13
Nov
nexusae0_132

LG's fancy new curved smartphone seems a little gimmicky at first, but it might actually have some innovative stuff going on. One of the surprises when it was finally announced a few weeks back was the "self-repairing" back material. Now you can see that capability demoed on video.

In the video, a wire brush is used to scratch up a regular plastic back panel and the G Flex back. With 500g (1.1 lbs) of pressure the scratches are almost completely gone after a few minutes. At 750g (1.65 lbs), the scratches take a little longer to vanish, but they do – it's kind of magical. LG hasn't explained how the technology works, but there is some suggestion that it could be a form of micro-encapsulation. This involves embedding tiny pockets of resin or polymer in the material that are released when the surface is damages. This substance then fills in the gaps and solidifies.

After that the curved phone is flattened out by some fairly big weights. The G Flex lives up to its name by bouncing back after being compressed under 32kg (70.5 lbs) of weight. Impressive, right?

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Pedro Madeira

    It's impressive alright. Wish the Nexus 5 was built upon this design instead of the G2

    • Ezzy

      Why would you want to pay MORE for your N5?

      • Grizzly Atoms

        To get a phone with more features? Especially ones that self heal and allow our phones to bend albeit just a little but my phone now can bend 0% before breaking.

  • TSON1

    The healing definitely isn't working so hot on the screen :P

    Looks magical on the back, though!

    • bobinator2000

      That's not a screen. That's a "Conventional Back Cover", so a shiny black plastic cover that you'd find on the rear of most phones.

      • TSON1

        Ah, looked glass-y. Had my eyes fixed on the actual video the whole time, didn't even read. Good catch.

  • Benjamin Pavel

    Oh wow....i'm actually surprised how well self-healing works and that it can be so much durable by pressing G Flex down.
    Great job LG, hope other OEM catch this technology on soon!

  • gh0st

    has anyone got their paws on the live wallpaper from this phone, the one which moves as you move the phone

    • IrishSid

      get 3d live wallpaper from the store. There are others too.

  • Pidera

    @e6f95f2ee9576f435650a28dc752cf5f:disqus , if Nexus 5 had this tech, it wouldn't have been so cheap

    • Pedro Madeira

      No problem. I'm one of those that wish Google would build a Nexus Premium device with the most advanced tech features available no matter the price.

      • Kevin

        I agree with this, its great that the nexus is cheap etc and reaches the mass markets, but i'm (i'm sure im not alone in this) in the market for a "premium" device, and would like the best of everything and would happily pay more for it.

  • a.d.AM

    I actually like this phone now. At first I thought it was dumb but its growing on me.

    • Stew

      WHy did you decide about a phone without knowing anything about it?

      • black

        No one likes an odd phone at first site. It has to grow on you.

    • jack

      im just turned off by the 720p display... For a 6 inch phone, it really needs 1080p to be on par with other phablets

  • mechapathy

    What!? What is this sorcery?

  • http://blog.tonysarju.com/ Tony Sarju

    This is great! I can't wait for when all manufacturers jump on board with these technologies and negate the need for me to hide my phones in cases.

    • Leonardo Farage Freitas

      I bought a Spigen screen protector and it came with a back protector also. So now I am not using a case anymore.

      • http://blog.tonysarju.com/ Tony Sarju

        Unfortunately that option can only work for some phones and doesn't protect the glass from breaking in event of a fall. My Nexus 5 requires a bumper/case for my peace of mind.

        • didibus

          I don't mind scratches so much, because screen protectors do a very good job at it, but protection from drop is what is really needed. That's what LG et al should be working on, I don't want to have to use a case anymore.

  • Suhas

    That's pretty amazing stuff. Gotta give it to LG. Now that's real innovation. Samsung, take a good look at that please...

  • Dipish

    At least it doesn't yet hit you back in the face after you cause it damage.

  • Nick Tsiotinos

    Its alive, its alive!!

  • rap

    Very cool and impressive. The weight and sitting on it demonstrations would relieve a lot of concerns for those considering this device and the back thing is just amazing.

  • yankeesusa

    Very promising. I just got the xperia z for the wife and this technology on the waterproof and dust proof xperia would be awesome.

  • squiddy20

    "This involves embedding tiny pockets of resin or polymer in the material that are released when the surface is damages. This substance then fills in the gaps and solidifies." Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds to me as if this self healing stuff will work in one specific area only a few times. What I mean is, scratch the upper left corner, it'll repair in a few minutes. Scratch the same area again, it'll repair, albeit slower. But how many times until all the surrounding resin/polymer is used up? Granted, it's better than anything we've got right now, I'm just curious what the "limitations" are.

    • Raqun

      A few times is a few times better than nothing :)

      • squiddy20

        Haha can't argue with you there!

