It looks like you can add a hinge to just about anything, and it’ll be cooler. Laptop? Check. Book? Check. Door of a refrigerator? Hell yeah. We’re not surprised that folding phones are becoming increasingly popular – even in South Africa. Locals currently have a total of five foldable smartphones from three smartphone manufacturers to choose from.
Major players such as Huawei, Samsung, and Oppo have released their latest foldable offerings locally in recent years. Those are the Huawei Mate Xs 2, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, Huawei P50 Pocket, and Oppo Find N2 Flip, each with its own unique set of features.
Huawei Mate Xs 2
Huawei managed to be the second brand to bring foldables to South African shelves after Samsung’s devices pretty much dominated for a while. It’s nice to have options when it comes to smartphones, and the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is an interesting one.
Its crowning feature is a large OLED display that measures 6.6in folded and 7.8in unfolded. When unfolded, the screen sports a resolution of 2,200 x 2,480. That’s cut down to 1176 x 2480 when folded. It is the second foldable from Huawei with a wrap-around display, a stark contrast to its competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. There’s a Snapdragon 888 4G processor powering everything. That’s paired with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage.
The phone’s triple-camera setup with a 50MP primary camera, 16MP ultra-wide, and 13MP telephoto, isn’t the company’s best effort. Also, be prepared to navigate Huawei’s EMUI 12 Android-based OS which lacks any built-in Google Mobile Services (GMS) functionality.
The Huawei Mate Xs 2 is currently listed at R35,000 in South Africa. Although that’s R5,000 less than its R40,000 launch price, it’s still the most expensive locally available foldable. However, the device does offer a unique folding design and some respectable specs.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
If it’s on its fourth iteration, it should be good right? Kind of, yes. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is definitely the company’s best foldable so far. If you’re a Samsung fan, or want the best foldable on the market locally – look no further.
The device features a large 7.6in foldable Dynamic AMOLED display on the inside and a smaller 6.2in cover display on the front. Both support a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. The device is powered by the capable Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 5G chipset and has 12GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of internal storage.
The triple-camera setup around back is headlined by a 50MP primary camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and a 10MP telephoto camera. The device has a 4,400mAh battery with support for 25W fast charging.
The 256GB variant of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 currently goes for R34,000. This one feels more premium than the Mate Xs 2 and it’s definitely more powerful in terms of processing power. Not to mention 5G and GMS support.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Foldables don’t have to follow the book-fold format. The next two entries conform to the ‘clamshell’ style of folding phone that’s more compact and arguably more fun. Here, we’ve got the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Un’flip’ the Z Flip and you’re greeted by a brilliant 6.7in foldable Dynamic AMOLED display. That’s joined by a dainty 1.9in cover display. The device is powered by the same Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 5G processor as the Z Fold 4 and has 8GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of internal storage.
Expect a fairly decent dual-camera setup around the back with a 12MP primary camera and a 12MP ultra-wide camera. It also features a 10MP selfie cam, but using the tiny cover display to take selfies with the main cam is still the best option.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 usually goes for R21,000 but can currently be yours for R19,000. This is a very good option if you want to dip your toes in the foldable fad without needing to take out a second mortgage.
Huawei P50 Pocket
The Huawei P50 Pocket is also a clam-shell style device. Its 6.9in main OLED display is slightly larger than its direct competitor, the Z Flip 4 and also folds inwards. Although the same can’t be said of the tiny 1.04in cover display. Here, you’re getting a resolution of 1,188 x 2,790 along with support for a 120Hz refresh rate.
Like its larger foldable sibling, it’s powered by a Snapdragon 888 4G chipset, supported by 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. The phone has a dual-camera setup with a 50MP primary camera and a 16MP ultra-wide camera. Like the Mate Xs 2, the P50 Pocket also features Huawei’s EMUI 12 Android-based OS and again lacks GMS support, so keep that in mind.
Unfortunately, Huawei’s online store no longer offers direct sales for the P50 Pocket. But you can grab the 128 GB Premium edition from Game for a whopping R35,000. It’s also available on contract via a few network operators (as are most of the phones on this list), so there’s that option.
Oppo Find N2 Flip
The Oppo Find N2 Flip is the latest entrant in the local folding smartphone market, with a familiar flip-design. It features a striking 6.8in foldable OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and 1,080 x 2,520 resolution.
This one’s unique in that it’s a clamshell design but with a large secondary 3.26in AMOLED display up front. This makes it even more practical when closed – something the Flip 4 struggles with. This one’s powered by the powerful Dimensity 9000+ chipset and comes with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of internal storage, and 5G support to boot.
The phone has a double-camera setup with a 50MP primary sensor and an 8MP ultra-wide camera. You also get a 32MP selfie cam for what it’s worth. The phone is powered by a 4,300mAh battery and features 44W fast charging support. You should get it up to 50% in 23 minutes, according to Oppo.
The 8GB/256GB model of the Oppo Find N2 Flip is available for R29,500 or as part of a monthly contract from most local network providers.
These are the currently available foldables, but they won’t stick around forever. Especially when most manufacturers tend to pump out new devices every year. Samsung is likely to refresh its foldable stable sometime around July, August, or September. Huawei is set to hold its European launch for its next folding device, the Mate X3, next month. While it isn’t official yet, there’s a good chance that will make its way to SA shelves before long. And who knows, maybe this is the year other manufacturers bring their foldy-phones to SA, folding iPhone, anyone?