In context: One of the most disappointing aspects of LG’s exit from the smartphone business last year was that we wouldn’t get to see its rollable phone. Now, a South Korean YouTube channel has got its hands on the device, showing that it really could have been a rival to Samsung’s foldable series.
LG confirmed it would close its mobile unit in April 2021. The announcement came as little surprise, given that it had been losing money for six years, totalling around $4.5 billion, and its market share had fallen to just 2%.
The decision meant that the rollable phone LG had teased in September 2020 and shown off at last year’s CES would no longer launch in 2021.
LG is said to have sold some of the devices to its employees, which is likely how Korean tech reviewer 뻘”-구소 (BullsLab) got hold of one.
The phone is simply called ‘Rollable.’ The highlight feature is activated by swiping from left to right on the screen with three fingers (or tapping an icon), causing the POLED display to slowly expand from 6.8-inches to 7.4 inches. As it moves, the apps and even the animated background alter to match the new screen ratio. The whole process is very impressive.
Like the Galaxy Z Fold series, many apps’ UIs adjust to match the different screen sizes, but one advantage LG’s handheld has over the Z Fold is that there’s no middle crease, though the reviewer notes there are some visible imperfections on the screen when viewed under direct light.
Check out ‘To Fold or Not to Fold: Should You Buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4?’
The Rollable’s motor appears very strong. The reviewer show it pushing around 2 kgs (4.4 pounds) of books.
Additionally, because the screen wraps around the rear of the phone, the back panel can act as an extra display. Like the Z Fold 4, this allows the more advanced primary cameras to be used for selfies.
The Rollable would have featured 2021 flagship specs such as the Snapdragon 888 SoC, up to 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. It was also set to have a dual rear camera setup consisting of a 64MP main sensor and a 12MP ultra-wide snapper, along with a 4500mAh battery.
The LG Wing
LG was known for its unconventional phones. There was the modular G5, the dual-screen LG G8X, the flexible LG G Flex 2, and the futuristic LG Wing 5G. The Rollable looked very promising, so it’s a shame we won’t get to see it, though another company—perhaps Oppo, which showed off a prototype last year—could introduce a similar rollable handset.