Review of ‘world’s first’ foldable – The FlexiPai
Samsung and Huawei -- the world’s top two mobile manufacturers -- have promised their fans that foldable phones would be the new trend this summer. However, Samsung’s own review sets broke down and now the company is not sure when its foldable phone would hit the market any time soon. Likewise, Huawei is stuck in a web of trade war between the United States and China. In the midst of all these, a relatively unknown Chinese company called Royole jumped into the foldable mobile market with a new device the company referred to as the “world’s first” foldable phone -- the FlexPai.
Design & Specs of FlexPai
The FlexPai is a standard tablet-sized phone with can be, of course, folded into half its original size. While the screen of Samsung’s review sets were made of glass, FlexPai’s screen is made of flexible plastic. Despite being a plastic, it has a premium feeling and look. It is one of those cutting-edge tech geeks like me dreamed about for years. However, we noticed that the display texture isn’t as smooth as a glass display and the half-inch gap at the folding point maybe a little eyesore for some people.
FlexPai’s is just the opposite of the failed Samsung Galaxy Fold whose screen folded towards the user and close like a booklet. FlexPai’s 7.8’ screen when folded simply wraps the front and back of the set. The hinge is covered by kevlar-like fabric and it looks quite sturdy. So far so good, there is no sign for wear and tear even opening and closing the set for a thousand times.
The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 855 and it comes in variants of 6GB and 8GB of RAM.
When it comes to the camera, the device has a single dual-camera system that serves as both “normal” and “selfie” cam. The photos shot on this device aren’t of a high quality, which is a big turn off.
Software & Other Features
Foldable phones must have two a solid hinge (folding point) and smooth software that will be able to switch the device from tablet to yes a ‘normal phone’ mode. I always feel that these two features are the most crucial elements phone makers should looked into if they are serious about foldable devices. And, frankly, I am impressed by Royole’s work on these two areas. They nailed it.
There is no lag during the switch between mobile apps and the tablet-version of apps. For example when I opened Google Chrome browser in unfolded mode, the FlexPai screen served a full desktop-sized browser with horizontally-aligned tabs. And when the phone is folded, Chrome in a flash turns into a streamlined web browser just like the one on Android Chrome browser.
Sadly, there is one huge shortcoming. FlexPai will have little appeal in the international market as the phone cannot run any Google apps! It is not known when or whether the company will address this issue. Even if you manually install Google APK files - a simple workaround – it simply does not work. However, I can get access to YouTube or Gmail via the web browser. But, what’s the use of a phone that does not support Android apps?
Efficiency & Battery Life
FlexPai somehow feels bit bulky, even though you can still put it inside your pocket. But, yes, larger screen is much more beneficial for your eyes. Editing and typing of texts is much more comfortable besides being easy on the eyes. The video viewing experience looks quite immersive and playing certain games on a larger screen feels much better. PUBG fans will love FlexPai. You will be able to aim with much more accuracy at the enemies while the two speakers produce a loud sound. In short, FlexPai is a good device for those who love entertainment.
The device is powered by a 3,970 mAh battery, which I feel is not quite enough. If you are a heavy phone user like me (in the tablet mode), you may need to recharge the battery after every 7 or 8 hours. The cameras, as stated before, are simply not good enough. The camera app is also not user-friendly and very slow to switch between shooting modes. Photos taken under proper daylight are ‘okay’, but under low light, your photos will be filled with noise.
Besides, the camera does not have video stabilization. Videos captured on the device are all jerky. To be frank, budget Redmi phones which are sold at around US$350 have much better cameras.
With a price tag of 8,999 yuan (about US$1,318) for the 6GB RAM/128GB ROM model and 9,499 yuan for the 8GB RAM/256GB ROM version, FlexPai is extremely expensive even for the high-end mobile market, so we will withold our recommendation for now I think FlexPai is that smartphone mainly targeted at collectors and fans. It’s unique as there are practically no other foldable phones in the market right now and if that’s why you often buy a particular handset, go for it. While the camera is not upto the mark considering its price, the device’s inability to run Google apps is unimaginable. However, as it’s definitely a landmark phone, some people will still give it a try. I am pretty confident that foldable-screens are going to become a standard feature in the not so distant future, and we will remember FlexPai just like we look back at the Walkman or the Nokia black and white phones – with fond memories.Source