LG’s Curved G Flex Smartphone Apparently Heals Itself

Smartphones with flexible displays just got "real."

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The curved display pissing match between LG and Samsung continues with the announcement of LG’s G Flex smartphone.

LG’s G Flex press release claims that it’s the first “real” curved display phone, whose 6-inch screen flexes from top to bottom and gently contours around the face.

The PR headline may be a subtle dig at Samsung’s Galaxy Round, which curves from side to side, and is only a prototype with limited availability. LG says that its phone will be available on all three major Korean wireless carriers next month, with launches in other markets to follow.

LG has a couple other unique selling points: The back of the phone has a “self-healing” elastic coating that can supposedly recover from minor nicks and scratches. LG’s also touting its curved battery technology, which manages 3,500 mAh–more than a full day’s charge, LG says–while minimizing stress from the curved design.

Other specs for the LG G Flex include a 2.26 GHz quad-coore processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 2.1-megapixel front camera. The specs are similar to LG’s flagship G2 smartphone, but while the body is a tiny bit thinner, it’s roughly 24% heavier at 0.39 pounds. The other downside is that the G Flex’s display resolution is a mere 720p, compared to 1080p on LG’s G2.

As for why you’d even want a curved display phone, LG says it fits better in your hand or pocket, and provides an extra 3 dB of call volume by fitting the natural arc of the average face.

The company also claims that the display “offers an iMAX-like experience” for movies and games when in landscape mode, and that its use of plastic substrates instead of glass makes for a more durable device. Surprisingly, “it’s just kind of nifty” is not among LG’s talking points.

Whether the curved display technology winds its way into more mainstream phones is another question, but given that Samsung’s Galaxy Round costs about $1,000, it’ll probably be a while before it becomes a standard feature.

And while we’d like to see curved screens on the smartwatches of the future, display makers will have to achieve higher degrees of flex before it really makes a difference. Still, we can’t complain about the one-upmanship from the rival Korean companies as long it keeps them sufficiently motivated.