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Android phone makers are running out of ways to differentiate their devices from the crowd.  It’s all coming down to a rectangular screen, as little chrome around the edges as possible and a curved round back.  Pretty much every smartphone looks the same at this point with slight varying dimensions.

So that’s why LG’s curved Flex is an interesting newcomer. The LG Flex actually makes a somewhat flexible 6-inch display that defaults to a slight curve.  What are the supposed benefits of that?

  • It contours to your leg, sort of, in your pocket.
  • It reduces glare, sort of, outside
  • The curved phone is supposed to make calling feel more natural
  • Reading is a bit easier, not really
  • It is a cool party trick, good for 20-30 seconds of amusement

I’m a huge fan of the Nexus 5 and G2 and even AT&T’s 4G LTE network of late so I was genuinely looking forward to see what this could do…

The reality is pretty straightforward; I never once found myself in need of a curved phone. Sure a few people wanted to check it out and try “flexing” it but that’s about all. Reading wasn’t better, light reflection wasn’t gamechanging and calling might have been nicer if I wasn’t making a call on a device the size of a sandal.

None of the points above were of any use to me and frankly when bending the thing, it makes an uneasy cracking noise though it never broke or cracked in a week of flexing it and usage. What would have been cool is if I could fold it in half, like a flip phone or bent it around my wrist as a way of carrying it around.  Until that happens, I don’t buy the gimmick.

But how was it otherwise? Some interesting observations…

I didn’t have to charge this thing for 4 days of moderate use. That’s easily the best battery I’ve ever used in a phone that I can remember, even better than the Droid Maxx which lasted 2+ days. The battery in this thing is out of this world. I’m taking it skiing this weekend.  Without a charger!

The screen isn’t bad but nowhere near LG’s own G2 or even the Nexus 5.  It is on par with its cheaper competitor, the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega, which you can also find on AT&T. I find the camera is in a similar class as well. Certainly good, but not great for both stills and videos.

It is also filled up with LG and AT&T apps you won’t want and that impede the experience. I couldn’t even find the Gmail app when I got it out of the box and found out it was hidden by default – not a good start. The Flex has a bunch of other stuff you can’t uninstall but will want to like Lookout ‘Security’. Beat Music is also on the phone so there’s that.

I tried the outside plastic skin which is supposed to be “self healing”.  It is actually unless the scratch is deep and purposeful like the big one I did on the review unit with a key (Sorry AT&T/LG!) as if I were keying a car.  Under normal use, it will repel and”heal” normal scratching. Even my keying appears to be healing…slowly.

Otherwise, you get pretty much what you’d expect. It is running Android 4.2 which is a year old joke.  It probably will never see 4.4 or whatever is current when you buy one.  Even though the OS is old, the Snapdragon 800 and 2GB of RAM is speedy. Most apps run plenty fast.  It handled AT&T’s speedy LTE speeds like a champ. Hopefully Cyanogenmod supports this soon or Google makes a Play Edition

Wrap-up:

This isn’t a bad phone by any stretch but I’m hard pressed to imagine a scenario where I’d recommend it – the extra cost of curve/flex just doesn’t pay off.  If you want something its size, save some money and get the Galaxy Mega or Note 3, also on AT&T.  LG makes two much more manageable phones on the smaller side – the LG G2 and the reigning Android champ, the Nexus 5.

If you like the size and are an LG type of person, step up a little further and grab the LG 8.2 Play edition…I hear great things.

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