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LG Optimus L1 II Tri E475
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Quick Overview
  • This Mobile runs on Android OS, v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) powered with 1 GHz Cortex-A5.
  • This Mobile has 2 MP, 1600 x 1200 pixels and has No Secondary camera
  • This Mobile has 3.0 inches (~46.1% screen-to-body ratio) inches display TFT capacitive touchscreen, 256K colors.
  • This Mobile has 4 GB, 512 MB RAM of internal memory.
  • This Mobile has Li-Ion 1540 mAh battery
  • This Mobile has Triple SIM sim
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GENERAL
2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2 & SIM 3
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 2100
Sim Triple SIM
Announced 2/1/2014
Status Available. Released 2014, February
BODY
Dimensions 102.6 x 58.9 x 13.3 mm (4.04 x 2.32 x 0.52 in)
Weight 104.6 g (3.67 oz)
DISPLAY
Display Size 3.0 inches (~46.1% screen-to-body ratio)
MultiTouch Yes
SOUND
AlertTypes Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
LoudSpeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY
CardSlot microSD, up to 32 GB
Internal 4 GB, 512 MB RAM
DATA
GPRS Class 12
EDGE Class 12
Speed HSPA 7.2/5.76 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot
Blue Tooth v3.0, A2DP
USB microUSB v2.0
CAMERA
Camera Primary 2 MP, 1600 x 1200 pixels
Camera Features Geo-tagging
CameraVideo 480p@30fps
CameraSecondary No
FEATURES
OS Android OS, v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
CPU 1 GHz Cortex-A5
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML
Radio FM radio/recorder
GPS Yes, with A-GPS
Java No
Colors Black, White, Pink
Others - MP4/H.263 player - MP3/WAV/AAC player - Document viewer - Photo viewer/editor - Voice memo/dial
BATTERY
Battery Li-Ion 1540 mAh battery
MISC
SAREU 0.74 W/kg (head) 0.45 W/kg (body)

IN DEPTH: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge vs LG G Flex 2

Battery, camera comparison

Smartphones have reached the point where designs are more iterative than innovative. While the look and feel changes only slightly on new models each year, manufacturers haven't done much to wow consumers beyond the traditional rectangular slab of glass, metal and plastic.

LG attempted to shake things up last year with first G Flex, a 6-inch smartphone with a curved display and slightly flexible frame, and Samsung soon followed with their own take on this concept, courtesy of the Galaxy Note Edge, a phablet-sized model featuring a display that wraps around the right side.

These Korean tech titans wasted no time announcing all-new versions of these devices for 2015, and we sat down with both in an effort to determine whether curved and flexible displays actually enhance the experience or are little more than a marketing gimmick.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge display

Screen

Although it won't hit stores until April 10 (with preorders now available in 20 countries), the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is little more than a variant of this year's Samsung Galaxy S6, featuring nearly identical specs with one notable exception: The Edge's display gently wraps around both sides of the front.

Otherwise, the Galaxy S6 Edge offers the same 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display as its less curvaceous sibling, with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 that packs in a whopping 577ppi.

The new LG G Flex 2 one-ups Samsung's latest with a 5.5-inch Full HD P-OLED display which curves slightly from top to bottom, and like its predecessor, can handle a bit of bending without breaking.

Despite the larger screen, the G Flex 2 tops out at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with a pixel density of only 403ppi, but LG attempts to make up for this shortcoming by comparing the curved display to its high-end televisions, offering a more cinematic viewing experience in landscape mode with three modes (Standard, Vivid or Natural) to make any content look great.

LG G Flex 2 profile

Design

Weighing only 4.66 ounces (132 grams), Samsung's curved Galaxy S6 Edge offers a premium feel that's slightly less ergonomic along the edges, but the aluminum frame and 7mm thickness make the device feel lighter than the Galaxy S6.

Roughly the size of an iPhone 6, Samsung borrowed a somewhat annoying trait from Apple's latest flagship handset: The rear camera protrudes from the back ever so slightly, presumably a design compromise to keep the device slim and trim.

Instead of curving around the edges, LG's G Flex 2 bends the entire case inward vertically, and because of the larger display size, its contoured body weighs slightly more at 5.36 ounces (152 grams) with a 5.87 x 2.96 x 0.37-inch (149.1 x 75.3 x 9.4mm) frame.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge both sides

Processor and Storage

Just because it looks so nice on the outside, that's no reason to be a slouch when it comes to what's on the inside.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge obliges with an octa-core, 64-bit Exynos 7 Octa 7420 processor clocked at 2.1GHz capped off by a Mali-T760 MP8 GPU and a whopping 3GB RAM and up to 128GB of storage for good measure.

LG mostly made up for the lack of oomph on the first G Flex by slapping an octa-core, 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor into the sequel, clocked at 2.0GHz with Adreno 430 GPU and the same 3GB RAM.

Unfortunately, the built-in storage on the G Flex 2 maxes out at 32GB, but up to a totally insane 2TB of additional storage is available from an optional microSD card – a feature sadly lacking on the otherwise hardware-rich Galaxy S6 Edge.

Battery, cameras and features comparison

LG G Flex 2 back cover removed

Battery

If you love the flexibility of swapping in a new battery when the current one runs out, neither of these curvy smartphones are likely to make you smile.

It's too early to know what the battery life will be like on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, but the 2600mAh power pack doesn't offer a whole lot of encouragement on this front.

By comparison, the G Flex 2 packs a 3000mAh battery (reduced from 3500mAh in the previous model), but before LG can boast about having more power, there's the matter of that larger 5.5-inch display to consider.

Thankfully, the fast charging capabilities of both models should have you back in action quickly – our own review of the LG G Flex 2 topped up from a complete discharge in just over an hour and a half.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge camera

Cameras

Samsung hasn't held back when it comes to the Galaxy S6 Edge camera: Rocking a 16MP, f1.9 aperture sensor with dual LED flash and optical image stabilization capable of shooting 4K video up to 3840 x 2160, the rear camera is no slouch.

By comparison, the LG G Flex 2 borrows liberally from the LG G3 to provide a 13MP sensor that otherwise checks off the same feature list above on the Galaxy S6 Edge, although the laser auto focus is one noteworthy addition.

Neither model breaks much new ground with the front camera, however: Samsung touts a "best-in-class" 5MP sensor with 120º wide angle lens, while LG's tops out a 2.1MP, which the manufacturer claims is enough to use it as a "full HD camcorder."

LG G Flex 2 in hand

Features

The remaining feature checklist is relatively the same for both handsets: Each ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the gate, with the usual Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wireless on board.

Aside from curved edges, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge also offers built-in Qi and Powermat-compatible wireless charging.

LG instead opted to include a selfie-friendly "Gesture Shot" mode on the G Flex 2, which provides a three-second timer on the front-facing camera that can be activated with a gesture; tilting the camera down allows the user to review images instead.

