G Flex.

Get bent! This phone curves and flexes, but after that ...?

LG calls it the world's first bendable flexible display. You can't look at the LG G Flex and not talk about the curve of the body, and once you learn that it actually does flex and give a little bit before breaking, you want to try it. Pushing and bending a phone is fun, because we've never been able to push and bend them before.

Are we ready for phones that bend, but not really bend? You can't fold it in half to slip it in a pocket, but it will likely be OK if you sit on it. It's not designed for be bendable, but designed not to break if it flexes. There's an important distinction that needs made here. Grabbing each end and trying to fold it in half will do little more than crack the glass if you have the strength in your hands. But pushing on the rear of the phone will cause it to flex and flatten out, hopefully saving the screen.

I've had one here for about a week, and it's time to let you know what I think of it and how it held up. I did more than bend and flex it. Read on for more.

Hands-on with the LG G Flex

The LG G Flex hardware

G Flex.

The three things that stand out about the G Flex are easy to see in the video above. First, it's big. It's sporting a 6-inch display, which puts it into the really damn big phone category with phones like the Galaxy Mega and HTC One Max. If you don't want a big phone, you don't want the G Flex.

If you have it in your back pocket and sit on it, it might flex enough to save the screen.

Next, you notice the screen. You can't help but notice, because it's six freakin' inches. The issue here is that it's only 720p in resolution. I say that because I'm supposed to say it, not because you can still buy a 42-inch TV that's 720p. I won't tell you that you won't notice the relatively low resolution on a relatively big screen. I notice it, pretty plainly. I'm just not sure I'm bothered by it. The G Flex's 245 ppi is a tighter grouping of pixels than Apple's 13-inch Retina MacBook, and everyone gushed over how great they were. Go to the AT&T store and pick one up. Visit our wallpaper gallery and see if the screen is good enough for your needs — don't let someone else tell you what you like.

Lastly, you see Phil bending it like Beckham right around 10 seconds in. Have a good look at what flexible or bendable means in this context. You can't make origami cranes from your G Flex, but if you have it in your back pocket and sit on it, it might flex enough to save the screen. This is good tech that we love to see. LG (and likely everyone else) needs to carry this one out to it's end point and build us all unbreakable phones.

G Flex.

After all the bendy talk, the G flex is still a smartphone and has smartphone parts. You'll find them all in pretty much the same place as they are on the G2 — which means they're mostly around back.

The Knock-On feature means you'll rarely have to use the back buttons.

You'll find the power button — which doubles triples as a notification LED and an IR transmitter smack in the middle of the back, about two-thirds of the way up the phone. Above and below it are rocker switches for the volume — up is volume up and down is volume down. Don't freak out, they're not that bad once you get used to the placement. They also help make the bezels on the G Flex ultra-thin and sexy, so it's not just done for the sake of doing it. Folks with small hands might find the buttons a bit tough to reach with one hand, but the Knock-On feature means you'll rarely have to use them.

Embrace the back buttons. The more I use my G2, the more I like them. And if I were to use the G Flex daily, I think I would like them on the back even more.

LG G Flex specs

I'll post these for those who are into them. For the rest of us, the important spec is that the phone runs well doing anything and everything I ask it to do.

Operating System
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • Linux Kernel 3.4.0
  • LG Optimus UI version D95010c
Display
  • 6-inch OLED
  • 720 x 1280 resolution (245 ppi)
  • Multi-touch, 16M colors
  • Curved, flexible glass and digitizer
Processor
  • Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800
  • quad-core Krait 400 at 2.26GHz
  • Adreno 330
Memory
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage (about 25GB available)
Camera
  • Front: 2.1MP with 1080p/30 video recording
  • Rear: 13MP autofocus
  • Simultaneous video and image recording
  • Geo-tagging, face detection
  • Video stabilization, HDR
Battery
  • 3500mAh Lithium Polymer
  • non-removeable
Connectivity
  • GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
  • LTE 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 / 850
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Wifi, Wifi Direct
  • DLNA, Wifi Direct
  • Bluetooth 4.0, A2DP, LE
  • A-GPS, GLONASS
  • NFC
Miscellaneous
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Proximity sensor
  • Compass
  • Ambient light sensor
Dimensions
  • 160.5 x 81.6 x 8.7 mm
  • 177 g 

LG G Flex software

G Flex.  G Flex.

Again with the G2 references. And like the G2, LG has crammed a million and one things into the operating system, but have done enough optimization that they all seem to work as intended. Q Slide is there, as are other LG goodies like Knock On and Quick memo. You'll spend several days exploring all the tricks inside the G Flex, and still not cover it all. 

