LG has announced its upcoming OLED TV, the LG Flex, which is designed to double up as a large curved 4K display, and you can choose how much curved it is based on your setup.
The stand includes motorized arms that push the edges of the OLED panel, bending them forward to a maximum curve of 800R (which is much curved) for if you’re sitting right in front of him at a table, or with your back to the apartment… and with 18 steps between those two. You can choose your favorite settings and a dedicated button on the remote lets you switch between them at will.
We would like love to demonstrate this to you through pictures or some other kind of visual aid, but at the time of writing, LG has not provided any pictures of the Flex that we can use, although we did see it in a virtual briefing.
The OLED panel itself is essentially the same as the 42-inch LG C2, with the exception that it includes a 25% less reflective coating than the one used on the LG C2. LG told us this is used because it’s designed to be both a gaming monitor and a TV, and the closer you sit to a screen, the greater the angle of reflections you see.
The regular LG C2 is more designed to sit at a comfortable distance from the couch, which means you get a narrower reflection window. Now we’d say having a lower reflection coating on all LG C2 models would still be nice, as its brightness is a bit limited, but it might show up on the LG C3.
As far as other gaming features go, the set copies the LG C2 in this way too. You get multiple HDMI 2.1 ports for your 4K 120Hz gaming needs – there’s no DisplayPort connectivity, which might cause some gaming PC fans dismay.
It also supports Dolby Vision for gaming (including at 120fps) and HGiG, which is rare on gaming monitors. There is also support for FreeSync Pro, G-Sync and HDMI Forum VRR built in.
There’s no HDR rating (as in ‘HDR400’ or ‘HDR600’), but based on previous testing of the 42-inch LG C2, you can probably expect 600-700 nits of maximum brightness depending on your settings.
LG’s Gaming Hub interface is great for those who want to fiddle with settings. You can toggle the features mentioned above on and off, but you can also access image processing options on the LG Alpha 9 chip that powers it (another feature brought over from the C2).
You can adjust the shadow and highlight settings in great detail, as well as all sorts of other elements that will change response times, so you can get a balance of image quality and low latency that suits you.
Of course, any use of image processing comes with some inherent lag, so hardcore PC gamers might just reject this screen because it uses a TV chip.
Analysis: Too much TV, too little monitor?
That’s the big question for the LG Flex, really: is it too much TV and not enough monitor to sit on your desk?
The point of having one of the best curved monitors is that when you’re sitting right in the center of it a short distance away (ie at your desk), the curve helps with eyestrain in an especially beneficial way when gaming. Using a flat screen, the edges are a large relative distance from your eyes compared to the center – your eye needs to take a big leap in refocusing if you’re looking down the scope to an ammo count in the corner, for example. The same eye movement doesn’t cause the same eye strain problem when looking at a TV from across the room, because the corner and center are pretty much the same relative distance from your eye.
What curved monitors do is reduce the distance from the edges of the screen to your eye, which means the middle of the screen and the edges are approximately the same distance from you – so when your eye moves to the corner now, it doesn’t t have to refocus. This makes them much more comfortable for long periods of time.
The great thing about the LG Flex is that you can choose the curve, so no matter how far you sit from the table, you can find the exact curve level that’s perfect for your eyes. No complaints here; this is excellent.
But it’s a 42-inch TV. this is really quite large for desktop setup – too large to be used as a general computer monitor. So it can’t replace the monitor on your desk for general use, but maybe you could mount it on the wall above the monitor? No – it cannot be wall mounted because its curved motors are all built into the bracket.
So it’s basically designed for a one-person game room setup, really. Maybe you have it in your room with your PS5 instead of a desk you actually work at. Maybe you live alone and you can have it in your living room, but you can sit close enough that the curve feels worth it. These are all good use cases, but they are quite specific. It could very well fall through the cracks for many people: too big and TV-like to replace the best gaming monitors, but too chunky and specialized to buy instead of the best 42-inch TVs.
We still think the LG Flex looks like an engineering genius – we’ll find out if it’s practical and cool when we can get our hands on it.