Like the original G Flex, the sequel also features that bizarre self-healing back, which didn't do all that much to impress in our own review of the G Flex 2. More impressive is the Glance view, which offers a peek at what's happening without the need to actually turn on the device.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge connected

Galaxy Edge 6 vs G Flex 2 Verdict

This two-horse race ultimately comes down to just how curvy you want: Along the edges of the handset with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, or on the entire smartphone with the LG G Flex 2.

LG has a slight advantage since the handset is already available from two carriers for early adopters to take home, but to be honest, the whole concept of curved displays on a smartphone still causes us to scratch our collective heads more than be impressed.

Samsung isn't likely to woo many potential Galaxy S6 buyers away from the flagship device in favor of the Galaxy S6 Edge either, but those in search of a more premium edition worthy of making friends envious will want to wait it out a bit longer – assuming you can afford it, that is.








Review: UPDATED: LG G Flex 2

Introduction, design and display

The LG G Flex 2 I tested this month isn't the world's first curved smartphone, but it is the first one that has the muscle to back up its constant, ostentatious flexing.

This concave Android phone is the follow-up to the 2013's LG G Flex and, while it bends the same way, it has new dimensions and a much better display that make it less of a gimmick.

LG G Flex 2 is noticeably smaller and easier to hold with a 5.5-inch screen, which matches the display size of the LG G3. The previous Flex was a full 6 inches.

Going with that new, more manageable size is a high-resolution P-OLED touchscreen that's 1080p, up from the decidedly deficient 720p display of the original.

With a faster Snapdragon processor, speedier RAM and Android 5.0 Lollipop on board this banana-shaped phone, the LG G Flex 2 is both trendy-looking and powerful - most of the time.

LG G Flex 2 review

The specs make more sense this time around, but does a curved smartphone make sense to begin with? I bent over backwards to test out all of the following features in my full review.

Release date and price

Straight from South Korea, the LG G Flex 2 I tested is available on only one carrier in the US and the UK. In the US, Sprint is the first network with the phone, though AT&T has a vague "first quarter" launch. Verzion and T-Mobile haven't announced a release date. In the UK, Vodafone is the exclusive carrier for the first six weeks starting in March.

How much does it cost? While it's the equivalent of $737 (about £480, AU$943) without a contract in LG's home country, Sprint's charging $250 with a two-year contract and offering a $50 mail in rebate. All of a sudden $199 isn't so bad. Without an expensive contract, the LG G Flex 2 price is $504. It's a lot upfront, but actually a better deal than most US phones off-contract.

Vodafone, meanwhile, is selling the curved phone for £19 with monthly plans starting at £39.50. There's no SIM-free option just yet, but expect it to hover around £539. All prices are infinitely better than the original Flex that cost $700 (£690).

LG G Flex 2 review

Design

As the name suggests, the LG G Flex 2 features a slight curve from top to bottom. That's in contrast to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, which curved on its right and left sides. It doesn't radically change the look and feel of the phone like LG's marketing would have you believe.

Instead, the curve gives it a subtle bow in the middle so, like one of LG's new 4K TVs, its faint curvature goes from a 400mm to a 700mm radius. It's a little more durable by flexing, a little more immersive for multimedia viewing and a little better-sounding during phone calls.

LG G Flex 2 review

The Flex 2 felt contoured to my face and more accessible with one hand than a normal 5.5-inch phone. Throwing it under my foot several dozen times to apply pressure and straighten out the frame, the phone always flexed back into its original arch shape. I've seen the G Flex withstand 1,000 pounds of pressure, and LG claims this one is even stronger. It's the ultimate anti-iPhone 6 BendGate phone.

But more than anything, the G Flex 2 comes off as a trend-setting phone, even if a technical need for such a design is as subtle the curve. It serves to spice up the almost-always-flat and boring phone designs we see year in and year out. The Flex 2's colors include Flamenco Red and Platinum Silver at launch, and I happily ended up with the more-striking red variant.

To that point, the LG G Flex 2 attracted plenty of looks and praise from people I showed it to this week. Yes, it's plastic, but it's also extremely lightweight for its size at 152 g (5.36 oz) and feels natural in a pocket. It seemingly disappeared in my left pocket during a three-hour bike ride, whereas I my "smaller" iPhone 6 felt ever-present in my right pocket.

That has actually been the No. 1 question everyone has had about it: how is a curved phone supposed to fit in your pocket? Remember, thighs - at least mine - are curved. And back pockets? You better believe that area is plenty curved too.

The LG G Flex 2 actually fits better than any straight-shaped brick phone. In fact, the only two problems I've had with the curved design is getting a case to protect it and attaching it to my car windshield's via an existing smartphone dash mount.

Of course, a case isn't supposed to be all that necessary. Like its predecessor, this second edition of the phone boasts a self-healing back, one that kicks things into "advanced" adjective mode. That's right, LG now has coined the bluntly-named "advanced self-healing back."

LG G Flex 2 scratches

It can recover from light scratches in about 10 seconds, due to its high-density molecular shell. The previous Flex took about three minutes for its mutant Wolverine-like powers to kick in.

That's an impressive turnaround, but looking at the back cover, I still received what must be considered "medium" scratches that haven't gone away. Sadly, it doesn't live up to the hype - don't put this phone in the same pocket as some teethy keys.

Complimenting the Flex 2's easy-to-grip tiny arch is the fact that it has no buttons on the frame. The side and top are free of the power and volume buttons I so commonly press on other phones that I grab. LG stuck with its design formula that puts them on the back cover.

The placement will always be strange. It's either a love-it wise decision or hate-it design flaw. Getting used to where the power button is was difficult at first and often led to inadvertent camera smudges. Taking screenshots of the Flex 2's interface was also a problem.

LG G Flex 2 review

That said, with a little practice, my index finger and brain got used to the novel approach eventually, and I really appreciated the button-free frame. I also heavily relied on the double-tap-to-wake technique to turn on the screen.

I can't say I could ever get used to the back speaker, however. At a time when the top-rated HTC One M8 and its successor HTC One M9 are giving us front-firing stereo BoomSound speakers that project music in the correct direction, LG is busy spitting the jams from one speaker embedded in the back cover. It's a powerful tweeter, sure, but awkwardly placed.

LG G Flex 2 review

Display

The original LG G Flex developed a cult following, one that lauded its 6-inch phablet size, and some of those people will miss that aspect. No one will miss the 720p display.

LG uses the same curved plastic OLED display technology, but gives the Flex 2 the 1080p, full HD boost it deserves. More pixels combined with the smaller 5.5-inch display leaves us with 403 pixels per inch, not the original's jaggy-ridden 245ppi.

That's a real reason to buy this phone. The screen looks like it has 2.5 times as many pixels, because, well, it does. Less important, and not a real reason to buy it, is the "immersion factor." I found myself sucked into games a tiny bit more and, in landscape mode, the phone offers just the right bezel-to-screen ratio. It's easier to see in sunlight too, but its value is negligible.

