Royole FlexPai is the world’s first foldable smartphone, which is now followed by foldable phones from Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola. However, as the concept phone, it offers poor in-hand performance with chunky design, against a hefty price of $1300.
- World’s first foldable screen smartphone
- Great conceptual bendable screen
- Poor Performance
- Awful camera speed
- Very expensive
One Minute Review
Royole Flexpai is the world’s first bendable screen smartphone released back in January 2019. The smartphone is a futuristic design and sets the tone for the future of smartphones. However, as an early design, it’s still in its nascent stages with crude edges and plenty of room to improve.
The pone performs poorly or at best average across all performance aspects, while carrying a hefty price tag of $1300. So, while it definitely remains a groundbreaking smartphone, we can’t recommend it for mainstream smartphone users.
Release date and price
The Flexpai remains one of the most futuristic design smartphones in the market today. The set was released in January 2019, with a price tag of $ 1300.
Keeping in view the early design concept and the crude performance, it’s a high price.
Overall, Flexpai is definitely not a mainstream phone and would mostly interest tech geeks, early adopters or people who got money to burn.
We are expecting a refined version of the phone to be released by the end of 2019 or early 2020.
Design and Screen
In all honesty, the only thing that triggers any excitement and interest for Flexpai is its high-tech futuristic bendable screen. Other than that, it’s a pretty basic or rather a terrible phone. What’s definitely impressive about the phone is its foldable screen that bends around the hinge.
The phone boasts a 7.8-inch tablet screen, which can be folded to around 180-degree hinge. When folded, it’s actually a nicely sized compact phone, boasting a slightly thick bezel on the left-side to host two cameras.
What even more exciting about Flexpai is that in folding state the phone can be used as separate phones, thanks to the dual-sim functionality. While we don’t really like the thick hinge, nonetheless the technology used is certainly impressive.
Moving on to the screen performance, the large 7.8-inch screen boasts an average sharpness with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a screen resolution of 1,920 x 1,440 pixels. It isn’t the clearest or sharpest of resolution available in the market, nonetheless, it’s neither too low, keeping in view that the phone is mostly about challenging the concept of a foldable smartphone. The 308 PPI, can be said to be good enough to get the job done.
If we are to compare the screen performance of Flexpai with other flagship phones, then the Note 9 with its 6.4-inch screen comes with a high 516ppi, while the Mate 20 Pro from Huawei comes with a 539 PPI on its 6.3-inch screen.
Another design glitch that we found in Royole Flexpai is that the phone isn’t completely flat in its open state, rather there remains a small but noticeable bump in the middle part due to the hinge. While this may be a small bump, it certainly limits the use of the smartphone as a tablet.
In the folded state, the phone offers two 4.0-inch screens, which can be used separately with the aspect ratio of 16:9 and 18:9. There’s an option to power-off one side if you want to save battery. You also get the additional screen in the folded state over the hinge. The screen displays the notifications as well as a shortcut to apps and incoming calls.
As per the official statement from Royole, the hinge in Flexpai can last as much as 200,000 folds, which if true will live out the lifetime of the device. Nonetheless, we are in no position to comment on this claim as of now.
As for the bezel, the phone boasts rather sleek and stylish bezels on the three sides, however, the fourth side (left of the display) boasts a thick and chunkier bezel, which also hosts the cameras and other components.
Some of the other components included in the phone include a USB-C port, a Fingerprint scanner, and a dual sim tray. Unfortunately, the phone lacks a headphone jack (for no obvious reasons). You do actually get USB-C configured earphones with the handset, compensating for the lack of headphone jack.
Performance and Interface
While the design of the phone is certainly futuristic (although we think this could have been much better and elegant), the software performance of the phone is quite simply awful.
The phone is powered by Android 9 Pie, however, like other Chinese smartphone brands, the company has put on its Water OS software skin, which to say the least is an extensive overlay.
As far as we know, the current software is the final production version, which means there is no update to expect at least in the next version (when it comes out). Nonetheless, the phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 CPU (which actually is an impressive top-tier chip) along with 6GB RAM.
However, we didn’t find the performance of the phone anywhere near the configuration we were told. The phone seemed dead slow for almost everything from taking a picture to switching from phone to tablet.
We are unsure how the phone that packs such top-tier configuration can be this slow, when it should fly along, nonetheless, our best bet is that the Water OS overlay has chunked the efficiency of the phone.
The good news for people looking forward to the arrival of 5G is that the phone supports the 5G network technology and when it will arrive, Royole will push out the software update for the technical support.
Compared to other flagship devices as well as foldable phones from Samsung and Chinese Manufacturing giant Huawei, the Royole Flexpai packs quite a basic dual-camera system with 20MP telephoto and 16 MP wide-angle camera. The cameras are packed on the chunky left bezel (as we talked already earlier).
The camera system does come with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which partially assists the low-light performance. There are no separate selfie-camera (again a big miss), however, the folding nature of the phone does make up for the missing selfie-cameras.
As for the quality, it’s the most basic quality that you’ll get and considering the disproportionally high price, it’s a big flaw.
Well, as you might have already sensed that we have come down quite harsh of the Flexpai, however, that’s only because we genuinely believe that you shouldn’t be going with this phone anytime soon (at least until we get a better and more mature version of the phone).
If you have read our other reviews of foldable smartphones like Samsung Galaxy Fold, you must have noticed that while the foldable screen technology is certainly a futuristic tech and something to vouch for, it isn’t still ready for mass consumption.
Better to wait and see how the technology matures over time and get to the point where it’s affordable and reliable for mainstream use.