One of the technological predictions of several publications at the end of 2021 (including from DN)*: This would be the year that foldable phones finally start to become main stream.
The logic behind this reasoning rested on two pillars. On the one hand, these devices should, following the normal course of technology, become cheaper this year. On the other hand, this would be the year when the market should be flooded with several competing devices, which would lead to a significant “push” in supply. And the American saying goes: “bring them and they (buyers) will come!”
But… Although in fact new folding models are coming, for now only two are known, one of them will only arrive at the end of the year and the two only for the east . We will come back to this subject.
Among the economic distortions caused by the war in Ukraine, the resulting inflationary crisis, the permanent shortage of chips, the instability of the eastern market, political tensions in Asia, with the inevitable increase in production and transport costs what all this entails…the very idea that “high-end tech gets cheaper every year” doesn’t work anymore. The world is no longer what it used to be.
flip or fold? Samsung says first
With all this, Samsung continues to be the brand that wins in this segment for being the first to launch into mass consumption models. The Flip and Fold models, which were presented last week in the fourth generation, proved that there is at least a niche market for this type of device.
According to the South Korean brand itself, “last year we exported almost 10 million foldable phones worldwide. That’s a growth in this sector of almost 300% compared to 2020”.
The words are from TM Roh, the company’s Mobile director, who put it into practice: between the Fold model – in which the phone transforms into a small tablet – and the Flip, which looks like an old phone ” shell”, only with a full vertical screen, 70% of the segment’s sales went to the latter. The classics definitely never die.
flip4. Personalization tries to make a difference
So suddenly, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 (full name) seems to innovate little compared to its predecessor. The size of the chassis and the screens is the same and the weight of the previous generation is even a little less (in the hand, you don’t feel it). The difference is that the 4 has a 3700 mAh battery, compared to the 3300 of the “brother”, in addition to the fact that the aluminum of the new one is a little more robust, to better resist impacts.
Both are waterproof (IPX8 and can be submerged up to 1.5m deep), so it won’t even make a difference here. Knowing that with the launch of the new generation, the previous one inevitably drops in price (it is less than 830 euros in the basic version at Worten, and it can go lower), this could even be a great opportunity to jump not. on this foldable train. Not least because the basic version of the Flip4 (128 GB of storage, 8 GB of RAM) has a list price of 1150 euros.
However, if you are one of those people who MUST have the latest model; or money doesn’t make much difference to you; or you can save using Samsung’s own trade-in campaign (discounts reach 719 euros), know that the new model, in addition to having (obviously!) a more powerful and state-of-the-art processor, allows you also to customize the external screen with animated images (gifs) or videos and the external screen works more easily because viewfinder to take selfies (the software has been improved, so that the photos do not appear distorted and always well framed).
For the rest, the wide-angle camera has an improved chip in the Flip4, which lets you capture more detail in night scenes. And little else.
Want to innovate? Take a good look at the fold
As often (almost always?!), the model least sought after by the greatest number turns out to be the one that innovates the most. The Fold4 appears on the market with substantially the same price as its predecessor (a big 1860 euros), but it is the one that actually evolves the most compared to the third generation.
You could even say that with this machine Samsung has managed to take a big step towards breaking the barrier between the phone and the tablet, if the device does not continue to be so thick when folded (14 to almost 16mm).
This is because the outdoor screen has grown. With the Fold4 in hand, closed, the user experience was much more like that of a normal cell phone – the 3 was narrower and “taller”, which was less useful.
When open, the Fold retains the boxier shape than usual for a tablet, but since Samsung has now included a new taskbar at the bottom (hello Windows?), this somewhat compensates, in visual terms, for the “square” aspect ratio. .
Another thing that was (much) improved was the presence of the internal camera, under the display, which in 3 (as we wrote then) could not hide its presence. Now, in fact, (almost…) it’s not noticeable.
Still in terms of cameras, Samsung has equipped the exterior of this machine with a 50-megapixel sensor (in addition to the lenses that already existed in the previous generation). And despite the “magic” of which the software is capable, nothing beats the ability of a chip to capture a lot of information!
For the rest, the phone/tablet comes with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 processor, and the base model comes with 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM. It’s a real pocket computer. If money is no object at all for you and power is a must, look no further!
The competition (will happen)
As we mentioned, more folding models are coming. But for now, only in the east. Also announced last week – not coincidentally, at the same time as those from Samsung – was the Xiaomi MIX Fold 2, a phone similar in format to the Galaxy Fold, but which presents itself as the most “ultra-slim” foldable on the market. . market, with 5.4 mm thick when unfolded (Galaxy is 6.3 mm thick). This offer from the Chinese brand is equipped with the same high-end Qualcomm processor and the cameras benefit from the partnership with the prestigious German brand Leica.
The Mix Fold series, however, continues to be sold exclusively in the East, without any marketing forecast for Portugal, according to the official representative.
Huawei is also expected to launch a similar model, dubbed Mate X3. The release date is not officially announced, but it is aimed at the end of November. However, the vast Indian market will be privileged.
No, 2022 will not be the year that foldables stop being niche items or symbols of high purchasing power. And perhaps they never will, in fact, cease to be so – after all, the traditional smartphone form factor has remained virtually unchanged for over a decade.
But this type of technology is here to stay and is definitely getting better. Fold4 is proof of that. And the Flip3 was already so successful, for the genre, that in this fourth generation, Samsung has changed almost nothing. The “ball”, this one, is now on the side of the competition.
*Unlike the vast majority of the competition, when you make a mistake (and realize it…) you correct it; when we talk nonsense, we apologize.