LG G Flex 2 review

In fact, for the expected LG G Flex 2 price, you can get a higher-resolution smartphone right now, even one from LG, and save money. Its own LG G3 flagship sports a 1440p Quad HD display that measures 5.5 inches. Its 2,560 x 1,440 resolution comes out to 534 pixels per inch. So, as much as the G Flex 2 has caught up, the competition is now further along, packing in even more pixels than before. And the LG G4 release date may be a few short months away.

Extra pixels are nice, but 1080p should be good enough for everyone, whether or not they're stuck using Apple devices (that's the max "cutting-edge" resolution for just the iPhone 6 Plus). The jump from 720p to 1080p is more significant to the human eye than the trendy move to 1440p, anyway, and the G Flex 2 screen offers more durability. Its specially coated Gorilla Glass 3 treatment, dubbed Dura Guard Glass, makes it 20% more durable, and the curve makes it likely to survive drops 30% more than flat phones. That's something that can't be matched. Not yet at least.

Specs and performance

At CES 2015, a few days into the new year, LG had joked that the LG G Flex 2 was the fastest device of 2015. All jokes aside, the specs, backed up by benchmarks, make that the partial truth.

LG's curved phone straight-up beat every other smartphone in our speed test initially, thanks to its first-ever use of the speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. It's the chip maker's latest 64-bit, octa-core system-on-a-chip with a clock speed of 2.0GHz.

LG G Flex 2 review

This blazing-fast CPU, combined with 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 430 graphics chip that's 30% faster than the GPU in the original G Flex, achieved a Geekbench 3 score of 3,506 at first. That would have handily beat the top-performing Samsung Galaxy Note 4's 3,351 score.

Then I ran the test again. The LG G Flex 2 score dropped to a still admirable 3,145. Okay, still in the ballpark. A third test drove the score down to 2,931, a fourth to 2,656, a fifth to 2,224 and a sixth to 2,191. You get the picture. It became nearly as slow as the LG G Flex (2,067).

These topsy-turvy benchmarking scores didn't affect my 3D gaming video watching exploits using the imported phone. Menus would stutter here and there, which is always annoying, but its overall performance was relatively lag-free. Instead, the LG G Flex 2 became hot around the back cover's power button and volume keys. At times, I couldn't turn the display brightness up past a certain percentage because the device needed to cool down. However, this has been a common protection of past LG smartphones too.

LG G Flex 2 review

Wouldn't you know it, by taking a short break, the score shot right back up to 3,427, which is more in line with how we expect the new Snapdragon 810 processor to perform. This led me to think that the chipset is experiencing overheating issues, but LG suggests that it's likely related to the software and can be fixed post-launch.

"The devices sampled are representative of final industrial design and user experience but are continuing to undergo additional optimizations to enhance benchmark performance," an LG representative told TechRadar in a statement.

"We expect our upcoming software releases to provide further improvements in this area. We remain confident that the G Flex 2 will deliver great experiences to our customers with a tremendous blend of multimedia, performance and industry-leading design."

In the future, once Snapdragon 810 becomes stabilized, it will compete with other top mobile CPUs including Samsung's Exynos chips. It should get even better, too, as 3GB of RAM is included in the souped-up Flex 2 model with 32GB of internal storage. I tested the 2GB RAM model with 16GB of space, which is expandable up to 2TB via a microSD slot behind the back cover.

LG G Flex 2 review

Call quality

As novel as the LG G Flex 2 is in design and performance, one of the most important features at its core is making calls. Luckily, there are no ups and downs here.

Conference calls went on without a hitch when I used the phone normally, and the microphone was positioned closer to my face. That theoretically gave me a call quality compared to a candybar-style phone, like the iPhone 6. No one reported hearing a difference, of course.

The speakerphone was also adequate, though I still don't appreciate hearing all of my calls via the backward-facing speaker that's within the Flex 2 back cover.

Interface and apps

For those still waiting to upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop, the LG G Flex 2 is a shortcut to unlocking the newest version of Google's mobile operating system. The phone comes with the OS pre-loaded and is a huge improvement over the original LG G Flex that used the LG G2 interface.

It actually comes with Android 5.0.1, but you wouldn't know it, as visual draws of the Nexus 6 are masked by LG's own Optimus skin. That means, while it has a lot of the behind-the-scenes benefits of the new Android update, the interface looks almost exactly like that of the LG G3.

LG G Flex 2 review

Lockscreen notifications are the biggest change on the curvy phone. They can now be read as you enter a lockscreen password like the LG's tap-initiated Knock Code. The bottom home screen buttons that reflect Google's latest design guidelines and the "clear" button at the bottom of the notifications panel represent smaller alterations.

LG G Flex 2 reviewSliding left on the concave screen pulls up LG-exclusive widgets like its exercise-focused Health service and Smart Tips tutorial. Both are skippable. One of the best fitness trackers we have reviewed will do you a lot better with a modern user interface.

Sliding down from the top when the phone is unlocked reveals a combined quick controls and notifications menu. This is actually faster than Google's decision to force users to swipe twice (or with two fingers simultaneously) to access quick controls for WiFi, display brightness and Bluetooth.

Sliding down from the top when the phone is locked lets you peek at the time and date. It's provided me with a fast time check without forcing me to unlock the phone or kill the battery with the entire screen illuminated. I also really liked how I could set a home time and local time here, good when crossing country border in different time zones.

I also fully appreciate LG's decision to add an easy way to change the main volume and also dive into a volume submenu to adjust the ringtone, notifications and multimedia sound separately. There's nothing I hate more than turning the volume all the way down on my Nexus 6 only to play a blaring YouTube video in the middle of the night because the hidden-away media volume slider was still cranked all the way up.

LG G Flex 2 review

Movies and music

LG G Flex 2's curved display doesn't feel dramatically immersive for movies compared to any other smartphone I've tested. However, it's new 1080p resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio make it a multimedia treat nonetheless.

The 5.5-inch size isn't a big letdown either, despite the fact that I was previously using the much larger Google Nexus 6. The sound is my only complaint for movies and all music. The backward-facing speaker shoots audio in the wrong direction.

The sound didn't make me want to stop streaming Netflix, but it did make me want to reach for a tablet. There are no better signs than when a big smartphone makes you use your tablet less or stow your earbuds because the quality is just that good. In this case, LG gets it half right.

LG G Flex 2 review

Games

Playing games from the Google Play Store wasn't a problem, even though the Snapdragon 810 processor speeds were all over the place. It didn't slow down my 3D racing skills in Asphalt 8: Airborne. In fact, I bested my lap time.

This is where the curved display of the LG G Flex 2 is a little more immersive. By focusing on the screen so intently, I got a little sucked into the game. It wasn't revolutionary and certainly not a reason to spring for a more expensive phone. But the bend, combined with the proper bezel size that didn't interfere with the touchscreen, made it marginally superior for gaming.

Camera

The LG G Flex 2 acts like it's the curved version of the LG G3 when it comes to the camera specs. They're exactly the same and, in turn, much better than the first LG G Flex.

