It’s here. After literally years of rumors, leaks, and reports, Samsung’s foldable smartphone has finally arrived.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is one of the first folding phones to be released to the masses, and while it did have a rocky initial launch earlier in 2019, the Fold is now available for purchase for anyone with a cool $2,000 in cash.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is a phone that elicits mixed emotions. On the one hand, there’s the sheer wonder and excitement of holding a foldable phone — and seeing it transform from a 4.6-inch handset to a 7.3-inch tablet and back again. That excitement continues when you see an app that’s running on the front screen instantly pop up on the larger display, and when you start running three apps at once on the bigger canvas.
The other emotion is trepidation. Even though Samsung has made several enhancements to make the Galaxy Fold more durable since it delayed the device’s launch, the company strongly suggests that you use a light touch when pressing on the display.
There’s no denying the importance of the Galaxy Fold and what it means for the future of smartphones as we know them, so let’s take a closer look at the device and see just what it’s bringing to the table.
Galaxy Fold Full Specifications
- Starting Price: $1,980
- OS: Android 9.9 with One UI
- CPU: Snapdragon 855
- RAM: 12GB
- Storage: 512GB
- External display (closed): 4.6 inches (HD+)
- Main display: 7.3 inches (QXGA+)
- Rear cameras: 12-MP wide-angle (f/1.5 to f/2.4); 12-MP telephoto (f/2.4); 16-MP ultra-wide (f/2.2)
- Front camera (closed): 10-MP selfie (f/2.2)
- Front camera (open): 10-MP selfie (f/2.2); 8-MP RGB depth (f/1.9)
- Fingerprint sensor: Bixby button
- Colors: Space Silver, Cosmos Black
- Battery: 4,380 mAh
- Battery Life: 10:01
- Size: 6.3 x 2.5 x 0.66 inches (62.9 x 160.9 x 17mm)
- Weight: 9.48 ounces
Innovative and Powerful Design
The main highlight of the Galaxy Fold is that it has two displays — one on the outside and another that’s revealed when you open the phone up.
The external display is a 4.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED panel with a 21:9 aspect ratio. The inner/main display of the Galaxy Fold is a large 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dyanic AMOLED canvas with a form factor of 4.2:3.
You can use the outer display for anything you’d regularly use your phone for, including texting, making calls, spending endless hours on Twitter, you name it. However, the big draw to the Galaxy Fold is that you can open it up and get a tablet-like experience in a device you can easily fit in your pocket.
The key to the Galaxy Fold’s book-like foldable design is a 20-part, dual-axis locking hinge that prevents the display from overextending past 180 degrees. Whereas the screen is delicate, the hinge feels like it’s been meticulously engineered to withstand abuse. In order for the Galaxy Fold to be opened and closed, Samsung’s using a powerful hinge mechanism. Opening and closing the Fold feels buttery smooth, and closing it ends with a satisfying magnetic click like you’ve just closed up a book.
To achieve this, Samsung engineered a sophisticated hinge with multiple interlocking gears. This system is housed in a hidden enclosure for a seamless and elegant look. The hinge has been tested to open and close 200,000 times. In real-world use, that should translate to a five-year lifespan if you’re opening and closing the Galaxy Fold 100 times in a single day.
The arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Fold gives you the opportunity to own the future of smartphones and tablets, with a 2-in-1 design that just makes sense – if the bendable screen technology holds up.
The Power of Multitasking
The potential of a device like the Galaxy Fold is really exciting, and based on what we’ve seen so far, Samsung’s doing everything it can to get the absolute most out of it.
For one thing, when you’re using the Galaxy Fold with its main 7.3-inch display, you can get up to three apps simultaneously at once. For example, you can run an Android cleaner app, an online mobile game, and a social media messaging app all at the same time without compromising screen real estate.
Even more exciting, Samsung’s using the Galaxy Fold to introduce a new feature called “App Continuity.”
Let’s say you’re using the Galaxy Fold with its 4.6-inch display to browse Twitter and come across a video you want to watch. If you open the Galaxy Fold to access its larger screen, Twitter will automatically open up right where you left off to tie the whole experience together. That’s pretty cool.
6 Powerful Cameras
When it comes to cameras, Samsung’s not cutting any corners with the Galaxy Fold. Having six cameras on a phone seems like overkill, but it isn’t given the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s unique design. Just like the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 10, there are three shooters on the back of the Galaxy Fold: a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 16-MP ultra-wide lens, and a 12-MP telephoto lens.
