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Why You'll Hate a Foldable Laptop...and Why You Might Love One

Foldable Laptop

Foldable phones are a thing, and foldable laptops have actually been a thing since 2020.

LG has recently released a 17-inch model…well, depending on how you measure.  According to their press release: “When folded, it becomes a 12-inch laptop, and when unfolded, it becomes a 17-inch tablet.”

It’s not a gaming tank but a lightweight do-everything (in theory) device.  The “LG Gram Fold” weighs a bit more than a gram – about 1,250 of them actually, which puts it on par with a 15″ Macbook Air for comparison.  However, it’s more than twice the price.  You can’t buy them in the US (yet?) but if you are in South Korea, one of these laptops will set you back over $3,200.

Let’s take the LG Fold Gram as the state of the foldable laptop art, and consider the pros and cons of this form factor.


Why might you want – or not want – one of these leading edge systems?

The biggest pro is the enhanced real estate.  If you have a 12″ laptop that’s a 2-in-1, then you have a 12″ laptop and a 12″ tablet.  On the other hand, with a foldable, you get the full real estate of “both sides”.  A 17″ tablet like this LG Gram is pretty huge and pretty awesome if you’re a visual artist.

Another big pro – let’s admit it – is the coolness factor.  C’mon, you can justify it in your head different ways but the reality is that it’s a neat piece of gear that was complete science fiction 20 or even 10 years ago.

And finally, it’s Windows on a big tablet – which is a pro or con I suppose depending on your views of that OS.  You’re not trying to figure out what the Android equivalent is of some desktop app because you can run your x86 desktop apps.


In the other column we start with price.  As alluded to above, you’re paying a premium for leading edge.  You’re getting true new capability but you’re an early adopter.  At one time, now-obsolete DVD players cost over $1,000.  Now they’re under $50.  You’re paying 1990s DVD player prices.

Another con is the keyboard.  Laptop keyboards aren’t the greatest but they’re all better than typing on glass.  Sure, you can hookup a BT keyboard – and you’ll want to.

Reliability and durability are still somewhat unknowns.  LG says they tested this tech with 30,000 open/close cycles.  In theory, if you open/close 10 times a day, that’s 8.2 years’ worth of use.  But is that linear?  Do you start to see creases after a period?  What is failure?  With a laptop, the traditional hinge might break but the electronic are fine and the hinge is probably repairable.  Here, if there’s a delamination or a crease, you might get complete failure, dust and grit entering in from the sides, or other failures which are much harder to fix.


I have a sneaking suspicion that lots of people who buy 2-in-1s use them as plain old laptops.  I’m sure there’s a segment of the market that uses them as laptops, tablets, and displays for media, but I would wager there’s a lot more that uses them all the time as traditional laptops.  I’ve known more than one person who wishes their screens were not touch-sensitive but got a 2-in-1 because it was on sale.

If you really have the use case for a giant tablet, this is one way to get one.  Personally I think I’d rather have it full-time as a giant tablet and put it in a stand with a wireless keyboard/mouse than to fold it and try to use as a cramped laptop.

What do you think?  Are you planning to get a foldable?  Do you have one?  Do you like it?  Let us known in the comments below!



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