The time has come for folding phones to shine. And while TCL is no newcomer to the form factor, having released prototypes before, the TCL Ultra Flex folding device is something TCL can, well, flex.
Unveiled at MWC 2022, the TCL Ultra Flex is the company’s latest concept phone that can fully fold both inwards and outwards.
The form factor is similar to the Samsung Galaxy Fold but it’s built with a large car grille-looking hinge on the back with a somewhat awkwardly placed quad-camera module on one side, so you might need a little practice to make sure you don’t get a bunch of hand in your shots.
For its display, TCL says it’s built with an 8.01″ 2480×1860 PLP AMOLED panel. There’s also stylus support, for when you’re using it as a tablet. There’s a rather thick bezel on one edge, which has the company logo and the front-facing cameras.
In our hands-on experience, we can see that the screen has a slightly visible crease, although the same is true for most foldables available today.
Not much was released in terms of specs, however, so we aren’t sure what’s running on the inside just yet.
But, for the time being, this is still is a concept phone — it may well never come to market, although we should expect to see this kind of hinge in phones of the future.
TCL also expanded their TCL 30 series of smartphones by five at MWC. The TCL 30 5G, TCL 30+, TCL 30, TCL 30 SE, and TCL 30 E are coming to European markets, and likely Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific region, and other non-North American markets. They join the 30 XE 5G and 30 V 5G announced in January at CES 2022, both of which are coming to the United States. And, true to TCL’s usual budget approach, even the highest end of the five, the 30 5G, will launch at below €250 (currently about $280).
The 30 5G, 30+, and 30 are all the larger devices, with 6.7″ displays. Don’t go thinking the 30 SE and 30 E are fun size, though — both are pretty large in their own rights, with 6.52″ displays. Starting with the cheapest in the 30 E, moving to the 30 SE adds a third camera with a macro lens, moving to the 30 gets you a larger (and AMOLED) display, moving to the 30+ gets you a better front camera, and moving to the 30 5G gets you 5G connectivity. Might be a lot of models, but at least what you’re getting for the extra money is clear!
All of the phones start with a 50 MP camera on the rear with a 2 MP depth sensor, with all but the 30 E having the third 2 MP camera with a macro lens. All five will use TCL’s AI-based image processing, which can recognize the content of your shots and optimize settings accordingly.
The difference in battery capacity is minimal, with the smaller 30 S and 30 E having 5000mAh batteries, while the 30 5G, 30, and 30+ have 5010mAh batteries. 18W fast charging is available for only the top three models, but all five phones support AI charging that helps reduce battery deterioration by learning users’ sleep patterns and charging routines.
Got a few color options, too! Dreamy blue and tech black for the 30 5G, while the 30+ and 30 come in muse blue and tech black. Both the 30 SE and 30 E come in Atlantic blue and space grey, while the 30 SE gets an additional glacial blue option. All five will have scratch-resistant fiberglass backs.
At €139, the TCL 30 E comes in as the most accessible followed by the TCL 30 SE at €149. The base TCL 30 starts at €179 while the TCL 30+ and TCL 30 5G are €199 and €249, respectively. The TCL 30, TCL 30+, and TCL 30 SE are all available now. The 30 5G and 30 E will follow this April.