Metro Weekly

CES 2015: LG shows off its curves

The Korean company made sure that everyone who visited its booth at CES got a literal eyeful of its products

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While LG had a couple of curveballs at this years Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Korean company made sure that everyone who visited its stand got a literal eyeful of its products. LG was all about displays in Sin City, from the vast to the easily pocketed, and almost all with one thing in common: curves.

Yes, just like 3D before it, curved screens are the current du jour feature for flagship televisions and monitors, and no other company — with perhaps the exception of Samsung — is flaunting its curves as often as LG.

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Indeed, all of this year’s buzzwords make it into LG’s latest TVs. UltraHD (also known as 4K)? Check. Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens? They’ve got them. Fantastically thin bezels? Of course. Curved glass displays? You betcha.

LG brought no fewer than seven 4K OLED TVs to CES, available with flat or curved displays and ranging from 55- to 77-inches and featuring LG’s “Art Slim” design to minimize clutter and distractions around the display area. Of course, if you have the money for LG’s top-of-the-line 77EG9900 set, you’ll never have to choose between flat or curved again — it builds on a concept LG showcased last year and features a body flexible enough to move between flat and curved by itself. This is the future, people!

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LG’s new TVs won’t be sluggish to use, either, thanks to its webOS 2.0 smart TV platform, which promises huge speed improvements over the first version of the OS. How much can new owners expect to gain? Start-up time is reduced by 60 percent, while the time required to switch between the home screen and YouTube has been trimmed by 70 percent, among other metrics. As well as new features, such as smart detection for whatever you plug into the TV and 4K streaming support for Amazon and Netflix, GoPro are also said to be providing 4K content to make the most of your TVs epic resolution.

The pricing of these new sets has yet to be announced, but last year’s 77-inch OLED flagship started at an eye-watering $25,000 — and it wasn’t able to transform between flat and curved, so this year’s flagship could potentially cost even more. Pricing for the “cheaper” sets will vary, but don’t expect to pick one up without some significant savings in your bank or a relative you’re not averse to selling.

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What if you require 4K at a slightly desk-friendlier size? Well, fear not gamers and power users, as LG has products for you, too. For gamers, LG has the lovingly named 34UM67. Once you’re past that mouthful, you’ll find a 21:9 aspect ration monitor, measuring 34 inches diagonally with a resolution of 3,440×1,440. Its UltraWide field of view is complemented with AMD’s FreeSync technology to help reduce tearing and stuttering in gaming, similar to Nvidia’s G-Sync tech, while Dynamic Action Sync minimizes input lag from your display source. Black Stabilizer tech is also onboard to help with contrast levels, illuminating dark scenes and better defining black areas to help enemies stand out more.

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Of course, curves haven’t escaped LG’s monitor line-up, with its 34UC97 display offering a curved, UltraWide, QuadHD (keep up with me, people) resolution of 3440×1440 across 34-inches and with a 21:9 aspect ratio. The monitor comes with Thunderbolt 2 compatibility for Mac users and offers a 178-degree viewing angle across its IPS display. What’s more, it recreates over 99-percent of the sRGB color space, so digital artists and content producers will have an incredibly accurate canvas to work with. If you need more pixels, LG will also offer its Digital Cinema 4K Monitor, affectionately named 31MU97. It lacks the curvature of its sibling, but boosts pixel count to 4K, offering 4,096×2160 resolution, and over 99.5-percent Adobe Color Space accuracy. LG offered no release dates or pricing for its monitors, but we can estimate those to be “this year” and “many dollars,” respectively.

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Smartphones are one area where curved screens are still taking their first, tentative steps. LG and Samsung have led the market, each bringing out devices with curved screens last year to test the waters with a wary public. Neither device was a runaway success, but that hasn’t hindered LG from developing a follow up to its model, the G Flex, with the appropriately named G Flex 2. In every way possible, it’s a substantial upgrade.

Out goes its predecessors 6-inch, 720p screen, and in comes a 5.5-inch 1080p dispplay, coated in chemically treated Gorilla Glass which is 20 percent more durable than the standard clear stuff. Making its return is the somewhat magical self-healing plastic build, which last year could “heal” minor scratches and imperfections in three minutes. This time around, if you scuff your G Flex 2, expect it to sort its wounds in just ten seconds. Inside lies the most powerful mobile chip currently available, Qualcomm’s eight-core Snapdragon 810, paired to a meaty 2GB of DDR4 RAM and powering Android 5.0 Lollipop, while storage is either 16 or 32GB of storage. Charging the G Flex 2 should be easy, too, thanks to a battery and charger which can yield a fifty-percent charge in just forty minutes, while image capture is improved with the inclusion of the G3 smartphone’s 13MP optically-stabilized camera and its laser-powered autofocus.

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Of course, the G Flex’s party trick remains. As its name would suggest, this curved smartphone, which comes in silver or a gorgeous claret red, can bend. Quite dramatically, actually, with the smartphone always returning to its original, slightly curved, shape no matter how hard you flex the device (within reason, of course). In an era of Bendgate with the iPhone 6 Plus and the need for cases to protect from scrapes and scuffs, it’s nice to see LG thinking outside the box a little when it comes to durable smartphone design. Pricing and release date are unannounced, but AT&T have already confirmed that they will carry the G Flex 2.

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And finally, for those who just can’t get enough of doing laundry, LG have deigned to invent the TWIN Wash washing machine. Points if you’ve guessed its main selling feature from the name — the washing machine features not one but two drums for loading your unmentionables into: a front-loader for standard items, and a smaller drawer-mounted washer underneath for freshening more petite items at the same time. We have to question who has so much laundry that they’d need to do two loads at once every time they use the machine, but it’s certainly handy for the odd time you forget to put something important in with the rest of your wash. Again, there’s no mention on pricing or availability, but this much innovation and convenience (or pointless excess, depending on your viewpoint) won’t come cheap.

Image Credits: LG

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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