LG G Flex 2 review

Alright, it's the same 13-megapixel image sensor as before. But now we've got ourselves a competent camera with LG's speedy laser autofocus, optical image stabilization and dual LED flash. Whether the picture-taker's hand is shaking or the subject is moving, this camera does its best to remedy the situation. The image quality is right up there with current LG's flagship.

LG G Flex 2 review camera

The default camera app from LG is still straightforward without manual adjustments. Instead, returning modes let you get creative with panoramas and dual-lens shots that use the rear and front 2.1-megapixel camera, which never quite works out. Post-shot focus adjustments seems to have been axed from the app as a mode.

New to the LG G Flex 2 is the, for better or worse, increasingly-important selfie camera software, or at least one change to the routine. I was able to snap a selfie by holding an open hand and then forming a fist in the air to trigger the convenient three-second timer. Moving the phone from a high to a low angle to review the shot, the app automatically slides my photo into view, detecting my quick arm motion. It's just that much faster for me to delete the hideous photo.

The front-facing camera has a helpful new selfie functions, though its skin smooth still tries to erase my beard

I like this natural photo review process, which LG dubs "Gesture Shot," when using the front-facing camera. I still can't stand the skin smoothing slider that is automatically set to a medium four (out of eight). This "beauty bar" looks like every selfie I take is airbrushed in the worst possible way. Of course, reducing the slider to zero every time and taking a comparatively gritter-looking photo leaves me not wanting to take selfies at all. Maybe that's for the best.

Camera samples

The LG G Flex 2 camera features the same image sensor as the LG G3, which features the same image sensor as the G Flex, which features the same image sensor as the G2. But there have been like the G3, this curved phone features OIS+, a laser autofocus and a better selfie capture mode.

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

LG G Flex 2 review camera

Battery life

The G Flex 2 is better than its curved predecessor in every way save for battery life. It packs a 3,000mAh battery instead of the larger 3,500mAh size in its predecessor. You're not going to get two or more days from this handset, but are in the clear for all-day moderate use.

LG G Flex 2 review

TechRadar's smartphone battery life test proved it to last much longer than the LG G3, which also packs a 3,000mAh battery. Running a looped HD video for 90 minutes, the battery drained by 13%, while the G3 went down by a whopping 30%.

The difference? LG G3 is firing up way more pixels on account of its energy-sucking Quad HD display. Plus, to a lesser extent, it's not running the better-optimized Android 5.0 Lollipop OS.

The 6-inch LG G Flex from 2013 dropped by just 6% from a full charge, but the rule of thumb is bigger phone size, bigger battery. The shrunken LG G Flex 2 had to compromise on the size. I just wish LG didn't also settle on a non-removable battery. While the curved phone's back cover can be taken off to access the microSD card slot, there's no way to swap out the battery.

LG G Flex 2 review

On the plus side, the LG G Flex 2 now features fast-charging capabilities via its included travel charger. It's akin to Motorola's TurboCharger for the Droid Turbo, Moto X and Nexus 6. It charges 50% in 40 minutes, and I was able to reach a full charge in 1 hour and 38 minutes from a completely drained battery.

Verdict

My smartphone, unlike my cat, always seems to drop right smack on its face. I have broken the glass that protects the precious screen before. My phones certainly don't have nine lives, but, thanks its curve, maybe the G Flex 2 has a better chance at survival.

There's a lot to like about the LG G Flex 2, and thankfully most of the perks have to do with the specs and similarities to the LG G3. It doesn't just rely on the curve this time around.

lg g flex 3 review

We liked

The G Flex 2 has some muscle to it. Under the right conditions, it has the fastest processor of any smartphone and ports over LG G3's camera with an excellent snap-and-review selfie feature. Android 5.0 Lollipop is here in limited form, but that includes the decidedly clutch lock screen notifications.

This phone has the brains, so it's okay to pay attention to its slick-looking curvy features. Matching LG's curved 4K TV shape and coming in at a much more reasonable 5.5-inches, the flexible 1080p display is as comfortable as it is durable. This second Flex has a much better shot of breaking out of the series's current cult hit status.

lg g flex 2 review

We disliked

LG's G Flex 2 is once again solving a problem that not everyone is clamoring to fix, as much as people spend money on cracked-phone replacements and cases to prevent future accidents.

While the outside is trendy, the question remains: why not just go with the cheaper LG G3 or wait for the LG G4? The Flex 2's chipset benchmarks are inconsistent at the moment, and the battery here isn't swappable. The self-healing back doesn't pass the scratch test either.

LG G Flex 2 review

Final verdict

In a year-and-a-half since the LG G Flex first launched, things have changed. Apple's BendGate controversy became worldwide news, and now everyone's mom and dad on their family plan has begun to worry about their phones breaking in their back pocket. That's still not reason enough to spring for a curved, flexible phone.

Instead, the more important development has been the significant specs bump found within the new LG G Flex 2. LG's debut of the Snapdragon 810 chip, while inconsistent and running hot right now, shows promise. The 1080p resolution more than doubles the amount of pixels on a 5.5-inch screen that's smaller and more manageable.

Ultimately, the LG G Flex 2 is a trendier-looking LG G3 variant with the same great camera and better battery life than the first. If you don't want to wait for the LG G4 and don't mind paying a little extra, it's time to take a chance on something new, and for interesting phones like the Flex 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge to graduate from cult hits into the mainstream.








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Handset: Native Union Curve BT Handset with Base - Black - Now only £7.99 at Amazon

Coffee Machine: NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine - Now only £68.95 at Amazon

Torch: LED Lenser T7 Tactical Torch - Reduced down to £29 at Amazon

Speaker: TDK T79074 A26 Trek Weatherproof Wireless Speaker - Down to £40 at Amazon

Storage: ZyXEL NSA325 v2 2 Bay Desktop Network Storage Power Plus NAS Enclosure - Now only £78.39

Powerbank: Anker® 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000mAh 2-Port Power Bank - Reduced down to £18.99 at Amazon (Use code 8F46L9IZ)

Signal Booster: Belkin N600 Universal Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender/Wireless Signal Booster - Now only £34.99 at Amazon

Binoculars: NIKON Travelite VI 8 x 25mm Porro Prism Binoculars - Reduced down to £49.97 at Currys

Tablet: Apple iPad Mini 16GB Wi-Fi (White) - Only £172.99 at Amazon

Charger: TeckNet® 50W 6-Port Family-Sized Desktop USB Wall Charger - Down to £15.97 at Amazon

Memory Module: HyperX Savage 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) 2400 MHz DDR3 CL11 DIMM XMP Memory Module - Now only £95.99 at Amazon

Keyboard: Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip On Keyboard for iPad Air 2 - Reduced down to £49.99 at Amazon

Tablet: Samsung Galaxy TabPRO Tablet, Qualcomm Snapdragon, Android, 8.4" 16GB, Wi-Fi - Down to £199 at John Lewis