But, again — it all works. This is impressive, even with the huge hardware inside. We've seen other phones struggle while using the same or better hardware, so we have to tip our hat to LG for providing features that work, even if you'll never use them.

G Flex.

The LG UI also has its own unique(ish) look and feel. That part leaves us less impressed, as it's a little colorful and cluttered. Here's where someone says "INSTALL A LAUNCHER", but that won't fix things like the settings menu or the status bar. You'll probably get used to it, maybe even learn to love it. Someone out there likes colorful and busy user interfaces, or phones using them wouldn't be selling. I just haven't met any of these people yet.

LG provides features that work, even if you'll never use them.

Of course, AT&T had to get in and molest the software as well. You'll find every single AT&T application ever built for Android installed (OK, maybe not every one), ready for you to never ever tap and open them. We're used to it by now — open, carriers are the customers, yadda-yadda — but it's still a little aggravating to see AT&T Navigator and AT&T Messaging baked in instead of available from Google Play where nobody has to download them. Disable what you can disable, hide the rest in a folder named "shit from AT&T" and never open it. Not much more you can do.

Daily use with the LG G Flex

G Flex.

I love it when this part of a review is easy to write, because that means the people making the phone did a good job and there aren't a mountain of bugs to wade through. The G Flex pretty much does everything a smartphone is supposed to do without a hitch. Calls are fine both ways, with no echo or extra noise. GPS and navigation work well, and even in the basement you'll get a lock on enough satellites to get your fine position. Wifi was no problem, tested on b/g/n and ac as well as mixed mode. Bluetooth — including BTLE — is solid. The Pebble works, a Fitbit works, and a headset works just fine.

Only you know if the G Flex is too big for your pocket, or your hands, or against your head.

Battery life was excellent, mostly because of the big 3500 mAh power pack inside. You'll get a day or more while using it hard, whether your definition of hard use if flapping birds or sending email. I actually got better battery life here that I did with the Note 3, which I'm thinking is because of the 720p screen. In any case, you'll be good with the battery life of the G Flex.

The only thing I didn't like was the size. That's subjective, and you may love it. Again, go to the AT&T (or T-Mobile or Sprint) store and pick one up. Only you know if the G Flex is too big for your pocket, or your hands, or against your head. What I take issue with may be a feature to you.

The LG G Flex camera

G Flex.

Just a quick hit here, because old man winter has thrown a wrench in my plans for the past week or so. The camera on the LG G2 was really good, and both Andrew and I think it's one of the best smartphone cameras you can get today. The camera on the G Flex, however, is not the camera on the G2 and lacks one very important feature — optical image stabilization

The UI might look similar, but the pictures are much more grainy, focusing isn't nearly as sharp, and color reproduction seems a little dull. When If the ice ever melts I'll visit the camera a little more, but for now here's a few indoor shots to have a look at.

G flex cameraG flex camera

G flex cameraG flex camera

G flex cameraG flex camera

The bottom line

G Flex.

A big phone, that flexes a little, might be just what you were waiting for. That's cool, but for the most part I would say to pass on the G Flex. Other than the size, or the flexibility, it offers little else over the G2 for most consumers. The beefier battery is nice, but LG seems to have ironed out any early battery issues with the G2. Simply put, you can get the same phone in a slightly smaller, but much more premium feeling package, and save a few bucks while you're doing it.

A big phone, that flexes a little, might be just what you were waiting for.

Not that I hate anything about the G Flex. I love the idea that LG is investigating ways to make phones more durable when we try and abuse them, even if it gets marketed a little gimmicky. It's too big for me, but every taste is different. The screen is probably good enough, no matter what the Internet tries to tell you. 

It's just that there's not much that the G2 doesn't already offer, in a better feeling package. Go to the AT&T store, and fondle both phones for a while. I know which one I would pick, but only you know which one you would pick. 

If you do go with the G Flex, I think you'll love the performance and battery life, and get used to the buttons on the rear and the Knock-On feature quickly.

 

Reader comments

LG G Flex (AT&T) review

62 Comments

That was a great review. I he'd a dummy g flex at a T-Mobile store and the thing is huge. Its really cool to see but its very big.

Posted via Android Central App

I have to say that it's probably what someone like my mother would prefer over the G2. The kind of person who would rather have a rugged, long-life phone over a better screen or camera.

That being said, I think LG really did knock out a homerun with the G2, just wish their UI people would tone down the intrusiveness and upgrade the flexibility. The fact that it was a snap to root and ROM made it my favorite android phone to date (sorry Nexus 4 and 5).

Depending on context, I could think of a few scenarios where your's might involve jail-time as well. Maybe I shouldn't have said that out loud, though...

