I'm beginning to think that I just don't care whether or not something is a gimmick. I think within the last year I've heard that word used more often than any other year, and with more devices being thrown under the bus because of it. The Galaxy S4 didn't escape unscathed, and in fact may have been under the most scrutiny when it launched earlier this year. There have been other devices, but the most recent victims have been from Samsung (again -- is this a trend?) and LG.
I'm talking about the "gimmick" of a curved display. In the case of Samsung, they've got their Galaxy Round, which sees a nice, noticeable curved from left-to-right. This makes the phone super fun on a flat surface, because you can rock it back-and-forth if you find yourself getting bored. When Samsung officially unveiled the device, that's all I saw across the internet: gimmick! "There's no reason to have a curved display," they said.
Apparently LG didn't agree.
They've got their own curved device. It's called the G Flex, and it was announced just a couple of days before Halloween. The G Flex shares a lot of commonality with the G2, and that's not a bad thing. You'll find the unique buttons on the back of the device, and the specifications on the G Flex are certainly noteworthy. The display sees a hefty increase, though, where it sits at six-inches.
A day after the announcement, I wrote a piece on why I wanted to give the G Flex a shot, despite its big display size. While LG is busy marketing the G Flex as an "IMAX experience" device, I don't necessarily care much about that (because I don't even kind of agree with it), and instead focused more on the device itself, and most importantly the battery cover.
Yep. The battery cover. Sure, the huge battery inside is great, but I'm more interested in the piece of smooth plastic that covers it. Why? For a reason that I completely, unabashedly discounted before. I just refused to fall for the marketing scheme around LG's "self-healing" technology. I just wasn't going to do it. I refused!
I shouldn't have, because apparently it actually works. Hah! Who knew? If you missed it, LG put out a quick video showcasing the LG's self-healing abilities in a controlled experiment, and it worked well enough. After they scratched the device's back cover, they waited for a couple of minutes, and sure enough the scratches started to fade. In some cases they completely disappeared, while in others they simply faded so much you genuinely couldn't see them without effort.
That video was a controlled experiment, though. Doesn't count for much, right? What about real world situations? What about the keys in the pocket? What then? Thanks to Marques Brownlee, a well known presence on YouTube and across the internet (and just a nice guy all around) thanks to his MKBHD YouTube channel, we all get to see what the real world applications of the self-healing technology looks like.
In the video he shows what happens when you scratch up the device with your keys, and the results are surprisingly good. Moreover, they're surprisingly similar to LG's controlled tests. The scratches do indeed fade away given some time, and that's honestly pretty fantastic. I can't even tell you how many times I've dropped my phone when it's on my lap in the car, and I'm getting out of it. Having a phone that can skip across the concrete, get scratched up, and then heal itself? That's amazing.
I love technology.
Brownlee goes on to add that if you're in a colder area, you can speed up the healing time by warming up your device with body heat. In the video, he uses his shirt and some quick movements to speed up the process, and it works well enough (as pictured immediately above).
He did note that using a knife to scratch the casino did result in a scratch that didn't ultimately fade away completely, but it was still hard to see given enough time. That's still a lot, a lot better than what we have now in the majority of phones out there. One drop and you could have a scratch on the device that haunts you forever.
Plus, having a self-healing device means that a case isn't necessarily essential for a lot of people, and that's pretty cool, too. For someone like me who hates to use cases, that kind of technology can definitely come in handy. The question is, how much longer do we have to wait before other companies out there start instituting this kind of technology into their own devices? (Or similar technology, since no one wants to get into a patent war, right?)
So if having "self-healing battery cover" is a gimmick, I don't even care. It's awesome, and it works. Gimmick me up, LG. All the gimmicks!
Do you like the idea that your phone could some day heal itself? Or would you prefer to see a phone made from a material, or infused with a type of technology, that would prevent scratches before they happened at all? Or, perhaps you just want to use cases? Let me know what you think!
images via MKBHD