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LG G Flex review

With its unique curved design the LG G Flex turns heads – but does this Android phone live up to the hype? Find out in our full review

The LG G Flex is one of the most expensive smartphones you can buy at £650. For that amount of money you should expect top of the range perfection from a handset.  What you get with the G Flex is certainly different, but we aren’t sure a purchase would be money well spent.

The gentle curve from top to bottom is the obvious thing that makes this 6-inch screened phablet stand out from the crowd. It brings the handset closer to your mouth when you make calls, which LG marks as one of its strong points.

The curve also means, says LG, a better video viewing and game playing experience. We’re not sold on that, to be honest. And given that the screen’s resolution is just 1,280 x 720 pixels, it is not exactly cutting edge.

There are two things about the back that mark the LG G Flex out too. One is visible the other not. You can see as soon as you turn the handset over that there are volume buttons and a power switch sitting below the camera lens.

These fit fairly neatly under the forefinger when you’re holding the LG G Flex in tall screen mode, and the volume buttons are easy to find by touch when the handset is in your bag too (it’s a bit large for most pockets). This layout is one we’ve met before – in LG’s rather nice G2.

The other thing about the back that you can’t see but whose effect you will notice is that it is ‘self healing’. Light scratches simply disappear. We have seen it happen. A gentle, deliberately made scratch with our keys was gone a couple of hours after we made it thanks to the ‘springy’ nature of the outer layer of the backplate.

This isn’t a cure-all though. A deeper deliberately made scratch did not disappear; we suppose we cut through the outer layer. We’d expect that this self healing could handle the kind of day to day wear and tear that phones receive, but heavy scuffs from, say, a drop onto concrete may be beyond its powers.

Technically, apart from the screen, there’s not a lot to grumble about. A Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, NFC, infra red zapper, 13 megapixel main camera, 2.1 megapixel front camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a 3,500mAh battery that might see you through two days and is a quick charger are all great features.

Let-downs, apart from the screen resolution, are the fact that there’s just 23.7GB of the 32GB of installed memory free and no microSD card support, and Android 4.2 as the operating system.

The former is overcome slightly by USB On The Go support right out of the box – with the right adaptor to microUSB you can use USB storage.  The latter is overcome by LG’s skinning of Android and addition of a host of supplementary features. These are many and plentiful.

The front camera can be used to help keep the screen on when you are looking at it and turn video off when you look away. There are ‘floating apps’ via what LG calls its QSlide menu. This is available under the notifications menu.

You can show two apps side by side, selecting from a subset of all that are installed. And you can push up to three running apps off one edge of the screen, calling them back with a screen sweep when you need them.

You can move the dialpad and keyboard to one side of the display for easier use, and can push the Android shortcuts to one side too. You can alter the order in which the shortcuts display and even add a couple of new ones or hide them completely.

Android is bulked out with a large number of add-on apps from file manager to notes apps, from media manager to calendar app. And more.

While the curved frame takes centre stage, there is a lot more to the LG G Flex. Ultimately, though, a less than cutting edge screen, old Android, the fact that the curve doesn’t really add anything, and the high price do not go in its favour.

Written by Sandra Vogel