I should have wrote this review.
Jerry says the same thing I have been thinking since the specs and features of this device were announced.
My upgrade is available in a couple of months, but my GS3 might be around until 2015, for lack of innovative devices. And maybe longer.

Posted from my "KNOX-FREE" 4.3 Sprint GS3 Maxx...!!!
(ZeroLemon 7000mAh battery)

I believe we are getting our G Flex shipment in at Sprint today. I hope so at least, as I'm ready to unbox one and play with it. We got the otterboxes yesterday and wow, they are HUGE.

I personally have the G2 and an HTC One and as cool as this phone is, it doesn't really offer much more than what I already have so I think I'm going to pass.

It is wayyy too big for my personal tastes, and even though that flexible display is very intriguing, I think I'll let them evolve it a little and pick up the next version.

Also, isn't there something about the screen supposed to be like 'self-healing' to a degree with scratches. I remember hearing about that in the initial leaks and talk, but haven't heard anyone mention it or market it beyond that. Can someone clarify?

The back is self healing, not the screen. Even that is mostly miss.

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

Yep because my demo i just got is already scratched lol. So much for dreams.

BUT I did get my shipment in today and it is AMAZING.
Seriously, for a 720p screen, it nearly looks better than my G2 or my One.

It comes with this demo video that highlights bright colors, etc and wow I really couldn't believe it.

Another thing I should mention is the rear speaker, it is super loud and sounds great. It almost sounds better than my front facing speakers on the One, definitely louder.

Just came from ATT checking this out and left not impressed. Could be because I own the Nokia 1520 and spoiled buy its build and screen quality. It. Felt very cheaply built IMO. The curve is actually nice and the bend is a plus. The curve actually killed glare which was cool. It seems smaller than my 1520 but that's because of the bend. Its not bad but I would prefer the 1520 or Note 3 first over this.

How are you liking the 1520?

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Its a solid device. Absolutely love it. Wished Windows was able to take more advantage of the large screen with dual screen multitasking but the 1080 display is sharp and crisp. I don't think I'll go back to smaller screen sizes unless something completely wows me

Glad to hear you are liking the 1020. All you ever hear anyone talk about with that phone is the camera, camera, and camera. Hadn't really got much feedback on any other features of that phone lol.

No I have the 1520 not the 1020. Honestly there's nothing else to speak about with the 1020. That's what it's specifically design around. Nothing else. TBH I would not get that phone unless I wanted the camera. The 1520 is a true workhorse. The 1020 is basically a 920 with updates screen and advance camera.

Phones are getting to be like cars. Even the bad ones are good. That means we become jaded and harder to impress.

I think it's more to do with the phone industry maturing. You can't survive making crappy products anymore. There are a lot great devices, the review nails it... what may be a gripe for one person, maybe a plus for another. We all have different needs/wants, so no one device will work for everyone.

Well it's all relative, isn't it? What was top end a year ago is mainstream today.

Cars are the same. My 15 year old Navigator was a top shelf, fully loaded vehicle when it came out. Now even a Kia has the features it has and MORE. My Navigator was lauded as the second coming of Jesus when it came off the assembly line but if it was reviewed today it would be considered a piece of crap, missing the basics that every driver "needs." It's not that the Navigator has become worse (wear & tear aside), it's that everything else has gotten better.

In order for me to upgrade from my Galaxy Note 3, this phone would need more than a bent profile. It would need better specs. It doesn't offer anything more than the Note 3. Heck, it offers less.

No thanks.

Great review, though.

I think this phone was used to test the market. Throw a rock in the air and see where it lands sort of speak. I would imagine they didn't want to over beef it up and then lose out considering that Note 3 heavily runs this phablet arena for android. I think the next if any other version comes after will be more refined and better built.

Good review Jerry, tell us what we need to know about your experience with the device, insert your personal opinion, then tell people to go make their own decision, well written

Posted via my outdated Droid RAZR Maxx HD using the Android Central App

is the knock-on feature ported over as a custom kernel for other phones yet? i've seen some but they either only work one way or don't work really well at all i really wish someone figures this out for all the non-G2 people and on a sidenote, this SHOULD be on ALL android phones; even though that's wishful thinking :-(

It's related to LG's skin. Even if you have a G2 and you install a custom launcher like Nova, you lose the ability to "knock on" on blank desktop space. It only works in the notification bar and lock screen after that. Source: Someone with a G2.

But the feature exists outside of the G2-based ROMs. I'm running Mokee (AOSP based) and I have this feature. It doesn't tie into any launchers, but it can be used with the status bar or anywhere on the lockscreen.

The fix for that is to install a screen off app (I use Soft Lock Screen) and set Nova to use it for the double tap gesture. This replicates knock off by tapping anywhere on blank homescreen space. Source: My G2 and I.

