A lesser known brand, a small company known as Rouyu Technology, has released a foldable phone.
The FlexPai in all fairness is a tablet that once folded turns into a smartphone. As a tablet, it stretches out to 7.8 inches, with 9120 x 1440 pixel resolution, wonderfully big for media consumption. As a phone, you get a manageable 4-inches that can be held in one hand.
Screen real-estate is weirdly divided though, with one half being bigger than the other.
The smaller half is designed to accommodate the cameras and other peripherals.
When folded, the unused part of the screen shows a wallpaper, though both remain usable. It runs on a Qualcomm chipset with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8150 processor, another first.
Its available in three configurations, a 6GB RAM option with 128GB storage, an 8GB RAM option with 256GB storage and another 8GB RAM option with 512GB storage, all expandable by 256GB via microSD card.
The phone comes with a dual array camera arrangement at the back with a 16MP and 20MP sensor that has a telephoto lens, backed by an LED flash. It is an LTE phone with dual-SIM support, and interestingly, with software upgrades, it will work on 5G networks.
It also has WiFi and Bluetooth support, GPS, Beidou and pretty much every other communication standard out there.
There is also a fingerprint sensor which gives faster access to the phone. So, is this a phone one might consider buying? Many see the phone as a very rough design, with Rouyu simply trying to get the accolade. It isn’t a small phone, so its bulk is very off-putting and feels clumsy at best.
The hinge is designed to open 200,000 times, which many might consider to be more than enough, but in reality, gives the phone a very real and finite life-span. It also doesn’t come cheap, costing close to Sh140,000, but, to be fair, it was never going to be as affordable as its non-foldable relatives.
What it does have working for it, beyond a foldable screen and very impressive innards is a 3800mAh battery that, coupled with Ro-Charge fast charging, gets it to 80 per cent in an hour, which is quite impressive.
The phone is gimmicky, and that comes as no surprise, but it is perfectly fine. For one, Rouyu have proven that it is possible to make foldable phones, and that any manufacturer without the power that the bigger brands have will be able to do it.
It comes running on WaterOS, a custom OS based on Android 9, which means it will have Android app support.
It is currently only available in China though it should be getting a global introduction in the near future, seeing that Rouyu will want to milk this opportunity for everything its worth, as they should.