The first new smartphone unveiled at CES 2015 is a follow-up to the LG G Flex, which was on display here in Las Vegas at CES 2014 a year ago. The LG G Flex 2 brings back the curved, (slightly) flexible form factor of the original, but gives a major boost to its hardware and software.
The G Flex 2 has a 5.5-inch display, which means it actually shrunk from the full-blown phablet size of the original G Flex's 6-inch display. But the slightly smaller screen has been bumped up to a Curved P-OLED capable of 1080 x 1920 pixels and 403 pixels per inch. LG also claims that the screen on the G Flex 2 can withstand 20 percent more force, to prevent broken displays.
Another distinctive feature of the original G Flex, its self-healing back plate that recovers from scratches and scuffs in a few minutes, has been improved to heal itself in as little as 10 seconds.
The G Flex 2 is also set to be the first phone to ship with a 64-bit Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset, this one running at 2.0GHz.
There are a few camera upgrades as well, with a 13-megapixel rear shooter with laser auto focus and LG's optical image stabilization plus (OIS+). The front selfie cam takes 2.1 megapixel shots – more on how that works farther down.
The final hardware upgrade worth mentioning is a 3,000-mAh battery with turbo-charging capability. LG claims the world's only curve battery is also capable of charging up from zero to 50 percent in about 40 minutes.
On the software side of things, the G Flex 2 gets upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop and adds a few interesting new wrinkles like "glance view," which is similar to active display on Motorola phones, allowing you to quickly see the time and new notifications by simply swiping down from the top of the screen, even when the display is off.
The LG camera app also makes use of a novel gesture control to take selfies. Hold the phone out to take a selfie, then hold up your hand to activate gesture shot. Make a fist with that hand and it will trigger a three-second countdown for you to strike the perfect pose before the camera automatically takes your selfie. When you move your phone down, this is also a gesture that automatically previews your shot. If you're not satisfied, just hold the device back up in selfie-taking position and the phone automatically switches back from preview to camera mode. Simple as it may seem, this was a popular trick at the demo table, that worked without fail every time I saw a member of the press or LG's team try it.
A few other details of note include the G Flex 2's 2 GB or RAM, microSD slot, LTE capability, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, 16 or 32 GB or storage and a total weight of 152 grams.
No word yet on price or availability just yet.