One of the biggest talking points this year at Mobile World Congress is the emergence of folding phones. The two largest smartphone vendors in the world, Samsung and Huawei, both announced their next generation foldable devices. We asked a number of press and analysts in the industry for their initial comments on the new handsets and the market in general.

Samsung Announces The Galaxy Fold: The First Folding Display Smartphone

Huawei Launches the Mate X: Folding in a New Direction

 


Samsung Galaxy Fold

  I think foldable phones are going to stay a novelty for a long time, at least until they fall below a $700 price point. Either way, the Mate X totally wipes the floor with the Galaxy Fold. It’s a spectacular device, with an unfortunately spectacular price tag that goes with it. I’m especially sad that it will never make its way to the U.S., but that’s probably a good thing, since now I don’t need to go ahead and re-mortgage my home in order to get one.

-Helena Stone, Geek Spin

 

The Huawei Mate X confirms that we are entering a new era in smartphone design with flexible displays offering an array of new possibilities. However, without hands-on time with these two new devices it would be reckless to draw conclusions. Given both Samsung and Huawei are going to great lengths to ensure that no one gets to touch the products it does raise questions about their readiness – particularly from a software perspective.

-Ben Wood, CCS Insights

 

 

  All foldables are stupid. For now, anyway. But the Mate X looks like the smartest potential design.

-
Charlie Demerjian, SemiAccurate

 

I'm excited for the future of smartphones and these interesting designs do change the way we think about mobile devices. I like that the manufacturers are experimenting with different designs, but worryingly software seems to be more of a challenge than hardware. If I had had a chance to actually use any of the folding phones I had seen, I might have an opinion, but as of yet no-one has held these devices. It's hard to give an opinion. 

-
Andy Boxall, Digital Trends
 

 

  I think for the first time that the Mate X feels like a proper execution of the foldable concept. Royole FlexPai was officially the first, and even though Samsung has some of the smartest people in the world to make it happen, they have still winded up with a design that feels compromised.

-
Chris Velazco, Engadget

 

In would appear that while Samsung showed a first generation product in the Galaxy Fold, Huawei's Mate X feels like a second generation product. The Mate X is more impressive with the hardware, and it is the best I've seen yet in foldables so far, software pending. The big question is how the software works, and if a market even exists for these devices. But the design ID of the Mate X, with the thin bezel and the lay flat capability, show that Huawei has solved issues Samsung hasn't thought of. The lack of notches also helps!

-
Myriam Joire, tnkgrl Media
 

 

  My primary concern is that the screen on these plastic foldables will scratch if the screen is on the outside. However, Samsung's external 4.5-inch screen looks dated. The moving screen, from folding and unfolding, is a concern for longevity. Both devices look like they add useful functionability, but I am currently more sold on Huawei design than Samsung so far. The battery will be a concern too - these devices have a larger screen than the Mate 20 X, but smaller battery than Mate 20 X.

-Basil Kronfli, TechRadar

 

Huawei did a better job than Samsung, because the Galaxy Fold has a massive bezel. That front screen on the Samsung looks like a 7 year old phone. I like the Huawei 5G foldable, but I fully expect Xiaomi to launch something similar for less than a thousand USD.

-Fuad Abazovic, Fudzilla
 

 

  In ten years we will all have foldable smartphones. Right now it is still a solution looking for a problem, and that makes it no more than a neat novelty. I like a phone becoming a tablet, but it is clear the design is not there yet. The Huawei Mate X design is better with its handle, as everyone is worried about dropping their smartphone, so the handle will help. The case for the device is going to as useful as the device itself, especially for peace of mind.

-Judie Lipsett Stanford, Gear Diary

 

The Huawei Mate X looks like a much better designed solution, and certainly more practical. But the fact that we haven't had hands on or a look at the software is concerning. Foldables are coming, but I suggest you hold your breath until 2020.

-Matteo Doni, Tech Travel Geeks
 

 

  I think Huawei has made better design decisions. The lack of a hole in the fold in Huawei's design is an advantage, as it makes it more unified when held in someone's pocket. The way it is done avoids a crease, and overall it's thin. To me, I dont particularly care about 5G support right now, and the Mate X is the closest we've come to a retail product that meets current smartphone standards. Everything else we've seen is a compromise.

