LG G Flex curved-screen smartphone review

The G Flex is LG's first curved-screen smartphone, going up against the Samsung Galaxy Round. It's got a bendy or flexible screen, which is fixed in a set curve.

While Samsung has gone for a side to side curve on the Galaxy round, the G Flex does things in the opposite direction. It is curved from top to bottom in a banana like shape. LG says, from a design point of view, this is all about ergonomics.

It's supposed to fit your face better when making a call and sit more comfortably in your hand. In all honesty it doesn't feel much di fferent than a regular flat smartphone in either of these scenarios. What we can say is that it fits much better in a back pocket.

Underachieving ergonomics aside, a bigger problem is the sheer size of the G Flex. Yes, it matches the contour of my face better than a 'normal' smartphone, but it knocks my glasses out of the way in order to have a conversation.

I could use it as a shade from the midday sun it's so big. I have very few items of clothing with pockets big enough for the G Flex, so I suspect female users will have to keep this device in a bag.

LG has opted for a 6in screen, putting it in the phablet category with devices such as the HTC One Max, Nokia Lumia 1520 and Sony Xperia Z Ultra. It makes the LG G2 look small.

A big screen is great if you want to watch a lot of video, but in everyday use the G Flex is cumbersome and unwieldy. With my relatively large hands, I can reach a third of the display when held in one hand.

Be prepared to adopt a two-handed approach. The back of the G Flex looks at lot like the G2 with LG's Rear Key – power and volume keys below the camera lens rather than on the side or top of the device.

I like this feature, but it's not for everyone. As with the G2, you can switch on and o the screen with a double tap. On the rear of the G Flex is a self-healing cover, which is supposed to remove light scratches caused by loose coins and keys in your pocket, not the aggressive kind of scrapes caused by dropping the phone on hard ground.

It's di fficult to test this over a relatively short period of time – we'd like to take a photo of the back after months of usage – but after a few days there are a few hairline scratches on the plastic surface. In the G Flex's defence, these are only really noticeable if you are actively looking for them.

Our first sample of the G Flex had some serious screen issues, including a horrible blue tint on about half of the display and some distracting image retention, or 'ghosting'. So much so that we swapped it for another handset and fortunately, things got a lot better.

There was no blue tint and, although there is some image retention, it lasts only a split second. Something which didn't go away is a grainy quality to the image. It gives a softness that some users might like, but compared to other smartphones it simply looks inferior.

It's strange that LG has opted for a 720p resolution instead of full-HD 1080p. On a 6in screen this makes for an unattractive pixel density of just 245ppi. It's not something we want to see on a premium smartphone, no matter how curved the screen is.

The curved nature of the G Flex is undoubtedly cool. But the fascination over this quickly wears off and, over time, we've realised the benefits to the curved screen are minimal.

It's supposed to be more immersive when watching a film or playing a game in landscape mode, but we haven't noticed a di fference to a regular flat screen.

What it does do is give a more dimensional feel when scrolling lists or pages with the G Flex in portrait mode. This could potentially make some users feel nauseous, in the same way do 3D screens.

Hardware & performance
Software and Battery life