Do not buy a folding phone for a better media watching experience...

...instead, buy it, perhaps, for larger-screened regular applications and for dual-pane productivity? But no, don't buy a Galaxy Z Fold 5 or Pixel Fold or similar 'in order to have a larger display for watching movies and YouTube'. Because the dimensions don't work out that way!

Back in the day, TV pictures were 4:3(ish), but they moved to 16:9 in the 2000s, while video content itself has been 16:9 and then 18:9 for years, at least in terms of high production quality output, while movies are often shot at 21:9 or wider for that extra 'cinematic' look.

You'll see where I'm going with this. If you watch, say, a 18:9 YouTube video, on a folding phone like the Samsung Z Fold 4 or Google Pixel Fold then you'll be faced by large black bars above and below the content. That's just physics, that's just maths.

The diagram below is based on actual measurements of display size, though not 100% due to limitations in Google Drawings(!) - it'll give you an idea though. Superimposed is a typical large-screened conventional smartphone, the iPhone 14 Pro Max (155mm wide, complete with Dynamic Island cutout!), with a movie/video scene displayed:

(Depending on the video content and exact aspect ratio, you do get slightly more content vertically on the folding phones, by a millimetre or two either side before the black bars start, but the difference is comparatively small.)

The Samsung Fold 4 and 5 are actually worse by default, since the width of the phone is lower, unless you manually rotate the device (which is unintuitive but probably normal) - except that you then have the crease length-wise through the video picture, which looks terrible in some lighting conditions.

True, conventional ('candy bar', 'mono-slab') phones have cutouts for selfie cameras and the like, with the iPhone's Dynamic Island shown above possibly the most egregious, but then again the folding phones have a physical crease up/across the middle of the frame, so you can argue that one either way in terms of which is the lesser of two evils.

All of which leaves actual full-screen tablet apps (e.g. Google Maps, Chrome, Kindle) and dual pane/dual window stuff as unique selling points for a Fold device, which is as it should be. But unless you want to watch old 4:3 content ('Only fools and horses', Star Trek, anyone?!) then media watching, per se, isn’t much better on an (un)folding device, I contend.

In short, know what you're buying and why, as always!

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LuckySXM said…
But for pictures it's another story... They fill almost the entire screen. Epic !

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