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Samsung Galaxy Fold Vs Huawei Mate X. Who Did The Fold Better?

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Samsung finally showed us the Galaxy fold in it’s full glory. A smartphone that unfolds into a tablet. Hello 2019! A couple of days later Huawei unveiled their own version of a foldable phone. The Huawei Mate X.

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Now because this is something new you see very different implementations of the same thing. Samsung went for 2 displays. The inward folding 7.3″ and the outside 4.6″ folded mode screen. Huawei chose an outward folding design which, when closed you have 2 screens. One ‘main’ 6.6″ display and another one that acts as a viewfinder for your selfies on the side with the side bar. Open it up and it turns into an 8″ tablet.

Side note, OPPO also released their own foldable phone and it has a very similar design to the Huawei Mate X. 2 points go to outward folding. 1 point to inward folding.

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Which Is The Better Fold

I’m thinking of 2 key areas here. Aesthetic design and Mechanical design. Since the Oppo variant is the same as the Huawei Mate X I will just use Huawei in my comparison.

Aesthetic Design

Samsung

Samsung’s design is an inward fold with a second display on the outside.  The outside display looks small at 4.6″ and leaves a plethora of bezel in any direction. Aesthetic wise it feels like not much effort was put into the user experience of the phone when it is folded. It almost feels like it belongs in 2009 with the Nokia 5230 Xpress Music.

Open it however and you get a nice spacious 7.3″ display…which has a cutout on the top right for selfie cameras eating into a bit of screen. Yes this tablet has a notch but it can also be hidden like we are now used to doing on smartphones with notches.

Since it folds inwards it is not really a perfectly flat fold because that would not be too friendly to the inward folding AMOLED panel. it maked the whole thing a bit chunky when folded but at least you can also customize the colour of the fold strip if you want something different.

Huawei

Huawei decided to use one flexible display for everything. This meant that the display has to fold outwards. Because it folds outwards this allowed them to make the fold a lot flatter. Flatter form factor meant it feels like a regular phablet when folded. Not the thinnest phablet around but quite compact for a foldable phone.

At one end of the smartphone is a sidebar that is home to the cameras. The cameras are always at the back weather it’s folded or unfolded and since they are on the side bar you have no notch on the display.

The main folded display is a 6.6 inch display with very tiny bezels. Quite a fitting aesthetic for 2018. Also once unfolded it extends to 8 inches of display. Did I mention there is no notch?

The Huawei in this round looks like the more complete device. All the elements play well together in harmony providing a more cohesive design approach to the foldable smartphone.

Mechanical Design

Right. To fold inwards or to fold outwards? That is the question. For Samsung an inward folding display makes sense for a couple of reasons. The flexible display is not made of scratch resistant material like Gorilla Glass. Glass is glass and upon trying to bend it, it breaks. This means they had to go with something like plastic which is transparent but also can handle flexing.

However plastic in as much as it does not shatter, it is very prone to scratches. An inward folding tablet would make sense on the durability side of things as when it is closed it is shielded from abrasive items that could otherwise redecorate the display.

The problem that then arises is if the display folds inwards, it cannot fold completely flat. It’s like taking a piece of paper and folding it flat. You’ll get a permanent line down the fold which you would not want running down the middle of a supposedly uninterrupted display.

So for Samsung it was sacrificing a clean design in favor of a durable one.

Huawei went with the outward fold and made a complicated hinge that allowed the Mate X to fold completely flat. This gave it a slimmer, more compact profile when closed which is more desirable.

Nonetheless the display is still a flexible one and so the material there is one that is soft and flexible. That said, the Mate X is more prone to damage and the whole display of the phone actually wraps around the whole phone making it the external body of the phone.

Huawei in this segment decided to go for a clean, good looking design at the expense of durability. It also explains why they also mentioned a protective case for it during their launch event. They know.

So back to the title of this article. Who did the fold better?

Considering looks, Huawei takes the crown. It maintains the current standard of a total full screen experience weather folded or not. It maintains a very compact profile when folded and does the multi display setup better (one display does it all).

Considering a durable design, Samsung takes this one. The inward fold means the more robust side of the phone encases the more fragile part when folded. This means in the long run Samsung’s implementation will fare better than Huawei’s implementation.

Do you think foldable smartphones are going to be replacing tablets or you really don’t care? Tell us in the comments.


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8 thoughts on “Samsung Galaxy Fold Vs Huawei Mate X. Who Did The Fold Better?

  1. Only when the price drops will they become a thing to have. A price of about $1000 would be fair but designwise i’ll take the Samsung one.

  2. Huawei’s phone looks like a regular smartphone when folded. That’s a huge plus. And the tab is bigger.
    If I had to pick one though, I’d have to pick the Samsung simply because it looks more robust, so it will probably last longer.

  3. Samsung should have added an S-Pen: why did they omit that? It’s been one of their most defining innovations.

    1. For now, I would say battery capacity or keeping it exclusive to the Note.

      From the internal images i saw, putting it in either half of the phone would have taken up battery capacity, a major issue when you have that big screen to drive. Putting the pen in the hinge also would have compromised the mechanism shown in the patents, which leaves space for the round spine of the screen when its folded. Filling up that space would either mean making a wedge shape phone or adding an extra ridge somewhere like Huawei.
      The exclusiveness reason is simple enough. There are many big phones out there, but there are very few with built in pens like the Notes. If the Fold does well this year, maybe we’ll see a 2020 version with the s pen or to go even further, the Fold will officially become the Note of the future.

  4. Samsung all day! It folds flat and that is key for something that will be stuffed in pockets and rolled over in beds. But eish, that front display needs some TLC! The next one needs to be bigger.

  5. The Samsung fold any day.
    The mate X looks so beautiful folded flat but Samsung did mention why they went with the inward fold – “We have the technology to do a fold that is very very tiny, as of course if you have the fold on the outside it doesn’t take quite the same amount of research and development to get that device to fold as it does something that is folding with a much lower angle degree on it.”.
    Plus i bet increasing the screen size on the outside would have made the phone even more expensive.

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