Technology

CES 2015: LG tries again with curved smartphone

LG G Flex 2 phone Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Early reviewers said the slightly shrunken G Flex 2 was easier to use than its predecessor

Electronics firm LG has shown off a second version of its curved smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The LG G Flex 2 is smaller than its predecessor and its display can now handle high-definition images.

The "self-healing" coating on its rear has also been improved to quickly repair any scratches it suffers.

Gadget-watchers were divided over the phone, with some praising its performance while others were unimpressed.

LG has not said when the phone will go on sale nor said how much it will cost.

Curved questions

The updated G Flex has an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display 5.5in (14cm) in size - a half-inch smaller than the original - and the curve of the whole device is less pronounced than the first version.

LG said the self-healing coating covering the back of the phone will now seal scratches in 10 seconds or so. Earlier versions took minutes to do the same.

The OLED screen also helps make the phone very resistant to damage from being inadvertently sat or stepped on, said the firm.

Also onboard are a 13.1 megapixel camera on the handset's rear and a 2.1 megapixel camera facing forwards. Inside the phone is the latest Qualcomm 810 processor and the gadget runs LG's version of Google's Android operating system.


Analysis by Leo Kelion, technology editor

LG's new flexible phone is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. No great surprise since smartphone news from the big tech firms is usually held back until Barcelona's Mobile World Congress or one-off events.

While the firm focused on the new handset's faster healing skin and protection against falls, I suspect its ability to recharge quicker than before will be the advance consumers appreciate most.

But LG - like arch-rival Samsung - faces a pressing problem. Chinese manufacturers including Xiaomi, Huawei and ZTE are releasing budget-priced high-quality models that play well to the home crowd - and China is the world's biggest smartphone market. That means that average selling prices are dropping putting a squeeze on profits.

LG may have burnished its reputation for innovation with the G Flex 2, but ultimately its mid-range models are likely to prove more important to its bottom line.


Vlad Savov from tech news site The Verge liked the phone, saying the smaller size of the gadget meant it was now much easier to reach the buttons on its rear, making the whole device more usable.

Analyst Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel, said the original Flex did "okay" and the revision should mean it gets more attention.

However, she said, the phone's self-healing coating and its OLED screen were hard for staff to explain to customers, making it a tough sell in shops.

"The G3 has done much more for LG than the Flex has done," she said, adding that the Flex was more about showing how LG can be different, than anything else.

Ron Amadeo from tech site Ars Technica was underwhelmed with the Flex 2, saying although it was an improvement, it still did not answer any pressing consumer need.

"Every time we see a curved device, we ask 'why is it curved?' — but we have yet to get a satisfactory answer," he wrote in a hands-on review.

Click here for more coverage from the BBC at CES 2015

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