LG G Flex 2 hands-on preview | Android Central

The LG G Flex 2LG's second-generation flexible phone is a leaner, meaner, 64-bit Android 5.0 beast

by Alex Dobie, with additional reporting from Phil Nickinson and Myriam Joire

Jan. 5, 2015

The original LG G Flex always felt like an oddity in the manufacturer's lineup. Decried as gimmicky by some, the G Flex introduced us to a range of exotic new technologies — a curved, flexible Plastic-OLED display, a flexible body, including a unique flexing battery, and a self-healing back. The G Flex was an interesting sideshow for LG, but its lackluster display and camera meant it never really challenged the high-end competition. It was an interesting technical showcase, not necessarily a balanced high-end handset. And then there was the fact that it was just really, really big.

So for its second-generation G Flex, LG has taken things back to the drawing board. Naturally, the Korean manufacturer has upped the specs, moving to Qualcomm's very latest 64-bit Snapdragon 810, increasing the display resolution and improving the camera. But more surprisingly, it's also made the G Flex 2 smaller and more manageable than the original, with a 5.5-inch display size. It's a re-thinking of the original G Flex as much as a successor to that device, and at we've had the chance to play with the device and talk to LG about its development.

Read on to find out what we think.

LG G Flex 2

LG G Flex 2 first-look video

LG G Flex 2 hardware and design

Smaller, stronger, faster, but just as flexy

LG G Flex 2 internals

The 64-bit Snapdragon 810 has arrived

From the perspective of a tech enthusiast, the biggest deal about the G Flex 2 is what's lurking inside. Powering the phone is Qualcomm's brand new Snapdragon 810 CPU, an octa-core 64-bit part at 2.0GHz that runs in full 64-bit mode on Android 5.0 Lollipop. The G Flex 2 units we used at CES were pre-production devices running far from final software, so it's too soon to comment on performance. In any case, the G Flex 2's announcement as the first Snapdragon 810 phone is an important milestone for both LG and Qualcomm. We'll have more to say on the G Flex 2's performance when final devices become available in Korea later this month.

With Lollipop and Snapdragon 810, the LG G Flex 2 is the first true 64-bit Android phone.

That fancy new CPU is paired with 2 or 3GB of RAM, as was the case with the G3, and 16 or 32GB of storage, backed up by a microSD slot. Powering the whole assembly is a 3,000mAh fixed battery, and there's some interesting stuff going on here too. LG claims the G Flex 2 can charge up to 50 percent in under 40 minutes using new "step charging" technology, which alternates between charging at 1.8A and 2.6A depending on capacity. We've seen similar technology in action in phones like the Galaxy Note 4 and 2014 Moto X, making it easer squeeze in a quick recharge, and it's good to see LG getting in on the quick charging game.

LG G Flex 2 software and features

Lollipop, selfies and gestures

The LG G Flex is the first non-Nexus handset to run Android 5.0 Lollipop right out of the box, without a software update. (Though we're sure to see more in the days ahead, as CES progresses.) Android 5.0 running on the G Flex 2 looks pretty much the same as the G3 with its recent Lollipop update, which is another way of saying that you're mostly still seeing LG's UI efforts on top of Google's Material Design.

One small but significant though has to do with the G Flex's on-screen buttons. LG's latest uses square, circle and triangle-style buttons like stock Lollipop, whereas an upgraded G3 retains its KitKat-style icons.

LG G Flex 2

LG G Flex 2LG G Flex 2

For the most part, though, if you're familiar with the LG G3's software, you'll be right at home on the G Flex 2. LG's software design focuses on muted tones and flattened icons and UI elements. Aside from a handful of new wallpapers and animations, it's a familiar visual experience.

There are new software features to discuss, though. The G Flex 2's new selfie shooting mode builds upon the G3's gesture recognition with a new motion-controlled feature, allowing you to immediately preview selfies by lowering the phone after shooting. (It's worth mentioning that both of these gesture tricks seemed to work more quickly than we'd seen from the G3.)

LG G Flex 2

Staple LG features like KnockOn and KnockCode are joined by a new method of previewing current time and notifications without fully powering the phone on. "Glance" lets you peek at this timely info by holding your finger on the display and then dragging down. The notification LED lights up to let you know the phone's paying attention, and more information is slowly revealed as you pull downwards. It's debatable whether this is any more useful than KnockOn, especially as notifications are now displayed on the lock screen in Lollipop, but it's neat little feature all the same.

And finally, LG's also enhanced its Android Wear support, bringing wrist-accessible extensions for features like Smart Notice to Android-powered watches including its own G Watch series.

LG G Flex 2: Our impressions so far

The LG G Flex arrives in LG's native South Korea later this month, with a U.S. launch to follow "soon." We'll wait for finalized hardware to arrive before arriving at our final judgment, but so far the second G Flex appears an interesting addition to LG's portfolio — one that promises to go further than the technical curiosity that was its predecessor.

The G Flex 2 promises to become more than a technical curiosity.

LG tells us the G Flex 2 isn't replacing the G3 in any way. But by any standard, this latest flexible handset looks like being a solid high-end smartphone with a few very unique tricks up its sleeve, and an arsenal of high-end specs of keep phone nerds happy.

Just how much of a gimmick a curved screens, self-healing plastic and flexible hardware are remains open to debate. But aside from that argument the G Flex 2 has the makings of a really great high-end phone, and that's not something we could say about its predecessor.

We'll have more to say on the LG G Flex 2 in the weeks ahead, so keep watching Android Central for continuing coverage.

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