Is there a reason to go with foldable smartphones?

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On the occasion of the recent Galaxy Unpacked event, where we saw the refreshed Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 & Flip 4, it’s interesting to dive into the matter of a foldable mobile phone’s usefulness in 2023, as well as whether or not it deserves the preference of the consumers, compared to simple, conventional smartphones.

 

Phones with a foldable screen have been around for a while, with plenty of companies developing and releasing at least one such model in their product range.

They may still be far away from being “the future”, however they sure do be attracting attention due to their impressive and alternative design.

 

But do they have to offer any more than that?

 

Logically speaking, buying a foldable smartphone is at no means a reasonable choice, at least for the moment.

The negative points at this case are clearly outbalancing the positive ones, with the first and most major of all being the cost.

 

The prices of such a phone usually start at four-digit numbers, and can even reach 2,5 to 3 grand.

And this factor does not conclude on the initial purchase.

A foldable screen is multiple times more expensive than a normal one, meaning that, in the case of a shattering or malfuntioning incident, its replacement will cost quite more respectively.

At the same time, these devices are much more fragile and sensitive, compared to the simple ones, not just because of the particular screen, but also due to the reclining mechanism. That translates to additional, daily and continuous stress for the user, as he is theoretically obliged to handle it with extra care.

 

Moreover, all the foldable smartphones in the market are noticably bigger, heavier and thicker, which obviously affects their overall functionality, since a mobile device’s most important attribute is (or at least should be)… mobility.

 

Another disadvantage is the unjustifiable discounts on features.

Despite their steep prices, their technical features are not top notch – even though they should be – resulting in cheaper phones, even at half the price (!), having better performance and specifications, simply because they lack the folding mechanism.

A representative example is the brand-new Galaxy Z Fold 4, which, despite costing about €650 more than the “traditional” S22 Ultra, has a smaller battery and worse camera!

 

Finally, it is noteworthy that even in terms of software, foldable smartphones are not adequately supported. Apart from the pre-installed apps of each company, which are designed and developed especially for these models, all other third-party apps, even the Android operating system itself, do not fully take advantage of their potential yet.

Most apps simply treat them as larger screens, zooming or stretching their content accordingly, which doesn’t make much sense and cancels a key feature of these devices, which is improved usability.

In conclusion, foldable smartphones are undoubtedly very impressive and attractive, and are certainly a more visually appealing option than the rest, which have been around for some time.

 

However, the advantages stop there, as the deterrent factors are ultimately much more numerous and significant.

Perhaps, in the future, foldable mobile technology will evolve enough to become more affordable and practical, and we will then talk on different terms.

 

For now, it’s a no from us.

Χρήστος Καπετάνιος

Software & Web Developer
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Owner @ internal.gr
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