1080p screen, the updated display beats the previous model's 1280x720 resolution and it looks stunning.
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 regular smartphones.
Blacks are really black and whites appear exceptionally crisp and bright. The OLED technology really does make colours look vibrant and natural, too, while the slightly concave curve of the screen offers an immersive viewing experience.
Performance and software
Under the bonnet, the LG G Flex 2 is the first smartphone to boast Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 processor, touting a 2.0GHz CPU speed alongside 2GB RAM. It also runs the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop 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.
LG has left the Android mobile operating system largely untouched on the G Flex 2, which we liked, offering a clean, almost vanilla user interface. However, it has added a few software features to the bendy smartphone, including a light beam notification feature, which lets users preview incoming notifications while the phone's screen is off by swiping down from the top, and saving battery life by not using the phone's whole screen real estate.
LG hasn't quoted battery life, but said that the G Flex 2 will go from zero to a 50 percent charge in under 40 minutes.
Since its unveiling, Vodafone has announced that it will be exclusively offering the LG G Flex 2 for six weeks in the UK. Pricing details have not yet been revealed. µ