In Review

Xiaomi vs. Samsung foldable phones: what’s the difference?

Chinese smartphone maker showcases a flexible-screened mobile in its latest video

Xiaomi, the Chinese electronics firm, has previewed a new mobile with a flexible screen that could go head-to-head with Samsung’s upcoming foldable device.

Xiaomi’s company chief Lin Bin has shared a video clip on social media showcasing the prototype’s foldable screen, which can morph from a device the size of a tablet to one that fits in your pocket.

Lin Bin didn’t say what the specs of the foldable handset were, admitting that the device was just a prototype, Trusted Reviews reports. 

But the company could change its mind if there’s significant demand for the device.  

In a blog post on the Chinese social media site Weibo, Lin Bin said that Xiaomi had overcome a series of technical problems relating to the smartphone’s dual-hinge folding screen. 

He claims that the prototype device was “sent out to everyone”, suggesting that the company has developed several models that are currently being tested by its engineers. 

“If you like it, we will consider making a mass production machine in the future”, said Lin Bin.

The device is being billed as the world’s first smartphone with a double-hinged folding screen, but it isn’t the first mobile with a flexible display. 

Xiaomi’s rival in the smartphone world, Samsung, previewed its first foldable mobile during its developers’ conference in San Francisco last November. Samsung is expected to unveil the flexible phone in production-ready form at the Galaxy Unpacked event on 20 February. 

How do the designs compare?
Samsung folding screen

Samsung

Unlike Samsung’s folding phone [pictured above], which uses a single hinge in the middle of the device, the Xiaomi prototype has two hinges that run along its width.

When unravelled, Xiaomi and Samsung’s smartphones look similar to mid-sized tablets, says Digital Trends

The Chinese phone’s display can be folded at either side of the mobile, resulting in a device that represents a “more normal smartphone size”, the tech site says. 

Samsung’s phone, meanwhile, folds at the centre and produces a slightly larger handset than Xiaomi’s phone.

It’s not yet known whether there are any benefits to having a dual-hinge screen over one with a single pivot, but The Verge believes that Xiaomi’s design is “a more practical use for the technology”.

How much will the devices cost?

It may be some time before either device reaches the market, making it difficult to predict their price.

Given that the phones feature technology that hasn’t been seen before, there’s a good chance both handsets will carry hefty price tags. 

In an interview with The Sun, Dan Ives, managing director of equity research at the Los Angeles firm Wedbush Securities, said that Samsung’s device was expected to cost between $1,200 and $1,350 (£930 to £1,050).

While no one is sure of the Xiaomi phone’s price, the company is known for producing devices that rival high-end smartphones for a fraction of the price.

If Xiaomi green lights production, the Chinese phone could be in a position to undercut its key rival.

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