In recent weeks, foldable smartphones have made the jump from prototype to practice, with major manufacturers having announced their own design of a flexible multi-screen phone. These phones will not be for everyone – prizes of $ 2,000 and up will drive away many shoppers – but even if you do not buy, you must appreciate the technology behind these gadgets on the big screen. And if they are not in your price range, know that manufacturers are already talking about cheaper models.
Now let's look at the foldable phones you can buy now – and what could happen in a few years.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
Samsung's first collapsible phone will also be the first collapsible phone to be marketed in the US with its launch on April 26th. And although it's priced at $ 1,980, it's affordable compared to the rest of the latest generation of smartphones.
The Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch AMOLED outdoor display, which folds like a book to reveal a 7.3-inch internal display. If you deploy the phone, the applications you use will appear transparently on the inside screen in a larger format. There is no problem of transition from one mode to another.
Beyond the high price, this phone has some quirks, with big dark glasses around the outside of the phone that seem out of place on a modern smartphone. The Galaxy Fold is also a bulky phone whose depth is almost equivalent to that of two smartphones, which makes it look huge compared to other folding models that are barely thicker than a traditional phone. But Samsung has clearly worked to give the Galaxy Fold a simplified user interface.
Release date: April 26 from AT & T and T-Mobile
Price: $ 1,980
Huawei Mate X
While the Galaxy Fold opens like a book to reveal a screen the size of a tablet, the Huawei Mate X keeps its screen entirely outside. Once folded, the Mate X comes with a 6.6-inch front screen and a 6.4-inch rear screen. However, once unfolded, it becomes an 8-inch tablet. This is the largest screen of all folding phones today.
Although we feared to scratch the wraparound screen, the design is undeniably elegant. Thin enclosures are what we expect from other modern smartphones. Although they are thicker than conventional phones, they are not as bulky as the Galaxy Fold. The downside is the $ 2,600 incredible price of the Mate X, making it an indisputable luxury product.
The phone does not have a specific release date yet, but it is due out in the middle of this year.
Release date: Mid-2019
Price: $ 2,600
LG V50 ThinQ
LG's entry into the multi-screen market is not exactly a "flip-top" phone. Instead of a single large screen that folds in half, the V50 is a quite ordinary smartphone with a 6.4-inch QHD + OLED display. The phone acquires a multi-screen experience similar to that of the Galaxy Fold or Mate X with the addition of the Dual Screen, a second plug-in screen that attaches to the V50 as a holster.
Once connected, the phone opens and closes like any other competitor. The only difference is a rather unsightly space between screens, which looks more like a Nintendo DS than a smartphone. Because of this space, you can not (and would not want) to stretch an image on both screens. Instead, the second screen seems most useful for performing multiple tasks at once or playing a keyboard or a dedicated game controller. This is an interesting approach to the multi-screen concept, but it is not as impressive as smartphones with foldable screens. Some trademark filings suggest that LG may be working on a folding screen device, but it has not happened yet – and we do not know when.
The V50 should be out at the beginning of the year, but there is still no release date or price. We expect the phone will cost about $ 900, but the second screen will not be included – and we do not know what it will cost.
Release date: Early 2019 on Sprint
Price: N / A
Motorola, Oppo, Xiaomi and TCL all have prototypes
The three phones we've talked about are the only models you can order at the moment, but many manufacturers are working on prototypes, some of which could hit the market this year.
The Motorola Razr has popularized the idea of the flip phone with its slim folding design, and the brand could well make a comeback. Motorola Global Product Vice President Dan Dery confirmed that Motorola was working on a smartphone with a foldable display and had "no intention of coming later than everyone else on the market," which would mean that we could see the phone this summer.
Rumors and patents suggest that it will be a Razr-style flip phone with a single foldable portrait screen in two. At the time of the beginning of the folding, it is perhaps the ideal moment to revive the Razr.
Although this Chinese company did not commit to publishing a foldable phone, Oppo Vice President Brian Shen shared the images of a prototype. Although there is no detail beyond these images, the phone looks a lot like Huawei's Mate X, with a big screen for the tablet that folds in half to become a smartphone-sized device, with a screen on the front and on the back. Shen said the model could come into production if there is demand.
Like Huawei and Oppo, Xiaomi's foldable concept includes a single large outdoor display that folds into a smartphone-sized case. But unlike the competition, the Xiaomi prototype is divided into three segments, with one wing on each side of the smartphone screen that folds. Xiaomi's president, Lin Bin, has posted a video preview of the gadget in action – and although the folding mechanism seems strange, it works clearly.
Like the rest of this list, there is no clear idea of the publication date of this publication or its cost.
Although the company announced that it did not intend to launch a foldable phone in 2019, it presented a number of concept models, which are perhaps the most interesting of the lot. A prototype resembled the Galaxy Fold, with a 7.2-inch screen that folds to hide (and protect) the screen inside the phone's body. However, unlike the Galaxy Fold, the concept of TCL did not have an external screen. Instead, the LED lights on the outside can display information such as the time – but to do something more complicated, you have to open the phone.
The price is the most interesting of TCL foldable phones: the company aims to manufacture folding phones at a cost of 30% less than the competition. If TCL stands by this price, it could make the foldable phone affordable – or at least more affordable now.
Image credits: Samsung, Huawei, LG, Oppo, Xiaomi