Modem: NETGEAR D6100-100UKS AC1200 Dual Band Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Router for Phone Line Connections - Reduced down to £59.99 at Amazon

Powerbank: EasyAcc 9000mAh Power Bank Waterproof Dustproof Shockproof Travel Charger - Reduced down to £21.99

Security Camera: Y-cam HomeMonitor HD Pro Outdoor WiFi Security Camera - For only 139.99 at Amazon

Storage: Toshiba HDWC240EK3J1 4TB Stor.e Canvio - Down to £98.96 at Amazon

Headphones: AKG K702 Open-Back Dynamic Reference Headphones - For as little as £149 at Amazon

Mouse: Logitech Touch M600 Mouse - Now only £15.99 at Amazon

Audio: Denon DA-300USB Audio DAC with USB-B - Reduced from £329 down to £189.90 at Amazon

Headphones: Sennheiser HD 558 High End Open Over-Ear Headphones - For as little as £99 at Amazon

Storage: Seagate 4TB Expansion Desktop External Hard Drive - For as little as £99 at maplin

Bluetooth Transmitter: August MR250 - Bluetooth Wireless Transmitter - Now only £19.75 at Amazon

Camera: Canon PowerShot SX400 16MP Bridge Camera - Down to £129.99 at Argos

Smartphone: Vodafone Pay As You Go Nokia Lumia 530 Handset - Reduced down to £39.99 at Amazon

Printer: HP M251n LaserJet Pro 200 Color Printer - Reduced down to £79.99 at Amazon

Powerbank: TeckNet® Power Bank 12000mAh Fast Portable Charger Battery Pack USB - Reduced down to £13.97 at Amazon

Sound Base - Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Wireless S-Force PRO Sound Base with Built In Subwoofer - For as little as £229 at Amazon

Keyboard: Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip On Keyboard for iPad Air 2 - For only £49.99 at Amazon

Headphones: Technics RP-DH1250E-S Professional DJ Headphones - Down to £81.52 at Amazon

Sport Watch: Polar M400 GPS Heart Rate Monitor Watch - Only £129 at Amazon

Camcorder: Joby GorillaPod Video Tripod for Mini and Pocket Camcorders - For as little as £13.99 at Amazon

Games deals of the day

Xbox One: Shape Up (Xbox One) - Now only £20.38 at Amazon

Xbox One: Metro Redux - Down to £14.99 at Amazon

PS4: Batman: Arkham Knight (Free Pre-order DLC) - For only £37.99 at Zavvi

PS4: Lego Marvel Superheroes (PS4) - For only £19.50 at tesco

Xbox One: Assassin's Creed IV 4: Black Flag Xbox One (Digital Code) - For as little as £3.95 at cdkeys

PC: Cities Skylines Deluxe Edition - Only £16.99 at base

PS Vita: FIFA 15 - Now only £16 at Amazon

PS4: Pro-Evolution Soccer 2015 - Down to £26.50 at Amazon

Xbox One: Pro-Evolution Soccer 2015 - Down to £26.50 at Amazon

Nintendo Wii U: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes - Down to £16.99 at Amazon

PS4: Destiny - Only £25 at Amazon

ps4

The week's best PS4 deals:

There's no doubt that Sony's PlayStation 4 is the hottest games console on the planet now. Here are the cheapest PS4 standalone and bundle prices we've found this week:

Cheapest PS4 console: Get the PS4 console on its own at Amazon for just £319.00

DealsRadar's Top 3 PS4 bundles...

Deal 1: Get the PS4 with Lego Batman 3 &The Lego Movie for just £351.00

Deal 2: Get the PS4 with The Crew at The Hut for just £339.99

Deal 3: Get the PS4 with Dying Light at The Hut for only £349.99

xbox one

The week's best Xbox One deals:

The Xbox One has evolved into a fantastic, versatile console with loads of cool features. Here are the cheapest Xbox One standalone and bundle prices we've found this week:

Cheapest Xbox One console: Get the Xbox One on its own at eBay for just £269.99

DealsRadar's Top 3 Xbox One bundles:

Deal 1: Get the Xbox One with Forza 5 for just £329.00

Deal 2: Get the White Xbox One with Sunset Overdrive for just £279.99

Deal 3: Get the Xbox One with Halo MC Collection, Battlefield Hardline, Ori and the Blind Forest & 1 month EA Access for only £319.99

See more Xbox One deals: Best Xbox One bundles and deals

gamesmontage

Top 10 Games: best titles, cheapest prices!

The best games at the cheapest prices

We all want to play the top games, but none of us want to pay top prices, right? We'll be scanning the web on a daily basis to find the best prices on all of the top selling games on all of the top gaming platforms. So if you're going to order a new game online this week - check with DealsRadar first!

dying light

1. Dying Light

Dying Light is a first-person, action survival horror game set in a vast and dangerous open world. During the day, players traverse an expansive urban environment overrun by a vicious outbreak, scavenging the world for supplies and crafting weapons to defend against the growing infected population. At night, the hunter becomes the hunted, as the infected become aggressive and more dangerous. Most frightening are the predators which only appear after sundown. Players must use everything in their power to survive until the morning's first light.

Best PS4 price: £42.99 at Amazon | Best Xbox One price: £42.91 at Amazon | Best PC price: £21.90 at cdkeys

gta

2. Grand Theft Auto V

The biggest, most dynamic and most diverse open world ever created, Grand Theft Auto V blends storytelling and gameplay in new ways as players repeatedly jump in and out of the lives of the game's three lead characters, playing all sides of the game's interwoven story.

Best PS4 price: £40.00 at Amazon | Best Xbox One price: £41.00 at Amazon | Best PC price: £29.97 at GameStop

fifa 15

3. FIFA 15

FIFA 15 brings football to life in stunning detail so fans can experience the emotion of the sport like never before. Witness the intensity of crowds chanting and cheering like on match day, and listen to commentators guide fans through the story of the game with dynamic match presentation.

Best PS4 price: £34.00 at Amazon | Best Xbox One price: £34.99 at Amazon | Best PC price: £33.00 at Amazon

cod

4. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare envisions the powerful battlegrounds of the future, where both technology and tactic have evolved to usher in a new era of combat for the franchise. Delivering a stunning performance, Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey stars as Jonathan Irons – one of the most powerful men in the world – shaping this chilling vision of the future of war.

Best PS4 price: £23.85 at Simplygames | Best Xbox One price: £23.85 at Simplygames | Best PC price: £18.90 at cdkeys

dragonball

5. Dragon ball Xenoverse

Dragon Ball Xenoverse will bring all the frenzied battles between Goku and his most fierce enemies, such as Vegeta, Frieza, Cell and much more, with new gameplay design!

Best PS4 price: £48.85 at ShopTo | Best Xbox One price: £44.09 at Base | Best PC price: £29.99 at GAME

minecraft

6. Minecraft

Experience the Minecraft gaming phenomenon, rebuilt with new features designed for console. Create worlds limited only by your imagination. Explore, build, and conquer alone or with your friends via split-screen mode or online.

