Of all the foldable phone footage we’ve seen so far, Xiaomi’s has been the most impressive.
That’s not saying much, given that the other clips we’ve seen have avoided showing too much, and the one foldable we’ve actually touched − the Royole FlexPai − felt more like a proof of concept, but all the same: Xiaomi’s video impressed us. And now LetsGoDigital has created some 3D renders that just make us want to try it even more.
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To be clear, these aren’t official, but on the other hand they’re a lot more legitimate than other fan renders, because they are at least based on something that does physically exist, even if it’s just a prototype. While other renders come off the back of patent applications or even out of thin air, this one is at least grounded in some form of reality.
As demonstrated in the video, the renders show a large 4:3 tablet that can be folded in two places to create a slightly wide handheld. A power button sits at the top in the centre, and a USB-C port is at the bottom.
Curiously, there isn’t a camera, but that’s because one wasn’t visible in the video either. It would be a
brave foolish phone manufacturer to not include a camera on their smartphone, so that’s one for Xiaomi’s designers to get their heads around.
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When approached by LetsGoDigital, Xiaomi’s global PR team put out an official statement giving a little more background. It doesn’t say much we don’t already know, but one sentence certainly stands out: “It is misguided to think a folding screen can be easily turned into a folding smartphone without significant breakthroughs in technology.”
That’s an often overlooked point: the challenge to overcome with smartphones is that while designers do their best to make them look like they’re all screen, a lot of sensitive components live underneath – far more than you get in a plain display.
That’s why it’s important not to be too judgmental when the first batch of foldable phones turn out to not be quite as sleek and beautiful as these idealised renders.
Do foldable phones appeal to you, or would you rather stick with your current design? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.