Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?

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Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?

Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


Have you ever thought to yourself 'I totally wish my phone could fold in half'? If so join the club. And if not now all the wildest dreams you've never had are coming true with the world's first foldable phone you can actually buy. It's called the FlexPai from a company called Royole. It's literally the first phone with a foldable screen that's commercially available. Yeah Samsung did have one once upon a time but they still haven't gotten around to actually releasing the Galaxy Fold yet. So I'll believe it when I see it and can actually buy one. Inside the box is whatever this is. And here is the FlexPai with some instructions on how to fold and unfold the phone written on the outer covering. Honestly I think it looks pretty cool. It feels solid and heavy. I held one of these for the first time at CES this year.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


But obviously since that was a demo unit and not my own personal device I wasn't going to try to see what happens when it's bent both directions. Today though this one here is all mine and there's no one here to stop us. Let's get started. Right out of the box there are some confidence diminishing instructions that flash across the screen like 'only charge the phone with the device unfolded.' And then look here at this massive list of instructions: don't drop it keep the surface dry and clean please avoid sharp or pointed objects... .uh huh got it sure thing. And right below that it keeps going on to say no screen protectors are allowed and the phone can't be opened if the temperature is below freezing. It also looks like the side of the phone is super magnetic. This is going to be fun. Opening and closing the phone automatically changes how the apps are displayed on the screen. Magnets are the thing that holds the phone shut in the closed position with a very satisfyingly hard click. The magnets will definitely keep the phone from flopping open on its own.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


The hinge of the phone here in the center is covered with a very dark blue rubberish material and held in place by a series of hex screws. It takes up a good portion of the back panel real estate. It looks like one of those wrinkly dogs or even a slinky that can be bent back and forth. Good luck slapping a dbrand skin on this one. When it does snap closed it leaves just enough room inside for a pencil to clip into the gap between the back halves. Might be a perfect spot for a future stylus... just saying. The two back panels have a subtle shimmer that we see on most smartphones these days - low key and it doesn't really draw attention to itself... well besides the fact that it folds in half. That's a minor detail of course. You can see how reflective and shiny the screen is as well. The scratch test is going to be super interesting. The weird thing to me though is that the screen is always going to be exposed on the outside of the phone – always. The whole thing is just there... vulnerable. The whole system functions like an Android tablet but then has the ability to fold closed to be the size of a phone.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


It also has memory enough to remember which app was open on which side of the phone each time you flip it around. It also has a little center options bar in the fold of the phone. Honestly it looks pretty slick. Yeah the thing is a bit thick but if it's durable I could totally see myself using one of these. Trying to think of logical reasons of why I would actually ever need a foldable phone though. It would probably mostly be just watching movies and YouTube since you know I spend a lot of time on YouTube. This Flexi-boy can watch videos in full screen mode while the phone is folded. And it can also watch full screen videos in the unfolded mode. Honestly pretty darn cool. A company called Asurion did a study one time and found that people check their phones on average about 80 times a day. And judging by the amount of people I see texting and driving I believe that number. Royole says on their website that this phone is good for over 200,000 folds. So if we're unfolding this FlexPai 80 times a day under perfect conditions of course this phone would last almost 7 whole years. That's pretty fantastic considering that the Galaxy fold lasted about 7 whole days.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


Remember this thing is available to buy right now for a cool $1,300 dollars. Let's see what we get for that. Inside the box we get a SIM card removal tool and a microfiber cloth some USB-C braided headphones and a USB-C power cable and a branded power brick. There's no case or screen protectors inside the box. That's interesting. Now that we know everything is working properly let's start with the scratch test. Knowing what we know about the laws of physics it's pretty safe to say that the screen is not going to be made from glass since glass is glass and glass does not bend. The surface of the FlexPai has to be made from a flexible optically clear plastic. The hardness level of that plastic though is up for debate. In this particular case we see that the level 2 pick leaves no marks on the screen. But the level 3 pick as it's applied to the surface of the flattened phone starts leaving indented grooves all along the whole surface of the display. This is why there were warnings when I first turned on the phone. The FlexPai gets permanently damaged at a very soft Mohs level 3. This is the main reason having a screen on the outside of the fold is a bad idea.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


When it's in your pocket both sides of the screen are rubbing up against the sides of your pocket. And again when it's folded on a table one screen side will always be touching something hard. There is no safe zone. Watch as my fingernail can also damage the screen permanently. This thing is going to get pretty wrecked with every day use – especially since screen protectors are not allowed. Samsung's implementation of having the screen fold up inside the phone is hypothetically the better of the two methods since the closed fold protects the plastic screen. But you know their phone also only lasted a week. So you win some and you lose some. Checking out the top of the FlexPai moving from the plastic layer up to the top panel there's a definite ridge. And that panel is made from glass. My razor is doing no damage to the surface of that at least. The internal magnet is also pulling my razor all over the place. Even holding up my pry tool with its own magical magnetic strength. It's super strong. Probably because that hinge won't let the phone stay closed without it. A little trick I learned from Marquez with this magnet paper. We can see the large rectangular magnet right dead center inside the glass panel.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


We can also see the two bottom loud speakers in the center of each half. And over there in the bottom corner is the vibration motor also made from magnets. There's another large rectangular magnet on the other side of the phone that will keep things shut. Pretty darn cool. We'll take a look at the insides of the FlexPai during the teardown... you know if it survives the rest of this durability test. There is a dual tone LED flash alongside the dual camera lenses. A 16 megapixel normal camera is paired up with a 20 megapixel telephoto camera. No complaints here. Having multiple cameras that offer different perspectives is really the way to go. That's one of the things I'm looking forward to when I finally upgrade my personal Galaxy S8 Plus. With so many sides to analyze this might take a minute. The bottom right quadrant has a loudspeaker grill. The bottom has the power button volume up button fingerprint scanner and the volume down button in that exact order. The fingerprint scanner chilling here in the middle is in a weird spot but I'm not judging. Even after scratching up the surface of the scanner it was still able to read and recognize my fingerprint nearly every single time. The bottom left quadrant has a whole lot of nothing... except more metal.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


