I'm still on the fence about curved displays

Published: January 26, 2014

A new type of display is on the move this year. Late last year, we started to see rumors of manufacturers trying out a new type of display this year: curved displays. Curved displays in smartphones were created for a number of reasons, like bringing more privacy to smartphone displays, more comfort in holding the phone, and being able to resist the harsh elements of reality by being a little more flexible than your average glass smartphone. While these advancements in smartphone technology are for the better, I'm not entirely convinced that curved displays will end up being the true future of smartphones or just another forgotten idea.

We've already been shown one example of a curved display this year with the LG G Flex, and last year the other known curved display device, the Samsung Galaxy Round, was also released, but only in South Korea. Both of these devices are the same, yet different. While they both have curved displays, both devices have curvatures in different ways; the Galaxy Round has the apex of the curve vertically, and the LG G Flex has the apex going horizontally.

At first I thought that the Galaxy Round had the better curvature because the Round would make it seem like it would be more comfortable to hold in the hand for people who prefer to text or browse websites. The LG G Flex, on the other hand, might be better for somebody who makes more phone calls. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that while the LG G Flex might not make the most comfortable device for texting or using in portrait mode, the phone would probably be great for landscape mode like watching Netflix, certain applications, or even texting using landscape mode (which I sometimes forget people do). Regardless of which way is more comfortable or not, I'm not entirely convinced that either is going to be a huge game-changer for the future, or if they're just going to be a one-hit wonder and we'll never see them again.

First of all, you have the extremely high price that accompanies the feature. The LG G Flex comes at a hefty price of $300, and that's with a 2-year contract. That's the same price as a Galaxy Note 3, and while I'm not saying one device is better than the other, I do feel that $300 is an awfully high price for a concept that hasn't exactly caught on yet. The G Flex has a lot of features that would certainly make it seem like a front-runner for such a high price, like the curved display (duh) and a self-healing back, not to mention good specs, but there's still one major issue that might deter people away from the device being sold for such a high price, and that's the fact that the G Flex is still running on Android 4.2.2. That's two updates away from the current version, Android 4.4 KitKat, which is strange for a "flagship" device to be so behind.

While I'm not saying that curved displays don't have a future, I feel like they've jumped the gun on just how much a person is willing to spend on a device whose main selling feature is that it is shaped a little differently. I could see it selling at $199 even, but $299? That's a bit much in my opinion, and immediately turns me off from considering the phone. A curved display wasn't something I was particularly interested in in the first place, but if you set it at a decent enough price I would probably still consider picking it up regardless. 

The LG G Flex is still unreleased, but available for pre-orders through AT&T and Sprint, with release dates coming soon for the carriers plus T-Mobile. I'm interested to see how well the device sells, as it will likely determine whether more of this type of phone will be made in the future. It's an interesting concept to be sure, but I'm just not thoroughly convinced that it's the right concept or time for people to jump on board with the idea in large numbers.

Readers, what are your thoughts so far with curved displays? Do you plan on picking one up, or is the idea not exactly your cup of tea? Let us know your thoughts about them in the comments below!

Images via CNet, Samsung Tomorrow

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