Weekly poll: what's the best design for foldable phones?

Peter, 03 March 2019

If a woodchuck could chuck wood... wait, we have a better question. If your phone could fold, which way would that foldable phone fold? We’ve seen two designs and teasers for two more that add variation to the theme.

Samsung took the safe route with the Galaxy Fold. The fragile plastic screen goes inside, where it’s protected like a turtle in its shell. That’s great if the thought of scratching up the screen on your new $2,000 phone makes you antsy. But the downside of this design is that you need a second screen and a second set of cameras. And (perhaps worse), the screen can never fold flat, making the phone thicker.

The Huawei Mate X leaves the screen outside when folded. Since this avoids the 180° fold (you get two 90° folds at the corners instead), the phone can be thinner. Plus, not only do you not need a second screen, you don’t need a selfie camera either – just use the main camera for better quality photos and the rear “half” of the screen for framing.

CEO Lin Bin demoed Xiaomi’s design, which has two folds that keep the screen outside. This looks cool, however it doubles the problem that makers are desperately trying to solve – creases in the screens. Whether they fold in or out, there’s a crease. And Xiaomi’s phone will have two.

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Motorola teased its own foldable design, inspired by the legendary RAZR flip phone. The screen goes on the inside (like the Samsung) and there’s a secondary screen. However, this phone folds down, which means that it can still be held one handed even when unfolded (i.e. it unfolds into an 18:9 screen rather than a square-ish tablet screen). This could make a seriously compact phone.

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So, imagine it’s a year or two in the future and the price of foldable phones has come down to reasonable levels. These four companies and others make several devices that fold in various ways. Which way is the right way to fold?

Which way is the right way to fold?
Fold in
Fold out
Dual fold
Vertical fold

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Reader comments

  • Doubledupler

So there are tad bit of senseless people more than others. Samsung has an innovation but should have been more considerate towards functional aspect. Thicker, costlier, more complicated.

Obviously Samsung and Motorola. Most practical design, protecting fragile massive screen. Xiaomi and Huawei designs are just stupid, and deserves no praise at all

Oh, I meant that their foldable design doesn't fit into a 'phone' category, cuz it's just too wide in folded mode. Sorry for late reply