Phones that you can fold have had their return rumored since 2013. That’s when the Samsung foldable phone got patented, and it took quite some time for the device to materialize into the Galaxy Fold that will be going up for orders in April of this year.
The long wait has now ended, and there are already two foldable phones that have been introduced and many more are in the making. Phones with flexible screens are now a reality. They come in different concept designs, have their high-resolution touchscreen displays fold in different ways, and look different from one another.
Google in the other hand worked its way in adjusting the Android Framework into becoming a safe house for such the foldable devices. Developers at Android will adjust the software to allow folding mobiles to transition applications from one screen to another automatically as you fold or unfold the device, add support for multiple apps to run simultaneously across different split-screens, and provide a smooth transition across multiple screens connected to the phone.
Even now, there are quite some apps that support multiple display modes, and developers won’t be having a tough time to make them work smoothly with the Galaxy Fold or the Mate X, the two most popular foldables as of now.
Phones with flexible screens that you can fold are still in their infancy days, and you don’t really need one. But, if you are one of those people that wants to proudly claim of being the first to have had a foldable phone and you don’t really care to pay the top dollar on an experimental product, here are the best folding phones that have been announced and that you will be able to get your hands into very soon.
Huawei Mate X
Huawei might have just successfully outcompeted Samsung by releasing the first 5G-ready smartphone that also folds. The Mate X differs from the Galaxy Fold, the flexible screen on this handset folds in the outside, it is amazingly sleek and makes a much better smartphone-to-tablet convertible than the Galaxy Fold.
The Mate X appears to have an edge on the hardware level from anything foldable introduced until now. The screen you get when the device is in tablet mode grows to 8-inches, and you also have that large wraparound display with an outstandingly high screen real estate.
You can use the Mate X as a regular notch-less smartphone that just happens to have two displays that are up for function simultaneously. Something that you simply cannot do with Samsung’s counterpart, if you fold it, the only display that functions is the tiny 4.6-inch cover screen. Phone-mode of the Galaxy Fold where you have a large device with a small touch-enabled screen in the center doesn’t seem to be something everyone is craving for. The Huawei folding phone is also slim when folded, it measures only 11mm of thickness at its thickest point and when folded is extremely sleek, the depth of the touchscreen display measures only 5.4mm.
When the Mate X folds, the front display is of 6.6-inches with a 6.39-inch screen moving on the back, and it sits right next to a sophisticated non-touchscreen strip on the side that hosts the four camera sensors, a LED flash, and the power button.
Huawei also made an excellent smartphone for photography and hi-res video recording when designing the Mate X. The foldable Mate X houses a 40MP primary sensor, a 16MP camera with an ultrawide angle of view, an 8MP telephoto camera, and a time-of-flight sensor. All of which are Leica-made and enable it to capture compelling imagery and record 4K videos. You can use all those cameras for selfies and video chat by just folding the device and utilizing the 6.39-inch cover display. The screen used by Huawei on this device is OLED and has a resolution of 2200 x 2480 pixels and features a pixel density of 414 pixels per inch. The same resolution of the Galaxy Fold excluding the ugly notch, thicker body, and a proper phone mode usability.
The Kirin 980 chipset with Balong 5000 modem gives speed and support for the 5G network when it rolls out. There are 8GB of RAM and 512GB of onboard memory coming with each Mate X flexible phablet. This storage capacity can be expanded by an addition of 256GB via Huawei’s innovative Nano Memory card. The NM card can be mounted on the second SIM card. Mate X runs Android 9 with a custom-built EMUI 9.1 overlay that allows you to use both displays as standalone touchscreen panels that can have the different apps running on them work on their own or interact with each other.
Mate X gets powered by a 4,500 mAh, and there is a side-mounted fingerprint reader for instant access to the content of the phone.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
A folding Samsung phone was what everyone thought of over the years whenever the subject of folding touchscreen displays on mobile devices came up. The first Samsung foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, might not be exactly the giant leap to the next-generation of handheld mobile devices. It has excellent hardware and software, but it doesn’t even attempt to make the best of its flexible screen.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold (previously rumored as the Galaxy X) packs a 7.3-inch primary OLED display with a resolution of 1536 x 2152 pixels and can be utilized only the device is unfolded. Samsung utilizes a sophisticated hinge that revolves around multiple interlocking gears to enable flexibility to the phone’s screen. When the Galaxy Fold is folded, both screens wrap one over the other with a tiny space in between, and you can’t use any part of the 7.3-inch display. Samsung implemented a secondary 4.6-inch screen on the cover that serves as a primary display when the device is in folded mode.
