My Short Foldable Adventure

In Editorial by Bintoro Adi Guna1 Comment

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Foldable phones have captured the imagination of the tech world and everyday consumers alike with their innovative designs and impressive versatility, me included when I decided to get the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.

Imagine my horror when I found out this happened on my Mom’s phone.

That is… until a few weeks ago, my mother’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 inner screen started acting up. Multiple lines started appearing when the phone wasn’t fully unfolded, and sometimes the screen would get bright for no reason… I immediately told her to trade in the phone, and switch back to a traditional candy-bar phone (I recommended the Samsung Galaxy A55 to her). Shortly after, I was mulling over whether I should do the same thing… and I did. I finally switched to the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

I finally decided to return to a normal slab phone, the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

So, in this article, I’m going to share some of my thoughts when using foldable phones for a short while (~7 months, I think?), and hopefully this can help you make sure if you’re ready for a foldable.

The Good

Imagine, a compact phone that unfolds into a small tablet.
  • A Whole New World (in your pocket): Foldables offer the unique experience of a pocket-sized tablet, literally. The expanded screen real estate is genuinely liberating.
  • Multitasking Master: Foldable software is optimized for multitasking. I often found myself gaming while browsing guides or catching up on shows while scrolling through my social media timeline.
Multitasking is the primary value proposition offered by foldable phones.

The Not-So-Good

  • Experimental Technology: We haven’t invented a glass material that can fold. All foldables’ inner screen currently use some kind of plastic, and they’re all lot less fragile than glass. There are a lot of horror stories about these plastic screens breaking, like my Mom’s. And boy, how expensive it is to fix. That’s why I always recommend getting an insurance along with your foldable. Another point of failure is the hinge. Well, to be fair, all mechanical parts are guaranteed to fail at some point.
  • Rapid Depreciation: The public still has this “fragile” perception about foldables (for good reason), causing resale values to nosedive, like mine (~U$900 from ~U$1300) and my Mom’s (~U$250 from ~U$800). So before trading in, make sure to compare the resale values between retailers, users, and manufacturers!
  • Compromise in Specs: Foldables are still experimental, and experimental technologies are expensive. Though it’s getting better, foldables often don’t have specs as good as their slab counterpart. Take the Z Fold 5, for example, its camera system and battery aren’t as good as the S23 Ultra, though they’re sitting at a similar price point. Another thing to consider is that there’s less room to work with. For example, some Foldables are occupied with the hinge and inner display parts, so there’s less room for other stuffs such as camera sensor, stylus, or even battery. But hey, this will get better over time as our engineers find a way to make better, smaller components.
Oppo Find N3 is one of the best foldables out there, with specs almost matching its slab counterpart.
Though not as advanced as its slab counterpart, Oppo Find N3 cameras are definitely flagship-grade, offering both ultra-wide and telephoto lenses. This makes foldables closer to rivaling traditional slab phones.

My Conclusion: Foldable Phones are Not for Everyone (Yet)

Foldables are thrilling but undeniably still an evolving technological niche. They’re definitely not bad phones, but concerns about longevity and the spec-to-price ratio are significant factors for many users, myself included. So, until they become more durable and affordable, it will be challenging to make them mainstream in the near future.

But hey, this is a personal opinion, so your mileage may vary. If you’re happy with your foldable, fantastic! Just make sure to take care of it and get insurance. Finally, as usual, thanks for reading this little piece of rant, and see you in the next article! ????


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