The world’s first commercially available folding screen phone is not made by Samsung, Huawei or Motorola – it’s Royole Flexpai, a device we called “charmingly awful.” But in March, Royole promised to refine the idea with the new FlexPai 2, and the company officially launched the phone in China today, starting at 9,988 yuan, or approximately $ 1,471.
And while today the company shares mostly renders instead of photos, you I can see a demonstration of the phone after about 38 minutes of the company’s presentation:
Does it look quite elegant? With a thickness of 6.3 mm when flat (folded 12.8 mm), it is not as thin as the dual screen Microsoft Surface Duo, but sounds thinner than the 6.9 mm frame of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 ( including the camera) and the convex folded hinge of 16.8 mm. Royole claims that its new specially designed hinge has “no gap”, which is obviously PR-speaks of a very small difference of about 1 mm.
This 7.8-inch screen may be a downside: Royale says nothing about glass, so it’s probably plastic – and with a slightly lower 1920 x 1440 resolution than its competitors Samsung and double-shielded Microsoft. Today it’s a pretty big screen for those few pixels. And of course, we’re talking about a single, fully exposed screen that will fold in half without anything to talk about on the other end of the phone.
The other features look quite competitive: a leading Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor; 8GB or 12GB RAM; 256GB or 512GB of storage, 4450mAh battery and 5G support, with a set of four cameras (64MP wide, 16MP ultra wide, 8MP with 3x optical zoom and 32MP “portrait” selfie camera, although all four cameras are facing you in each case). There is a pair of stereo speakers, two SIM card slots, Wi-Fi and 6-C USB fast charging.
Aside from the durability of the hinge and screen – the company estimates it at 1.8 million turns, but bending tests are never the whole story – the biggest issue is probably the software that was previously the Achilles’ heel of more than one foldable phone.
There, Royole, promising “waterOS 2.0”, will intelligently divide the screen into multiple applications, allow you to drag and drop between them, and use the folded screen to arrange the perfect portrait of you and your subject. waterOS 2.0 is based on Android 10, the company says.
We will have more thoughts when we can pick up a real phone to spin; meanwhile here is the company’s product page. The 12GB / 512GB model will cost 11,588 yuan, or approximately $ 1,707.