Modern Foldable phone

Foldable Phones – What Makes Them a Game Changer


Long before foldable phones became a thing, in 1996, Motorola Startac was the first to make a clamshsell design available for the public. While not many people fancy Clamshell mobiles presently, they used to be a dream-come-true just a couple of decades ago.

Their popularity caused Motorola to develop the RAZR model. Because of the thin profile and unique appearance, RAZR remained an exclusive fashion accessory for quite some time.

However, after selling more than 130 million units and topping the podium as the best-selling clamshell mobile in the world, they lost their touch when modern smartphones hit the industry in 2008.

Android and Apple quickly cashed on the market, and it wasn’t until 2018, where the foldable smartphone concept resurfaced. Today we see folding smartphones coming in all forms, styles, models, and brands.

Some of the most dominating names on the market include Royole Flexpai (October 2018), Galaxy Fold (February 2019), Huawei Mate X (February 2019), Motorola RAZR (November 2019), and TCL (March 2020).

Many of us can’t help think, is it about time the foldable phone revolution becomes the next big thing? Let’s dig deep into how this industry has evolved over time to get a better understanding of this question.

The History of Foldable Phones

For many of us, the hype around the 2019 Samsung Galaxy Fold launch was the first time to hear about this new twist to the smartphone industry. However, the idea of ​​folding phones has been around for long enough.

Just like we have seen the basic concept of “Short Messaging Service” (also referred to as SMS) transform into the likes of Zoom and Slack to ViberWhatsApp and other alternatives, we’re witnessing the conventional mobile phone designs transform into something new and interesting.

In 2006, a company called Polymer Vision launched the Readius concept. More than an e-reader with calling capabilities, it would open to reveal a large-sized tablet-like screen, resembling pretty much the foldable smartphones of today. You could roll out its screen futuristically. It was quite ambitious for 2006, but couldn’t live up to the expectations in the long run.

From then on, a host of companies started making dual-screen “folding phones.” Some models offered split screens, dividing the screen into two halves to do different things. Some others offered the “extended mode”, where the two screens would combine, but with a big gap around their junction.

The fact of the matter is that those models weren’t true folding mobile phones. Instead, you can consider them as dual-screen phones featuring a tablet-sized display (marred with a noticeable gap in the middle). Nevertheless, still a step forward conceptually.

First Generation Foldable Phones

It all changed with the introduction of foldable OLED screens in the smartphone industry. (And yes, they were named as “FOLED”.) OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode.

The first out of the gate was Royole Flexpai at the end of 2018. But was it worth the $1,300 price tag? Not so much. But if the aim was to beat others in rolling out a fully functioning foldable model, the target was achieved.

Galaxy Fold, the first Samsung foldable phone, was next in the queue. The media got their hands on the test units by early 2019, and feedback was not so great. At most, you can consider it as “too much too soon” by the Korean tech giant. It turned out way too fragile and delicate to not snap under the pressure of daily use.

So, the day before the planned April 2019 release, Fold’s debut was postponed without a time limit. Huawei Mate X, the famed Huawei foldable phone, also faced months’ delay in its release.

However, when they finally hit the market at the end of 2019, the durability of the two phones greatly increased. But, by then, the public began questioning the wisdom of spending up to $ 2,000 on mobile phones with questionable longevity. And the phones did not come close to the projected sales figures.

Next stop, Motorola RAZR. While it rolled with many improvements in its durability in contrast to its predecessor, many weren’t still all that happy about it.

With RAZR’s processor speed, memory allocation, and camera performance, everything was under par. It could have worked fine if the price reflected this. At $ 1,500, of course not.

With COVID-19 becoming a global pandemic at about the same time, this chapter on foldable smartphones didn’t end very well. It led many to believe that the era of foldable phones ended without riping.

The Next Generation of Foldable Phones

If you pay attention to the first quarter of 2020, there was a hint of foldable cell phones potentially making a comeback. Thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.

While it shared a design similarity with RAZR, i.e., the flip, reviewers had many positive things to relate to it. Performance and endurance were more in line with the wishes of the media this time around. And the price label, too, while still staying in the flagship zone.

For those wishing to see more foldable screens, the good news is that this is a trend across the board.

With an enhanced camera set, Huawei Mate XS turned out faster and more durable than its predecessor. Samsung, meanwhile, makes a much-improved fold on the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Its 5G capabilities, the type of fit and finish that we expect from South Korean manufacturers, and better multitasking capabilities made it the best folding phone of the time.

After a while, Samsung also offered 5G updates to the Z flip, with Motorola also uplifting the RAZR with the same capabilities.

Where Are We Now?

All of it leads us to 2021 and the third generation of folding phones. By now, it is clear that the manufacturers are ready to take the foldable game to the next level. With major bugs out of sight, they can now focus on loading the phones with features that justify a high price tag, enticing users to choose them over the conventional ones.

Samsung has added iPX8 and 120Hz water-resistant displays to Z Flip3 and Z Fold3. A support pen and a screen protector adding up to 80% durability to the screen served as the cherry on top.