Best PS4 price: £12.99 at John Lewis | Best Xbox One price: £14.00 at John Lewis

the order

7. The Order: 1886

The Order: 1886 introduces players to a unique vision of Victorian-Era London where Man uses advanced technology to battle a powerful and ancient foe. As Galahad, a member of an elite order of Knights, join a centuries-old war against a powerful threat that will determine the course of history forever in this intense third-person action-adventure shooter, available exclusively on the PS4 system.

Best PS4 price: £43.99 at Zavvi

zomie army

8. Zombie Army Trilogy

Zombie Army Trilogy is a terrifyingly intense third person shooter set in a gruesome alternate vision of World War II. Berlin 1945. Facing defeat at the hands of the Allies, Hitler has unleashed one last unholy gamble - a legion of undead super soldiers that threatens to overwhelm the whole of Europe. Fight alone or team up to save humanity from the zombie menace in this apocalyptic shooter for 1-4 players!

Best PS4 price: £29.99 at Argos | Best Xbox One price: £29.99 at Argos

evolve

9. Evolve

The creators of Left 4 Dead, Turtle Rock Studios, bring you Evolve, the next-generation of multiplayer shooters, in which four hunters face off against a single player-controlled monster. Stalk your prey, execute your attack, and prove you are the apex predator in adrenaline-pumping 4v1 matches

Best PS4 price: £42.99 at Zavvi | Best Xbox One price: £28.85 at Simplygames | Best PC price: £22.90 at cdkeys

car cry 4

10. Far Cry 4

Built from the legendary DNA of its award-winning predecessor, Far Cry 4 delivers the most expansive and immersive Far Cry experience yet in an entirely new and massive open world, with integrated drop-in/drop-out co-op play.

Best PS4 price: £44.98 at Zavvi | Best Xbox One price: £44.86 at ShopTo | Best PC price: £21.99 at cdkeys

best cheap tvs

Best cheap TV deals of the week:

DealsRadar understands that not everyone wants to spend thousands on a new TV. Here are the best cheap TV deals we found online this week.

Cheap TV deal 1: Samsung UE32H5000 HD TV | Now £219 | Amazon

Cheap TV deal 2: LG 40UB800V Smart 4k Ultra HD 40" LED TV | £449 | Currys

Cheap TV deal 3: LG 55UB820V 55" Smart 4K TV | Now £899 | Currys

Read more: Cheap TV: 25 best TV deals for March 2015

hard drive deals

Hard drives and storage:

With smartphones recording 4K video and taking photos at 50MB a pop, it's not surprising that our laptops are running out of storage space.

Cheap Storage deal 1: Toshiba HDWC130EW3J1 3TB Stor.E Canvio | Now £74.95 | Amazon

Cheap Storage deal 2: Kingston 64GB USB 3.0 DataTraveler Mini Flash Drive | Now £15.99 | Amazon

Cheap Storage deal 3: Samsung Memory 32GB Evo MicroSDHC UHS-I Grade 1 Class 10 Memory Card with USB Adapter | Now 317.46 | Amazon

Cheap Storage deal 4: Seagate Backup Plus 8TB USB 3.0 Desktop 3.5 inch External Hard Drive | Now £199.99 | Amazon

Read more: Best Hard Drive Deals

portable power bank

Portable phone chargers:

If your smartphone or tablet is constantly running out of power at the most inconvenient times, you should think about buying a portable power bank.

Cheap Portable Charger deal 1: TeckNet® Power Bank 12000mAh Fast Portable Charger Battery Pack | Now £13.97 | Amazon

Cheap Portable Charger deal 2: EasyAcc 10000mAh Brilliant Ultra Slim Dual USB | Now £18.99 | Amazon

Cheap Portable Charger deal 3: VINSIC 20000mAh Ultra-slim Power Bank | Now £25.90 | Amazon

Cheap Portable Charger deal 4: Anker® Astro Mini 3200mAh Ultra-Compact Lipstick-Sized Portable Power Bank | Now £13.99 | Amazon

gift card

Gift cards:

Amazon gift cards | John Lewis gift cards | Currys gift cards| PC World gift cards | GAME gift cards


Updated: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge release date: where can I get it?

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge may be tempting you towards a Samsung, and away from its less curvaceous brother the Galaxy S6, but when and where will you be able to get one?

Pre-orders are now open, and Samsung has confirmed the Galaxy S6 Edge will go on sale in 20 countries on April 10, so we thankfully don't have too long to wait to get our hands on its additional curved displays.

You have the choice of 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, plus a variety of colours, but it's certainly not cheap.

Samsung

The Galaxy S6 Edge is available for pre-order on Samsung's official site, and via its own dedicated stores, but there's no sign of the 32GB model.

That means you have to make do with the even more expensive 64GB, £760 model as the price and release date for the 128GB version is still "TBC".

In terms of colour you can chose from black, white, gold or green, with the first three available from April 9 in the 64GB format, while green is also "TBC".

EE

EE is only dealing in the 64GB Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge for now, with white, gold and black all available for pre-order.

The recommended tariff here will see you stump up £49.99 at point of sale and then £53.49 every month for two years. In return you'll get a 64GB Galaxy S6 Edge, unlimited minutes and texts and whopping 20GB of data.

O2

Over to O2 and you're back to the option of either 64GB or 128GB of storage and the choice of black, white or gold, but only the 64GB version is up for pre-order.

With the Galaxy S6 Edge coming in more expensive you're looking at £99.99 upfront and then £48 per month in return for unlimited minutes and texts and 2GB of data.

Vodafone

Vodafone has the 64GB and 128GB Galaxy S6 Edge models available for pre-order and you can choose from a 12 or 24 month contract and 3G or 4G tariff.

Stick with 24 months and 4G connectivity and you can get a free Galaxy S6 Edge for £53.50 a month which comes with 7GB of data plus unlimited calls and texts.

Three

Three opened its preorders for the 64GB of the Galaxy Edge on March 21, but has no plans to offer any other storage options.

All the deals include unlimited calls and texts with 1GB of data for £48 a month, 2GB of data for £50 a month or all you can eat internet for £55 a month.

Carphone Warehouse

You can pre-order the Galaxy S6 SIM-free from Carphone, but for some reason you can't do the same with the Galaxy S6 Edge, with the high street retailer only providing pay monthly plans.

Again the 32GB model is missing, with just the 64GB and 128GB S6 Edge's up for pre-order. Delivery for the black and white 64GB handsets is expected on April 10, while the gold model plus all 128GB options have a 4-6 weeks wait.

There a tariffs from O2, Vodafone and EE to pick from, although you'll have to pay at least £99.99 upfront on a two year deal.

Online retailers

There's a SIM-free price for the Galaxy S6 Edge on MobileFun which has the 32GB handset available in black, white or gold for a pre-order price of £699.

The 64GB model is also listed (in black, white and gold) at a pricey £749 if you fancy some extra storage.

