One year has passed since 2020, and if you missed a few mobile phone conferences during the chaos and headline news events, this is completely understandable. This turmoil has undoubtedly swept the smartphone industry, but somehow mobile phones are still coming out, and some are even stranger than usual.
2019 may be the year that foldable phones debuted, but in 2020, we thought of foldable phones (provided by TCL) and rotatable phones in hand (thanks to LG). Of course, Motorola Razr brought the iconic flip phone into the modern era, and Samsung also launched its own Galaxy Z Flip, which is also our first flip-type foldable product.
We also first learned about the next hot thing in smartphones-goodbye notch and hole punch, hello selfie camera under the display. Finally, not all advancements are next-generation technologies-sometimes you just need to include old features (such as a stylus) in the least possible places.
Therefore, these are our favorite weird phones. They debuted in 2020, roughly in the order in which they appeared-some of them are in our hands, while others are still too future to be marketed.
OnePlus Concept One
In January, OnePlus Concept One has been the most exciting phone at CES 2020. Although it will soon be determined that experimental phones will never be sold in stores, Concept One is a cool way to solve a problem that phone manufacturers have not yet considered: using dimming glass to hide the rear mirror on the phone.
OnePlus cited sports car windows as the source of inspiration for the glass; flowing through it, it changes from translucent to deep shadow. When you open the camera app, Concept One will automatically perform this switch, and the glass strip on the rear camera transitions from opaque to transparent cleverly.
You may be wondering why OnePlus won’t put it in all phones right away, but there are some design considerations-namely, if the glass strip is scratched or the mechanism fails, whether the glass strip will clog the camera. We hardly have time to hold the phone and try the (full-featured) effect for ourselves, but we are not sure if this technology is ready for the mass market. We hope so: phone design is too stagnant.
Although we used the Motorola Razr for the first time at the end of 2019, its release was postponed to early 2020 due to delays-although the clamshell foldable device attracted the imagination of the public, it did not seem to sell well.
This is really regrettable considering the design innovations that Razr puts into play: the hinges bend the plastic display in an esoteric way to prevent it from wrinkling, and it also integrates a micro brush to automatically remove particles, so they will not be strengthened jobs. And, yes, Razr did manage to get a fully functional smartphone that can be folded into a form factor that is only half the footprint of a traditional phone.
Sadly, it is much more expensive than flagship phones, but does not offer more features-even being able to shut down Razr to end the call does not justify the price increase.
Some design flaws have been eliminated in the Motorola Razr 2020 improvements released later in 2020, but even so, it cannot completely surpass the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, the only other clamshell foldable product released this year. But Razr is the first to enter the market and is in our hearts.
In addition, taking selfies with a phone that folds into a mint canister is very cool.
Motor G stylus
For many years, Motorola has been releasing amazingly low-priced G-series phones-usually four or more models at a time, but with slightly different specifications and prices. But in 2020, the latest generation has released something new, or something old, because Moto G Stylus contains one of the oldest functions in mobile computing.
The LG Stylo series has been charging with cheap torches with stylus for many years, but the introduction of Moto G Stylus made this trend a trend. G Stylus is no longer limited to the expensive flagship Samsung Galaxy Note phone, it has powerful specifications and excellent stylus functions, because it has no power supply, so the response speed is amazing.
Although this means that it does not have the advanced connectivity features of the Samsung S Pen (such as gesture control or shutter button), it still gets the stylus function at a low price.
LG Wing 5G
LG Wing 5G is one of our favorite phones this year, and one of the strangest phones. Remember the old Sidekick phone that can be rotated? This is a modern version-although the top screen of the LG Wing does not display a keyboard, it can be rotated to show… another smaller screen.
In fact, this is pretty cool: Conceptually, you can watch content on a big screen while chatting or performing unrelated tasks on a small display. Ever need to perform a simple search or find directions, but don’t want to leave the video or show the video you are watching? LG Wing provides more discrete space than traditional smart phones, and both have addictive rotating motion.
With a true foldable device, you will get a larger screen area, but in recent LG fashion, Wing is cheaper, and its price is the same as that of top flagship stores… But for example, the price is only half of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. . .
The execution process is not without problems, and it takes some time to switch applications between large and small displays. But in terms of value and absolute “surprise” factors, LG Wing 5G is a weird treasure we didn’t expect in 2020.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
“But wait, isn’t the original Galaxy Fold coming out in 2019? Isn’t this just an iteration? ” Yes, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will not change the formula of its jaw-dropping predecessor, but it is worth mentioning one of the improvements: the external display has been extended from edge to edge.
The function of Z Fold 2 is similar to that of a complete smartphone, and when unfolded, it works like a small tablet. More importantly, this means that three-quarters of the surface of the phone is a touch screen. It is very difficult to achieve this goal. For the glass back cover, extending the touch function to every inch of the foldable surface does not seem to require more innovation.
Huawei Mate Xs and other “outie” foldable products have more or less done this, because when the device is folded in half, their single large external display wraps back and forth. However, if we can make both sides have touch capabilities, then we may have very strange and responsive devices. Then, we must figure out how to deal with all the extra screen areas that we don’t watch but can still touch.
ZTE Axon 20 5G
We have seen several concept phones that provide a new solution to the notch and hole-punch problem: instead of putting the selfie camera in the cutout of the screen or pop-up part, it is better to put it under the display.
Of course, it must be a special display to enable the camera to shoot through the screen-ZTE Axon 20 5G is the first method we have to put this solution into practice.
Haven’t I heard that ZTE’s Axon 20 5G was released in China in September and just launched in the UK, but it’s not clear when (or if) it will arrive in other countries.
We are eager to test the effect of the 32MP front camera taking photos from below the display; otherwise, it will have a Snapdragon 765G chipset, up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage space, and a high-end/low-end quad rear camera. Flagship mobile phone.
Oppo’s strange foldable items… and foldable items
Without a device (if any) that we have seen (or heard of) that will not appear for many years, there would be no weird phone list. Some of them are completely different from traditional phones, perhaps too strange to attract consumers. Consider the Oppo concept designed in collaboration with Japanese design studio Nendo-a foldable product with a triple hinge.
Today, we will show two new design concepts produced in collaboration with nendo, a leading Japanese design studio. The first is the “sliding phone”, which has a tri-fold foldable screen system. #OPPOxnendo pic.twitter.com/r6YNrc2EmP December 14, 2020
This is not the only weird, non-traditional phone being mocked this year. TCL rumors Roll up Mobile phones are popular all year round, and the most recent was in a allegedly leaked video that showed a working prototype of a mobile phone with its screen sliding out to the side.
Oppo also showed off the design of a rollable phone and may be closer to launching a usable device: the company showed off the Oppo X 2021 at the end of 2020, although the company clarified that this is a concept phone and may not be sold as-is on the market .
Even so, it is still very promising, because Oppo showed a functional design: the 6.7-inch OLED display is activated, but the phone’s body slides horizontally to expand the screen to 7.4 inches.
Although we haven’t seen it yet, we have also heard of the LG Rollable-the rumored Rollable phone, and if the leak can be believed, its price could be US$2,359 (about £1775, AU$3130).