- Foldable phones were the highlight of this year’s Mobile World Congress.
- Only Samsung and Huawei managed to showcase working prototypes.
- We take a closer look at these two phones, and give our initial impressions.
The latest edition of the GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) wrapped up in Barcelona yesterday, and it looks like 2019 is going to be the year where foldable phones finally become a reality.
That’s right — once thought of as nothing more than a futuristic concept that we’d only get in 2025, brands have actually been showcasing working prototypes over the past week, and if all goes well you might even be able to get your hands on one as early as next month (if you can afford the US$2,000+ price tag, that is).
If you haven’t been keeping up with the foldable phone revolution, we’re here to give you the lowdown of the two that were revealed at MWC 2019, along with some of the concepts teased by other brands as well.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
After months of teasing and speculation Samsung finally unveiled their first foldable phone last Wednesday, appropriately dubbed the Galaxy Fold.
Size-wise, the front display comes in at 4.6 inches (roughly the size of an iPhone 6) and opens up to reveal a second 7.3 inch screen via a book-like hinge. The phone will be equipped with 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a 4,380 mAh dual battery that can charge other qi-enabled devices via Wireless Powershare.
With “App Continuity”, apps will seamlessly transition to the larger screen when unfolded, and the “Multi-Active Window” allows up to three apps to be open at once.
The Galaxy Fold will also come with six cameras — a triple camera setup at the rear (12MP telephoto, 12MP wide and 16MP ultrawide), 10MP selfie camera at the front, and two more cameras inside (10MP selfie, 8MP RGB depth).
The Samsung Fold is slated for an April 26th release date, with a starting price of US$1,980.
Huawei Mate X
Three days after Samsung announced the Galaxy Fold, Huawei clapped back with a foldable phone of their own — the Mate X.
While the idea for the fold is the same, the execution is completely different. Instead of using two separate screens, the Mate X uses a single 8-inch one that wraps around the phone, creating a 6.6 and 6.38-inch screen on the front and back respectively.
On the inside you have 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and a 4,500 mAh battery.
Surprisingly, not much has been revealed about the cameras yet, but considering Huawei’s long-standing relationship with Leica you can be sure that it’s going to deliver in the photography department.
One of the biggest features of the Mate X is that it’ll be Huawei’s first 5G phone — considering that 5G speeds are reportedly ten times faster than 4G networks, this could put the Mate X on an entirely different level when it comes to efficiency.
The Huawei Mate X doesn’t have a concrete release date, opting for a vague release window of “mid-2019” instead.
And Everyone Else
While the Galaxy Fold and Mate X were the only two brands to have working prototypes, several companies have teased foldable concepts of their own as well.
Xiaomi, for example, posted a video in January that showed Xiaomi president Bin Lin using a foldable phone that had not one, but two folds.
Motorola, on the other hand, is expected to revive its classic Razr line with a foldable phone that only has a screen on the inside.
With these concepts no-showing at what is one of the biggest mobile showcases of the year, however, it’s clear that other brands are still playing catch up to Samsung and Huawei when it comes to foldable phones.
It’s interesting to see different interpretations of the technology, but it’ll probably be a year or two before they’ll actually be ready for the public.
Everything we know about foldable phones right now is floaty at best (Samsung wasn’t even letting people touch the phone, for crying out loud), and we’ll only be able to make an informed opinion when brands reveal the full list of specs down the line.
Based on first impressions alone, however, the Mate X looks like the one to beat — from a more efficient use of its screens to 5G compatibility, Huawei’s foldable phone definitely has the initial edge over the Galaxy Fold.
I’m not the only one who thinks so, either — by the end of MWC 2019, the Mate X had received a whopping 31 awards, many of which were for the coveted “Best In Show” award.
We’ll no doubt be taking a closer look at these foldable phones in the coming months, but what we’ve seen so far is an optimistic first step for the technology.
The future is here, folks – and it comes in two parts.