Oppo X 2021: Converting Concept into Reality
When it comes to delivering an enhanced screen experience in a compact space, rollable phones are becoming popular and sometimes considered an even better solution than foldable handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. But with the onset of the premium Oppo X 2021 concept, it seems like Oppo has found a way to turn this idea into something feasible.
Oppo is currently showing off a prototype for a new phone with a rollable screen. And while the Oppo X 2021 is impressing those who've got to handle the new device, don't expect this rollable phone to shake up the race to build the best foldable phones any time soon.
The Oppo X 2021 isn't ready for prime time and Oppo is the first to acknowledge that. The Chinese phone manufacturer appears to be building hype for its rollable phone and demonstrating how far its rollable concept has progressed when compared to similar handsets from other manufacturers. However, let’s not forget that "far along" does not imply "ready very soon."
The display is extremely strong and light with Oppo adding a strong laminate process. OPPO doesn’t cut any corners in terms of the specs and you get a QHD panel with HDR support. Furthermore, the 120Hz refresh rate means that you simply glide through the user interface. But yes, there is a noticeable green colour at the curved area of the display that wraps around the axis. And, to make matters worse, there's a ghost touch issue. The best part is that the larger and expanded form is a blessing for reading, watching videos, and playing games.
User Interface Adaption
The Oppo X 2021's transformation takes the screen from a 19.9:9 or so aspect ratio to something approaching 4:3 when in tablet mode. There's nothing stopping rollable phone manufacturers from making their gadgets stop anywhere in the middle and this allows users to adjust the size of the screen to fit the format of the content you're watching. Foldable phones provide a similar experience. Samsung's Flex mode allows you to partially open the Z Fold 2 or Z Flip to create a control panel on half of the screen. However, this is limited when compared to the variable aspect ratios that a rollable screen may provide.
In addition to this, the split screen multitasking feels absolutely great but we wish OPPO had added a few more options to enable deep multitasking. However, OPPO’s Setting app can actually use the expanded mode to show the menu in a pane on the left and the actual settings option on the right.
Seize the Crease
One of the biggest point of contentions against the initial word of foldable phones is that there is a visible crease on the display where the phone folds in half- especially when the screen is black. This is less of problem for a rollable phone, since there is minimal bending going on – the screen just rolls out. The Oppo X 2021 has a slight crease on the left side, but that is hardly visible. While creases haven't been a showstopper with phones like the Z Fold 2 or Galaxy Z Flip, at this stage, a rollable phone seems like a more polished experience.
Though it is still a concept, we are expecting Oppo to use the latest Snapdragon chip. For what it is worth, this one has a Snapdragon 865 SoC and a 4000mAh battery. In terms of speakers, the size of the phone really adds to it. It feels like OPPO could add larger drivers and it sounds really loud, full, and crisp, thereby elevating the multimedia experience. The experience of using the camera, when expanded, is good too.
What are the challenges that Oppo X 2021 needs to overcome?
With the array of advantages the Oppo X 2021 brings with it, that's not to say the the rollable device does not face any significant hurdles.
The phone seems to lack the durability. Though Oppo wants us to be able to extend and retract its rollable phone 200,000 times, but currently the prototype is good for only about 100,000 cycles which is approximately 4-5 years of light use and 2-3 years of heavy use. Now that may sound slightly on the lower side but the tech is bound to improve and we have to keep reminding ourselves– “this a concept.”
The Oppo X 2021 currently seems pretty bulky with a thickness of 0.42 inches. Now that’s substantially thicker than the 0.29-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, not exactly the slimmest of smartphones. Oppo's rollable phone also weighs in at 9.8 ounces, when even the best big phones tips the scales at around 7 to 8 ounces. It seems like the Oppo X 2021 might be hard to tout around as an everyday device.
There's also the question of apps being redesigned to operate with Oppo's adjustable display, something Samsung has had trouble with for its foldable phones. Such features are limited to Oppo's own apps with the current X 2021 concept.
We can certainly say that OPPO has a stunner here with this rollable phone concept. We are excited for a commercial release of such a form factor in smartphones. You know, unlike a foldable phone, the OPPO X 2021 can truly turn the smartphone into a tablet with the press of a button.
However, Oppo will have to make the case for a rollable phone and why it's a better choice than one with a conventional design — especially with the rollable phone likely to cost a premium. It's going to be up to Oppo and any other rollable phone maker to establish that case for a new device, no matter how innovative its approach.
Though Oppo is not the first giant to dream of a phone that uses a rollable screen to expand its dimensions, demos of Oppo X 2021 have resulted in a different story with its cutting-edge innovation. If this is the future of smartphone design, we can’t for it to be a reality soon.