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Samsung Galaxy On5 (2016) Android smartphone. Not announced yet. Features 5.0″ display,
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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.








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.








Has Apple forced Samsung to launch the Galaxy Note 5 early?

It won't come as much of a surprise that Samsung is planning to rejuvenate its Galaxy Note line-up with a new and improved Galaxy Note 5 this year, but rather than releasing it late August or early September at IFA 2015 like it has in the past, it could be pushing the phone out earlier.

According to a report Samsung won't wait until the UnPacked event at IFA in Berlin, but will instead release the Galaxy Note 5 as early as the end of July.

Samsung is apparently working hard on completing a prototype of the large screen device by mid June, and telecom companies are said to have been given the final specifications and seen the device in a bid to get them to make pre-orders for the end of July.

Samsung scared of the 6S?

The reason Samsung is apparently launching the Galaxy Note 5 earlier than IFA, which has seen the unveiling of every previous version of the Galaxy Note, is apparently because it wants to get a head start over Apple, which is rumoured to be releasing the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus later in the year.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is rumoured to have a 5.89 screen, but with the success of the iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung has a fight on its hands, especially in the phablet market.

None of this could be to coincide with the launch of Samsung Pay, could it?








Updated: MWC 2016: what we want to see

Smartphones, smartphones, smartphones

MWC 2015 has been and gone, but the products which were announced there aren't likely to be forgotten any time soon, from the flagship HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphones, to the stylish Huawei Watch and the innovative Galaxy S6 Edge - and those are just some of the highlights.

But we're now looking towards next year's show, MWC 2016, and thinking of all the things we want to see.

Whether it's improvements on this year's offerings or completely new ideas, there's a lot we're hoping for and as the year creeps towards a close we're starting to hear a lot of rumors about possible announcements too.

What is MWC 2016?

MWC, or Mobile World Congress to give it its full title, is one of the biggest events in the smartphone calendar. It's right up there with Apple's iPhone launches and Samsung's Unpacked events.

It takes place in Barcelona towards the end of February/beginning of March and it sees the world's manufacturers (minus Apple) descend on the Fira Gran Via for four days of mobile madness. MWC 2016 runs from February 22 to February 25.

Every year TechRadar travels in force to cover the event live and bring you all the latest news from the show. Mark it in your diary, submit your wish list in the comments and brace yourself for everything mobile. In the meantime, here's what we want to see.

A truly bendable phone

Corning Willow Glass

Samsung and LG have teased us with the likes of the Galaxy S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and the LG G Flex 2, but we want someone to take these ideas to the next step, with a bendable phone or at the very least a phone which makes good use of its curves. There's talk that Samsung is readying a foldable phone for launch in early 2016, so it's possible it could arrive at MWC.

But whether that or something else hopefully there'll be at least one bendy phone at MWC 2016 and hopefully it will be a flagship, rather than being designed as a niche device.

HTC One M10

HTC One M9

The HTC One M9 launched at MWC 2015 and there's a good chance we'll see the HTC One M10 at MWC 2016. But what specifically do we want? A better battery would be a good start, but beyond that it needs to be substantially different to and better than the M9.

That might mean changing the admittedly brilliant design, or maybe HTC will achieve it by adding new features to the phone, like a fingerprint or iris scanner, but the company needs to do something, because as great as the M9 is it feels like HTC is treading water.

We wouldn't be surprised if the M10 takes some design cues from the HTC One A9, which itself sports an iPhone-inspired design.

Early rumors suggest we might see wireless charging, a powerful processor and perhaps a new camera, but there's still surprisingly little to go on for a flagship phone that could be here in early 2016.

Samsung Galaxy S7

Galaxy S6

There's also a good chance we'll see the Samsung Galaxy S7 at MWC 2016 and we hope so too, especially after how impressive the S6 was.

Battery life is a key concern again and it would be good if Samsung could return some of the features it cut from the S6, like a microSD card slot and a water resistant build.

Early rumors suggest it might do just that, or at least the microSD card bit. There's also talk of either a Snapdragon 820 or Exynos M1 processor, a strong magnesium alloy build, a durable Turtle Glass display and a pressure-sensitive 3D Touch-like technology.

The camera could be in for quite a change too, despite the Galaxy S6's snapper impressing us. There are conflicting rumors on exactly how it will change though, with some saying it could be in for the same 23MP sensor as the Sony Xperia Z5, while others reckon it will drop down to 12MP but with improved low light performance. Whatever the case we have high hopes that it will be good.

We have seen reports suggesting that Samsung may jump the gun with the Galaxy S7 launch though, with a January unveiling being touted. We'd say that sounds unlikely - but stranger things have happened.

Every new flagship smartphone

How about the Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC One M10, LG G5, Sony Xperia Z6 and Motorola Moto X (2016) all launching in Barcelona together? It would be the mobile holy grail.

It's nothing more than a pipe dream, but seeing every major Android manufacturer drop a new flagship in Barcelona would cement MWC's title as the most important technology conference of the year.

We'd be in dreamland, the crowds would love it and consumers will get to select from a bunch of top notch handsets at the same time, rather than having to wait weeks, or even months, for all the top players to show their hand.

