Despite all of the noise that’s come out of Samsung and Huawei over the past six months or so, the world’s first folding phone was actually the little-known Royole FlexPai.
It was announced last November, and it’s… not great. Here’s what we wrote about the £1209 device after getting our hands on it at CES 2019:
“It’s clear the FlexPai has been rushed out to ensure it claims the crown of the world’s first foldable phone. It’s a shame then, that it’ll likely be remembered for its terrible user experience rather than its genuinely interesting foldable design.”
However, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, the Royole FlexPai has actually made it to market. It is also, therefore, the only folding phone to have actually been subjected to a durability test by popular YouTuber Zack Nelson, the guy behind the JerryRigEverything channel.
And it fared better than you might have expected.
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The FlexPai’s flexible ‘Cicada wing’ display is designed to fold in one direction and one direction only but, of course, Nelson tried bending it the wrong way too.
Though he eventually managed to snap the hinge − it turns out that it flexes surprisingly generously in the wrong direction − the display continued to work.
At least, until it got pinched by the jagged remnants of the hinge and tore down the middle. Needless to say, this damaged its touch sensitivity too.
With its 7.8-inch, 1920 x 1440 display that you can fold like a book, the FlexPai is more like the Huawei Mate X than the Galaxy Fold, so we’re hoping that Huawei’s foldable proves to be similarly durable… when it finally makes it to market.
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The device was supposed to come out this summer, but its release has been pushed back to September, possibly because of the serious issues that have affected the Galaxy Fold.
Review units of Samsung’s foldable started malfunctioning and breaking altogether just days after they were sent out to journalists. Its release was subsequently postponed, and it’s expected to eventually hit the market in September.