If you've used an LG G3, or any of the company's more recent mid-range offerings, you'll be right at home on the G Flex 2. For the most part, the software experience here is identical to that of LG's 2014 flagship once updated to Lollipop. Aside from the (rather large) Android 5.0-style on-screen keys, and cosmetic changes like new wallpapers and unlock animations, much of the LG software experience is unchanged.
The biggest software changes have taken place behind the scenes.
The biggest changes are behind the scenes. The G Flex 2 runs Android 5.0.1 Lollipop — the 64-bit OS, which paired with the Snapdragon 810 makes it the first fully 64-bit Android phone. There's nothing magical about that from a user-facing perspective, but it might just make the G Flex 2 a bit more future-proof than older devices, as well as opening up new performance possibilities in 64-bit-optimized apps.
It's also interesting to note that unlike Google's latest Nexus devices, the LG G Flex 2 doesn't ship with Lollipop's full disk encryption feature switched on by default. (It's likely LG decided the performance cost simply wasn't worth it.)
LG's UI favors muted colors, flat icons and simple, geometric menus and panels. In addition to the standard loadout of apps, LG brings QRemote for controlling your TV using the built-in IR blaster, QMemo+ for note-taking and screen annotation, and a couple of neat multitasking features. Dual Window, accessed by long-pressing the back key, lets you run more than one app on screen at a time, in a split-screen view. And the QSlide feature gives you access to a loadout of windowed applications too. Although neither feels as slick as Samsung's latest multitasking implementation on the Galaxy Note 4, both are pretty well done.
LG's unique home screen setup is back on the G Flex 2 as well, with the Smart Notice widget taking care of weather forecasts, date and time, as well as "smart cards" which are designed to present timely information based on the way you use your phone. It's not quite Google Now, but it can be useful to receive reminders of upcoming birthdays, missed calls you haven't returned after a few hours, or numbers you might want to add to your contacts.
LG's KnockOn and KnockCode features make a welcome return too. By default, double-tapping the display will wake the G Flex 2, bringing you to the lock screen. And you can add greater security with KnockCode, which lets you set a specific pattern of taps to unlock your phone. And this time around LG's added "Glance" view into the mix, letting you view the time and any pending notification icons by swiping down on the screen when it's powered off. Whether this is actually any quicker than using KnockOn is debatable, but it's a neat little addition.
As you'll know if you've updated your LG G3 to Lollipop, the UI still has feel of older version versions of Android. There's a little bit of Material Design to be seen, in the form of animated flourishes around buttons, new app launch animations and a redesigned task-switching menu, but overall things are still pretty flat, just as they were on KitKat. It also doesn't help that parts of LG's software harken back to much earlier versions of Android — there's an Android 4.0-style widget panel, and many of LG's status bar icons bring back memories of the earliest days of the OS.
LG's Lollipop implementation still feels a tad wonky in a couple of places.
There are also issues with the way LG's implemented a couple of major Android 5.0 features. The G Flex 2's lock screen is particularly problematic — unlike most other Lollipop phones, you can't swipe down on notifications to expand them on the lock screen, instead you've got to tap and then swipe below to unlock. And LG's implementation of priority interruptions — the controversial replacement for "mute" mode in Android 5.0 — is one of the most nonsensical we've seen thus far.
There's no normal mute mode, instead you can toggle between sound, vibrate and DND (do not disturb) mode. Want to use Priority mode instead? You'll need to find it in the menus. Given that DND mode silences everything, including alarms, that's not an ideal setup at all. Other phone makers have started to reintroduce "mute" mode in Lollipop devices; hopefully LG will follow suit here.