Vivo X Fold turns up the heat on Samsung’s foldable lineup

Vivo X Fold turns up the heat on Samsung's foldable lineup

Long live

The latest foldable smartphone to arrive in China is the Vivo X Fold. It’s the first foldable you might call a 2022 flagship, with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. The phone retails in China for 8,999 yen, or around $1,400.

This device looks as good as a Galaxy Z Fold 3, with an 8-inch, 120Hz, 2160×1916 OLED display as the main interior display and a 6.53-inch, 120Hz, 2520×1080 OLED display on the inside. outside. Apart from the new Qualcomm chip, it has 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, Android 12 version and a 4600mAh battery.

For most of our non-Chinese readers, the most interesting thing about Vivo making a foldable is that it’s a BBK Electronics company, along with Oppo, OnePlus, Realme and iQoo. The BBK companies all share the same parts and engineering, so the hope is that OnePlus will one day pick from the BBK parts bin and bring a foldable to a wider audience. Oppo already took a turn in the foldable market with the Find N in December, and this phone and the Vivo X Fold show how close China is to catching up with Samsung’s foldable lead.

Even the hinge seems borrowed from Samsung.

Even the hinge seems borrowed from Samsung.

Long live

Pretty much everything you’d count as a technological advantage for the Galaxy Z lineup has already been matched by BBK. The 8-inch, 120Hz foldable display has an A+ recommendation from Display Mate. The screen is covered with “ultra-thin glass” from Schott, the same company Samsung has partnered with for the Z line. (Ultra-thin glass still has a layer of plastic as the top layer, but the internal flexible glass makes the screen more rigid than a flexible, purely plastic screen.)

Oppo can match Samsung’s display prowess because it’s using Samsung. A report by TheElec has identified Samsung Display as the supplier of the Oppo Find N display, so it’s a safe bet that Samsung also manufactures the Vivo display. Samsung is a huge conglomerate made up of different divisions, each with its own CEO, and as reported last year, Samsung Display has finished giving Samsung Electronics exclusive access to its foldable technology. It’s not the best move for Samsung Electronics’ phone market share, but as a conglomerate, Samsung makes more money selling components than selling phones. Your phone might say Apple or Samsung or OnePlus on the outside, but Samsung makes money no matter what.

Exterior and interior displays.  These black and white circles mark the locations of the fingerprint reader.

Exterior and interior displays. These black and white circles mark the locations of the fingerprint reader.

Long live

In addition to Samsung Display technology, BBK also beat Samsung to integrate in-display fingerprint readers into a foldable display. Samsung had to opt for side fingerprint readers on the Galaxy Z lineup, but the Vivo X Fold has of them Fingerprint readers integrated into the ultrasonic screen: one in the small outer screen and one in the main foldable screen.

We almost forgot the best part: it also has BBK’s fast charging technology and can charge at 66W (it comes with an 80W charger, but the official spec sheet says it charges at 66W ). On a 4600 mAh battery, 66 W should be enough for a full charge in less than half an hour. One problem with foldable smartphones is that the hinge in the middle takes up a ton of space that would otherwise be used for the battery. A 4,600mAh battery is pretty small for an 8-inch screen, but that’s really unavoidable in a foldable. If you are a company with fast charging technology, you have a major solution to this problem. Needing to charge in the middle of the day isn’t a big deal when that charging session only lasts 30 minutes.

Samsung Display’s desire to be a component supplier means that the best of Samsung is for sale to competitors of Samsung Electronics. If you get a BBK phone, you can get the best of Samsung and the best of BBK, making it a tough combination for Samsung to compete against. All we need is a BBK company to start selling these things internationally. Hey OnePlus, where’s that foldable?

Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this posting through affiliate programs.

amoloans