Sorry, Samsung, I just don’t get the foldable phone hype

foldable phone hype

One of the best written, shot, acted and produced ads on TV (and your YouTube preroll rotation) is a devilishly clever and funny take on teen horror films, except the frightening presence here is not a masked killer or a flesh-eating cabin-fever virus. No, it’s that most terrifying spectre of all; a foldable smartphone: the Samsung Galaxy Flip 5.

I really like this ad, and I wholeheartedly agree with the spell-stricken teen about 30 seconds in, as she stares in helpless catatonia at the abominable Flip 5 being waved around by its owner/victim: Leave. Now. Run away and never look back.

An off-white Samsung Galaxy Flip 5 standing up like a tent

What is this, a tent for ants? (Image credit: Samsung)

Look, I get it. We’re living through an intense period of nostalgia for the Greatest Decade, the 1990s. And as someone who lived their formative years in that decade, I agree. We should be emulating way more things from that golden era than we are. (Heck, even the logos from the 1990s were the best.)

But instead of pursuing the wonders of that peak era of our civilisation, such as using practical effects in cinema with CGI only when needed, listening to more trip-hop music, adopting an unconditional intolerance for fascism and using technology to actually help us connect with one another instead of tearing social cohesion apart, we’re instead being subjected to yet another overpriced piece of consumer tech that learns all the wrong lessons from an overhyped piece of nostalgia.

A shot of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 phone in a user's hand with the homescreen on display

The Flip 4 in its optimal layout, one that emulates a normal phone. (Image credit: Future)

Emerging in the mid-’90s, the foldable phone, I’m sorry to say, has never looked cool. They looked novel, yes (at least at first), and their form factor had at least some functional benefits over more cumbersome mainstream alternatives of its era, sure. But today, in the era of brilliant 6-plus-inch AMOLED screens, new phones coming out monthly to jostle for the hallowed glory of being the best camera phone in existence, tablets with the processing power of full-size computers from just a few years ago, and plentiful ultra-thin and ultra-light phone options for those who want something compact and neat, a foldable phone makes no sense.

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