There is no question that Samsung single-handedly revived foldable phones with its “Z fold” lineup in 2019- A trend that had pretty much died back in 2007 with Apple’s release of an all-touchscreen.
And while skeptics thought Samsung’s fold series would crash and burn, the sales figures and the seemingly undying buzz about Samsung’s fold series over the internet has encouraged most other smartphone giants like Xiaomi and Oppo to jump on Samsung’s bandwagon and introduce their versions of touch-screen flip phones.
Now whether you’re “pro-fold” or not, you must have wondered, at some point or the other, whether foldable phones have any real value to offer over flat-screen phones. This is precisely what we will discuss in today’s article.
We will talk about what foldable phones exactly are, consider their pros, and pit them against their cons and other available options to find out whether they’re worth it or not.
What Are Foldable Phones?
Simply put, a foldable phone is any phone with a foldable form factor. Traditionally, foldable phones, or “flip” phones as they were known at the time, featured hinges that separated the phone’s button keys from its non-touch display.
In recent years, however, when we talk about foldable phones, we usually mean foldable smartphones where a single touch screen panel is folded into two halves, i.e., Samsung’s Z fold series or the Z-flip series.
This latter type is the one we will be referring to in the rest of this article, so keep this in mind before moving on to the next section.
Pros & Cons of Foldable Phones
One of the most significant selling points of foldable phones is that they can fold down to compact sizes, making them super easy to store. You can fit a flip phone in your shirt’s pocket.
Additionally, it saves room in your pants pockets, allowing you to put more items in them.
Additional Screen Real-Estate
This is directly related to the first point we mentioned. Foldable phones offer users more screen real estate than they take space for exactly half of the screen’s foldable length.
This makes foldable phones a perfect blend of tablets and smartphones. Foldable phones offer you the real estate of tablets and the compact size of smartphones.
Another great thing about foldable phones is that they can be used in ways regular smartphones simply can’t. For example, the strong hinges of today’s foldable phones allow users to prop up their foldable phones as mini laptops.
This means you can watch YouTube videos comfortably while lying in bed without buying an additional accessory stand. This also helps during video calls and selfie sessions- it’s like a built-in stand for your phone.
The larger screen real estate and enhanced split screen features make today’s foldable phones great for multitasking.
Using the split screen feature with regular smartphones is often impractical because of how tiny everything gets in each open window. With foldable phones, though, since the screen is twice as large, you don’t have to make such compromises.
Foldable Phones Have Personality
Many people are attracted by foldable phones because of their uniqueness. Foldable phones bring back the charm of traditional flip phones, which were fun to “flip” open whenever one needed to use them or pick up a call.
While most regular smartphones largely look more or less the same, foldable phones bring something new to the table regarding a smartphone’s appearance.
Foldable Phones Help You Keep Focused
This benefit isn’t obvious to most people because it is something you must experience. Foldable phones help users cut down their phone time, and they do so because of two reasons.
The first is that foldable phones usually come with an additional “notification screen” at their back- kind of like what you would see with a Samsung Z-flip or Z-fold. The second is that foldable phones require more effort to open up than regular smartphones.
Even though the mental barrier of opening up a foldable phone is small, it still adds up in the long run. Plus, since the notification screen shows you all updates, you don’t need to open your phone to check notifications.
The Crease Is Visible
This is a dealbreaker for most people. With today’s technology, it is next to impossible for there to be no crease where the screen folds. This crease is very evidently visible and can easily ruin your user experience.
The Screen Crease Is Feelable
Of course, another drawback of having an inevitable crease on the screen is that you’ll be able to feel the bumps of the crease. Again, this makes it unpleasant to scroll through foldable phones.
The Hinge Collects Dust
When the screen of foldable phones bends, there is a small gap between the screen and the phone’s outer hinges. This allows space for dust particles which can keep accumulating until they become visible and hard to remove.
Less Water/Dust Resistance
The gap between the screen and the phone’s body towards the hinge makes foldable phones less water and dust resistant than regular, tightly packed smartphones.
Foldable Phones Cost More
As with any other technological gimmick, manufacturing the technology needed to make a bendable screen, along with its accompanying complications, makes foldable phones more expensive than their flat-screen counterparts.
Foldable Phones Break More Easily
The hinge on foldable phones is sensitive- it can break and damage the screen easily if you drop your phone.
Summary of Pros & Cons
- Additional size
- More screen real-estate
- Added functionality
- Foldable phones keep you productive
- Visible crease
- Feelable crease
- The hinge collects dust
- Less water/dust resistance
- More costly
- They are easier to break than flat-screen phones
Final Verdict: Foldable Phones Are Not Worth It… Yet.
Unless innovative form factors matter to you more than functionality and value for money do, we think you’ll agree with us when we say foldable phones are not worth it. Their benefits simply don’t outweigh their negatives, and it looks like this will also be the case in the foreseeable future.
Most notably, we still have no answer to the creasing problem that is bound to appear on all foldable phones- no matter how advanced our technology gets. For this reason, we think the foldable form factor is, at least for now, a gimmick more than a real selling point.