This is the only reason why I’d wear a bendable phone on my wrist

Motorola bendable phone vs smartwatch.
(Image credit: Future)

MWC 2024 certainly had its share of interesting concepts, Motorola’s bendable phone is the most notable gadget to come out of the show. My colleagues got to spend hands-on time with it, but the more I thought about it, the more I kept asking myself if this is a practical form factor for phone makers to pursue. I only needed to twist my wrist to answer that question, as my smartwatch reminded me about the single most feature I’ve wanted.

I’m referring to the ability to conduct video phone calls with my Apple Watch, or any other Wear OS smartwatch I end up using any given day. My issue is that smartwatches to this day, despite all the hardware innovations we’ve seen that make their batteries last longer and how much more hardware is packed into them, video calling remains noticeably absent.

This streak really needs to end, especially how many of them offer cellular connectivity to break that invisible tether that make them slaves to our smartphones.

Clunky ways of video chatting on a smartwatch

Wristcam

(Image credit: Wristcam)

In fact, the only way you can video chat on the Apple Watch is to purchase a separate purchase of the Wristcam, an accessory that features a camera for FaceTime video calls. And don’t get me started on Wear OS smartwatches because there’s no way to do it whatsoever.

Ten years ago when I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Gear, I honestly thought cameras were going to be universal in smartwatches — but that wasn’t the case. Those early models with integrated cameras, along with knockoff smartwatches you find on Amazon today, are only good for taking snapshots and no video calling. At some point in the last 5 years, I’ve given up all hope for the feature to ever come to life.

FaceTime on Apple Watch

(Image credit: Future)

Initially, I thought it was obnoxious for Motorola to sell us on this concept of a bendable phone that transforms into a fashion accessory piece you could wear. But the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that there are practical applications with this odd design style.

Since there’s already a small cutout for the front-facing camera, it would allow for a reasonable video calling experience while worn. In fact, I could very well see how it could also be rotated in such a way on your wrist — so you wouldn’t necessarily have to hold up your arm like you’re looking at the time. The camera could also crop the view, so that no matter the angle you’re holding it up on your wrist, it could remain as a video with a 1:1 aspect ratio.

An imperfect solution

GIF animation of Motorola Adaptive Display.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Motorola’s bendable phone concept could be a satisfying, but imperfect solution. It does answer my burning desire to place and accept video calls on my wrist, while offering me the standard smartphone experience. I wouldn’t be talking about a bendable phone if smartwatch makers were more reluctant to add cameras. Although, I don’t know how I feel about wearing such a monstrosity on my wrist for any period of time.

The only downside to a wrist-worn smartphone is that you’d likely miss out on the health monitoring features that today’s smartwatches offer — namely heart rate tracking, blood oxygen readings, and more. There have been a number of phones released that had heart rate sensors, but these sensors could be more of a challenge to integrate into a bendable phone.

And then there’s the biggest deficit between any smartphone versus smartwatch comparison: the battery life. I’ve been using the Apple Watch Series 8 for over a year and can confidently go through nearly two days without having to recharge. Smartphones, at best, can eek out almost a full day without recharging, but they still can’t compare to a smartwatch’s endurance. However, given the big leaps we’ve seen in recent flagship phone battery life, this may be a short term problem.

Regardless of what ends up happening with Motorola’s bendable phone concept, it would finally give me that one feature I’ve been craving for most with my smartwatches. Even if I don’t intend to wear it all the time, it would function just like any other phone — so it’s functionally more superior than any of the best smartwatches out there.

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.