You may or may not have read our last piece discussing the future of smartphones; if you haven’t, it’s available here.

In it we discussed the recent trends that are influencing smartphone design and aesthetics; although we were on the right lines regarding screens growing ever larger, we didn’t think Samsung were going to announce a folding tablet/smartphone hybrid so soon.

As well as the “Galaxy Fold”, Samsung announced their new S models; the S10e, S10 and S10+, at their event in San Francisco on February 20th.

The main takeaways for these devices are:

  • the change from a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor to an under-display design (only on the S10 and S10+, the S10e uses a standard sensor mounted on the side frame).
  • All variants still have a headphone jack.
  • All models have a pin-hole / punch-hole / hole-punch (or whatever you want to call it) front facing camera setup.
  • Samsung’s minimalist “One UI” replaces their old “Grace UX” version of Touchwiz.

Check out Booredatwork’s comparison from YouTube below:

The three variants increase in size, display real estate and battery capacity as you move up from the £669 S10e, through the £999 S10, up to the top-tier, £1099 S10+. Camera arrangement is also upgraded as the price increases; the S10e sports 2 rear and 1 front camera, the S10 2 rear and 2 front cameras and the S10+ trumps them all with 3 rear and 2 front cameras. Early hands-on reviews show the larger “+” model exhibiting excellent battery life and the usual Samsung camera performance – in short, really good photos, that are only bested by Google’s Pixel line.

Galaxy Fold

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is a huge step towards the future of mobile design, whether or not it catches on is anyone’s guess but you can be sure manufacturers will all be boarding the same bandwagon in the coming months.

The idea is one that makes perfect sense, when you want to carry it around or do a quick task, like make a call or send a message, the Galaxy Fold is (ahem) small and compact, but when you need a larger, tablet-size display it opens up revealing a plethora of pixels for video viewing, gaming, maps etc.

Closed, the Galaxy Fold looks like 2 slightly narrower phones laying on top of each other, however the hinge maintains a radius meaning the two halves don’t fully lay flat on each other. So looking at the phone from the front, as well as seeing enormous bezels above and below the 4.6″ screen, the thickness of the device is greater on the left than it is on the right.

Check out the below video if moving pictures are more your thing:

Huawei have overcome this issue by putting the screen on the back of the device so the radius of the screen is against the outside edge of the hinge. The phone then folds flat when closed, but at the expense of the screen being exposed on all closed faces of the device. See below:

I actually love the idea of having a smartphone that quickly expands to become a tablet; it may not be something that I would use very often, but there will be a market for it I’m sure. For me to move over to a folding smartphone/tablet hybrid I think I’d have to wait a few generations until the closed dimensions are nearer to a standard smartphone of today.

If I had to choose the Samsung or the Huawei I honestly couldn’t; the Huawei looks better and folds closed flatter, but the Samsung tablet screen folds in for protection. Imagine how much one of these giant flexi-screens will cost to replace if you smashed it…