LG G Flex (T-Mobile) review

The LG G Flex shows off the potential of curved display technology, but it's the fast performance and top-notch multitasking prowess that make this loaded phablet more than just a tech demo.
Photo of LG G Flex (T-Mobile)

The LG G Flex is big, fast, and—you guessed it—flexible. Beyond that, it’s also one of the most versatile extra-large phablets around, thanks to LG’s excellent multitasking implementation. T-Mobile’s done away with carrier subsidies, so you can’t snag the Flex for the same $300 you would on AT&T or Sprint. Still, at $672 up front or 24 monthly payments of $28, the Flex is actually slightly more affordable than the $708 Samsung Galaxy Note 3. We still like the Note 3 better thanks to its sharper display, equally adept multitasking, and unparalleled stylus integration, but the Flex is certainly worthy of consideration.

We’ve already reviewed the LG G Flex on AT&T, so head over to that review for a full rundown on the design and features. The T-Mobile version is physically identical, so we’ll focus on the carrier differences for this review.

Network and Call Quality
The T-Mobile Flex supports the carrier’s UMTS/HSPA+ (850/1700/1900/2100MHz) and LTE (1700MHz) networks. T-Mobile is aggressively building out its LTE network, but it’s still a ways away from matching Verizon and AT&T for nationwide coverage. Where it is available, though, you’ll see great speeds, and the HSPA+ network is no slouch either. In my tests in New York City, I saw speeds around 9Mbps down and 7Mbps up on LTE. Those aren’t optimal speeds, but I tested during a stretch of heavy winter weather, and a Galaxy Note 3 on T-Mobile pulled down similar results side by side.

Note: The slideshow below is of the Sprint LG G Flex, which is physically identical to the T-Mobile Flex.

Call quality was good overall, matching my experience with the Flex on AT&T and Sprint. Earpiece volume is plenty loud and voices come through clearly. Transmissions through the mic were a bit fuzzy at times, but my voice sounded full enough and not digitized. Noise cancellation was solid, reducing loud buses speeding past to a low drone. 

Inside is a custom-made, curved 3500mAh battery back, which is one of the largest we’ve seen. We haven’t been able to run a complete battery drain, but the Sprint version lasted for 9 hours of continuous talk time while only discharging 40 percent of its battery.

Bloatware, Android, and Conclusions
Of the 32GB of internal storage, 23.9GB is available to users out of the box. T-Mobile’s pre-loads are about on par with Sprint’s, including some non-removable carrier apps like T-Mobile TV and Name ID. There’s also Lookout Security and a link to download the snowboarding game SSX, both of which can be disabled, but not removed. Other than the bloatware, the T-Mobile Flex is more or less identical to the AT&T version as far as software goes, including the tabbed settings menu and built-in keyboards. T-Mobile also added its usual array of account tracking widgets to the notification pane—they take up a large portion of the pane, but can be disabled in the T-Mobile Account app.

The LG G Flex is in impressive feat of engineering, but beyond the curved, flexing design, LG did a great job packing the Flex with features that make the extra-large size worthwhile. Watching videos on the panoramic, curved display is a joy, while dual-window multitasking lets you really take advantage of the Flex’s power and screen real estate. It’s the largest phone available on T-Mobile, but our Editors’ Choice for phablets remains the Galaxy Note 3 thanks to its sharper display and stylus support.

Specifications
Phone Capability / Network GSM, UMTS, LTE
Screen Resolution 1280 x 720 pixels
NFC Yes
Dimensions 6.32 x 3.21 x 0.31 inches
802.11x/Band(s) 802.11 b/g/n/ac
Video Camera Resolution 1080p
Available Integrated Storage 23.9 GB
Processor Speed 2.26 GHz
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-Core
GPS Yes
Service Provider T-Mobile
Total Integrated Storage 32 GB
High-Speed Data UMTS, LTE, HSPA+ 42
Weight 6.24 oz
Screen Type P-OLED
Operating System as Tested Android 4.2.2
Physical Keyboard No
Camera Resolution 13 MP Rear
2.1 MP Front-Facing
Screen Pixels Per Inch 245 ppi
Bands 850, 1900, 2100, 1700
microSD Slot No
Form Factor Candy Bar
Screen Size 6 inches
Bluetooth Version 4

Verdict
The LG G Flex shows off the potential of curved display technology, but it's the fast performance and top-notch multitasking prowess that make this loaded phablet more than just a tech demo.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
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