LG G Flex review: Ahead of the curve
Complete connectivity package
The LG G Flex comes with a plethora of connectivity options. For starters, It has quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE for global roaming, tri-band 3G with HSPA and a dual-band 4G LTE for fast mobile Internet.
Local connectivity is plenty fast with dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac. The Wi-Fi capabilities also include Miracast wireless display protocol, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi Hotspot.
SmartShare is a service that lets you control a DLNA network - you can play media from other devices (e.g. NAS) on your phone or play something from the phone onto another device (e.g. a DLNA-enabled TV).
Wi-Fi Direct is a technology, which lets devices connect to each other without the need for a Wi-Fi hotspot. The beauty of it is that only one device has to be Wi-Fi Direct-ready for the magic to happen.
Using this technology two (or up to eight) devices can share files in a more advanced, fast and secure way, paving the road to the eventual demise of Bluetooth.
There's also Bluetooth 4.0 LE support for short-distance connectivity.
NFC is also on board with support for Android Beam. With NFC Beam you can share contacts, URLs, memos, messages, calendar events or even a call request to another NFC-enabled device or a tag.
For wired connections, the LG G Flex relies on its SlimPort - a regular microUSB on the outside, but actually a DisplayPort based interface allowing you to output video and sound to an external display (via an adapter).
The USB port has yet another feature - it enables USB On-The-Go. You'll need an adapter for that too (again, there isn't one in the box). This is probably the only way to expand your storage in case the 23GB of free memory isn't enough for you.
The G Flex has several ways to push out multimedia but it can do more than that - the IR emitter and QRemote app allow it to control your whole multimedia setup, the TV or a projector, the stereo, disc players and set-top boxes and even the air conditioner.
IR remote control • devices are organized into rooms • adding a new device • the remote control
You can add multiple devices to QRemote and organize them by room so it can easily handle your home theater setup, the TVs in all the rooms at home, as well as the office projector and AC.
The app is accessible from the lockscreen by tapping the Home key, which saves you a click when you want to use the G Flex as a remote. There's no QSlide version of the remote, but you can add it to the notification area.
Overall, the LG G Flex can replace multiple remotes and media players (Android has apps for practically all the popular movie and TV show streaming services and the Play Store is one of them to begin with).
The remote can be configured to launch automatically when the G Flex connects to your home Wi-Fi network.
The last connectivity option worth noting is the 3.5mm audio jack at the bottom of the G Flex. LG has added this cool feature called Plug & Pop. Once you plug in a pair of headphones, a pop-up menu with four shortcuts will appear at the bottom of the screen. The default four assigned shortcuts are Music, Videos, YouTube and Phone. You delete those or you can add even more apps from the dedicated Edit button.
Great web browsing experience
The LG G Flex features the standard Android browser (with some LG modifications on top), but also comes with Chrome preinstalled so you are given a choice right from the start.
The standard browser offers the typical minimalist interface, with the address bar (used both for typing web addresses and initiating web searches) on top and a control bar at the bottom (with options hidden by default).
Scrolling down moves the address bar out of view. The bottom control bar houses the back and forward keys, homepage shortcut as well as new window and bookmarks keys. You can hide that bar by dragging it down.
One change in the G2 browser is the button just to the left of the address bar - it puts the browser into QSlide mode, turning it into a floating mini app. You can't switch between tabs in this mode, but the control bar at the bottom is still available.
The web browser comes with Incognito mode, which enables you to surf the web without the browser keeping track of your history or storing cookies.
The browser can save pages for offline reading: they go in the Saved section of your bookmarks, and can be accessed even when you're no longer connected to the internet. The bookmark list shows a thumbnail of the bookmarked page and you also get a history section in addition to the Saved pages list.
There is also the so-called Capture Plus setting, which allows you to take a screenshot of the whole web page you've opened.
Find on page, always request desktop site and share page options are available from the advanced menu. If you tap and hold on some text you get the usual markers and select/copy/find/web search/share options.
The G Flex supports double tap and pinch zoom. There's text reflow too - it adjusts the columns of text to fit the screen width. If you've pinched to zoom in, you need to double tap the screen to make the browser reflow the text. Text remains legible even at very low zoom levels thanks to the high pixel density.
Chrome is also available on the G Flex out of the box. It doesn't support Flash or QSlide, but it will sync tabs (among other things) with the Chrome browser on your computer.