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How Vivo’s X Fold 3 Pro Foldable Is Built a Bit Different From the Rest

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Vivo’s X Fold 3 Pro is its first foldable device to be launched officially in India. Vivo also sells its clamshell-style X Flip, which was launched in 2023 in China, but the brand decided to go all guns blazing and launch its biggest foldable device in India. Given that this foldable device comes with some segment-leading hardware, Vivo clearly seems to have an edge in the foldables space for now. Whether that translates into sales for these rather expensive devices is more of a wait-and-watch game, as Samsung has been the only player to offer foldables in two form factors in India for the longest time.

With that said, Vivo, like OnePlus, aims to compete with Samsung by offering something more with its foldable offerings. Having reviewed the OnePlus Open and used the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, it’s easy for me to point out how different this larger-than-usual foldable is in comparison. Using it as my primary device for the past week, I am quite impressed by the phone’s camera, given that it’s foldable. However, durability is one of the areas that Vivo is also focused on with its new foldable. So, let’s take a closer look at what’s different and new with its design.

OnePlus went with the compact foldable approach for its Open. Vivo’s X Fold 3 Pro, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. The phone packs the largest cover display on a foldable at 6.53 inches in a tallish 21:9 aspect ratio. This results in a rectangular (versus the Open’s mostly square) 8.03-inch display, which seems quite big on paper. Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra is a huge bar-shaped smartphone (even for a regular smartphone). It only manages a 6.8-inch display, so you are getting a lot of display (8.03-inch) in a compact footprint smaller than the Galaxy S24 Ultra, the Google Pixel 8 Pro and the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

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The Vivo X Fold 3 Pro’s carbon heel hinge can hold itself up at various angles

 

While the phone feels more compact than regular premium flagships, it is thicker than the above bar-shaped phones at 11.2mm. However, when opened, this gets chopped down by half to a mere 5.2mm, which is as thin as the new iPad Pro at 5.1mm (excluding camera bumps). The foldable still is the thinnest one in its segment as it beats both the OnePlus Open and Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 when it comes to the same.

Delivering a display in such a form factor isn’t easy when the overall dimensions are this thin and have mechanical moving parts. What’s impressive is that Vivo managed to package these displays into a foldable that weighs just 236 grams. That’s just 3 grams lighter than the titanium-laden, bar-shaped Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

And to make this possible, Vivo has done things a bit differently from other brands.

The main folding display seems to be as good as the competition when it comes to protection and durability (UTG + impact-resistant film). The phone’s cover display has a different, self-developed Armor (microcrystal) glass, which, thanks to its tighter atomic structure, can withstand drops better than current market offerings, according to Vivo. The rear panel also gets this “Armor” branding but isn’t made of glass. The rear panel uses a mix of UPE (plastic) and glass fibre, resulting in a surface that looks and feels premium. This mix of fibres also helps Vivo cut down on weight while maintaining better durability for drops.

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Another area where Vivo has saved on weight and thickness is its hinge. Vivo uses carbon fibre and aluminium alloy for its hinge. It goes with a more compact assembly, which has the carbon fibre keel moulded into a square with the aluminium alloy bracket. This results in a hinge that’s just 14.8 grams in weight and is relatively compact. It appears similar but is thinner than the OnePlus Open’s hinge by 5mm. Vivo claims that this hinge can last up to 12 years, with about 100 folds a day (in their own lab-tested conditions), but we will need the device in the long term to conclude the same in real-world conditions.

The Vivo X Fold 3 Pro’s Desk Calendar AOD screen mode in action

 

Another interesting bit about this hinge is that it can let one-half of the device hover and has a sweet spot wide enough for most applications. Like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, the X Fold 3 Pro lets me hover half of the phone (camera half) to snap steady low-light shots or capture light trails. Holding the other half up in place also lets you view a video in the top half with controls in the bottom half. Apart from being used for viewing videos in this mode or when inverted in tent mode, the cover display also has a nifty Desk Calendar AOD screen for showing the time, battery status, weather and date, which I found really cool.

Keeping in mind the durability claims of this foldable, it’s also surprising that Vivo also managed to give this device an IPX8 rating, which is the same as Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5. This means that the phone offers proper protection against splashes of water and immersion but no protection from dust or sand. However, like all manufacturers and their premium IP-rated devices, an IP rating does not come under warranty, so it’s always advisable not to take your premium smartphone underwater, as any damage resulting from it (if it happens) will come out of your pocket.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 the best foldable phone you can buy in India right now? We discuss the company’s new clamshell-style foldable handset on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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