    • mauswe

      My girlfriend says this is on a molecular level, so the chance that you scratch the same exact area twice are minial. Well she "only" read about this and not testet the device so dont take my (her) word for it =)

  • Seen

    Impressive yeah but lighting on the right (LG cover) is clearly playing favors.
    The left side has so much light that the reflection is amplifying things...
    Further noticeable by how much the yellow of the brush is standing out on the left as opposed to the other side, which is shadowed.

    • billykent1972

      yeah, I noticed that too, and if you look closely there at the end of the "spring back" test, you can still see the scratches that were left earlier.

    • fonix232

      Also noticed that the other cover has no phone attached, right? It bends a lot more -> less pressure on surface -> lesser scratches. So I think it is totally acceptable.

      Of course there always will be some marketing cheating - lighting, digital retouch, etc., but still, it is pretty darn impressive. Even if it can only produce 1/10th of the recovery it shown in labs.

  • A Black UI is the best UI

    Well atleast its a good start which I actually like.

  • Crazy 8

    LG G Flex-A phone that can take the load of your ass.

  • david coffey

    This video completely sold me on this phone. Beforehand, I thought it was a complete gimmick. Can the Samsung phone do any of this?

  • shakerya

    But will it get KitKat?

  • TheLastAngel

    There's no way way that this works without giving you cancer or something.

    • Mariolego Carboro

      Thats the first thing that came to mind. Ok, si your phone can heal itself, what about that giant tumor on your face ?

  • Hermilla

    Any info about the screen? I'd be worried about scratches on the screen since it doesn't have Gorilla Glass or something similar.

    • abqnm

      I am sure it has some sort of reinforced glass similar to gorilla glass. They would have to have something durable to go with the curve.

      Who knows, it could be Gorilla Glass 3 but they just didn't specify. It has happened before.

  • TheLastAngel

    LG= fanboy brand of 2014!

    "Nice try Samsung, but has teh self healz and teh flexes? "

  • wekebu

    I can replace a back cover easily. It's the sides of a phone that get damaged in a fall. Make the sides self healing and I'll be impressed.

  • didibus

    Not bad, LG's manufacturing of phones has really improved, which is great news seeing as how the Nexus phones seem to be manufactured from LG now.

    • Simon Belmont

      I'm really happy with the build quality on my Nexus 5. It feels solidly put together and the materials feel nice to the touch.

      I know it was built to a price point, but it doesn't feel that way. Love it.

  • arj_85

    really glad to see that the newer smartphones will be more durable so we can actually use them as tools rather than treating them as delicate glassware..

    • abqnm

      I am afraid it will still suffer from the drop problem. Hardened and reinforced glass like that is most vulnerable on the edges, so if it hits the ground on a corner of the screen, it will still break.

  • David Hart

    Pretty cool actually, but how long would that self healing back last?

  • Simon Belmont

    This is like that automotive paint that Nissan developed a few years. Cool stuff.

    I wonder how many times you could scratch it up before it loses it's ability to heal, though. Probably a few, at least and what's the likelihood of you scratching the phone in the EXACT same spot over and over?

    • black

      I think they've developed a living back cover. The scratched area can grow back. I suspect it lives off the phone battery.

      Or, instead of the material being shaved off like other covers, it can compress and expand.

      • Simon Belmont

        Haha. Interesting theory.

        I'm pretty sure that micro-encapsulated resins just fix the scratches like an expoxy. But, my guess is there's a finite amount of times a single area of damage can be repaired.

  • lensgrabber

    but as soon as a three year old gets this phone in their hands it will be destroyed. Lab tests are okay but I want to see real world reviews before going ga-ga over something claiming to be self healing.

  • black

    So the name really does hold. It's not just curved, it actually does flex. I'm impressed.

  • Troy Myers

    So this seems to be the answer to how to carry around these big ass phones. Seems like this bad boy can survive just fine in someone's back pocket. That would be full of awesome

  • Pete Tandon

    I cant wait for a drop test!

  • Dave Courtemanche

    Impressed, but my bigger concern is fingerprints and dust on my screen.
    My Xperia tablet Z is brutal for that.

  • Matthew Fry

    Aw crap. Now we'll all be like "No self healing? That's so 2013." I'm guessing this cannot be applied to the screen though. If they could make a smooth thick transparent version they could make billions of dollars selling $100 screen protectors. I'd buy one too.

  • GraveUypo

    this is one of the coolest things i've seen in a while

  • Android Developer

    does using the flexible screen technology also mean that the screen doesn't have a glass at all?
    also, wouldn't a curved screen be too slippery, like the glass back cover of the nexus 4? such a thing makes it too easy to drop the device...

  • Pradeeban

    Hey LG.. you missed the top area... go across it... where the camera is =P

  • Storm Russel

    I gotta say im impressed how it repairs itself..anyone tried the sapphire ones? I heard they good like ZAGG, Stealth Lite, etc/ Still, im happy with my GEARMAXX
    screen protector which I got from ebay for cheap and it's as good!

  • Dr.Zarkov

    The far more important question is: does it blend?

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