Review by Sunetra Chakravati,3/23/2015 2:58:46 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Incredible media viewing angles |
POLED screen |
Self-healing back |
Still plastic |
By Sunetra Chakravarti
LG’s G Flex was a behemoth of a phone, unabashedly big, bold and different, it revelled in the arc-lights when debate turned to its curves. This time, LG have listened t all the feedback and come up with a better chiselled version. Reviewing it was like meeting an acquaintance after a gap and realising they had dropped a lot of weight and were looking not gaunt but very angular.
The size has been pared down and the G Flex 2 comes in at a very manageable 5.5-inches. The curve makes it a better fit in the palm than flatter phones the self-healing coating on the back of the phone gives it a very reassuring non-slip grip. It is still plastic but not in a very offensive way and has a reassuring enough feel that you would want to keep it in your back pocket.
The curve is of the vertical variety and not the horizontal one like the Samsung Note Edge or the more recent Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and doesn't feel any different to holding a phone with a rounded back like the HTC One M9, for instance. If you like numbers better than description, the radius goes from 400mm to 700mm.
I love the design quirk, it adds a an extra something to the usual carousel of phone that I review on a daily basis.
Available in Flamenco Red (think glossy wine colour) and Platinum Silver (think glossy grey), I prefer the red version which is more burgundy than the red we associate with Flamenco dancers.
We were enthralled by the Wolverine-like qualities of the G Flex and LG told us that they had gone and made it better. Scratches heal in 10 seconds as opposed to 3 minutes. In practicality, minor scratches, the kind phones pick up from being in a purse disappeared quickly enough but then I went and tried to see if a deeper cut would heal as well. It healed, but not quite to the baby’s bottom kind of smoothness. A faint line remained from my frenzied attack with a set of keys.
Heat treated Gorilla Glass 3 makes sure that the screen repels keys and sharp objects as much as the back and LG say they have heat treated the middle of the G Flex 2 so the phone absorbs knocks and falls 20 per cent better than rigid case phones.
G Flex 2 has bumped up specs from its predecessor which had a piddly 720p display and 245ppi ratio. Our shiny new friend comes with a full HD 1080p Plastic OLED display, a 403 pip ratio and from a 30 cm distance has a 23 degree viewing angle.
But what I really want to talk about here is that due to the curve, there is a real immersive effect when you are consuming media aka watch Katy Perry videos on YouTube. Videos draw you in and with the bumped up HD display, you are left with a feeling of being in a cinema. If I had to choose a phone for its display only, I would pick the G Flex 2.
Packed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, the G Flex 2 has the best in business 64-bit octa-core chip and with 2GB of RAM onboard, the pace was blisteringly fast. However, Qualcomm’s latest chip is prone to overheating, issues that HTC are grappling with at the moment and although the Flex 2 would get warm to the touch, it wasn't blisteringly so.
Android 5.0 powers it along with LG’s Optimus skin overlay. Even though this makes the UI look similar to the one previously seen on the G3, behind the curtains it is a whole lot different.
‘Glance view’ is basically the ability to view notifications with a short ‘pull’ down from the top of the screen whereas the full notifications screen would need you to unlock the phone using the knock-on code. An excellent way to preserve battery, I found myself turning to it several times during the course of the day to check the weather/time… times when you don't want to unlock your phone or are simply feeling too lazy to do so.
We had called the LG G3 a laser guided speed machine for its camera prowess and the G Flex 2 packs the same 13-MP camera on-board.
A ‘bokeh effect’ can be achieved with the Magic Focus setting and it uses laser-guided autofocus to make sure photos not only look good with minimum post-processing but also captures contrasts better in low light conditions.
LG have improved the exposure settings on the phone and tried to reduce noise levels in low light conditions and succeeded. Dual LED flash and optical image stabilisation further seal its credentials.
The front-facing camera is 2.1-MP and packs the type of selfie taking software that has become de rigueur in phones these days. Air-brushing, ‘beauty tools’ and the ability to use gesture control to snap a picture are all present and correct.
A smaller sized phone has meant a smaller battery than the original Flex. Currently it is a 3000mAH job and at par with some of the best flagships in the market. This time LG have raised the bar higher with something they call ‘step-charging technology’. This simply means that the phone knows that when you put it to charge, you want to see it getting juiced up really quickly and so for the first 30 minutes, it will charge at 2.6A and once the battery has been given a power drink, the charging power automatically drops down to 1.5A.
They have also made changes to the adapter and the new version is a 15W one rather than a 9W one which is capable of charging a phone upto 50 percent in 30 minutes.
Going back to the drawing board has paid off for LG because with the G Flex 2 they have managed to bring the specs of their flagship onto their wing-man category while preserving its quirky nature.
Still flexible, the G Flex 2 wowed us with its camera and brilliant display. The Wolverine-like self-healing seems to have gotten pared down or maybe we have just gotten used to it?
It packs a gamut of really cool features like ‘glance view’ and gesture controlled selfie taking. It can double up as a remote for your telly and tapping in a ‘knock on’ code to unlock the phone was fun.
However, with the knowledge that LG’s flagship G4 is just around the corner and with their reputation of introducing more than a couple of unique features with their flagships, would you still want to buy this phone? I, for one am not sure.