Foldable devices are a relatively new category of cell phones that can change their shape and size. Because of this, there are things you should know before you buy a foldable phone.
This new class of devices stand out for their screens that can bend or fold, or two screens that are connected by a hinge. This allows them to transform from a normal phone to a larger tablet, or from a compact phone to a flip phone. Foldable devices are designed to offer more versatility and convenience for users who want to enjoy different types of content and apps on their phones.
They are fascinating devices, and you are likely already contemplating getting one. But before you buy a foldable phone, there are a few things you need to know.
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5 Things To Know Before You Buy A Foldable Phone
Foldable devices are more fragile than regular smartphones. Because foldable devices have screens that can bend or fold, this makes them more vulnerable to damage or wear and tear. Those screens are more fragile than regular smartphone screens. Yes, some come with some form of screen protection glass, but the bending or folding nature means they are relatively fragile and something can break at some point in time.
Also, the folding mechanism and the hinge can break or malfunction over time, as well. Lastly, some foldable devices may not be water-resistant or dust-proof, which can affect their longevity. Folds and hinges, especially, are prone to gathering dust.
Foldable devices are heavy: Foldable devices tend to be bulkier and heavier than traditional smartphones, due to the folding mechanism and additional hardware requirements. This is especially true for the bigger, book-style models, but can also be applicable to the smaller, clamshell flip devices. For example, the OnePlus Open weighs 239g, while the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 weighs a whopping 253g. I cringe to think of carrying a device that heavy around with me.
The weight of these devices can affect the overall comfort and ergonomics of the device. You will feel the weight and heft when you use them. One-handed use, particularly, is next to impossible on the bigger, book-style foldables.
This is important that you note before you buy a foldable phone, especially if weight and bulk are sore points with you. If they are and you prefer more lightweight options, the smaller flip foldables are lighter, smaller, and much more comfortable in the hand. As examples, OPPO N3 Flip weighs 198g, while Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 weighs 187g only. Much lighter! The Phantom V Flip weighs 194g.
Compatibility: Foldable devices have different screen sizes and aspect ratios than traditional smartphones, which can cause some compatibility issues with apps and games. Some apps and games may not be optimized for foldable devices, and may display black bars, stretched windows, or distorted graphics. Some foldable devices may also have lower resolution or refresh rate than traditional smartphones, which can affect the quality and performance of apps and games.
Price: Foldable devices are very expensive compared to traditional smartphones, as they require more complex and advanced hardware and software. The average price of a foldable device is around $1,500, which is more than double the price of a flagship smartphone.
But we are seeing the arrival of more affordable foldable phones, especially the flip form factor types, in the market. You will find these in the market for as low as $605 in the United States, £590 in the United Kingdom, and €700 in European Union countries like Germany, Netherlands, and others.
Some Notable Foldable Phones You Can Buy Today
Here are some current foldable devices released in 2023:
- OnePlus Open: This is a foldable device that has a large screen that can fold in half like a book. When it is unfolded, it looks like a tablet with a 8.3-inch display. When it is folded, it looks like a phone with a 6.2-inch display. The OnePlus Open is very fast and powerful, and it has a great camera and battery life.
- Motorola Razr Plus: This is a foldable device that has a small screen that can flip open like a clamshell. When it is closed, it looks like a compact phone with a 2.7-inch display. When it is open, it looks like a normal phone with a 6.8-inch display. The Motorola Razr Plus is very stylish and durable, and it has a useful outer screen that shows notifications and controls.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: This is another foldable device that has a small screen that can flip open like a clamshell. It is similar to the Motorola Razr Plus, but it has a slightly larger display when it is open (6.9 inches) and a slightly smaller display when it is closed (1.9 inches). The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is very water-resistant and has a good camera and performance.
- Google Pixel Fold: This is a foldable device that has a large screen that can fold in half like a book. It is similar to the OnePlus Open, but it has a smaller display when it is unfolded (7.6 inches) and a larger display when it is folded (6.4 inches). The Google Pixel Fold is very simple and easy to use, and it has a great camera and photo editing features.
- Phantom V Fold: This is a foldable device that has a large screen that can fold in half like a book. When it is unfolded, it looks like a tablet with a 7.85-inch display. When it is folded, it looks like a phone with a 6.42-inch display. The Phantom V Fold is very fast and powerful, and it has a 50MP triple camera and a 5000mAh battery.
- Phantom V Flip: This is a foldable device that has a small screen that can flip open like a clamshell. When it is closed, it looks like a compact phone with a 1.32-inch display. When it is open, it looks like a normal phone with a 6.9-inch display. The Phantom V Flip is very stylish and durable, and it has a 64MP dual camera and a 45W fast charging feature. It is sold outside the USA (see this review).
Now that you are aware of the issues involved, you can make informed decisions when picking your first foldable device. Happy shopping.