Since the Royole FlexPai’s release at the beginning of 2018, the smartphone market has changed completely. Foldable phones are taking over the smartphone market. Every major smartphone brand either has a foldable phone or will be releasing one in 2021.
Most people didn’t notice Royole Flexpai’s 2018 release. On the other hand, people noticed the original Samsung Galaxy Fold for all the wrong reasons in 2019. The Samsung Galaxy Fold was seen as a gimmick that needed to have its launch delayed due to design flaws. But, are modern foldables a gimmick, or are they the future?
Standout Foldable Smartphones
Samsung Z Fold2 5G
The Z Fold2 is a vertically folding phone. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G’s style is similar to the original Galaxy Fold. However, there are a number of improvements that have been made over the original. The Z Fold2 has improved its hinges compared to the original design. It can hold in place at any position. Rather than just being open or closed.
Samsung Z Flip 5G
Samsung currently has two new foldable smartphones on the market. The Z Flip 5G is a horizontally folding smartphone, which is also called a clamshell design. This type of phone is similar in size to a standard smartphone, but can fold in half. This design has the benefit of being very compact. If your pockets are too shallow for traditional phones, this could be a good option.
Huawei Mate Xs
The Huawei Mate Xs is a direct competitor to the Samsung Z Fold2. It folds out the same way the Z Fold 2 does and actually features more storage options than Samsungs’ phone. The Huawei Mate Xs does everything the Z Fold2 can do, but slightly better. It has a better phone display, it doesn’t have a gap when closed, and it has a less noticeable crease.
However, the Huawei Mate Xs is still currently unable to use Google Services. This is a major issue for anyone who uses Google or apps on the Google Play Store. People who want to use an app like Instagram will be unable to open it on their device.
Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold
The Mi Mix Fold has the same book folding style as the Huawei Mate Xs and Z Fold2. It has a narrow display like the Z Fold2. When folded, the Mi Mix Fold has a small gap just like the Z Fold 2. The main selling point for the Mi Mix 2 is that it has functionality comparable to the top-end folding phones but at a much better price.
What Should You Look for in a Foldable?
Battery life is going to be an issue on any foldable device. The larger foldable phones have the battery power of a flagship smartphone. But if a person is making use of the larger display they will use up their battery much more quickly than if they are just using a normal cell phone. The Z Fold2 and the Huawei Mate Xs have a 4500mAh battery and these phones will use battery quicker if you are using the larger displays.
The foldable smartphones with a clamshell design usually feature lower battery life, with the Samsung Z Flip 5G only having 3,300 mAh of battery. This means that a person using a foldable phone will be charging more often than someone with a standard flagship phone.
If you are considering a new folding phone, then you should consider upgrading your charging equipment. The Ugreen 65W USB-C Fast Charging Kit would be a great choice because it can fast charge any of your devices with a 65W wall charger and a 100W charging cable. You can make sure that all your devices are always charged with the Fast Charging Kit. Learn more tricks you should know about optimal charging here.
Foldable phones come in all shapes and sizes. Cell phone producers are still trying to find the best design. The aspect ratio of the phone is important because it is different from other devices. Your high definition TV probably has an aspect ratio of 16:9. The Galaxy Z Fold2 has an inner aspect ratio of 22.5:18.
Why should you care? Since the inner mini-tablets of a foldable smartphone have a display that is closer to a square there will be wasted space not being used for watching videos. The video will definitely be larger than your phone, but not as large as you might expect.
Price is a major deterrent when it comes to foldable phones. The Huawei Mate Xs currently costs over $2,700 in China despite not being able to use Google Services. The Galaxy Z Fold2 is slightly cheaper, costing $2,283. The Mi Mix Fold is more affordable, just over $1,500 in China. But it is still expensive. Even the clamshell foldable phones are more expensive than traditional phones despite having lower specifications.
Recently, the price of foldable smartphones has been increasing. But, there are also rumors that interesting concept phones may be released at lower prices. If these rumors prove true, this might force other companies to lower their prices to remain competitive.
How Should You Test a Foldable?
The main reason that someone would want to use a foldable smartphone over a traditional smartphone is the viewing experience. This means the display is very important. Brightness and color grading is even more important because the main goal is to have a better video viewing experience.
Another thing to test is how apps run on the larger version of the screen. Since the folding phones are all phones that can become tablets, some of the apps for the phone don’t work as well as they would with a tablet. Some apps will allow the phone to use tablet mode. But when the app doesn’t let you use tablet mode the apps will look slightly distorted.
Folding phones can vary in speaker quality and location. Some versions only have speakers in one location and others have speakers in four locations. The Mi Mix Fold notably has four speakers tuned by Harman Kardon. However, speakers can be substituted for a good pair of wireless earbuds, like the Ugreen HiTune T3 Low Latency Earbuds.
The HiTune T2 buds are extremely low latency, which makes them great for playing video games. A gamer using the HiTune T2 earbuds will never notice an audio lag. Additionally, the earbuds have a massive 14.2 mm dynamic driver. Its large dynamic drivers ensure that the listener can hear all the deep bass notes, in addition to the high trebles. If you want to know more about dynamic drivers, check here.
Another key issue is how the phone fits your pocket. The biggest selling point of the clamshell design is how much easier it is to fit in a pocket. The larger folding designs are similar in size to two normal phones.
The larger folding phones are attempting to get smaller. For instance, the Huawei Mate Xs is only 11mm thick when folded. When you are in the store you should definitely ask to put the phone in your pocket. Just to see how it fits, of course.
Concept Foldable Phones
OPPO X 2021
The OPPO X 2021 is a concept phone that’s name seems to indicate that it will have a 2021 release. The phone doesn’t actually fold at all. Instead, the phone has two motors inside that “roll” the phone out to reveal a larger display.
This is better than a traditional foldable because it doesn’t have a large crease and it feels like a traditional smartphone when it is in your pocket. Still, when the phone is rolled out it expands to be 6.7 inches by 7.4 inches. This is not going to be amazing for movies shot in a 16:9 aspect ratio. But it will be amazing for Instagram.
TCL is the current owner of the BlackBerry brand and has an extensive line of TVs. The company recently demoed their new smartphone designs, including a trifold tablet and a rollable design. While the products we have seen so far haven’t been fully functional, they are pretty interesting.
Apple hasn’t created a folding phone yet, but there are rumors that make it seem that a design is currently under development. On May 3, CNBC reported that a foldable iPhone is expected for 2023. This is after reports of two different designs passing a durability test at Apple’s main factory in China. Still, 2023 is a long way off and many things can happen between now and then.
The Future of Foldables
Folding phones in their current state are definitely not for everyone. They are quite expensive and their aspect ratios can cause problems with apps. However, the number of foldable smartphones that are being produced increases every year. As the competition heats up the prices will fall and more innovative designs will be created. If foldable phones or rollable phones are able to maximize our viewing experience, they will be the future of phones.