Almost every design has its pros and cons, but Huawei’s latest foldable phone makes it even harder to decide which fold is better.
When it comes to foldable phones, it’s likely to be the Samsung name that comes up the most. This is partly due to marketing and the fact that more foldable devices are already available in the market at this point. It’s not the only player, however, not by a long shot, and rival brands like OPPO and Vivo have started to rise up to challenge its position. Chinese tech giant Huawei, however, has been playing this game for as long as Samsung has, and it’s pushed a different design to what’s now considered common fold. After seemingly abandoning that, the beleaguered society is returning to its roots with a small feature that might actually be a game-changer for it.
While many people probably imagine foldable phones to fold like books, which is how Samsung’s “innie” design works, it’s not the only way to fold. In fact, it’s the most inefficient way because of the many trade-offs it has to make. Such a device, for example, would be unusable when closed unless there was a second screen on the outside. It also requires the folded area to have a gap, which means it doesn’t really fold flat without some trickery.
On the other hand, the “outie” design that Huawei has adopted solves these problems, although it has its own problems. You only need one screen, which keeps costs down, and you can fold the phone flat because there’s already a natural curve on the outside of the screen. You can use the main “rear” cameras to take selfies without having to precariously hold the fragile phone. On the other hand, this sensitive and flexible display is always outdoors, always exposed to the elements and any dangerous objects that might pierce its softer material.
Last year, the Huawei Mate X2 ditched Samsung’s innie exterior design, and it looked like Samsung had won that debate. With the Mate Xs 2, however, Huawei is aiming for a rebound and has included a feature that makes the Galaxy Z Fold 3 inept. Huawei’s latest foldable phone supports a stylus, but unlike Samsung’s version, it actually works whether the phone is open or folded.
With the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung made the decision not to make the exterior “Cover Screen” compatible with its special edition S Pen Fold, mainly because it uses different technologies than its regular Galaxy Note phones. That meant you had to open the phone first in order to use the stylus on the flexible screen inside. Since it uses the same screen anyway, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 doesn’t have to compromise on features just because it’s folded in half.
Whether that works in practice remains to be seen, mainly because the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is yet to see a wider rollout. It’s currently only sold in China, at $1,500, and there’s been no word yet on a global release. Samsung will also launch the Galaxy Z Fold 4 in a few months, but early leaks and rumors don’t paint a very rosy picture. We’re still a long way from the point where people don’t have to compromise or risk losing their investment in foldable phones, which means the device category still has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream. .