Two days ago, Vivo released its first flagship foldable smartphone, Vivo X Fold. This smartphone comes with an 8,999 yuan ($1,414) price tag. Vivo’s move also means that it is the most recent Chinese smartphone brand to enter the foldable smartphone market. Presently, there are many Chinese brands with foldable smartphones. However, the top 5 brands whose names you probably know are Huawei, Honor, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo. Apart from Huawei, the remaining brands on the list have just one foldable smartphone model.
Before the series of bans on Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer was going head-to-head with Samsung in the foldable smartphone market. However, it has since slowed down its pace in the development of these phones.
As of now, foldable smartphones are flagship devices and very expensive. Presently, the cheapest foldable device in the market is the Oppo Find N which has a 7699 yuan ($1,209) starting price. The most expensive of these is the Huawei Mate X2 which can be as expensive as 20,000 yuan ($3.142).
In 2021, the global sales of foldable smartphones will be about 9 million. Most of these units will come from Samsung. However, in 2022, other Chinese brands will increase their foldable smartphone sales. This year, the sales could be as high as 15 – 20 million units.
Top Chinese brands with foldable smartphones
Let us now take a look at the top five Chinese brands with foldable smartphones.
Chinese manufacturing giant, Huawei, is obviously the most popular Chinese brand with a foldable smartphone. It is the only brand on the list with many foldable models. The company’s first foldable smartphone is over three years old. The Huawei Mate X was first released in February 2019, In fact, this device was one of two pioneer foldable smartphones in the world, alongside the Samsung Galaxy Fold. A year later in February 2020, the company unveiled another foldable smartphone, Huawei Mate Xs. Then in February 2021, the company unveiled its third foldable smartphone, Huawei Mate X2.
In December 2021, the company released another foldable smartphone. However, this device is more of a flip phone this time. The Huawei P50 Pocket is the company’s first flip phone. While we were expecting another Mate foldable smartphone in 2022, this did not happen. Nevertheless, Huawei remains the top Chinese brand with a foldable smartphone. In fact, in terms of sales, the company is only behind Samsung worldwide.
Xiaomi’s first and only foldable smartphone, Xiaomi Mi MIX Fold is the first non-Huawei Chinese foldable smartphone from a popular manufacturer. This device was released in March 2021, two years after Huawei’s first foldable smartphone. Xiaomi revolutionized the smartphone market when it introduced the Mi MIX smartphone series. The original device was a big surprise featuring an impressive bezel-less display. The MIX series is known for its amazing display design and the MIX Fold did not disappoint.
The Xiaomi Mi MIX Fold comes with a large 8.01-inch OLED internal screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a 1440p+ resolution. It’s a tablet-sized display and Xiaomi states this is the largest display on a foldable smartphone. Huawei will beg to differ. The display is large enough to allow Xiaomi to deliver a desktop mode with multiple resizable windows.
The phone was put through 200,000 bends during reliability testing and then pushed further to 1 million bends. It survived! The OLED panel comes with support for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. It has a DCI-P3 color gamut and 600 nits of brightness. The peak brightness stands at 900 nits. The phone also has an external display of 6.52-inches. It’s also an AMOLED panel but with an unconventional 2,520 x 840 resolution. This results in a wide aspect ratio of 27:9. Unlike the interior display with a 60Hz refresh rate, this one has a high refresh rate of 90Hz and 180Hz touch sampling rate. It is slightly brighter offering 650 nits of brightness.
The company reportedly invested more than 140 million yuan ($21.9 million) in R&D to ensure the best experience with this display.
After the release of the Xiaomi Mi MIX Fold in March 2021, the Oppo Find N, the company’s first and only foldable smartphone was released in December 2021. After several years of research and development, Oppo finally released its first foldable smartphone. When closed, Oppo Find N has a small 5.49-inch external screen on the front. However, in the unfolded state, the Oppo Find N has a 7.1-inch super-large screen. This display uses Samsung E5 material and comes with a resolution of 1792 x 1920. Furthermore, this foldable smartphone supports a high 120Hz refresh rate. It also supports the LTPO automatic refresh rate adjustment between 1 Hz and 120 Hz. The screen ratio here is 8.4:9.
The back shell of this device uses a 3D micro curved surface design that fits the contour of the palm. The Oppo Find N also brings a precision vertebral hinge, with 125 technical patents. This hinge was independently developed by Oppo. It increases the bending radius of the screen by 2 times and also reduces the screen crease by 48%. In fact, it almost completely eliminates the creasing issue.
On January 10, 2022, Honor released its first-ever foldable smartphone, Honor Magic V. This device is also the world’s first foldable smartphone with the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. The Honor Magic V uses the left and right inward folding method, choosing a larger size effect. It comes with a 7.9-inch large internal screen with an aspect ratio of 10.3:9. The display also supports a resolution of 2272 x 1984 and a pixel density of 381 PPI.
Furthermore, the Honor Magic V internal display supports a 90Hz refresh rate. The global maximum brightness is 800nit, the peak brightness is 1000nit, and the display supports a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut. It also supports 10bit color, HDR10+, 1920Hz high-frequency PWM dimming, and other technologies. This device is the industry’s first foldable smartphone with IMAX Enhanced certification and has excellent display effects.
As for the external screen, the Honor Magic V comes with a 6.45-inch OLED screen. This display supports a ratio of 21.3:9, a resolution of 2560 x 1080, a pixel density of 431ppi, and a screen-to-body ratio of up to 90%. Furthermore, it supports 100% DCI-P3 wide color gamut, 1 billion colors, and HDR10+ technology. The global maximum brightness is 1000nit, the peak maximum brightness is 1200nit, and it also supports a 120Hz refresh rate. In addition, the Honor Magic V external screen also uses a curved nanocrystalline glass process. The smartphone has a stronger anti-drop performance than the ordinary Corning Gorilla Glass panel.
The Vivo X Fold is the youngest foldable smartphone from a Chinese manufacturer at the moment. This device was released just two days ago (10th April) alongside the Vivo X Note and the Vivo Pad. The Vivo X Fold represents the company’s first step in the segment of foldable devices. The working mechanism of this device is similar to the Find N and Galaxy Z Fold series.
The Vivo X Fold comes with a 6.53-inch outer AMOLED screen as well as an 8.03-inch Inner display. The inner display uses the Samsung E5 AMOLED technology and it has a resolution of 2,200 x 1,080 pixels. It’s an LTPO 2.0 panel allowing for a true adaptable refresh rate that ranges from 1 Hz to 120 Hz. Both panels operate at up to 120 Hz refresh rate and have HDR 10+. However, only the inner has LTPO 2.0 tech, since it’s the only one that can go down to 1 Hz.
Although the companies on the list are the most popular Chinese brands with foldable smartphones, they are not the only ones. In fact, the very first Chinese brand to release a foldable smartphone is not on the list. Royole Flexpai is the very first foldable smartphone in the world. This device was first released in January 2018, one year before Samsung and Huawei released their foldable smartphones. However, it officially hit the market in December 2018, just a few months before Samsung and Huawei’s foldable smartphones arrived. Although Royole isn’t so popular, it has since released the Royole Flexpai 2 and it’s working on Royole Flexpai 3 at the moment.