7 foldable phone problems that haven’t been fixed yet

7 foldable phone problems that haven’t been fixed yet
samsung galaxy z fold 4 home screen lying down

Ryan Haines/Android Authority

flip phones they are gaining momentum since they were first introduced globally in 2019, and we have also seen these devices bring notable improvements over the years. These advances include sturdier folding screens, fewer screen wrinkles, and more robust software.

However, it’s clear that there are still several major issues with foldable phones that still need to be addressed. Here are some of the more prominent hurdles future foldables must overcome.

fold

closeup of the fold of the samsung galaxy z flip 4

Ryan Haines/Android Authority

One notable issue that foldable phones haven’t fully resolved yet is the presence of a crease in the display. This is particularly prominent on Samsung foldables, and you can see and feel the crease on both the Galaxy Z Fold 4 Y Galaxy ZFlip 4.

Screen wrinkling is still an issue on top foldable phones.

It’s also worth noting that rival foldable phone makers like Oppo, Honor, and Huawei have also tried to address this issue with varying degrees of success. We think that the Huawei Mate X2 in particular it delivered a crease that was “barely noticeable”. Meanwhile, the oppo find N it only has two slight creases instead of a sizeable gutter. However, these reduced creases apparently came at the expense of water-resistance ratings, which isn’t an easy trade-off.

Needless to say, it is clear that progress is being made in this regard. But we definitely look forward to a wrinkle-free future for all foldables.

Lack of resistance to dust.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 with water drops

Hadlee Simons/Android Authority

Samsung It leads the pack when it comes to IP ratings on flip phones, offering an IPX8 rating for full-fledged water resistance. No other flip phone can boast a waterproof design. However, the “X” in “IPX8” means that the foldables aren’t rated for dust at all.

Related: Everything you need to know about ATM and IP ratings

This is something we really want to see addressed in future foldable phones. However, we can appreciate the technical challenge that a dust-resistant foldable represents, given the large number of moving parts involved in this form factor. For example, today’s screen hinges and folds still leave room for dust and other debris to enter. Therefore, we expect these areas to be addressed first if full dust resistance is to be achieved.

Screens that look and feel cheap

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 folding screen glare

Hadlee Simons/Android Authority

Folding screens have gotten increasingly tough over the years, with ultra-thin glass (UTG) available in several models today. Samsung even offers Feathers bracket on the Galaxy Z Fold series, which serves as a kind of testament to the screen’s toughness. However, there’s no denying that many foldable screens still look and feel cheap.

A folding glass screen is probably too much to ask, but it would help reduce glare and increase harshness.

Glare is still an issue on some foldable devices, like the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Though to be fair, some devices like the Vivo X Fold Plus They offer an anti-glare coating to alleviate this problem. Perhaps the much bigger problem is that foldable screens still feel like plastic, because that’s exactly what they are. Samsung’s foldables even warn you not to press your fingernail on the screen, something you wouldn’t have to think twice about on a traditional smartphone.

A full-fledged folding glass screen would probably go a long way to solving this problem. For what it’s worth, Gorilla Glass maker Corning is also working on ultra-thin folding glass, dubbed willow glass. But there is no ETA for this yet and it is unclear if manufacturers will continue to put a layer of plastic on top, as we see with UTG at the moment.

Application support

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Instagram app

Hadlee Simons/Android Authority

Software is an integral part of the foldable phone experience, and Google has done a good job with Android 12L. We have also seen a great job from Samsung in this regard. However, app support is still an issue on foldable phones today.

We still see some apps that aren’t actually compatible with popular big-screen foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold series. Instagram is the most notable example of this (seen above), as it still offers what is essentially a smartphone-style window when viewed on the Fold’s large screen. The case of Instagram is especially disappointing given the vast amount of resources available from its parent company.

Related: Android 12L: everything you need to know about Google’s operating system for large screens

However, Instagram is not the only case, as Amazon is also not optimized for the folding screen and offers a windowed view on the larger panel. Co-worker AA Writer John Callaham also points out that his Wells Fargo banking app doesn’t work properly on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, not allowing you to use the fingerprint scanner to log in when using the flip screen. Either way, it’s clear that app developers still need to step up after all this time.

These aren’t the only examples of shoddy app support, as some apps don’t work well when it comes to multi-window support or Samsung’s Flex mode. But hopefully Android 12L and future versions of Android open the door for better support.

Specification Compromises

xiaomi mix fold 2 2

Another area that has seen cutbacks due to the form factor is the general spec sheet. Most foldable phones on the market make some concessions for technical reasons.

For example, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 still has the same 4,400mAh battery as its predecessors and lacks the S22 Ultra’s 108MP or 10x camera. Meanwhile, the Xiaomi Foldable Mix 2 it lacks wireless charging, water resistance, and a free-stop hinge. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 brings a bigger battery, but you’re still stuck with an outdated 12MP + 12MP camera system.

It seems that most foldable phones make cutbacks in specs of some kind due to the form factor.

However, we can understand why we see some of these compromises. A phone like the Galaxy Z Fold series has a narrower form factor due to the narrow screen of the smartphone. Many foldables are also somewhat slimmer when unfolded compared to typical smartphones. Throw in a complex hinge and there really isn’t much room for big batteries, big camera sensors and whatnot. In fact, we already see several foldables offering dual-battery designs to make the most of the form factor.

It won’t happen overnight, but we really want smartphone brands to make fewer compromises in the name of the foldable form factor. We may have to wait for new technologies like smaller lenses and new battery solutions if we really want a no-compromise device. Alternatively, you may have to deal with thicker foldables. However, this is especially disappointing in light of the selling price of these devices.

Availability

Vivo X Fold Plus Official

What if you want a foldable Xiaomi, Honor, Oppo or Vivo instead? Well, tough luck, as these devices are only available in China and therefore you will need to import them. That’s a huge shame, as some of these devices seem like really compelling alternatives to the Galaxy foldables.

We expect this to change in 2023 as these players become more familiar with foldable phone development and supply chain challenges. But we really don’t want to see another year where Samsung is effectively the default choice.

Prices

Huawei Mate Xs 2 screen open in hand

Kris Carlon/Android Authority

Huawei Mate Xs 2

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing foldable phones is that most of them are exceptionally expensive. Case in point? The Galaxy Z Fold 4, which starts at $1,799. By comparison, the conventional but better-equipped Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at $1,200.

The Huawei Mate XS 2 ups the ante even further and sets you back €1999 (~$1984). This is an insane price to pay, particularly in light of Google’s lack of foldable support.

Clamshell foldables are more reasonably priced, but clamshell-style devices are another story entirely.

That’s not to say there aren’t cheaper foldables, as the Galaxy Z Flip 4 in particular costs a more reasonable $999. That’s still expensive compared to the average smartphone selling price, but it’s in line with today’s typical flagships. However, we can’t wait for foldable phones with mid-range prices.

The big question is how exactly do we get to mid-range prices for foldables? Well, some of the more obvious trade-offs involve chipset, RAM, storage, IP rating, and battery capacity. So we wouldn’t be surprised if a theoretical Galaxy A Flip comes with an Exynos 1280 or Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 SoC, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and splash resistance at best.

We’d also expect companies to switch to cheaper foldable screens from Chinese players like BOE. In fact, the Honor Magic V Already uses a BOE folding panel. Finally, we wouldn’t let some gamers use first-gen foldable screens for their first mid-range foldables or scale back features like UTG layers.

What flip phone issue would you like to address?

13 votes

Leave a Comment