Expansys has the Galaxy S6 Edge listed, but there's currently no price and all you can do is register for updates.

It's the same story over at Unlocked-Mobiles, which again lists the Galaxy S6 Edge for £649.98, but you can't pre-order just yet.

Clove also has a "notify me" feature on its Galaxy S6 Edge page, allowing you to keep up to date with pre-orders, prices and the on sale date.


UPDATED: All 38 Apple Watch designs: Every band, case and face so far

Apple Watch: watch cases and bands

Apple Watch features

This week was the Apple Watch launch day, but you can't try on the iPhone-compatible wearable yet since we're a month away from pre-orders and two weeks further from its official release date.

That's a problem for anxious early adopters who want it now. The April 24-bound smartwatch comes in a variety of colors and styles, way more than the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

In fact, there are 38 different Apple Watch choices (up from the original 34) and nine default watch faces with millions of customizations, according to Apple.

Here's every Apple Watch face, band and case announced so far, giving you extra time to decide which "iWatch" should be your watch before waiting in line.

Cases: Apple Watch vs Sport vs Watch Edition

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr72v7Z7m4Y

All Apple Watches boast the same rectangular design with rounded off corners, but they're divided up into three different case "collections" based on build materials.

Starting at $349 (£299) and costing as much as $17,000 (£13,500, AU$24,000), the names Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition, don't tell us a whole lot about those differences, so let's explain each watch case.

The regular Apple Watch

Apple Watch design and colors

Donning the "regular" Watch puts a highly polished stainless steel case on your wrist, one that comes in glossy metal colors of either space black or stainless steel.

Protecting the precious Retina display is sapphire crystal, which is the same glass that covers the Touch ID home button of newer iPhones.

Sapphire crystal is touted as the hardest transparent material on earth next to diamond. It'll stand up to dings every time your formerly-bare wrist forgets what it's like to wear a watch.

Watch Sport

Apple Watch design and colors

Sport is the the lightest of the three Apple Watch choices thanks to its anodized aluminum case that still manages to be 60% stronger than standard alloys.

It skips out of the expensive sapphire glass in favor of what Apple calls strengthened Ion-X or aluminosilicate glass. This further reduces the weight, making it fit for active lifestyles.

Sure, the iPhone-matching matte space gray and silver aluminum case appears less shiny vs the regular Watch, but Apple's 7000 Series aluminum and Ion-X glass makes it 30% lighter.

It's also the least expensive Apple Watch version at $349 (£299) for the 38mm size and 42mm for the $399 (£339) size.

Watch Edition

Apple Watch design and colors

Watch Edition will be the most expensive Apple Watch at $10,000 (£8,000) because of its 18-karat gold case. It may even be locked inside a safe within your local Apple Store.

It's been crafted by Apple's metallurgists to be twice as hard as standard gold, says the Cupertino company, and will come in two colors: yellow gold and rose gold.

Complementing those cases are color-matching bands made of leather or fluoroelastomer plastic.

Bands are the next step in deciding on the right Apple Watch.

Six different band styles, 18 colors

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch is all about personalization with six band types and 18 colors, all of which are easily interchangeable thanks a unique slide-out locking mechanism.

Yes, it's a proprietary watch strap - did you expect anything less? - but it looks to be a whole lot easier to switch out compared to the irksome hidden pins of the Moto 360.

I'm okay with that. I want the sport band at the gym and the Milanese loop for a night on the town without the hassle of digging into the watch case with a pair of tweezers.

Link bracelet

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch choices

Available with the regular Watch, the link bracelet is one of two stainless steel Apple Watch bands. This one matches the 316L stainless steel alloy of the case.

It has more than 100 components and the brushed metal links increase in width closer to the case. A custom butterfly closure folds neatly within the bracelet.

Best of all, you can add and remove links with a simple release button. No jeweler visits or special tools required for this stainless steel or space black-colored strap.

Milanese loop

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch bands

One of the classiest-looking Apple Watch bands is the Milanese loop, a stainless steel mesh strap that loops from case to clasp.

Emphasizing that woven metal design, there's hardly a clasp. Its tiny magnetic end makes the strap infinitely adjustable and tucks behind the band for a seamless look on one's wrist.

An out-of-the box option with the regular Watch, the Milanese loop is truly one of a kind in that it only comes in a stainless steel color.

Modern buckle (leather strap)

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch leather

A modern buckle adorns the bottom the first of three leather options among Apple Watches, complete with top-grain leather sourced from France.

The French tannery is said to have been established in 1803, but Apple puts a tech-savvy twist on the buckle. It's a two-piece magnetic clasp that only looks ordinary when together.

This leather option comes in black, soft pink, brown or midnight blue for the regular Watch and bright black, red or rose gray for the premium Watch Edition, all meant for the smaller 38mm watch size.

Classic buckle (leather strap)

Apple Watch design and colors

Apple Watch models

If the Apple Watch modern buckle is a normal-looking watch band with a magnetic twist, then the classic buckle is an ordinary-looking variant without one.

No tricks here. It's just a traditional and secure band that feeds through a stainless steel or an 18-karat gold loop and matches the watch case.

The classic buckle's leather is from the Netherlands and the color choices are as simple as can be: it comes in black for the regular Watch or either black or midnight blue for Watch Edition.

Leather loop

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch design

This is the leather-equivalent of the all-metal Milanese loop because it tucks magnets into the soft, quilted leather Apple Watch band.

The more pronounced pebbled texture also stands out from the subtle finishes of the modern and classic buckle. Apple says its Venezia leather sources from Italy.

Apple Watch buyers who go with the leather loop band have four colors choices: black, stone, light brown and bright blue.

Sport band

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch sport band

Despite its name, the sport band is an out-of-the-box option among all three "collections," not just the Apple Watch Sport.

The band is made of smooth fluoroelastomer, so it's resilient for all activities and fastens with a simple pin-and-tuck closure. Hopefully it's easier to buckle than the Fitbit Charge.

The sport band is available in the most colors on the Sport Watch: white, black, blue, green or pink. Regular Watch and Watch Edition buyers can choose between black or white.

Apple Watch sizes

Apple Watch sizes

Less exciting, but equally important is the choice of among Apple Watch sizes. There are two case heights: 38mm and 42mm.

This opens it up to smaller and larger wrists. The 38mm size is more compact, but having that little bit extra screen space by way of the 42mm option may go a long way.

It should be noted that a few bands appear to be exclusive to certain sizes: the modern buckle is limited to the 38mm option and leather loop the 42mm size, for example.

No right-handed and left-handed Apple Watch decisions need to be made at the Apple Store, thankfully. This smartwatch is ambidextrous because the screen can be flipped.

Apple Watch faces

Apple Watch analog watches

There are nine different default faces from Apple, according to its official website, and likely a lot more to come from third-party developers currently testing out WatchKit.

The great thing about smartwatch faces is that none of them are permanent, something we were fond of when testing out Android Wear smartwatches.

