Upon its reveal at CES this past January, the G Flex 2 was the first announced smartphone to come with the eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset. This is the latest and fastest SoC the manufacturer has to offer, which comes with four Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.5 GHz and four Cortex-A57 cores running at 2 GHz, aided by the new Adreno 430 GPU. By most benchmark tests, it’s the strongest beating heart Qualcomm has made for smartphones to date. Since it was unveiled, however, the chipset has been criticized for allegedly heating up its corresponding devices to an excessive degree. These fans were only further flamed when Samsung decided to discard the 810 for its own Exynos SoC in the forthcoming Galaxy S6, presumably because of the overheating issue.
After putting the G Flex 2 through its paces, it turns out there’s some truth to all of this. Indeed, the Snapdragon 810 provides lightning speed and superb display response time. Turning the device on, running demanding applications, powering through videos (even those in 4K), and scrolling through resource-heavy web sites all go without a hitch thanks to the 810, immediately making the G Flex 2 one of the snappiest and most powerful phones on the market. Putting the device through benchmark testing only reaffirms this, although the figures do tend to drop just a smidge when the device heats up.
And yes, the G Flex 2 does heat up more than what we’re used to. It’ll get noticeably warm in your hand after an extended period of use, more than what should be expected from a new chipset in 2015. However, the heat is nowhere near unbearable, and it’s hard to imagine its issues being as big a deal if it weren’t for the internet repeatedly harping on the controversy for the past several weeks. It isn’t a dealbreaker. Still, it’s been harped on for a reason, and LG is promising to tidy up any outstanding performance issues with future software updates.
Storage wise, the G Flex 2 comes with either 16 or 32 GB of space, which can be expanded up to 128 GB through microSD cards. The 16 GB version also comes with a smaller amount of RAM– 2 GB to be precise, while the roomier version comes with 3 GB of RAM. For the record, we used the latter in our testing.
Because the G Flex 2 is smaller than its predecessor, its battery has shrunk from 3500mAh to 3000mAh. That, combined with its higher pixel count and more demanding software, means that the G Flex 2 won’t last as long as before. And as we mentioned above, the whole pack can’t be removed, despite the fact that the back cover can. All that being said, the phone still gets above-average life compared to most phablets (which are typically big power savers), and will likely last you around a day and a half with everyday use. It’s fine.
The G Flex 2 comes with Android 5.0.1 Lollipop out of the box, underneath and the same LG-made skin found on the flagship G3. The UI still has with several more or less useful applications and features a flatter overall look. It doesn’t look the same, but it’s mostly inoffensive, and using it ultimately isn’t too different from using regular old Android. The one new differentiator here is a feature that lets you “peek” at your notification bar from the lockscreen, which is simple but nifty enough.
The 13-megapixel sensor of the G Flex 2 also borrows from the G3, and that’s still a very good thing. Its accompanying software has been simplified to show only the most basic functions, and the camera itself is still accurate and noticeably fast. The latter is in part due to the G3’s laser autofocus system, which allows the shooter to determine its focus point almost immediately as you press the onscreen shutter button. The resulting images turn out exceptionally sharp, with vivacious colors and only a small amount of noise on larger mono-color surfaces.
The sensor features built-in optical image stabilization as well, allowing for above-average quality for shots in poor lighting conditions. The same sentiments largely apply to videos, with 4K recordings coming out particularly fantastic. The G Flex 2 can also capture 720p slow-motion video at 120fps, but sadly those often ended up being disasters in our testing, looking much grainier and lower-quality than even that relatively modest resolution would suggest. The 2.1-megapixel front camera is similarly unimpressive, producing messy shots at a time where competing selfie cams are only improving.