The hinge portion is where things start to get interesting and we'll talk more about this in a second. But Royole has literally trademarked the name Cicada Wing as the name for this thing. True story: a cicada is a super gross bug and I have no idea why in the world they would choose that to brand their phone with. I give Apple a hard time about a lot of things but at least they don't name their phone parts after bugs. The rubber portion has little air pockets in it to allow the flexing between the hinge segments. The rubber wrinkles sit over the little voids in the hinge... kind of like when Grandma pulls your cheek. It's all kinds of squishy. The top left quadrant has more metal along with a USB-C charging port and a SIM card tray. It's really nice of Royole to include an SD card slot. Adding movies and media to the large screen will be super easy. The top of the phone has more metal and a few plastic antenna lines. Honestly the more I see the more I like. It's a really super fun phone. Checking the back panels where we would normally see glass this Flexi-boy has large plastic rectangles. The phone is heavy enough that initially I thought the panels were made of glass but it is not. My razor blade's making short work of the surface which is actually really good news for us because now I get to tell you more about this vial little cicada bug that Royole is so proudly naming their phone after.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


No I don't care about most bugs... they don't bother me I don't bother them. But cicadas are in a realm all of their own. These cousins of crickets swarm out of ground every 13 years. Then they shed their crunchy potato chip skin like a snake grow wings on either side of their body and then cicadas make an incredibly loud incessant noise by vibrating membranes on their abdomen. That's more annoying than any sound I've ever made. Then the cicadas go lay their eggs in tree branches which kills the branch making it fall to the ground where the baby bugs can crawl out into the ground and wait for another 13 years before they can pop out and start the whole process all over again. This is a true story. The cicada wings are slightly separated from one another like the folds of this phone so I can kind of see why they're named after each other. But still... gross. The bug should be burned. Nailed that transition. The 7.8 inch 1920 x 1440 flexible display lasted about 5 seconds under the heat from my flame. The screen is so thin there's no insulating layer over the pixels to absorb the heat like we see on glass phones.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


The flame directly burns the pixels literally destroying them to the point of no return in 5 seconds. Makes me wonder if impacts or pressure points might do the same to individual pixels especially since if the folded phone accidentally drops no matter how it falls it's going to hit the screen area. It'll be interesting to see how this phone progresses into the wild as more people own it. Now it's time for the bend test. When bending from the front we get a nice uniform fold along the center of the device with a satisfying click at the end as the magnets latch together. The screen still rotates to face whatever side is active at the moment. Opening the phone up we see no permanent kinks or cracks in the frame thankfully or this would be pretty awkward since that's the way the phone's supposed to bend. Alright here's a few more times now and you know just from the front because I'm kind of legit nervous and I feel pretty bad about what might happen next. I've been curious if a tight pants pocket might be able to collapse or crush the folded phone since it has the large gap in the frame. It's kind of just asking for trouble. With a full palm grip and 100% effort trying to crush the phone single handedly – nothing happens. The hinge is intact and the phone is still totally operational. The hardware is going to be uncrushable by the pocket of your skinny jeans. My fingers do not hurt the pixels either so I'm glad for that.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


But what happens if the phone is laid flat and grandma sits on it? Well to be honest it actually flexes quite a bit in the wrong direction with no damage. Going from the flat 180 degrees all the way to a 270 degree three-quarter circle before the hinge finally snapped in half breaking at two points. But the phone itself is still turned on and functional even after bending in the complete opposite and wrong direction. The FlexPai swings both ways. Even with that crack in the hinge it still folds shut normally. And then when bending back out the wrong direction again we can see how paper thin the display really is. Royole is currently putting the same display technology on t-shirts and hats for about $900 each. I do think we gotta be honest here for a second. This thing is lasting a lot longer than we all thought it would. Look how tight this fold gets. Flexible screen technology is pretty amazing. I can literally bend this FlexPai any way I want and it's still functioning. My mind is blown. I don't even really know what to do with myself right now. This thing survived longer than the iPad Pro. Thumbs up for that. Royole might have just single-handedly made my bend test irrelevant with this invincible foldable display... well until this happened anyway. One wrong fold at an angle pinched the screen in a way that finally cracked it right down the center. Apparently the display can only be folded along one plane which makes sense.


Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways?
Diamond glass could solve foldable phone woes


The structure of the phone hinge got demolished in the first bend so there wasn't anything there to support the screen from behind. The large gentle curve of that hinge made each folding movement easier on the screen. Even though we've seen the display can handle much tighter creases having that gentle fold I'm sure preserves longevity. That one long crack along the center finally did kill the touch sensitivity of the phone as well. But either way the Royole FlexPai put up a really good fight and I'm downright impressed. I'm a huge fan of this new flexible innovation. Even now in the beginning stages where it's not totally useful I think that with normal use the FlexPai will probably last for quite a while. It almost even won this round. And even though the phone ended up dead I think we should have a moment of silence for the world's first foldable phone. Do you see yourself using a foldable phone in the future? Also should we perform an autopsy on the FlexPai to see the insides? Let me know down in the comments. Hit that subscribe button if you haven't already. Come hang out with me on Instagram and Twitter.

Thanks a ton for reading. I'll see you around.
Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways? Bend Test! | Can a Folding Phone Bend Both Ways? Reviewed by Admin on 4:09 AM Rating: 5

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