-Vlad Savov, The Verge

 

With the Galaxy Fold and Mate X, we see two ways of doing folding phones, and both are intriguing. For me, the way Huawei has done the Mate X seems much more polished and well put together. It’ll be interesting to see which device resonated with customers more.

-
Dominico Lamberti, MobileTechTalk
 

 

  I’ve been following Huawei since the earlier days, before they had become as successful as they are today.  For years I’ve been bullish on the company’s progress. If there’s anything to learn from today’s event, it’s that Huawei have established themselves a true innovators, and are leading the market in terms of bringing new features to their products, enabling true differentiation.

-Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech


Huawei Mate X

Based on the comments, echoed by other press and analysts I spoke to during Mobile World Congress, it is clear that the overall feeling is that Huawei has done it better, and solved more of the issues around a foldable design than Samsung. The Huawei Mate X (2299 Euro, 8 GB+512 GB) is priced slightly above the Samsung ($1980, 12 GB+512 GB), but the Samsung is the only devices with a firm release date. Either way, it is clear that this is a device for the early adopters - for the users that spent $6000 on their first 480p flat screen TV.

 
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  • melgross - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    20% VAT. Some states and cities have no taxes. The highest is less than 10%. The $2600 I’ve seen quoted is supposed to be USA pricing, without tax included.

    So yes, that’s the way you compare them.
    Reply
  • HStewart - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    I not sure even though it is cool - it worth to have $2000 phone. It best to wait to prices come down. Even though I have a Samsung Note 8 and love it - not sure this is worth it.

    I am a little concern about quality of Samsung products lately when I got Samsung 40in HDR for my bedroom, I purchase two Samsung 4K UHD Blu-ray players for both it and downstairs TV. But I seem several time that a normal Blu-ray would not play but would on one of my other Blu-ray players. No wonder there is reports that Samsung is stopping creating opitical players because there players are piece of junk.
    Reply
  • pjcamp - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    I just don't see putting a scratchable plastic screen on the outside. It seems to me one of the main purposes for folding the phone is protecting the screen, not exposing it to damage. Reply
  • rocky12345 - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    My question is this how long before the screens start to show wear at the folding points and become useless to use or just out right fail all together. When I think of folding screens I pictured screens that would roll up when not in use but hey that's probably not for another 10-15 years from happening yet. Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    "how long before the screens start to show wear at the folding points and become useless to use"

    some years ago I went patent hunting on foldable LCD screens. turns out there were/are quite a bunch. one (no, I've no recollection from whom) even had a schematic of use in a phone. said phone was, approx., today's form factor when open. closed just like an old flip phone. but the interesting bit was that the screen (on the inside, naturally) 'folded', more like 'rolled', into a fairly large radius. thus reducing the potential for stress fracturing.

    there is, sort of, an analog in materials engineering. years ago O'Reilly used something called RepKover for its books. all paperbacks, IIRC. what made the binding different was that the spine was a tough piece of cambric (cloth) and the pages were attached with a (then new?) super-thin cold glue. the covers were hinged, much as quality hardcover books of the day (no one even does quality hardcovers anymore). the things laid flat on all but the first and last dozen pages or so. since the pages were edge cut like any other paperback, not Smyth bound like quality hardcovers, they were as flexible as a Chinese acrobat. they stopped using the binding some years ago, regressing to common perfect binding.

    so, yeah, things can be figured out. but not everyone will be willing to pay.
    Reply
  • Fedoruccio - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    I would rather agree with Charlie "All foldables are stupid." Especially for the price, for which you could buy iPhone Xs + iPad Pro (that is priciest bunch insert here your favorite phone+tablet combination). There is no benefit... All notches on the phone are stupid as well (again no benefit)... Reply
  • darkich - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    Anyone STILL praising this Mate X thing is either clueless idiot, either blind.

    WATCH THE HANDS ON VIDEO and see what the freaking screen looks like(..period
    Reply
  • darkich - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    p.s.

    CREASES

    It's literally a joke, piece of junk not worth discussing at this point.

    Honestly, it's beyond me how any credible tech journalist can't see this much.
    Reply
  • WasHopingForAnHonestReview - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    (((Journalists))) Reply
  • darkich - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    https://youtu.be/NnO08HnZf10

    1:32

    That is all.
    Abandtech, you are a joke with this article, just like Huawei with their device.
    Reply

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