On the phone, you’ll find a total of 6 cameras. Here’s what they’re packing:
- Rear Camera 1 — 16MP Ultra Wide | f/2.2
- Rear Camera 2 — 12MP Wide-Angle | f/1.5 – f/2.4
- Rear Camera 3 — 12MP Telephoto | f/2.4
- Front Camera 1 — 10MP Selfie | f/2.2
- Front Camera 2 — 8MP Depth Sensor | f/1.9
- Cover Camera — 10MP Selfie | f/2.2
Flexible and Portable Phone
When closed, the Galaxy Fold feels like a throwback phone and a chunky one at that. It’s quite tall and narrow, and 0.66 inches thick. That’s about double the thickness of the Galaxy S10 and iPhone 11 Pro Max. This size was not optimal for the front pocket of pants or shorts; it’s a better fit for a blazer pocket or a purse.
The Galaxy Fold weighs a hefty 9.5 ounces, compared to 7.97 ounces for the iPhone 11 Pro Max and 6.9 ounces for the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. This weight will probably strain your hands and forearms a bit when playing games for more than 10 minutes at a time; but if you’re watching a movie or TV show, you can lean the Fold on your lap.
The Latest Software
To make the most of its foldable design, Samsung worked with Google to devise a couple of clever software features. The first is App Continuity, which enables you to open an app on the cover display and then have the app immediately fill the larger screen when you unfold the phone.
One of the coolest features of the Galaxy Fold is App Continuity. If you’re using an app like Google Maps on the front screen, you can open the display and it will instantly fill the larger display. This feature worked really well in my testing, with most apps popping up instantly. But you will need to tweak a setting if you want a given app to keep running on the small screen when you close the phone again.
The other handy feature is Multi-Active Window, which allows you to run up to three apps at once on the Galaxy Fold’s large display. You swipe in from the right side of the screen to open additional apps, and can also easily resize the apps and move them around with your finger.
A decent number of third-party apps already support this multitasking mode, such as Spotify and Slack, but I noticed that Skype does not. It will take time for more developers to update their software for foldable phones like this.
By default, the big-screen keyboard offers a split layout to speed up thumb-typing on such a large canvas, but I found myself switching to a regular layout because it felt like less work. No matter which mode you choose, swipe typing is supported.
Issues With Samsung Galaxy Fold
When the Fold was initially released earlier this year, some reviewers, who were the first to get their hands on the Samsung Galaxy Fold, found the phone’s display had either completely broken or was partially damaged after just days of use. Because of this, Samsung recalled all the review models sent to journalists and reviewers.
Samsung has made fairly minor tweaks to the hardware in an effort to prevent damage to the delicate screen. The most important is that it extended the factory-installed screen protector out to the edges so it’s covered by the plastic bezels and won’t tempt anybody to peel it off.
While that change might protect against users doing the wrong thing, it doesn’t do much more than that. The plastic is still really soft and can easily get dinged up.
Galaxy Z Flip vs. Galaxy Fold
The Galaxy Z Flip marks the company’s continuing commitment to the foldable phone trend, which began when the company announced the Galaxy Fold in February last year.
Both phones use Samsung’s Infinity Flex Display, which the company developed to enable its handsets to fold hundreds or thousands of times without breaking. Samsung claims both the Fold and the Z Flip can fold 200,000 times without breaking.
Unlike the Galaxy Fold, which has a 7.3-inch screen and opens and closes like a book, the Z Flip has a clamshell design. It also has a 6.7-inch display and dual 12-megapixel rear cameras. When it comes to price, the Galaxy Z Flip is a lot cheaper with its $1380 price tag.
Is It Worth It?
The Samsung Galaxy Fold feels like a phone from the future, and yet from a practical perspective, it falls a bit short. The Galaxy Fold forces you to make too many compromises. You have to compromise on durability, on having a phone you can fit in your pocket, and, most of all, on price.
Is it worth it?
If you want to impress the world with your phone with its bendable screen that provides a ‘wow’ factor like no other phone or if you want to enjoy your favorite game on a great big screen, go ahead and buy one.
But if you can wait for the next foldable phone, which could be a lot cheaper compared to this first-generation foldable phone, then that’s a more logical choice.