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Now might be a great time to go for a folding screen

I attended Samsung’s Flip and Fold 5 launch with a question I ask myself every year – “is this finally the year I cave in to buy a foldable phone?”

I have to admit, folding screens have made tech exciting again, breaking almost 15 years of the “brick era.” But as history will teach us, industry first-movers more often than not act as a proof-of-concept rather than a true consumer product. Mind you, the first Z Fold from 2019 had its share of problems. Other first generation brands with their foldables also encountered similar issues: the lack of screen protectors, protective casing, hinge durability, and the support for that new aspect ratio. It also begged the metaphysical question of “Why?” Why do I need this? What makes this experience better than my brick? A bulkier phone in my pocket, a hinge with a noticeable gap, and a screen that actually bends. Won’t that break?

We are in the 5th year of the Fold. And it seems clear that Samsung has addressed the “thigh gap” with the new Flex hinge that is not only more durable, but makes opening and closing the device more seamless. It removes the gap, allowing the phone to fully close and also opens up to become fully flat. Just as important, the “why” is also answered. The new Z Flip5 has a bigger widget screen to get things done without having to open it up – it’s also more fun at parties with the Flex cam, allowing you to take photos without need for a tripod. The Fold5, ironically, opens up to reveal a semi-serious workstation setup when you’re too overburdened to carry a tablet or a laptop. And there’s icing on the cake – since it’s been 5 years, we now have an ecosystem of accessories. Of note, the Flip5 has the FlipSuite Case, which are phone covers with NFC chips that alter the phone’s screen to match the case’s aesthetics. Alas, we are back in the days of Nokia Xpress-On covers for self-expression!

So, dear reader, is this finally the year when we might cave to buy a foldable phone? I guess what I have to say is this: you won’t lose anything if you stick to your current smartphone. It’s been a wonderful tool and a proven form factor with a track record that spans a decade and a half. However, I do believe that these new foldable phones can open up new possibilities – new rooms inside your head that were once locked – to find new ways to express yourself and be productive.