I played with this in the AT&T store. Aside from the fact that it's too big for my taste, the screen resolution really didn't do it for me. Very noticeably pixelated. Especially after using my G2 for a while.

Thanks for our insight. So I would day my LG G2 is the better all around phone but the flex is a great idea and seem better figured out then the Samsung version of there flex phone.

Posted via Android Central App

The G flex is a G2 with a bigger, curvy display. Less ppi but better battery life and bigger display (that only can know if its a pro or con). Both are great and a matter of preference. I personally prefer the G flex, I had the at&t G2 and the unlocked korean G flex. I just love the curve and the insane battery life. I dont mind the lower res. This is a device that I recommend EVERYONE to go in stores before buying. Do not listen to someone else's opinion and think that it'll be the same as yours.

Posted via Android Central App

Thanks for our insight. So I would day my LG G2 is the better all around phone but the flex is a great idea and seem better figured out then the Samsung version of there flex phone. I like LG phones. I am not afraid to say it. From my LG nitro to the lg 4x HD to the lg g e970 and the lg g2 I am totally happy with them.

Posted via Android Central App

I had the Korean model, besides the lack of LTE this phone is the best. Im gonna sell my note 3 and pick up the LTE version.

Posted via Android Central App

I just unboxed our G Flex here at Sprint and I should mention I wasn't expecting a lot. But I am more than impressed after playing around with it a little bit.

The one thing I'll mention is every coworker or customer I showed it too.. The first thing they did was sit it face down on the counter and push down on it to test the flexibility. I cringed every time waiting for the screen to give out lol.
The first few times we did it, it kinda made a cracking noise like it was being broken in, and I'm not going to lie it scared the hell out of me.

I don't think they should have marketed it as being flexible as that makes people want to flex it, possibly more than it is capable of.
Instead I think they should have marketed it more as a shock resistant or something like that.
Idk, just my 2cents.

Thanks for another hands on comment or two.

First thing I am going to do is flex it as well...

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

We are not talking about your blow up girlfriend, these are phones

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

I have an AT&T phone, with the stupid AT&T logo in the status bar....but it goes away when there's a notification or something like temperature displayed there. Here, it's always there. Are they that afraid you'll forget who your carrier is???

The logo or just the text name in the top left. Is that what you mean? All phones, even iPhones (which don't get the bloat or carrier logo on the hardware) do that.

Awesome review Jerry. I really love the move att crap to a folder called "shit from ATT" lol. Good stuff. I own a G2 & am really loving it.

Great review overall.
Quote of the month "Disable what you can disable, hide the rest in a folder named "shit from AT&T" and never open it."
This should be standard phraseology for any device from any carrier with bloatware.

Sent from my SG Note 2

Great review. The flex capability is interesting to me, as well. I am an iPhone user, and would love to see that as a future feature. Not that I have ever broken a phone, then again, never had one this size.

The 720p to me would be fine, it sounds like. My vision stinks, anyway. And if the trade off is that battery life, sign me up.

The size seems too big to for me. I will have to go check it out, but it seems as though it would, when holding out with my left hand, and thumb along the side (as I do my iPhone), my index finger would just pass the sensors on the back, which seems appropriate. My middle finger would just peak over the edge, and my ring and pinky fingers would be able to grasp it. It begs to me "why not go all in" on a mini tablet? Don't see much value to the 6" size.

Why do they tease us by showing us what the battery looks like if it is not user replaceable? I saw the video and thought there was finally a Samsung alternative, but no.

I just bought the AT&T Flex on Friday and, though it's still early, I'm happier with it than any phone I've had since the S3 or Note 2.
I'd say the S4 and Note 3 are more feature packed, but they didn't impress me much since the first thing you do with either is go into the settings and turn most of those features off. They're simply stumbling blocks on the path to phone nirvana. The Flex's features are unobtrusive and don't eat resources to a lag inducing degree. This beast is SNAPPY. Even more so than the HTC One I bricked the day before this Flex hit the shelf. Talk about timing!
The resolution will be a fatal flaw to many but I only see a big beautiful display with great colors that are a pleasure to look at.
There really is only one complaint in my early impression. When using a launcher you lose access to most of the stock widgets. Any downloaded app widgets work fine but the stock ones simply don't show in the list. I tried 4 different launchers with the same results. The knock on feature still works with launchers and lock screen replacements by the way.
After 2 days of seriously smooth and snappy performance with great battery life, I've no regrets yet.

Posted via Android Central App

I have both the G2 and G flex and in some cases the G2 rez is better but I really don't see too much pixelation. The battery is bananas I think this phone is going to be slept on