CES 2020 delivered some new folding phones, but it was the flexible PCs that really stole the show this year.
Foldables used to be a rare sight on the CES floor, but this year everything from computers to speakers have had a flexible upgrade. We’ve perused this year’s new bendy gadgets and picked out the best – and worst – of the bunch.
New devices that we’re welcoming into the fold
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold
Lenovo gave a big middle finder to Microsoft by showing off its foldable laptops, and promising to beat its big-name competitor in the race to release. The company introduced the new ThinkPad X1 Fold at CES and claimed it was the ‘world’s first foldable PC.’
Set to hit the shelves by mid-2020, the new device will cost you $2499. It comes with a folding 13.3-inch OLED display, optional 5G connectivity, and an Intel processor.
Related: First look at the ThinkPad X1 Fold
Intel’s Horseshoe Bend
Intel also threw its hat into the foldables ring with the announcement of a new Horseshoe Bend prototype. This is a meatier option than the X1 Fold, with a screen that measures 17.3-inches.
As we couldn’t get our hands on it, we’re not sure how the two devices compare when it comes to weight. But the Horseshoe certainly looks more like a traditional laptop, thanks to its larger screen.
Dell Duet and Ori
Finally, Dell also came out swinging with not one but two new foldable devices. Both new gadgets – the Dell Duet and the Dell Ori (pictured) – are still in the concept stage.
Related: Hands-on with the Dell Ori
At the moment they look similar to Microsoft’s Surface Neo and Duo foldable devices. We played around with a concept model of the 13-inch Dell Ori in December and found it to be impressively versatile, if a little slow.
TCL’s new foldable
We were gifted another concept device from CES in the form of TCL’s new foldable phone. The Chinese electronics company is well known for producing seriously cheap products (mostly TVs) that don’t skimp on high-end features. Given its reputation, it’s no surprise that the company would want to get in on the foldable action.
It may be a long time before TCL’s new phone is released but this concept device could shake up the market. Hopefully TCL will give us a budget-friendly foldable in the future, otherwise we’ll all be stuck pining after the pricey $1499 Motorola Razrs.
No shows, disappointments, and unnecessary gadgets
Where’s the Galaxy Fold 2?
We’ve had leaks, rumours and wild speculation about the Galaxy Fold 2, but Samsung still hasn’t given us any solid news about the new device. It looks like the company will hold out until the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event to announce the phone, which is happening on February 11.
There’s still no release date for LG’s roll-up TV
LG’s new rollable TVs made another appearance at CES this year – which isn’t technically a foldable, but we’re still counting it. The new prototype screen rolls down from the ceiling, rather than up from a stand, which was a feature in the previous design.
Although it looks impressive, there’s still no firm release date for the new device, despite promises last year that the prototype would go on sale in 2019. There are, however, rumours via Cnet that the new telly could set you back by a whopping $60,000.
Do we need Royole’s new flexi-visuals speaker?
And finally, Royole released a few new updates to its ‘flexible’ range. When we got our hands on Royole’s FlexPai phone last year, we felt that the product had been rushed out to nab the title of ‘first foldable phone’. The user experience wasn’t great, and the foldable element felt like a gimmick.
Related: First look at Royole’s FlexPai
This year, Royole has brought out the foldable RoWrite 2 – a smart notebook – and the Mirage Smart Speaker. We haven’t managed to get our hands on the products yet, but we’re a little sceptical about the Alexa-enabled Mirage speaker.
Do we need foldable visuals on a device that’s supposed to be all about the audio experience? Until we’ve tried one out, we can’t come to a firm verdict – but we’re suspicious that this might be another headline-grabbing device without a solid user experience.