When the LG G Flex was first launched it was seen as something of a gimmick, with plenty of questions as to whether we need a curved screen on a phone at all.
Not to be deterred by the mixed reception of the original model, LG has released the LG G Flex 2, a smaller, lighter, more powerful smartphone that aims to reinforce the message that this isn't a gimmick.
This is LG saying you can have a powerful device that just so happens to be curved, rather than making the curve the defining element.
The G Flex 2 has been on a diet and is now physically a lot smaller than the original, mainly due to a 5.5-inch POLED screen instead of the 6-inch of the previous device.
That's no bad thing as it actually makes the phone sit a lot more comfortably in the hand and we found it much easier to use than the original G Flex model ever was.
The thinnest part is 7.1mm (coincidentally the same as the iPhone 6), while the thickest part is 9.4mm.
The curve, which is slight rather than full banana, makes for a comfortable fit on your face and in your pocket. In the 30 minutes we had with the phone, the curvature, which runs from top to bottom rather than side to side like the Samsung Galaxy Round, is gentle enough not to fully notice each and every time you use it.
That size reduction means a weight reduction so it's now 15 per cent lighter. The G Flex 2 weighs a more manageable 152g rather than the 177g it was previously and you can certainly notice the difference in the hand.
The screen, which when viewing at 30cm is supposed to be equivalent to sitting 3m away from a 55-inch curved TV, does immerse you into what's going on and it is incredibly crisp and sharp, especially with Android's new material design elements.
To help improve things further, LG has used Corning Gorilla Glass 3, but then specially treated it to make it even stronger. Either way, the display dominates proceedings on the front of the phone, with little room left for bezel within the chassis.
That also means there are no buttons on the front or the sides with LG opting for their central back button beneath the camera instead just as it has with the LG G3 and other handsets.
And all of those subtle changes means LG can also claim that it is more durable - 20 per cent more durable in fact.
Self healing 2nd Gen
As with the original G Flex the rear of the phone uses a self healing material that is soft to touch. Available in plantinum silver and flamenco red, LG says that the back of the phone will still be able to self heal itself after you've scratched it, but it can now do it 18 times faster than the first generation of this material used in the G Flex.
That all very clever and watching a video of it proved the prowess. How it will cope in the real world is yet to be seen. Still the red is incredibly punchy and the silver muted enough to be businessy without going for just plain old black or white.
LG G Flex 2 processor and specs
Get past the curved design of the G Flex 2 and you're actually left with a very powerful smartphone. The G Flex 2 sports the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor (2GHz), 16GB or 32GB storage options, LTE, NFC, improved Wi-Fi, microSD slot that can take upto a 2TB card, and 3000mAh battery suggesting that you should have plenty of capacity to getting you to the end of the day without the need to find a plug socket.
If you do, don't fret, LG have bumped the charging capacity of the battery to be able to get you back to 50 per cent within 40 minutes, not bad going.
In our quick play the phone seemed incredibly speedy, although we weren't able to really push it to the limits when we had it. That processing power has been used wisely though. The screen might pack a PPI of 403, putting it a fraction over the iPhone 6 Plus, but it's still only HD rather than 2K.
Camera wise, the LG G Flex 2 gets a 13-megapixel sensor, laser AF, dual flash, and optical image stabilisation. The software and sensor make-up is similar to the G3, but LG has confirmed to Pocket-lint that it has been enhanced and improved.
New software and tricks
A new phone means new tricks to show off. The LG G Flex 2 will launch with Android 5.0 Lollipop, along with LG's previous bevy of software enhancements that you find across the range. But new for this phone is the introduction of a glance view that allows you to slowly reveal the information on the lock screen - if you only need the time you only need to swipe down a faction of the screen - and a selfie mode that lets you automatically check your picture when you pull the phone closer to yourself.
It's the latter that we had most fun with. As with other LG phones you can set it so that you don't have to press a button to take a selfie, but improvements here mean you can use the fist clench gesture even when/if using a selfie stick. Now when you pull the phone closer to yourself it automatically shows you the shot you've just taken, when you stretch your arm out again, it goes back to being ready to take a picture again, which is really handy.
With its powerful processor, clean interface, decent camera and great specs, the LG G Flex 2 looks to be an excellent smartphone that just happens to feature a curved screen.
That's the main takeaway here: the curved screen doesn't have to be the focus. There will be some who say the curved screen means it doesn't sit flat on the desk, there are others who will say LG is doing this merely because it can, and they will all be right. But regardless of the curved display, the G Flex 2 will happily stand up to its competition.
The question, therefore, is whether or not the curved screen adds anything to the experience. For the most part it is too early to tell, something we will cover more of in our full review when we get units, but we do know this: the curved screen isn't pointless, and for many intrigued by the G Flex 2 that gives it a running head start over its predecessor, and that's a huge step forward.
We actually liked the original Flex and this new version is packed with power and full of promise.