You get a 1920 x 1440 resolution on the full display, which shrinks to less than half when you’re in phone mode, thanks in large part to the huge swath of disused OLED screen that wraps around the wide-arcing hinge. Still, a 308ppi pixel density is sufficient for the screen to look reasonably sharp.
The bigger issue with it is that it’s simply of poor quality. In my 40 minutes with the FlexPai, I noticed color banding, weird dim areas right in the middle of the screen, and the sort of hyper-saturation that was characteristic of Samsung’s first and second-generation AMOLED screens from many years ago.
Royole has done a good job of making the FlexPai robust. I initially feared I would break it when approaching the fully folded position, but that’s when it just snaps cleanly into a stiff, closed form. It actually requires a fair amount of force from the user to open and close it, which gives me a reassuring sense that it can withstand rough handling.
A substantial cause for my reluctance to get too hyped up about foldables is the preconception that they’d be even more fragile than modern-day smartphones. But the Royole FlexPai seems to have been engineered well enough to dispute that notion.
The biggest failure of the FlexPai is, predictably, its software and basic operation. Any time you rotate the device or fold / unfold it, it gets deeply confused and freaked out. I saw apps stacking on top of each other and overlapping with widgets as the tablet was transitioning into phone mode. I launched the camera accidentally more than once.
There’s nothing intuitive about the automatic switch between the two phones. Royole’s software is called Water OS, and I definitely felt out of my depth. Logic and predictability are at a premium anytime you pick this device up.
Lest you think the Royole FlexPai is some sort of distant-future concept, you should know that it’s already on sale in China for 8,999 yuan. That equates to roughly $1,320 in US currency, and Royole would happily sell you a developer edition for the same price over here in the States if you’re into the sort of awkward, goofy weirdness this folding tablet provides.