Feb 21, 2020

Is This Leaked Concept Slide-Out Phone from TCL an Alternative to Foldables?

Image renders of a new phone concept by TCL have been leaked, and this new form factor seems to challenge foldable phones.

It would have been really interesting if the 2020 Mobile World Congress had pushed through as many mobile tech and electronics companies have really gotten ahead of themselves in terms of tech innovations and advancements. TCL, for one, has an interesting concept phone to showcase that could beat the lights out of the foldable smartphone form factor that is currently gaining much popularity.

As display technology and features get better and better, a small-sized screen is becoming insufficient for gaming and video-watching needs. But a tablet-sized smartphone is awkward to carry around and use, and carrying both a tablet and a mobile phone everywhere you go is too tiresome and inefficient. Hence, foldable smartphones are gaining traction in the market in spite of their hefty price tags. They can be functional for calls and messages when folded to phone mode, and provide better entertainment when unfolded into a bigger-screen tablet mode. There have been durability concerns, however, especially since users have to fold and unfold the phone numerous times within a day and this might cause premature wear, especially on the hinges.

Interestingly, TCL seems to have a better alternative: a slide-out mechanism instead of hinges. In an exclusive report by CNET, images of a concept phone with a slide-out screen were seen sporting a flexible display but it doesn't have to be bent. The idea is that a second phone will slide out or pull out of the main phone's body and their respective displays will connect for a bigger tablet-mode display.

On phone mode, the device looks like a normal smartphone with curved edges on the vertical sides and thin bezels on the top and bottom. A dual punch-hole is seen at the topmost right side, housing the front cameras. On the flip side is a vertically-aligned quad-camera set with a tiny pill-shaped LED flash below them. The camera island clings a little too close to the left edge, and a prominent line divides the back chassis separating the camera section from the rest of the handset's body. This seems to serve as the pull-out line – you pull out this part and the phone expands into a 7-inch display.

As a result of the pull-out design, there's a slight bump or curve in the middle of the tablet screen where the main phone's display meets the pulled-out phone's display. Unlike in foldable handsets where the display is flat. In spite of this, the leaked photos seem to show that the image is seamless in spite of the hump so it shouldn't really be a problem for users.

This is an exciting new development in the smartphone world, and if TCL manages to get this out into actual production, this slide-out screen handset will give the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr 2019 a good run for their money.

Spec Comparison

Samsung Galaxy Fold Samsung Galaxy Fold Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Motorola Razr 2019 Motorola Razr 2019
Lowest Price P65,779.99 P61,990 -
Release date May 2019 Feb 2020 -
CPU Qualcomm SDM855 Snapdragon 855 (7 nm)
Octa core
Qualcomm SM8150 Snapdragon 855+ (7 nm)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
OS ver Android 9.0 (Pie) Android 10.0; One UI 2 Android 9.0 Pie
Display Size 7.3 inches 6.7 inches 6.2 inches (main), 2.7 inches (external)
Display Resolution Main Display: QXGA+ 1536 x 2152 pixels, 362ppi, 16:10 ratio (~414 ppi density)
Cover display: 4.6” HD+ 720* x 680 pixels, 399ppi, Super AMOLED (21:9)
Main Display:
FHD+ 2636 x 1080 pixels, Dynamic AMOLED

Cover Display:
112 x 300 pixels, Super AMOLED
Main: pOLED, HD 2142 x 876 pixels

External: gOLED, 600 x 800 pixels
Storage 512GB 256GB 128GB
External Storage No No -
Main Camera 16 MP + 12 MP + 12 MP 12MP + 12MP 16MP
Front Camera 10 MP + 8 MP 10MP 5MP
Battery LTE model: 4380mAh (typical) dual battery

5G model: 4235mAh (typical) dual battery
Non-removable 3,300mAh
Quick Charge 15W
Non-removable 2510mAh
15W TurboPower