Come on guys, one for all and all for one.

More Windows phones

Lumia 930

Windows Phone has had a tough time up against the might of Android and iOS, but Windows 10 Mobile is finally here and it's accompanied by the impressive Microsoft Lumia 950 and Microsoft Lumia 950 XL.

We probably won't see any more new Microsoft flagships at the show, but hopefully a new OS will lead to a boost in popularity and with it a slew of new Windows Phone devices from other manufacturers at MWC 2016.

A brilliant Lumia camera phone

Nokia Lumia 1020

Remember the Nokia Lumia 1020? A solid smartphone with an absolutely stonking 41MP camera bolted on the rear. It's about time the Lumia brand treated us to another super smartphone camera, and MWC 2016 would be the perfect venue.

With Microsoft now at the Lumia helm, there's enough drive (and money) to push Windows Phone to the fore - and a cracking cameraphone will have everyone talking.

A stronger Chinese presence

OnePlus 2

Huawei and ZTE always have big stands at MWC, and MWC 2016 won't be any different - but the devices they're peddling are usually less eye-catching than the more established names.

We'd like to see a real flagship contender from each firm, which will actually launch in a timely fashion around the world (with prices revealed up front) and minus the weirdness the brands can sometimes suffer from.

We also want a solid presence from the likes of OnePlus, Oppo, Honor, Meizu and Xiaomi. These Chinese firms are producing high quality, low cost handsets which could give Samsung and co. some serious headaches if they manage to crack the Western market. Show us what you're made of!

Batteries, innovation, tablets and wearables

Bigger batteries rather than slimmer phones

battery

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a brilliant phone, but in focusing on design and making it as slim as possible Samsung forgot about one of the key things - good battery life, and many other manufacturers are almost as guilty of this.

We'll happily take a thicker phone if it means a bigger battery, we'll even pay a little more, so hopefully the powers that be, or the people that make, are listening, and many of the phones announced at MWC 2016 have great battery life.

Battery innovation

battery icon

As well as thicker batteries how about new batteries? The same type of juice packs have been powering our phones for years and the reality is that they're just not very good.

New battery technology is being researched all the time and hopefully by MWC 2016 some of that will have gone past the research stage and been implemented into smartphones. Origami batteries anyone? Or how about super-fast charging ones?'

We're also hoping to see more phones at MWC 2016 adopt the new USB-C standard found on the OnePlus 2. It allows you to plug your charging cable in either way round - like Apple's Lightning connector - for easy top ups at night. Thankfully a number of late 2015 phones have started using this, so we're hopeful that the flagship crop at MWC will.

More power, without the heat

processor

Each year we see ever more powerful phones, but this year the mobile chip of choice - the Snapdragon 810, has been subject to overheating concerns.

No-one wants a toasty phone, especially not when excessive heat can risk damaging the innards too, so we hope whatever phones are announced at MWC 2016 are even more powerful, but without the heat. This shouldn't be a problem, in fact Fujitsu already claims to have the answer.

Given the bad press the Snapdragon 810 got we're sure Qualcomm and the other processor manufacturers are making cooler chips a priority, so we'd say this is one thing that's very likely.

An amazing Nokia tablet you can actually buy

Nokia N1

Nokia (yes Nokia, not the Microsoft owned Lumia) teased us ever so cruelly at MWC 2015 with the gorgeous Nokia N1 tablet. It ran Android, looked like an iPad Mini and it's fair to say at least one of us fell in love with it.

Now all we're asking is for Nokia to give it a cheeky spec bump, a sweet software upgrade and actually make it available to buy outside of Asia and we'll marry it in a heartbeat.

Smartwatches hitting their stride

LG Watch Urbane

It's still early days when it comes to smartwatches. The latest ones like the LG Watch Urbane, the Samsung Gear S2, the Apple Watch and the Moto 360 (2015) are finally starting to look less like tech and more like fashion, but they still have a way to go before they're likely to convince the masses to ditch their dumb-watches.

There needs to be other improvements too, with battery life key among them. We hope that by MWC 2016 many of the problems faced by smartwatches will have been solved and they'll be ready for prime time.

Modular mayhem

Project Ara

We were hoping Google would show off Project Ara at MWC 2015, but sadly that didn't happen and the company has now confirmed that it won't be launching the hardware until 2016.

That could mean we'll see it at MWC 2016 and given the long wait we hope that Google will hit the ground running with a whole heap of modular phones, or at least a whole heap of modules for phones.

Then we'll be free to fix whatever the manufacturers inevitably get wrong/not to our tastes. No fingerprint scanner? Add one. Rubbish camera? Switch it for a better one. Battery too small? Put a bigger one in. And never buy a whole new phone again. Maybe.

Surprises

MWC

Surprises are always fun. Well, not always, there was that one time with the trampoline and the custard, but we don't talk about it.

When it comes to MWC more powerful devices are a given, new phones from HTC and Samsung are likely and everything else we've hoped for, well, we already hope for it, so it won't be much of a surprise.

So surprise us assorted tech makers. Bring us something we can't predict. Just make sure it's not something rubbish. And there's no custard. We never want to see custard again.










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