LG G Flex2 review: A new angle

GSMArena team, 18 February 2015.

Performance

The LG G Flex2 is the first smartphone we meet that utilizes the latest available Snapdragon 810 chipset. Its processor comprises of four Cortex-A57 cores clocked at 2.0GHz and another four Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.5GHz. All eight cores have 64-bit support and the new ART runtime compiler within Android Lollipop is able to fully utilize their potential.

The Snapdragon 810 chip also introduces a new Adreno 430 GPU, which should provide better performance compared to the Adreno 420 accelerator in the Galaxy Note 4's Snapdragon 805. Combined with the 1080p display, it should provide blazing-fast experience compared to any QHD-screen touting flagship.

Finally, LG G Flex2 comes with 2GB RAM for the 16GB model and 3GB RAM within the 32GB flavor. LG has been doing this separation since the LG G3 and while we don't approve it, there is nothing we can do. Our review unit is the 16GB variety.

Even before we got our LG G Flex2, the news broke that the Snapdragon 810 chip was having issues with overheating and Qualcomm is working on a newer version of the chip. This may have even led Samsung to drop Qualcomm as chip supplier for the upcoming Galaxy S6.

Unfortunately, the LG G Flex2 being the first adopter of the S810 hardware, would be a prime example of the new chipset pros and cons.

Our impression is that the LG G Flex2 got really warm while running a game, or even a benchmark app, for that matter. We also noticed, that when running benchmarks, its performance dropped after the first run, suggesting there is some sort of CPU performance throttling taking place when the temperature rises. The performance penalty amounted to about 20% and it restored back to normal only after the phone had the chance to cool off.

We contacted LG on the matter and here's their official statement:

"The devices sampled are representative of final industrial design and user experience but are continuing to undergo additional optimizations to enhance benchmark performance. We expect our upcoming software releases to provide further improvements in this area. We remain confident that the G Flex2 will deliver great experiences to our customers with a tremendous blend of multimedia, performance and industry-leading design."

In their response, LG further specified this update should be released in time for the worldwide launch of the phone, so the users won't have to worry about waiting for it. What this means is that they expect to release a software update to change the automatic CPU throttling trigger levels - at least in benchmark scenarios, hopefully making the benchmark results from different runs more consistent.

Having all that in mind we proceed with our benchmarks. To speed up the cooling off period we resorted to placing the G Flex2 inside our office in-between the individual runs. All benchmark results listed below were obtained after such cool off period in order to assess the maximum performance of the new chipset and avoid reaching the overeager automatic CPU throttling trigger levels.

So, the first test we use is GeekBench 3, which estimates the multi-core performance of the octa-core processor. Apparently, the LG G Flex2 aced our chart, doing a hair better than Meizu MX4's MediaTek MT6595 chip. Back at the G Flex2 unveiling event we also had the chance to do a GeekBench 3 run back then it did even better at about 3,950.

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • LG G Flex2
    3604
  • Meizu MX4
    3556
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    3394
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    3386
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3287
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3120
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    2923
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    2884
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2860
  • Oppo N3
    2704
  • LG G3
    2370
  • LG G Flex
    2254

Next, we put the LG G Flex2 through the compound AnTuTu test, which gauges not only processor, but graphics and memory performance as well. The new Flex2 did excellent, but not enough to beat the Meizu MX4 Pro and the Lollipop-running Galaxy Note 4. Both of this competitors feature higher resolution displays and slightly lesser chipsets, so this is our first clue LG has to work more to improve the performance.

AnTuTu 5

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    49273
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    48489
  • LG G Flex2
    47680
  • Meizu MX4
    46922
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    45530
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    45348
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    44258
  • LG G3
    42038
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    40393
  • Oppo N3
    39245

The new BaseMark OS II 2.0 is another compound test, which in addition to CPU, GPU and RAM, calculates web performance and storage speeds. The LG G Flex2 topped our chart doing much better than all other smartphones we've tested so far.

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • LG G Flex2
    1726
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    1267
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    1255
  • Oppo N3
    1241
  • LG G3
    1189
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    1186
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    1160
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    863
  • Meizu MX4
    666

Unfortunately, the single and multi-core performance of the new processor isn't the one contributing for the great overall score. The CPU is performing less than expected, probably because LG has trimmed down its performance for a while. The scores are still great, but not as great as all of us expected them to be.

Basemark OS 2.0 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    6165
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    5674
  • LG G Flex2
    5597
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    5557
  • LG G3
    5396
  • Oppo N3
    5341
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    5235
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    3118
  • Meizu MX4
    2219

Basemark OS 2.0 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    21140
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    19237
  • LG G Flex2
    18856
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    18386
  • Oppo N3
    16774
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    16543
  • LG G3
    16485
  • Meizu MX4
    12671
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    12080

LG G Flex2 is the first smartphone to feature the new Adreno 430 GPU. It also comes with a 1080p display instead of a QHD one, which should give it a computing advantage over devices like the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. We ran both offscreen and onscreen tests of the GFX Benchmark, here is how the LG G Flex2 did.

Quite expectedly, the Adreno 430 turned out the best GPU we've tested so far and aced both offscreen tests. It is 20% more powerful than the Adreno 420 in the Snapdragon 805 chip and the PowerVR G6450 in the iPhone 6 Plus.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • LG G Flex2
    49
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    44.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    42.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    40
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    28
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    27.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    27
  • LG G3
    26
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    26
  • Meizu MX4
    22.7
  • LG G Flex
    22

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • LG G Flex2
    22
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    18.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    18.3
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    18
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    12
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    12
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    12
  • LG G3
    11
  • Meizu MX4
    7.9

You bet the onscreen results turned as impressive as we'd expected them to be. The Adreno 430 is an impressive leader, but part of this lead is due to the fact that competing devices utilize higher QHD resolutions.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • LG G Flex2
    48
  • LG G Flex
    33
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    30
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    29.3
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    28
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    26.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    26
  • Meizu MX4
    21.3
  • LG G3
    20
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    17

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • LG G Flex2
    22
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    13
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    12.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    12
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    9.9
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    7.8
  • LG G3
    7.7
  • Meizu MX4
    7.4

Oddly, the BaseMark X GPU benchmark put the G Flex2 on the second place, a whisker lesser than the Lollipop-running Galaxy Note 4.

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    20043
  • LG G Flex2
    19369
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    18297
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    17108
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    12637
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    12257
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    11798
  • LG G3
    10580
  • Oppo N3
    10168
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    9111
  • Meizu MX4
    8324

Next, we've put the LG G Flex2's default web browser through the Kraken JavaScript test and it beat all devices we've tested so far.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • LG G Flex2
    4621
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    4650
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    5109
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    5181
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    5968
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    6355
  • Oppo N3
    6460
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    7023
  • LG G3
    7632
  • Meizu MX4
    9408
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    10193

The LG G Flex2 browser might be great on JavaScript, but its overall experience turned out only the second-best, outdone by the iPhone 6 Plus and the Lollipop-running Galaxy Note 4.

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3389
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    2232
  • LG G Flex2
    2086
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    2066
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    2056
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    1533
  • HTC One (M8) Lollipop
    1460
  • LG G3
    1453
  • Oppo N3
    730
  • Meizu MX4
    720

Is the Snapdragon 810 chip better than the previous generation? It definitely is, especially its Adreno 430 GPU. Sure, the S810 chip has issues but we expect those to be overcome very soon. Even with throttled down performance, it still does an amazing job and we can't wait to see the S810 in its full glory. The LG G Flex2 is a true flagship, with blazing-fast performance. Under stress, we often found it to heat up in top left corner, but we've never seen it overheat.