Mickey Mouse is my favorite because I never got a Mickey Mouse watch as a kid. But maybe that'll be reserved for Disneyland visits now that I'm an adult.

Analog watches like Chronograph, Color, Simple and Utility can be swapped in for a more professional look that rivals today's best smartwatch alternatives.

Customizable watch faces

Apple Watch designs

Digital watch faces all have something unique to offer. Motion adds a bit of animal-inspired movement in the background, solar lets you follow the sun's path based on your location and the time of day and astronomy lets you explore space and a rotatable 3D Earth.

Modular, the grid-like ninth watch face, really defines what Apple means when it talks about complications. Most faces can be alerted to include pressing information like stock quotes, weather reports or your next calendar event, according to the company.

Apple Watch wrap-up

Apple Watch

With two sizes for most band designs, six band types, 18 band colors and three cases with two colors each, there's a lot of choice going into this smartwatch purchase.

Apple Watch is launching with a lot of personalization, echoing a time when the Cupertino firm introduced variety among its iMac G3 computers and iPod successors.

Which case and band combination I get has ultimately been determined by the price and availability. For such a new product that's bound to be outdated in a few months to years, I'm leaning toward the cheaper Sport Edition when the Apple Watch release date rolls around.








In Depth: What it's like to ride on a rollercoaster while wearing a VR headsetYouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyUhqayUoWA

My experiences of VR have so far have been two-fold: me in the comfort of my own home, sitting down and exploring a virtual reality world by moving my head. Or me in the discomfort of a room in a convention centre, surrounded by execs staring at me, while I explore a virtual reality world by moving my head.

Neither of these prepared me for flying around a rollecoaster at 40mph with a Gear VR strapped to my face. It's the sort of experience that can change you as a person and it's all thanks to Alton Towers in the UK, which is set to make history this spring, with the launch of the world's first rollercoaster dedicated to virtual reality.

Using its existing attraction, Air, it has mapped a brand-new virtual reality experience to the ride. Every undulation, pivot and loop you experience is complimented by a VR experience that ports you into space.

The total course of Galactica is 840 metres long. Along the way passengers experience up to 3.5Gs of pressure, a 20 metre drop and speeds of up to 47mph - all while wearing a Gear VR.

Galactica

Techradar was among only a handful of people to experience Galactica before it opens to the public at the end of March, and we were walked through the process of how the new experience was created, by Simon Reveley of Figment Productions, the company that created the virtual reality part of the ride.

Overcooking on gas

It turns out that virtual reality isn't part of the experience but the whole experience of Galactica. Each passenger dons a heavily modified Samsung Gear VR and rides the rollercoaster, while watching a specifically made film that ports the rider into a CGI journey through space.

Galactica has been a total of two years in the making and while the mapping of the ride's twists and turns are key to what you view on headset, there were a few surprises when making the experience.

"When we started working on Galactica, we were really anxious about the accuracy of the footage with the ride," explained Reveley.

"While it does have to be accurate, what became really fascinating was that as long as you match the changes in direction and you match the acceleration, you can amplify things and over cook them."

Galactica

"You can take a corner and keep it going and no one knows. You can expand moves as long as you hit the radical changes. As long as you match these, you can cheat things a little.

"For many this will be there first VR experience and they will go 40 to 50mph while witnessing it."

Galaxy quest

The idea of experiencing VR at 40mph for many will be a vomit-inducing one, but this simply isn't the case with Galactica. Using a headset on a rollercoaster is a lot more natural than it sounds - it's just another bit of kit you need to put on while entering the ride.

Sickness is usually experienced when VR tricks the brain into thinking you are moving when you are not - the locomotion effect - and that is something Galactica definitely doesn't do. With every turn, you are actually moving on the rollercoaster.

Galactica

The Gear VRs that are used are nearly unrecognisable, as they are under a thick skin of velcro and packaging to protect them from the 1,500 people an hour that will be using them. And to make sure that the technology works effectively, everything is controlled by tablets remotely.

"If we have to reset one of the headsets, then we can do so on a tablet. We can see everything on the tablet and send messages to each headset if needed. All of this infrastructure is unique to Galactica, the whole ride is just about having that amazing VR experience," said Reveley.

Alongside the headsets, there are battery packs within the seats that both power an external control sensor and the Gear VRs.

Galactica

The phones being used inside the headsets are Samsung Galaxy S6s but Reveley revealed that they were also testing the Galaxy S7.

"There's things like better cooling that you will get with the S7 as it's the first Samsung phone that's been properly designed for VR," he said. "The S6 was a bit of a retrofit for VR technology but still works well."

Galactica

Another advantage of having a remote system is it's easier to update when needed.

"We can deploy all software from the tablet. We have been working on the content to make sure it's an amazing experience. Every time we do a tweak, we can then deploy these changes to all of the headsets at once, remotely," said Reveley.

"In theory we could do special events where we have bespoke content then take it out. It's such a flexible medium."

Space time

There is something of a learning curve for those new to VR, with the video that plays before you get on the ride explaining how the headsets work.

It's all pretty simple, though. You put the headset on, make sure it is tight and use the dial at the top of the headset to focus the screen. The headset is attached by springy wires and there is a person whose job it is to wipe the lenses clean every time they are used by a rider.

Galactica

Once the headset is on, the rollercoaster starts. The experience is a lot of fun, though prepare to be a little disorientated. The VR footage is crisp, if a little too CG, but it maps to the many twists and turns Galactica has to offer brilliantly. The sound that accompanies it is great, too, and is piped through earphones that are within the protective layer of the headset.

Air is renowned for being one of the smoothest rollercoasters around, so it suits the space theme well and while the thrill of seeing where you're going on the ride - in real life - isn't there, watching the footage while feeling the outside elements is a great experience.

Alton Towers

Riding Galactica is definitely something you should do more than once. We went on it twice and had a better experience the second time around. This was because we knew the premise of what we were seeing and this meant that the disorientation wasn't there.

It felt like we could look around a lot more without fear of missing anything important out. At just three minutes, the ride does feel too short as well - you want the experience to go on at least a minute longer.

Testing time

We tried out Galactica in the midst of rigorous testing - not only because the ride is just weeks away from launch, but this is one of the first new attractions to be revealed since the tragedy that struck Alton Towers last year, when its Smiler ride crashed and lead to several life-changing injuries.

Galactica

There is obvious caution but this is a tried-and-tested rollercoaster that's been around for over 10 years, albeit with a VR flourish.

"On the VR side, we are so lucky to be working on a rollercoaster like this. It is so smooth and you have that flight position, it is one of those designs that work perfectly with VR," said Reveley.

"A lot of people are thinking about VR rollercoasters and I think they see it as a cheap upgrade to a knackered old thing but that isn't the case here.

"This is like the Rolls Royce of rollercoasters, it's a beautiful thing to have VR on."

With more VR rollercoaster experiences planned in the US, with Six Flags also announcing a linkup with Samsung and the Gear VR, virtual reality may have finally found its groove - not in the home, but hurtling 40mph down a steep track.










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