While most smartphone manufacturers are competing for the sharpest display or fastest processor, LG and Samsung are duking it out for dominance in a relatively new territory. Both Korean electronics giants have announced curved display handsets within a month of one another, further contributing to their rivalry in the mobile space. The Samsung Galaxy Round and newly announced LG G Flex both sport displays with flexible properties that allow for a rounded design, but that doesn’t mean they’re all that similar. Read on to see how the two curved smartphones stack up.
Both phones feature a curved screen, but they are rounded in different axes on the phone. The 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Round is bended horizontally, creating a shape that keeps its sides from touching the surface when it’s laid flat. This means you can press one edge to tip the phone to the left or right, which will automatically trigger the display to show notifications.
The 6-inch G Flex, comparatively, is curved vertically from the top to the bottom. LG claims that this reduces the distance between one’s mouth to the microphone when the device is held against the user’s ear.
Other than their rounded displays, both the LG G Flex and Samsung Galaxy Round look a lot like the manufacturers’ flagships. The Galaxy Round features the same plastic-crafted design as Samsung’s other phones in the Galaxy line. It looks similar to the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy Note 3 with its boxy corners and rectangular design, unlike the softer rounded edges of the Galaxy S3.
The G Flex appears to be borrowing design cues from the LG G2, complete with its thin side bezels and Rear Key power and volume buttons on the back. In fact, the G Flex looks almost identical to the G2 thanks to its plain form factor and roomy display.
Measuring 6.32 x 3.21 x 0.32-0.34 inches, the LG G Flex is slightly longer, wider and thicker than the 5.95 x 3.13 x 0.31-inch Samsung Galaxy Round. LG’s offering is also heavier at 6.2 ounces, versus the 5.43-ounce Galaxy Round.
When it comes to what’s on the inside, both the Galaxy Round and G Flex offer strong specs. Both handsets are powered by a roaring Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and feature 13-megapixel rear cameras. Their front-facing shooters are similar, but differ slightly in that the G Flex’s comes with a 2.1-megapixel sensor and the Galaxy Round’s 2 megapixels.Samsung’s handset also comes with 3GB of RAM as opposed to the 2GB of memory on LG’s handset.
While both phones appear to be on par in terms of internals, Samsung wins the display round. The Galaxy Round comes with a 5.7-inch 1080 x 1920 resolution Super AMOLED touch screen, while the LG G Flex features a 6-inch 1280 x 720 OLED panel. However, LG’s offering comes with a larger 3,500 mAh battery compared to the Galaxy Round’s 2,800 mAh battery.
Both LG and Samsung have implemented features that take advantage of the devices’ rounded displays. The Galaxy Round, for instance, comes with a feature called Roll Effect that wakes up the display to show notifications when you tip it toward you. Bounce UX lets users control music without turning on the display by tapping the left side to go back a track and touching the right side to move forward. Side Mirror displays additional information about videos or images when you tilt the phone from side to side.
LG’s G Flex comes with a number of features that not only utilize its curved screen, but add more functionality to the Rear Key design as well. QTheater lets users quickly access photos, videos and YouTube directly from the lock screen by dragging outward along the curved surface with both fingers. As you drag your fingers, a theater curtain effect will appear to introduce your video.
LG is touting the so-called “self healing” technology in the G Flex as one of its major selling points. The handset comes with a protective film on the back cover that LG says can get rid of scratches on the phone within minutes.
Dual Window divides the display into two separate windows for more effective multitasking, which is slightly different than LG’s QSlide feature which creates a floating browser effect for opening multiple apps. Swing Lockscreen alters the image on the lock screen depending on the way the G Flex is held, and Face Detection Indicator displays the LED on the Rear Key in green to confirm the status of face detection. Camera Timer also flashes the Rear Key’s LED to indicate that the countdown has begun, and Urgent Call Alert flashes this LED in red when you’ve missed several calls from the same person.
Price and Availability
Both phones are set to debut in Korea, but it's unclear if either device will hit North America. The G Flex will be available in Korea starting in November, and the company says that additional markets will be announced thereafter. No pricing for the G Flex has been announced just yet, but the Galaxy Round sells for the equivalent of $1,013 in U.S. currency (1.09 million won) in Korea.