Origami, forming the future. is this a short article? Or like most techie things on release, is it just folded in half? I never did get the Japanese, fascination for folding paper and napkins into jazzy forms but watch out because coming to a tech product near you, is the latest craze, folding consumables.
For some reason way beyond my comprehension the latest craze is going to be taking perfectly compact enough phones and watches, bending them in half and charging twice as much for them.
The most troubling thing about this latest craze is that the manufacturers know that we will buy into it. How predictable and gullible have we become? Now don’t get me wrong, I may highlight our helplessness, I might cry out against it, but in the end I’ll be in the queue like the rest of you.
So What is it ?
Now there is a very good question. Smartphone? Well yes. Smartwatch? Well yes. Bracelet? Well once again yes. Probably the best description is that it is a hybrid device that is a more than passable full-blown version of everything.
Quite simply this is a smartwatch with a 4-inch OLED flexible full smartphone screen with a definition of 960 x 192 pixels, which is more than enough even for readability and even multimedia uses. It’s bright enough, clear enough and surprisingly the colour pallet is excellent.
Thanks to the OS developed soley for the device, navigation is fun and accurate. Not unlike the LG G8, lots of functions are gesture controlled making it possible to scroll up and down, and even from side to side without even touching the device.
In all honesty for anyone other than those of us with a good thick wrist, until such devices become commonplace it’s difficult not to confuse this watch for a correctional tag. Despite it’s initial cumbersome look the Alpha is surprisingly light and very easy to get accustomed to on the wrist.
When the Alpha is taken out of its box and presented to your wrist you soon notice that the bracelet allows for a very big wrist there is that much spare room on a normal wrist. It would probably have fitted around my calf more comfortably than my wrist. Thankfully Nubia, have taken that into account and removing excess links could not be easier and the Alpha was fitting snugly around my poor excuse of a wrist within a couple of minutes, and with the minimum amount of fuss struggling. (Many a premium watchmaker could take a leaf out of Nubia’s book).
Jack of all Trades?
So what is the Alpha capable of?
Well be prepared to be shocked because this is where the potential gimmick becomes a serious tool. It is fully IP65 rated waterproof so the selection of sport tracking functions are there for more than decoration. These functions include steps, heart-rate, calorie-counter and sleep monitor.
Like any good watch you get a time function (lol), but other than that you can make calls and text. It has several apps installed including Wechat. it has a web browser, you can watch videos, either directly or via bluetooth as it is both wi-fi and bluetooth conective. There is even an eSIM model that doesn’t have to rely on a partner phone.
So Would I?
In short no. Not yet anyway. This is a groundbreaking device but at the moment it’s just too chunky for my slim wrist, and to be frank with its Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB internal memory, it just seems slightly under powered to me for what it is trying to achieve. But it is a genuine heads up for what we are about to be in for.
More Folding news
As mentioned above, what we are seeing at the moment is the first trickle of the latest idea. It’s my guess that within months (if not weeks) the market is going to be flooded with folding tech, either through the Samsung ‘invisible hinge’ technique or (more likely) flexible screens, such as that in the Nubia.
Even though a lot of them will be phones, there will doubtless be some watches. I will endeavour to try to keep you up to speed with both, as they seem to be becoming ever more inter-related.
Here’s the first of those articles.
Huawei Mate x
The Mate x, is likely to be the first one on the shop floor to take on Samsung in the folding stakes, And they are even having a pop at the premium price bracket in pricing the X at almost £500 more than the Samsung flagship.
As you would expect the Chinese giant has taken the initial concept and played with it in an attempt to enhance what is already there. In some respects the clarity of thought of Huawei, has been successful. Because the fold out screen is on the outside of the phone rather than internal the X. has a larger screen than the Samsung and the overall footprint of the phone is flatter and slimmer (noticeably so) in comparison. A couple of disadvantages are that Huawei chose to put the camera and fingerprint sensor on the flip-side of the folded out screen, which, because they also chose to only have a screen on one side renders it impossible to take selfies with the phone folded out.
It also seems that when folded out there is a visible joint in the screen which if so would leave the Samsung and its invisible hinge, clearly in the lead position at the moment.
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