Huawei Mate X2 has a fantastic camera set. Finally, it switches to a folding screen inner, so you don’t say goodbye to thousands of dollars if you enter your key wrongly into the same pocket as your phone.

And TCL (yup, the TV guys) have launched the concept capable of folding into a phablet and rolling into a whole tablet. Sound familiar? Indeed, they have teased the crazy concept since the beginning of 2020. So, who knows whether we’ll see the phone that works as they claim at the end of the year? No matter what, it’s a pretty exciting thing.

Best Foldable Phones of 2021

Big names in the smartphone manufacturing industry, including Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola, have perfected their manufacturing process, enhancing their hinge designs. Now, they’re busy rolling out newer folding models regularly, encouraging more people to buy one.

If you are in the market for one of the best folding phones, we showcase a list featuring top names and top choices so that you can make up your mind easily and confidently.

1. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G

The best foldable phone you can buy.

Weight: 271g
Dimensions: 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm (unfolded)
Screen size: 7.6 inches (unfolded)
Resolution: 1768 x 2208 pixels (unfolded)
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Storage: 256/512GB
Battery: 4,400 mAh
Rear camera: 12 MP wide + 12 MP telephoto + 12 MP ultrawide
Front camera: 10 MP, 10MP

2. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G

The best clamshell foldable phone.

Weight: 183 g
Dimensions: 72.2 x 166 x 6.9 mm (unfolded)
Screen size: 6.7 inches (unfolded)
Resolution: 1080 x 2640 pixels (unfolded)
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 3,300 mAh
Rear camera: 12 MP wide + 12 MP ultrawide
Front camera: 10 MP

3. Motorola Razr

Another clamshell foldable phone you can consider.

Weight  183 g
Dimensions  72.2 x 166 x 6.9 mm (unfolded)
Screen size  6.7 inches (unfolded)
Resolution  1080 x 2640 pixels (unfolded)
CPU  Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Storage  128/256GB
Battery  3,300 mAh
Rear camera  12 MP wide + 12 MP ultrawide
Front camera  10 MP

4. Huawei Mate XS

A stunning foldable phone.

Weight  300 g
Dimensions  161.3 mm x 146.2 mm x 5.4 mm (unfolded)
Screen size  8 inches (unfolded)
Resolution  2200 x 2480 pixels (unfolded)
CPU  Kirin 990
Storage  512GB
Battery  4,500 mAh
Rear camera  40 MP wide + 8 MP telephoto + 16 MP ultrawide + TOF 3D depth

5. LG Velvet

The best foldable phone that’s also a normal phone.

Weight  180 g
Dimensions  167.2 mm x 74.1 mm x 7.9 mm (unfolded)
Screen size  6.8 inches (unfolded)
Resolution  1080 x 2460 pixels (unfolded)
CPU  Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
RAM  6GB / 8GB
Storage  128GB
Battery  4,300 mAh
Rear camera  48 MP wide + 8 MP ultrawide + 5 MP depth
Front camera  16 MP

6. Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold

A powerful foldable phone with restricted availability.

Weight  317 g
Dimensions  173.3 mm x 133.4 mm x 7.6 mm (unfolded)
Screen size  8.01 inches (unfolded)
Resolution  1860 x 2480 pixels (unfolded)
CPU  Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
RAM  12GB / 16GB
Storage  256GB / 512GB
Battery  5,020 mAh
Rear camera  108 MP wide + 8 MP telephoto/macro + 13 MP ultrawide
Front camera  20 MP wide

7. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

The last generation Fold is still worth considering.

Weight  282 g
Dimensions  159.2 mm x 128.2 mm x 6.9 mm (unfolded)
Screen size  7.6 inches (unfolded)
Resolution  1768 x 2208 pixels (unfolded)
CPU  Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus
Storage  256GB
Battery  4,500 mAh
Rear camera  12 MP wide + 12 MP telephoto + 12 MP ultrawide
Front camera  10 MP, 10MP

8. Microsoft Surface Duo 2

Weight  284 g
Dimensions  5.8-inch and 5.8-inch, 1,344 x 1,892 each
Screen size  5.8 inches
Resolution  2688 x 1892 pixels
CPU  Snapdragon 888
Storage  128/256/512GB
Battery  4,449mAh
Rear camera  16, 12, and 12MP
Front camera  12MP


Big names in the smartphone manufacturing industry, including Samsung, Huawei and Motorola, have perfected their manufacturing process, enhancing their hinge design. Now, they’re busy rolling out newer folding models regularly, encouraging more people to buy one.

One thing is for sure, people perceive smartphones as the most convenient way of keeping in touch with people they love and care about. It will continue to evolve, just like the needs, wants and expectations of people who use it.

As we see the number of people interested in getting their hands on a foldable phone increase, we also see an increase in the number of people interested in breaking the shackles of conventional phone plans with long-term contracts.

Now more of them want to enjoy the freedom of communication by choosing the best calling apps and SIM-Only deals with no contracts over getting tied into long-term and expensive phone contracts.

One way or the other, change is inevitable, and the change foldable phones have introduced in the smartphone industry seems to have more good things about it than bad. And it seems to have all the ingredients in place to turn into the next big thing.

So, we should all keep our fingers crossed for the better.


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