LG G Flex Review: Ahead Of The Curve: User Interface

By 05:25 Sat, 14 Aug 2021 Comments


LG G Flex runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean

The LG G Flex may have a couple of firsts for the company, but the software package is by no means breaking news. The G Flex runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with the latest Optimus UI skinning the entire OS. The customizations run deep and there's a rich selection of themes, icon sets and home-brewed apps.

Here's the LG G Flex on video:

The overall user experience is still very similar to the one on the LG G2, though the latest Optimus UI version brings a couple of features unseen before on any LG smartphone. LG G Flex comes with some cool options like Dual Window Multi-tasking, the Q-Theather multimedia hub, smart ringtone volume and respond on pick up, along with a recent live wallpaper with motion control for the lockscreen. We'll acquire to all of them as we go along.

The lock key at the rear is still a reasonable novelty and one that works equally well - if not better - on the curved, bigger body of the Flex. you can wake the classy screen with a double tap on it. Unlike the G2 though, where we had to put a small more force while knocking, the G Flex will register even the gentlest of taps.

To lock the phone you don't need to utilize the hardware key either. You just double tap on an empty area of your homeclassy screen or on the status bar no matter where you are - it will lock your G Flex.

LG has come up with a brand recent live wallpaper for the lockscreen. It has a day and a night theme, which change automatically. The cool thing is the wallpaper can be further explored by swinging the phone up and down to create the background slide within the curve. It's just for show really - you don't acquire extra shortcuts or features, just reveal more of the background image.

The unlock effect also changes depending on where are you touching - on water or air. You can opt for standard lockclassy screen wallpapers too, where you can choose between five unlock effects. In terms of functionality, you can also place up to five shortcuts on your lockclassy screen to unlock the phone straight into an app.






The lockscreen

The lockclassy screen can span across multiple panes, each containing one full-classy screen widget. The page to the correct is special and fires up the camera, but you can easily disable it in the widacquire menu.

The pages to the left contain different widgets - four different clocks, Gmail, Google Now, Calendar, Google+ posts, Quick Remote and Weather. More apps can be downloaded off the Play Store to add recent widgets.





Lockclassy screen panes

Thanks to the multiple account support, LG is able to support the so-called Guest Mode, activated by a specific unlock pattern. There's no app drawer in guest mode - you can access up to five apps: camera, video and music players, calculator and quick remote. You can, of course, create more apps available from the recommended list. To exit guest mode and create the full functionality available you'll need to lock the classy screen and unlock into standard mode using the regular unlock routine.

Guest mode will come in handy if you are handing your phone to a child or you just want to haged your stuff personal from friends, who might like to utilize your phone for a quick call or anything.






Guest mode

The bottom of the G Flex homeclassy screen fits up to 5 shortcuts (including the shortslit to the App Drawer). You don't have to utilize all available slots though - you can discard all but the App Drawer shortcut.

As usual, the shortcuts are visible on any of the homeclassy screen panes. With the exception of the app drawer shortcut, you can rearrange, delete or replace any of these with shortcuts of your choosing, even folders. In fact, most aspects of the phone's behavior can be customized, you can go to as small detail as the capacitive key layout and functionality, background, lock animation, system fonts, and even the notification light on the back.




The homescreen

By default you acquire three homeclassy screen panes to fill up with widgets and shortcuts, but you are free to add more (up to seven) or delete unneeded ones to speed up navigation. You can also set any of the homeclassy screen panes as default. Loop scrolling is enabled on the homeclassy screen - panes spin on a carousel with a rather convincing spherical effect, reinforced by the curved screen.

The homeclassy screen auto-rotates too as you flip the device landscape - a must have in phablets, even more so on the G Flex, whose curved body really makes landscape hrecent the more logical one. Everything on the classy screen rotates to fit the orientation, even the capacitive keys' icons.



Pinch to zoom out and into homeclassy screen preview

The front touch buttons (Back, Home and Menu being the default layout) are also highly customizable. You can choose between several preset combinations that change the order and functionality, some even adding an extra permanent shortslit for either Quick Memo or the Notification area. You can also set a black or white background for the keys and control the opacity. There is also an option to swipe the controls left or correct for one-handed operations. Finally, you can even choose apps where those controls will be hidden, letting you utilize the entire screen. Nice!






Customizing the front touch buttons

The LG home-baked tweaks and enhancements are by no means limited to the visuals. The Q Slide option makes it possible for you to utilize widget-like resizable small apps while using other full-classy screen apps. The system-wide Quick Memo integration allows you to hold a screenshot anywhere in the phone and hold notes over it.

You can resize widgets or you can even shrink a widacquire down to the corresponding app's icon. Also, if you go a widacquire over an occupied slot on the homescreen, the icons underneath immediately go out of the way, which is really neat.




Reordering and resizing widgets

Adding stuff to the homeclassy screen is done by tapping and holding on a blank area of a homeclassy screen pane. A context menu appears, allowing you to add various customizations to your phone. The tabs along the bottom let you select the appropriate app, widacquire or wallpaper, which you can add to the homeclassy screen of your choice. Gridlines will appear when you hrecent and drag an app or widget, allowing you to easily place it on the homescreen.





Placing widgets and changing the wallpaper

There's a set of different icons to choose from and you can even create custom ones.





Customizing icons

The contextual menu gives you a quick access to different settings, as well as themes. There are only two themes available on the G Flex and the recent Flex theme is really a lot more stylish than the messy default option on the G2.

You can acquire more themes for free at the LG Smart World app store.





