Given the current state of the market, foldable phones are becoming more and more popular. We have had the Galaxy Z Flip launch. As well as Huawei bringing the Mate Xs, but this is not it; in the past, we have had the likes of Motorola Razr as well as other companies bringing in their own flavour of foldable devices. We recently looked at TCL working on a number of interesting foldable devices of their own, and from the looks of it, they did look promising.
However, the burning question still remains; are foldable phones the future or just fancy gimmicks? To answer that, we have to look back at the first mainstream foldable device that launched. The Galaxy Fold; the phone launched last year and immediately received a lot of press as it was supposed to get.
What Does the Future Hold for Foldable Devices?
However, there were some glaring issues. For starters, the phone started developing issues with the display failing and many people had their units die on them. Samsung called back the Galaxy Fold shortly after the initial release, and took a few months to fix the issues and launched the phone all over again. This time, with the better build quality.
Following Samsung's footsteps, many companies came out with their own take on foldable phones; the likes of Huawei Mate X and Motorola Razr being among the most common devices that are commercially available. Aside from having a pretty high price tag, another thing that was common about these devices was the screen.
Up until now, all the devices that we have seen come with foldable OLEDs that are made out of plastic, and while they are certainly impressive. Plastic is a lot softer than glass and can easily scratch even if you are pressing it with your nails; this means that the average day to day use has to be really careful. The issue here is that you cannot even use screen protectors because companies have issued warnings against using them.
With the release of Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung did talk about changing the game by introducing ultra-thin glass that can bend; this did act as a silver-lining but it was soon revealed that the screen still scratches just as easy and it is not entirely screen as the softer material still lies on top of the panel.
So far, the only promising foldable we have seen in terms of screen durability is the Surface Duo by Microsoft which should be released sometime this year. Unlike the rest of the devices, Surface Duo has both screens made out of Gorilla Glass, the screens are split by a hinge that is visible in all cases, which means that you are not going to get the seamless experience like other foldable devices, but you are still getting durability.
I am Okay With the Screen. What Else?
Even if you are okay with the screen issues as many other people are, we have to look at the cost factor. Foldable devices at this point easily cost above $1,000 and while that is the same as any good flagship cost when you look at the opportunity cost, you are just paying more for increased risk and added flare of a foldable device.
Another thing that you must be aware of is that you cannot put any proper case on the device. This is coming from someone who prefers going naked with their devices, but considering the fragility of a foldable device, having a case is something that seems like a must. True, some companies do provide you with cases, but these two-piece cases can barely do much. So, again, added anxiety of keeping your phone intact.
Then there is an issue of having a crease on the display; an issue that is almost impossible to avoid. The screen folds, which will unsurprisingly leave a crease wherever the fold is. While you do get used to it just as you did with the notch, it is something that is hard to avoid since you can feel it the moment you run your finger over it.
All these arguments should not deter you from the fact that foldable devices are certainly impressive. However, what is more, important to know at this point is that these devices are still reaching the maturity point. They are far from perfect but calling them complete failures would be wrong. From the sales point of view, these devices are doing good and while not as good as your standard flagships, the interest is garnering.
Can they replace standard phones? At this point, it is too soon to say anything since the issues currently present in these devices do not make them a compelling buy over the tried and tested design that we are used to.
Do you think foldable devices are the future or they are just bad examples of companies showing off what they can do? Let us know.