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Phones

The vivo X Fold could make the Galaxy Fold 3 run for its money, but will it?

By Roland Udvarlaki April 6, 2022, 1:00 pm
vivo X Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 3 on a worldmap Source: Pocketnow

The vivo X Fold leaked in the past few weeks, and with less than a week to go until it’s official unveiling, we already have a good idea about what we’re expecting to see. Just yesterday, the new foldable leaked, revealing some key specifications that make us question whether it could rival the most popular foldable currently on the global market, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

New marketing material revealed (via Weibo and GSMArena) some of the key specifications for the upcoming vivo X Fold foldable smartphone, giving us a closer look at what we should expect. The vivo X Fold will reportedly have an 8-inch 2K internal folding display with 120Hz, and it will use the LTPO 3.0 technology to support the adaptive refresh rate. The external display is a 6.53-inch panel with FHD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. The device will pack the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, and it’ll have LPDDR5 memory and UFS 3.1 storage, which is pretty standard for the latest generation of smartphones.

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The phone will also reportedly have a 4,600 mAh battery, which is ever so slightly larger than the 4,400 mAh in the Galaxy Fold 3, but it will support 66W wired and 50W wireless charging, which is at least twice as fast as on Samsung’s devices. The phone will run Android 12, and it will have a 50MP primary camera with OIS, while the secondary is a 48MP ultrawide with a 114-degree field-of-view. The third sensor is a 12MP camera for portraits, and it will be capable of 2x optical zoom. Last but not least, there will be a periscope camera that will offer 60x zoom with OIS.

When it comes to durability, the material claims that the vivo X Fold will reportedly be able to withstand 300,000 folds. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 were tested for 200,000 folds by Samsung, which is plenty to last the device’s lifetime, but the larger number does give us hope that the hinge mechanism is improved over the competition.

With all of that news being out of the way, it makes us question whether it has a real chance to take on the already popular and mainstream Galaxy Z Fold 3. Looking at the specifications, it has everything going for a solid yes, but it’s essential to keep in mind that vivo isn’t as global as OPPO or OnePlus is (It’s owned by parent company BBK, which also owns OPPO, OnePlus, vivo, Realme, and iQOO).

Vivo mainly operates in China and other Asian regions. While it has products available in Europe, they’re hard to get as they don’t have a large presence in Western countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, or the United States. If the vivo X Fold were sold globally in many more regions, it would have a real chance at taking away market share from the likes of Samsung, but the Galaxy Z series will likely dominate the market until other companies can deal with all of the paperwork, legislation and other important bits that are required to operate and sell.

Suppose that vivo managed to solve all the logistics and comes to the US and the other regions. In that case, it will have to go on a marketing spree to increase brand awareness. Having great specifications and features in flagship devices often isn’t enough, and the company has to prove that it can beat big players such as Samsung.

Even if vivo X Fold becomes available for most consumers, it will have to provide a similar price tag, and exceptional support for its devices, which currently makes Samsung stand out with its fast software update timeline and great after-sales support. Some Galaxy devices are getting security patches faster than stock Android phones. It also often beats Google Pixel devices, which always receive the new security patch on the first Monday of each month.

The display crease is one of the main reasons that turns people off about the Z Fold 3. Many find that using it on a daily basis would be uncomfortable as they would always notice the crease, and many also have concerns about the durability of the display panel. As a Z Fold 3 user, it’s barely noticeable after a few weeks, but I see why many people are concerned about the durability as there are a few horror stories out there.

General consumers want a seamless, no-nonsense device that doesn’t change their experience too much, and offers a similar set of features that we’re used to seeing in standard smartphones. While foldables are the opposite of that, they have to feel familiar enough to ease people into the new form factor. If vivo managed to smoothen the crease, as OPPO did on the Find N, it would have a chance to be more appealing to even more users, but it must prove that it can withstand warm and cold weather, and water resistance could be a deal-breaking factor for users.

Chinese companies are betting big on foldable smartphones, and OPPO unveiled their Find N not long ago. Xiaomi is reportedly developing its second-generation Mi Mix Fold device, and even HONOR joined the race with the Magic V. HUAWEI also announced the P50 Pocket back in January, which goes head to head with the Galaxy Z Flip 3, but it's unlikely to take off as it lacks the Google Play Store and Services.

Vivo has a tough job and position, but if it can overcome the struggles and provide an appealing product and a competing support service, it can beat the Galaxy Z Fold 3 in Western markets; the Chinese market is entirely different. Vivo would have to provide fast software updates, minimal crease, and unique software features to make up for Samsung’s mistakes on the slow charging speeds. Some might argue that the camera on the Fold is inadequate, but it’s more than capable of taking photos in all lighting conditions, and for as long as vivo can capture great overall photos, it will likely be more than enough for the majority of users.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 in Black Product box image

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G is the latest foldable flagship from Samsung. It has an IPX8 certificate, supports the S Pen, and comes with the powerful Snapdragon 888 chipset.

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