Choosing a theme

We've already mentioned the Q Slide shortcuts that are found in the notification area. They launch pop-up widget-like versions of the video player, web browser, phone, messages, calendar, email, memo, voice recorder, file manager and calculator. In case you don't need some of those shortcuts, you can rego them via the edit key at the discontinue of the shortslit row.




Q-Slide-enabled apps

The Q Slide feature is very similar to Sony's small apps but supports only two windows opened simultaneously. You can resize the mini app the way you like, and there is a dedicated shortslit that'll hold you to the full classy screen app. There is also a transparency scrubber - once you decrease the transparency even by a hair, the mini app is no longer part of the active UI (besides its transparency scrubber) and you can interact with whatever's beneath it (the mini app will continue its work of course, i.e. a video will still be playing).





Q-Slide apps in action

The notification area has also been tweaked by LG to let you rearrange the toggle buttons available. You are also free to add and rego toggles from the edit menu. You can add an insane amount of shortcuts here, and don't have to worry about whether they'll fit on the classy screen - the row becomes side-scrollable so you can still access them all.






LG G2 notification area

As usual, if you have a music track playing in the background, quick controls will show up here. You can also swipe notifications to the left or correct to dismiss them. Notifications can be expanded as well.

The task switcher (tap on hrecent on Home) shows you all of the currently running apps, which can be swiped left or correct to terminate. There's a shortslit to the task manager too.




The task switcher and the task manager

LG's task manager lists the running apps and the current utilize of RAM, conveniently offering a button to stop all running apps.

Speaking of app switching, LG has implemented a recent multi-tasking feature called Slide Aside. You can utilize a three-finger swipe from the correct side of the classy screen to add the app into the Slide Aside UI, while three finger swipes from the left will switch between the running apps.

Slide Aside supports up to three apps which acquire into a sort of frozen state and you can access a preview of all the three apps either form the notification area's dedicated shortslit or via a three-finger swipe to the left on the homescreen.






Slide Aside UI

We like this way of multitasking, but it isn't implemented that well on the G Flex. There is some improvement over the G2, but the phone still failed sometimes to recognize the swipes and the whole left/correct swipe across the classy screen to open/switch routine feels a bit awkward.

The app drawer lists all your available apps and widgets, with a dedicated tab for user downloads. There is a button in the top correct corner, which triggers edit mode and lets you to easily reshuffle or uninstall applications. You can also cover the apps you don't need but you can't install.






The app drawer menu • settings • hiding apps

You can opt to create the icons in the app drawer bigger, too. If you select an app whilst in edit mode, a pop up will let you see information like storage footprint.





App drawer • editing

LG borrowed a few tricks from Samsung's TouchWiz and implemented its own version of Samsung's Smart Stay, called...Smart screen. It uses the front cam to detect whether you're looking at the screen. This means you can browse the phone for hours on discontinue without it auto-locking itself. We can confirm that the feature works very well.

SmartVideo on the other hand will pautilize a currently playing video when you see away. That's another thing copied over from TouchWiz.




Smart Screen and Smart Video

But wait, there is more! LG has its own alternative to the Multi Window split classy screen feature from TouchWiz as well. LG calls it Dual Window and it lets you run two apps side by side. You can adjust the division line giving one app more space. Only compatible apps can be used with Multi-window, for now that means mostly the ones that come preinstalled on the phone. You can't run two instances of the same app like you can do on the latest TouchWiz UI. You can still easily swap the two apps or resize the windows.






Dual Window in action

Finally, yet another TouchWiz feature sneaks into Optimus UI - the Answer Me option. If enabled, the G Flex will automatically respond an incoming call once you bring the phone to your ear.



Incoming call options

The so-called Quick Memo function is integrated in the phone's OS, allowing you to capture classy screen shots of anything (including the lockscreen!) and scribble notes over them like you would on the LG Optimus G, G Pro and G2. You can save the result as an image or add it to the Notebook app.

You can launch the Quick Memo without unlocking the phone while holding the volume up key (holding the volume down fires up the camera). Otherwise you can launch the app pretty much from everywhere via its dedicated shortslit in the notification area or with a swipe up gesture on the Home key. If you've enabled the Quick Memo key on the navigation bar, it's probably the easiest way to access this feature.






Quick Memo in action

LG Quiet Mode is also enabled. It works in a similar way to the Do Not Disturb feature on iOS 6 and the Blocking Mode at Samsung's Galaxies. It gives you extra control over incoming call alerts.

If turned on, Quiet mode will mute incoming calls and you can set the time of day when it gets activated every day.






Quiet Mode

Just like DnD on iOS 6, Quet mode has an exception list where you can add some contacts that won't be affected by its restrictions.

You can easily activate Quiet mode from the dedicated toggle in the Settings menu. When it is on, an icon appears in the left corner of the status bar.

Another reasonably useful feature is the Clip Tray. Upon a tap and hrecent on links, images, music and video files, phone numbers or just chinks of text, you can copy them to the Clip Tray to paste later in messages, emails, the browser, etc. The Clip Tray items are displayed at the bottom of the classy screen (you must have at least 2 items in the tray).




Clip Tray in action

Finally, there is one more recent feature we need to discuss - the One-hand operations. We saw this a while ago on the Huawei Ascdiscontinue Mate. With One hand operations enabled, you can go the classy screen unlock, dialer, and the keyboard to the left or correct of the screen, depending on which hand you are using. It's a handy feature to have on such a gigantic device. You can also enable one-hand operations for the system-wide capacitive keys.






One-handed operations in action


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