Technology 5 min read

5 Reasons Not To Buy a Foldable Phone Yet

Andrey Suslov /

Andrey Suslov /

Before 2017, we saw some strange smartphone designs. From Nokia’s butterfly mechanism to the full keyboard design on Blackberry, there was plenty to pick from.

But, it all changed when Steve Jobs introduced Apple’s first smartphone at the 2007 MacWorld Conference and Expo. The iPhone, with its simple rectangle shape and lone home button, ushered in a new era of smartphone design. It was the age of the standard flat glass slabs with bigger screens and thinner bezels.

While the conference was over a decade ago, the design has generally remained the same – until now. Thanks to the new folding OLED displays, smartphones are starting to look weird again.

Several concept images and demo videos make these bendy phones look super-cool, and they are. However, they also appear to be way ahead of time, but not in a good way.

Here are five reasons not to buy the first generation of the foldable phone.

Image via Engadget

1. Back To The Plastics

A little over a month before the iPhone was scheduled for release, Jobs noticed that his keys had scratched the screen of the prototype he was carrying in his pocket.

“I won’t sell a product that gets scratched,” the CEO famously said.

This led Apple to replace the plastic with a glass six weeks before the iPhone was to be released.

Although that seemed a little extreme at the time, it proved to be a smart choice. Aside from being difficult to scratch, glass also adds structural strength to phones.

Unfortunately, phone manufacturers haven’t figured out a way to create bendy glass yet. That means, a foldable phone, with an advanced OLED display and folding mechanism, still has a plastic screen.

While your current smartphone can co-exist with your car keys, pen, and coins in your bag, a foldable phone with its plastic display will come out looking like a scribbled mess.

Read More: Report: Google and Apple May Join Samsung in Foldable Tech Market

2. Durability of The Folding Mechanisms

The plastic screen trade-off may not be a big deal to you. After all, a bendy device means your phone’s screen won’t shatter when it drops, right? Don’t count on it.

A folding phone has a complex hinge mechanism that enables the folding. As advanced as the mechanism may look in the Galaxy Fold’s demo video, it’s still a moving part.

That means it has a higher chance of breaking than a chunk of metal or slab of glass. That’s why most consumers generally avoid devices with moving parts.

At best, you’ll get a thousand cycle out of the hinge system before it stops folding. Loads of factors already exist to render your phone disposable, do you really want to add an unreliable hinge mechanism to the list?

Read More: TCL Teases New Foldable Tech Amid Samsung Leak

3. The Designs Are Still Clunky

Since it allows users to convert their average sized phones into tablets, foldable devices are a breath of fresh air. You can keep your phone and still have a tablet when you need it. That’s the major selling point.

But beyond the novelty and the hype, you’ll notice one essential truth; foldable devices do not offer the best of both worlds. That’s right; it’s all about compromise.

You would be trading your current 8 mm thick smartphone for Samsung’s 17 mm Galaxy Fold, or your perfectly flat tablet for Huawei’s weirdly creased tablet screen with no front-facing camera.

In other words, you’re exchanging all the ergonomic niceties of the modern smartphones and tablets designs for something that’s experimental. Just as long as you can fold your phone, right?

4. App Support May Never Arrive

Before you say anything, yes, Google is working on an Android version for foldable phone tech. But, Android apps have never been optimized for tablets, and there’s no reason to think it’ll be any better on a foldable phone.

Here is what’ll happen. Google will provide developers with a tool to make the current apps work better on foldable phones. But, after months of creating a buggy mess, a few of the apps will be updated. Eventually, we’ll return to the classic Android tablet apps issue.

Read More: Xiaomi’s New Foldable Tablet Could Blow Samsung Away

5. They Cost Too Much

The flexible OLED screen is cutting-edge technology, and like all cutting-edge techs, it comes with a high price tag. For the Galaxy Fold, the cost is $1,800. Similarly, consumers have to pay a whopping $2,600 to own the Mate X.

Luxury device or not, this is an unreasonable price. More importantly, the expensive price tag proves that foldable technology isn’t ready for the big stage yet.

Phone manufacturers, tech enthusiasts, and the media are pushing this technology as the next big thing. And between the super-cool folding mechanism and media hype, it’s easy to get carried away.

When this happens, just reread this content. Until phone manufacturers resolve these five issues, the viability of foldable phones will always remain in doubt.

Read More: Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Wants a Foldable iPhone

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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