Sunday, September 25, 2022

Xiaomi’s new foldable is thinner than Samsung’s and only available in China

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A day after Samsung announced a pair of foldable devices, Xiaomi launched its second-gen foldable, Mix Fold 2, in China. The new phone sports a 6.56-inch outer display, 8.02-inch inner display and a Leica-powered camera system. The phone is China-only for now for the base price of RMB 8,999 (~$1,335) for a version with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage — in betweeb the Samsung Fold 4 priced at $1,800 and the $890 Motorola Razr flip.

Xiaomi bests Samsung’s foldable in a number of key specs. For instance, both the outer display (6.56-inch versus 6.2-inch) and the inner display (8.02-inch versus 7.6-inch display) are larger than that of Fold 4.

The Chinese tech firm has included a Leica-powered 50-megapixel main sensor, 13-megapixel ultrawide sensor and 8-megapixel telephoto sensor with 2x optical zoom. The setup can record footage in 8K resolution with support for Dolby Vision HDR standard. Xiaomi said the Leica partnership extends to photographic styles — Vibrant look and Authentic look — which sound more like branding exercises than anything.

The company has managed to fit the internals in a sleek frame that’s 5.4mm unfolded and 11.2mm folded. For comparison, the Samsung Fold 4 is 6.3mm unfolded and 15.8mm folded. Though Xiaomi also has an extreme camera bump to show for it. Like the Galaxy Fold, the Mix Fold 2 is powered by Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

While the phone sounds exciting on paper, it’s limited to the China market for now, so it’s not going to be a threat to other players like Samsung. While the broader global smartphone market is seeing a growth decline, analysts project an upward curve for foldables. A report from Counterpoint predicts that companies will ship 16 million foldables this year, and that number will go up to 26 million next year. Xiaomi has the opportunity to make a mark in the market, but in the short term, Samsung still has a significant head start.

“Samsung has led the market since the beginning, and we think its dominance will continue for some time. Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo are all introducing new foldables but they are mostly limited to the Chinese market. Motorola may be the only contender in markets like the USA for now,” Counterpoint Senior Analyst Jene Park said.

The Mix Fold 2 is up for preorder in China starting today and starts shipping October 16.

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