Samsung didn’t hold its self with the cameras mounted on the Galaxy Fold. It packed it up with six cameras, three cameras on the back and three on the front. The rear sensors serve as primary cameras, and they are made of a 12MP standard wide-angle camera, a 16MP ultra-wide sensor excellent for capturing panorama shots, and a 12MP telephoto unit with 2-times optical zoom. A 10MP and 8MP sensor are mounted on the notch on the side of the large screen, and there’s a third 10MP camera placed above the cover display for capturing selfies when the device folds.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 with 12GB of RAM, 512GB of non-expandable local memory, and a customized Android 9 version of the OS grant to this device lightning speeds. A 5G version of this handset will be released shortly as well. Samsung added software functions that enable the phone to run three apps simultaneously, a feature known as the multi-active-window, and another feature called app continuity. App continuity is the function that allows for you to load into the large main screen anything you’re viewing on the cover display by simply folding the device. Such utility feature is actually very useful, imagine having to repeat every step that sent you to an interesting piece of information on the cover display once you fold the phone.
Galaxy Fold receives the fuel from a 4,380 mAh battery, sports a side-mounted fingerprint reader, and has every sensor you can find on the latest Samsung phones. It, however, is not one of the Samsung-made phones featuring the headphone jack.
Did you know that neither Samsung Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X are not the first foldables to go official? That’s right. World’s first foldable phone actually is the Royole FlexPai, a flexible phone built by a China-based manufacturer of shirts and hats that also equip flexible screens. If you want a shirt or a hat with a display, Royole is the best place to look for.
The Royole FlexPai sports a 7.8-inch flexible AMOLED display with full HD resolution when unfolded. FlexPai folds in a similar mean to the Mate X, and when folded the device cuts the whole screen into three standalone displays that support app interaction. Royole even shares functions with smartphones having curved edge displays by using the flexed section of the screen as the place where notifications are shown while you’re using it.
FlexPai runs the Snapdragon 855 SoC and has variants with 6GB and 8GB of RAM and is pre-loaded with Android 9 and WaterOS overlay for the custom fold software functions. It also houses 128GB and 256GB of onboard memory, a storage capacity that can be further extended via a microSD card. A 16MP and 20MP dual-camera setup allow it to capture high-resolution photography.
Royole appears to have rushed with the release of the FlexPai. It seems more like a prototype rather than a ready-for-shipping smartphone. But still, it is the only folding phone that you can buy right now.
LG V50 ThinQ
The LG V50 ThinQ doesn’t technically have a flexible display, but it shares support for a detachable secondary screen that you can pair it with. The experience is quite different from the only provided by the regular foldables, but, if you want two screens on a phone mounted one over the other, this phone still provides you with a solution.
The V50 ThinQ runs the Snapdragon 855 chipset and comes with Qualcomm X50 5G-enabled modem. It sports a 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED display, a triple camera setup on the back that revolves around a 12MP standard sensor, another 12MP telephoto unit with two-time optical zoom, and a 16MP ultra-wide lens for capturing 4K videos. A front-facing dual-camera setup of an 8MP and 5MP are LG’s selfie and video chat gift with every V50 ThinQ.
LG made the V50 ThinQ compatible with a detachable secondary screen that can actually turn this phone into a lightning-fast gaming phone and even a more practical device than any current folding handheld device.
The V50 ThinQ has everything you need in a dual-screen phone. It has a rear-mounted fingerprint, headphone jack, a large capacity battery of 4,000 mAh, extendable storage, and about everything else a high-end phone needs to have.
Other unannounced incoming foldable phones
Several major and not-so-big companies have shown interest in phones that can have their displays fold. Apple has filed several patents regarding foldables although no such phone will be coming during this year.
Sony is said to be working on a foldable phone of its own that when folded out will be revealing a screen with 4K resolution. The name of the device is rumored to be the Sony Xperia Note Flex, and when unfolded the 4K display will be measuring 6.2 inches.
Motorola is following a different concept design for its folding device. Rumors suggest that it will morph the Razr phone into a foldable device that replaces the physical keyboard with a touchscreen panel when you flip it out. The folding Motorola Razr will have a secondary cover screen just like the 15-year-old flip-flop Razr phone.
A folding Oppo phone popped up in the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo. The prototype appears to be a Huawei Mate X lookalike that folds in the same way and even have the same strip on the rear for reserved for the cameras.
Xiaomi had its official tweet a video that displays a prototype of a foldable mobile phone. The shown prototype has its screen fold into two sections, and when folded the phone gets much smaller and compact than most other similar devices that we have seen by now. Xiaomi officially announced that it will be surveying reactions and if people show interest at it then the company will get the working to get it into mass production.
TCL, a Chinese company of electronics, brought a prototype of a foldable phone of their own to the MWC 2019 event and this foldable follows a similar design to the Galaxy Fold. The phone folds in, and there is a secondary cover screen for the users to check notifications and other things.