LAS VEGAS — LG Electronics revealed what had become an open secret at CES by Monday morning: It’s launching the G Flex2, the second in its line of curiously curved Android smartphones with supposedly scratch-resistant rears.
The Korean electronics giant is heavily promoting the device as an extra-tough “self-healing” smartphone, even more so than its predecessor. LG boasts that its own internal chemical processes have taken Gorilla Glass, as used in the first iPhone and just about every smartphone since, and made it significantly tougher.
“The probability of the glass cracking is reduced by 30%” compared to the previous G Flex, said Dr. Ramchan Woo, the company’s head of smartphone planning.
To demonstrate just how impermeable to damage the device is, Woo jumped on the phone and sat down heavily on it at a press gathering Sunday. And though LG reps were quick to prevent members of the media from videoing his efforts, the phone survived.
Still, we were encouraged to throw the device around, drop it, try to bend it out of shape (we failed), and even attempt to scratch the scratch-resistant back. (On that front, I succeeded in etching a tiny scratch into it without much effort, lightly using a USB charger — sorry, LG.)
Here’s how LG will be demonstrating the scratch-proof nature of the G Flex 2’s rear at its CES booth starting Tuesday: with a wire brush.
No price or launch date for the new phone was announced, though it’s expected to launch in Korea in January and in the U.S. sometime in the first half of 2015. An LG spokesperson said that it would be priced “at a premium” compared to its other phones. AT&T and Sprint confirmed they would be bringing the phone to the U.S., as they did its predecessor.
The new model tackles our biggest problem with the original G Flex: namely, it has a proper HD 5.5-inch screen at 1080p rather than the relatively grainy 720p.
It also has the distinction of being the first smartphone announced to employ a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip, optimized for the Android 5.0 OS, also known as Lollipop, which it will be running.
LG has doubled down on the whole concept of curved design, as you can see from this effusive portion of the official press release:
The G Flex2 goes beyond its predecessor’s groundbreaking 700mm radius curved profile. The new smartphone harmoniously incorporates a symphony of curves ranging from a radius of 400mm to 700mm across the front, back, sides and top-to-bottom edges. The dynamically curved layers deliver a sleeker and more dynamic look to G Flex2.
The company still insists on the genuine benefits of its harmonious symphony of curves: that it cuts down on screen glare when watching videos, that it curls more naturally around your mouth when making calls and allows the microphone to cut out more ambient noise.
But it doesn’t address the fundamental problem with the design, which we found for the original G Flex: you can’t really carry it anywhere but your back pocket, and the unit is large enough that it is in constant danger of falling out of that back pocket when you sit down.
It’s not the potential fall that would kill the phone; its resilience is no joke. Rather, the possibility of losing the G Flex2, or having to hunt around on the floor for it, is much greater compared to regular smartphones. Still, it’s hard not commend LG for taking a risk on design.
The G Flex2 is also streets ahead of the competition when it comes to taking selfies. Not only is it smart enough to let you trigger the 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera by making a fist, it also knows you’re most likely to take a selfie from slightly above — so that when you lower the phone after snapping the shutter, it automatically gives you one look at what you just shot.
In short: if you’re a selfie nut, and you like to carry your phone in a tight back pocket, and you live in constant fear of dropping or cracking your phone, then get excited. Your perfect mobile device is on its way.
Read more: http://mashable.com/2015/01/05/lg-g-flex-2/