LG G Flex Review
Interface and Functionality
LG has made some considerable ground with its latest customized Android experience, which is featured on its flagship, the LG G2 – so it only makes sense to see the same experience on the LG G Flex. In general, the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean experience running on our review unit is packing the same visuals and features we’ve seen already, but it packs along some new features that deepen its diverse offering. Visually, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here, as it continues to be highly customizable – though, it’s still very bright and vivid with its presentation. Some people love it, some people hate it, but that’s what it is on the G Flex.
So here’s what’s new with the experience:
QTheater: Not only is it a dedicated media related app, but QTheater is something that can be accessed via the lock screen by holding the handset in landscape, and then using pinch out gestures to uncover the app. At the heart of it all, QTheater is nothing more than an alternative to the standard Gallery app. Even though there is a selection for YouTube, clicking it doesn’t do anything special, seeing that it simply launches the app.
Dual Window: Multi-tasking is already enhanced with the customized experience thanks to LG’s QSlide apps and Slide Aside feature, but they’re upping the ante here with Dual Window, which is very similar to Samsung’s Multi-Window feature. Accessing the feature is done by pressing down on the back button at any time for a few seconds. From here, we’re given a window where we can click and drag apps to the top and bottom windows – essentially stacking them so they can run simultaneously. It’s a great tool when it comes to juggling around between two things, but for right now, the supported apps are limited to Videos, TV, Internet, Messaging, Email, Gallery, Chrome, Memo, YouTube, Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail, Dictionary, and File Manager.
Swing Lockscreen: Giving the lockscreen more of an animated and interactive approach, the Swing Lockscreen makes the lockscreen adapt to the time and weather – where we can tilt the phone at various angles to see more of the scenery of the lockscreen. We wouldn’t say it’s a pertinent feature, but rather, a simple touch to give the lockscreen a more dynamic presentation.
Urgent Call Alert: Is someone constantly calling you? Well, if you’ve ever come across this situation, the LG G Flex’s Urgent Call Alert will let you know visually if someone is in desperate need of your attention. When you miss several consecutive calls from a person/number, the LED notification lights of the phone, both front and rear, will blink red to indicate an urgent call alert.
Well, that pretty much wraps up all the new features associated with the customized Android experience of the LG G Flex. Nevertheless, it packs all the same features we’ve seen before – such as Knock On, Guest Mode, Answer Me, Slide Aside, QuickRemote, and much more.
Well this certainly isn’t a surprise, but the LG G Flex is running the same messaging experience as the G2. Although the UI of the app is not particularly comfortable, as the text bubbles are quite big, which makes it really difficult if you want to read through a longer conversation, you do stuff like altering the looks of those bubbles, as well as changing the background of text conversations to whatever you feel like. You can also schedule a text to be sent at a particular time in the future, and you can also insert various Android smileys to add some colorful emotion to your messages. All in all, the messaging app left us with mixed feelings, as it's not really consistent in terms of UI design, but it's more than certain that it'll get the job done. Plus, it'll surely appeal to those who enjoy tweaking every single aspect of their smartphones.
With its enormous 6-inch screen, there’s no problem typing out a lengthy message with the on-screen keyboard, mainly because its layout is super spacious, very responsive, and we’re given access to a horde of characters from the main layout.
We’re not going to go into detail regarding the organizer features of the G Flex, even more when it’s identical to the LG G2. Therefore, it features all of the extensive things we’ve seen already – like its very handy QuickMemo note taking app, which can be instantly launched while it’s turned off by long pressing on the volume up button. Beyond that, it has some very versatile apps for tasks, alarms/world clock/timer/stop watch, voice recording, weather and, of course, a calendar.
While most of these apps function very well, the calendar is a great example of why having too many features may make the UI feel too crowded and complex. The main screen of the calendar tries to fit together a month view plus a day, week or an agenda view, all at the same time, and it fails miserably at this, because it's simply not easy enough to use, especially if you have many appointments set. However, if you're sticking to something like week, day or agenda views only, things get much more intuitive and pleasant.
And of course, the Google Now experience is on board to keep us organized from the start of our day, to the end.
Processor and Memory
Armed with the same piece of silicon like its sibling, a quad-core 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC coupled with the Adreno 330 GPU and a healthy 2GB of LP DDR3 RAM, it naturally screams at a fanatical pace with its performance. It’s snappy, responsive, and downright quick with all operations – both simple and complex ones. And it really shows when it’s able to handle playing a YouTube video while surfing the web with its Dual Window feature. Finally, its benchmark scores tell us that it’s a formidable figure.
Unlike some of the other recently launched phablets, the LG G Flex sadly lacks a microSD card slot. However, it’s stuffed with 32GB of storage, which is a healthy amount we’re pleased to see. Out of the box, though, that figure actually translates to 24.12GB.
Internet and Connectivity
You may think that the 6-inch screen makes browsing a breeze, but this isn't necessarily the case, especially if you stick with the LG browser that's on the homescreen by default. That's so because it doesn't inflate text, which means that it's still quite small to read comfortably even on such a gigantic screen. That's why we'd recommend that you use the Chrome browser, as it will make reading that much more comfortable for you. One thing we dislike about Chrome, however, is that it doesn't snap your view once you start scrolling vertically or horizontally – this is something that the iPhone and even Windows Phone have already managed to get right, while Android's Chrome is still lacking it.
The LG G Flex is choke-full of connectivity features. It has the must-haves such as LTE-A, HSPA, 3G, and 2G, as well as Wi-Fi a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac. Additionally, there's also A-GPS, NFC, and an infrared port.