Throughout the years, we’ve seen many so-called revolutionary features added to cell phones.
Some that stand out to me are high density and high refresh displays, massive batteries, and cameras that make you really question whether a picture you’re looking at was taken with a phone or a DSLR.
In that time we’ve also seen a lot of gimmicky features come along that don’t last very long. There are too many to list here but we’ve all had a phone with an amazing new feature that was supposed to revolutionize how we live our lives. Yet, somehow we never use that feature beyond the first week or two.
Looking at the current trend, I think it’s pretty obvious where our little pocket computers are headed right now. Foldable phones are the new and exciting stuff, and despite their astronomical price tag, it seems that the mobile industry is convinced this is what customers want. So far we’ve already seen offerings from Royole, Huawei, Samsung, and Motorola.
All of these phones, in one form factor or another, has a body that folds out to reveal a larger screen. The mechanisms to get there have all been different, but that’s the overall defining characteristic right now.
One company is doing something similar in the space and flying under the radar. You might have heard of them before: LG.
LG’s folding phones are completely unique as compared to the others on the market because, instead of building one device that unfolds, it gives users the option to attach a separate case that adds the second screen.
To be fair, this has both its advantages and disadvantages. We’ve spent some time with both the LG V50 5G and the LG 8x and are happy to bring your our thoughts.
Samsung and Motorola’s offerings, the Fold, Z Flip, and Razr respectively, all have a crease in the screen. While the Fold had a plastic screen, the Z Flip and Razr both have flexible glass displays. But, to accomplish the act of folding, there has to be a crease in the screen to allow the folding action.
I’ve been told you get used to it. I work with a guy who owns the Fold and he doesn’t seem to mind. Other reviewers say that after a few days, they don’t even see or feel the crease anymore. And hey, that’s great, but I don’t know if that’s something I, or most normal consumers, would want to deal with. When first impressions are everything, this leaves a bad taste in a person’s mouth.
LG gets around this by not having a folding screen at all. While there is a gap between the two screens, they still work together pretty flawlessly. I don’t doubt that people start to gloss over the crease in their screens because I gloss over the big black hinge on the V50 5G and the 8x pretty quickly. It’s not going to be for everyone, but I certainly don’t mind it.
One of the best things about using a case for a second screen is that when I don’t want a second screen, I can take the case off and use the phone normally. I did this for the entirety of my time with these devices.
Most of the time, I only want a regular phone. When I’m walking down a busy street using Google Maps, I don’t want a huge phone that’s hard to handle. I don’t want a bulky device that’s easy to drop and break. I take the case off and throw it in my pocket or my bag. Since it’s about the width of the device, I don’t notice it any more than if I just had the phone in my pocket.
To be completely honest, I used the phones without the second screen most of the time. So, instead of throwing it in my bag or my pocket, it’s more like I was grabbing it from my bag when I actually wanted to use it. That feels pretty damn great and increases the functionality of the phone.
If I’m sitting at home on the couch and want to play a game, I can throw it on there and watch some YouTube while I play or have a dedicated gamepad. It’s great.
Let’s be honest, phones are too expensive right now. That goes doubly so for foldable phones. They’re all over $1,000 with some are reaching a price where you have to choose between it or a pretty good gaming laptop. For some it’s a year’s worth of lease payments on a car. That’s kind of crazy.
LG wins here because you’re just paying for the phone and essentially getting the second screen case for free. LG advises that for its new LG V60 5G it will add in the case for free.
The 8x and V50 are cheap enough that adding the second screen case isn’t going to push it close to the price of those other premium phones. Hopefully, LG drops the prices even further now that the V60 5G is on the way. Then, you can get a hell of a deal on a phone with a ton of screen real estate. More