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LG 'banana phone' reaches AT&T stores

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LG G-Flex has a "self-healing" finish on its back cover that causes surface scratches to disappear. LG G-Flex has a "self-healing" finish on its back cover that causes surface scratches to disappear.
Guest reviewer Toni Jones says after the novelty wears off, LG's G Flex is just a so-so, oversize Android phone. Guest reviewer Toni Jones says after the novelty wears off, LG's G Flex is just a so-so, oversize Android phone.
Griffin's SURVIVOR case for iPhone meets tough, military specs. Griffin's SURVIVOR case for iPhone meets tough, military specs.

AT&T has debuted the first smart phone with a curved screen, the LG G Flex, which I affectionately call the "banana phone." Besides obvious visual and ergonomic benefits, the G Flex's unusual 6-inch OLED display also reduces glare. 

More interesting is the "self-healing paint" on the back cover that LG says will reduce the wear and tear of daily use. When the temperature reaches 80 degrees or above, the polymer surface softens to flatten minor scratches.

The phone also comes with
QuickTheater, which can gives virtually instant access to entertainment apps designed for a curved screen and Dual Window, which divides the wide 6-inch screen into two separate windows for more efficient multitasking. The phone's Rear Key control also allows the use of one finger to power-on the device or adjust volume.

Other notable features include a 13MP HD camera, curved battery technology, and a battery with a capacity of 3,500 mAh for power. The G Flex is powered by a 2.26 GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB RAM, and 32 GB onboard memory. The operating system is Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2.

I was on the fence about the G Flex, so I was delighted when my co-worker and friend, Toni Jones, spotted it on my desk and volunteered to give it a test drive over the weekend. Her assessment was less than enthusiastic. "The camera is fantastic," reports Toni. "The screen is nice, the battery life is very good, but the rear key controls are actually inconvenient. The shape is novel at first but gets old quickly. Overall, it's just an okay Android phone that's way too big."  

The new LG G Flex lists for $694.99 at AT&T stores, but with a new two-year contract, that drops to $299.99. For more information, visit ATT.com.

Protecting your smart phone on Fat Tuesday

If you're hitting the streets for Mardi Gras, be sure your iPhone is equipped to do the same. I'm serious. Get yourself a case that can take a bounce on Bourbon Street in stride. Although many cases can meet the challenge of a 6-foot pavement drop, several models offered by Griffin Technology go above and beyond.

Take the Griffin Survivor Clear, MSRP $29.99, which features a crystal-clear polycarbonate shell with resilient rubber on the edges and corners. Your iPhone looks beautiful, but the Clear's edges are molded for secure grip and its open ports provide easy access to connectors and controls.

If you want more protection, go with the Griffin Survivor, MSRP $49.99, or the Griffin Survivor Slim, MSRP $39.99. For more information, visit GriffinTechnology.com.

It's also smart to configure your iPhone with a pass-code lock screen and download and install Find My iPhone, a free app that can show you your iPhone's location on a map, send it a message, and remotely lock it or wipe it.

We might live in the city that care forgot, but a little extra care can increase the odds that your iPhone -- or any expensive smart phone, for that matter -- will make it through the celebration safe and sound.

Happy Mardi Gras!

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