LG G4, G Flex 2

LG's 2015 flagship leaves its flexible cousin in the dust.

The LG G4 might be the main event of the company's smartphone calendar, but it's actually already shipped one high-end phone this year. Back in February the LG G Flex 2 arrived, packing top-level internals and LG's unique flexible P-OLED display. And it was a bit of an oddity, proving that flexible phones still come with a bunch of compromises attached. That's made more clear by the emergence of the G4, which promises to be a more capable all-round smartphone.

LG G4, G Flex 2

It's clear the LG G4 and G Flex 2 are close relatives. Both sport familiar LG design traits like rear-mounted buttons, on-screen keys and a curved rectangular form factor. And both actually feature curved screens, the main differences being the subtlety of the curve employed by the G4, and the fact that you can safely bend the G Flex 2 back to a flattened state by applying enough force.

When it comes to the displays shining through that glass, however, there's absolutely no contest — the G4 blows the 'Flex away. Aside from the resolution difference — 1080p on the G Flex 2, Quad HD (1440p) on the G4 — LG's new flagship boasts brighter, more vivid colors (and more accurate). There's also none of the weird graininess exhibited by P-OLED on LG's latest IPS Quantum Display.

Forget the G Flex 2 — the G4 is the LG phone to buy this year.

With a similar chassis design and 5.5-inch displays on both, the physical size of both the G4 and G Flex 2 is about the same, the main difference here is the more pronounced curve of the G Flex 2's body. The in-hand feel is dramatically improved, however, on the leather-backed G4, and even the regular plastic is an improvement on the tacky-feeling "self-healing" rear of the G Flex 2. The plastic G4's back panel can't boast the ability to recover from light scratches, but in our experience this feature never really worked particular well to begin with.

On the inside, technically the G Flex 2 has the upper ground, sporting a faster octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor compared to the six-core Snapdragon 808 in the G4. However in casual use we've found the G4 to be the faster phone, likely due to the enhancements LG's included in its UX 4.0. And the UI in general has dropped many of the muted colors of LG's previous interface, moving to a brighter palette to showcase the more vivid IPS Quantum Display. It's likely (though not guaranteed) that the G Flex 2 will be updated to the new LG UX, so it'll be interesting to see how it might benefit from the refreshed software.

On a similar note, we're hoping a processor with fewer power-hungry Cortex-A57 cores might lead to improved battery life in the G4 compare to the 'Flex, which largely disappointed on this front. With LG also talking up the efficiency of its latest IPS panel, there's a good chance we'll see greater longevity from the G4, but we'll have to wait and see how it fares in day-to-day use. The G4 also has the advantage of a removable battery, meaning you can swap in a fresh one on heavier days, though unlike G Flex, you'll miss out on Quick Charge support.

The G4 is pretty much guaranteed a win in the camera space too, given that the Flex 2's camera is essentially the same as the G3's. LG's latest boasts a larger sensor, improved OIS and new manual camera options in its camera app — a generational leap for LG's camera tech.

The LG G Flex 2 was positioned as a stepping stone from G3 to G4, but compromises like a disappointing display and lackluster battery life made it less appealing. And now with the G4 on the horizon, LG has a far more attractive proposition for high-end smartphone buyers.

LG G4 versus LG G Flex 2 — key specifications

Category LG G4 LG G Flex 2
Dimensions 148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm 149.1 x 75.3 x 7.1-9.4 mm
Weight 155 grams 152 grams
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
Display Quad HD IPS Quantum Display @ 2560x1440 Flexible P-OLED @ 1920x1080
Storage 32GB 32GB
Camera 16-megapixel with OIS 2.0 and laser autofocus 13-megapixel with OIS+ and laser autofocus
Front Camera 8-megapixel 2.1-megapixel
Battery 3,000mAh removable 3,000mAh non-removable