Samsung Galaxy Fold had a lot of ups and downs from the start. Finally, Samsung has launched the smartphone with an extremely high price tag of $1,980.
Remember the good old days of the fancy phones from Motorola and Nokia? Slide and fold were the style statement of that time but everything changed when Apple launched the first-ever iPhone. From that time every smartphone took the same aesthetics and went with a single slab with glass in front, and now also in the back.
Samsung and Huawei were in a battle to break this curse and both went with a folding design. Samsung unveiled Galaxy Fold on February 20, 2019, but since then there were a lot of bad things happening with it.
Some YouTubers tried the phone before final launch and most of the phone broke. Finally, Samsung took them back and tweaked it and released on September 6, 2019.
Here, we are going to see the pros and cons of the Fold and if it is even practical enough for day to day usage.
Samsung Galaxy Fold Review
Galaxy Fold is one of a kind device. The phone comes unfolded on the box so the first thing you are going to see is the huge bendable AMOLED display. The front is black as it also has a small display. Another interesting thing is the hinge the phone has. Samsung is proud of the technology used to make it usable even after 200,000 folds.
The power and Bixby button, volume toggle, and the fingerprint scanner are located on the right side of the device. Although when folded, it is a bit problematic to feel and touch the fingerprint scanner. The scanner itself is as fast as any other scanner Samsung has on their phone.
The SIM card tray is on the left edge and the USB-C port is on the bottom of the right fold. For some reason, Samsung was unable, or not interested to add the headphone jack anywhere in this massive device.
Galaxy Fold is heavier than any other smartphone for usual reasons and Samsung has used many materials to build the phone including metal, plastic and glass. After the first few units failed, Samsung reworked it. Still, the phone is not rugged enough. The phone is not IP rated at all and Samsung is offering a one-time screen replacement for $149 for the first year.
In the box, you will be able to find a carbon fiber case which might help to protect the phone from scratches. To be honest, to make a perfect case for the phone is also hard for the design choices as of now. But if you can look past the fragility of the Fold, it looks gorgeous and looks like a device from the future.
Description in one word – Big. The folded display has 2,153×1,536 pixels and it is 7.3 inch with 362 PPI. The aspect ratio of the display is 4.2:3 and the Dynamic AMOLED display looks gorgeous as any other Samsung made panel. This is not a glass panel, but a plastic one.
A seam is visible when the display is not bright, or you pixel pip, otherwise it blends with the content. Your finger will certainly feel it but it is not a big deal as much it shows on any video, to be honest. Does not matter how much you open and close the phone, the seam stays the same.
There is a big notch on the right top corner of the screen, but it is small comparing to the display size so it does not bother much like an iPhone. It houses the front-facing camera and sensors. There is a ridge on the sides of the display and a protective screen layer goes underneath it. So you cannot take it apart even unintentionally like those previous units.
When folded, there is a smaller 4.6-inch screen with 1,680×720 display with 21:9 aspect ratio. Although it is smaller than usual phone displays, you can work with it. All the necessary applications do work perfectly here. The big forehead and chin push you to open the phone and enjoy the main screen. As a secondary display, it works just fine.
But the interesting thing is app continuity. Google and Samsung worked closely to make sure that every app you are using on the outer display can be moved to the main display by unfolding the device and vice-versa. It also changes the shape and aspect ratio of the application. Google baked these APIs into the core of Android 10 so developers can take advantage of it.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and Adreno 640 GPU coupled with 12 GB of RAM and 512GB UFS 3.0 storage is present on the Galaxy Fold, so performance is great. Although as there are two individual screens, the processor also needs to handle the situation accordingly so while switching the displays you might see lag here and there.
As this is the first iteration of this kind of device, this is not something to worry about. With the same specifications, for some reason, the Fold could not go head to head in the benchmark scores of Galaxy Note 10 Plus.
With the two displays, you might think the battery life will suffer for sure, but thankfully this is not the case. The phone has 4,380mAh battery split into two parts on each side of the phone. One thing to note, the two displays do not work together. If you open the phone, the outer display shuts off completely.
The phone also has Samsung’s Intelligent Adaptive Power Saving Mode. It pays attention to how you use it over time and tries to save battery by predicting your future usage. The phone will certainly last through a day, but more than that is not something you can expect.
The Fold comes with a 5V/2A charging brick, which is not something you think of getting after spending these much on it. On the positive part, if you have a faster charging the phone has Qualcomm Quick Charge support. It also comes with rapid wireless charging and wireless power share features. So you can charge your Galaxy Buds or Samsung Galaxy Active 2 smartwatch with it.
Samsung includes as much camera as a phone can handle in the Fold. There are three rear cameras.
The standard one is a 12-megapixel shooter with variable f/1.5-f/2.4 and 77-degree field of view. The secondary camera is a wide-angle 16-megapixel shooter with f/2.2 and 123-degree field of view. Finally, there is a 3× telephoto 12-megapixel lens with f/2.1 and 45-degree field of view. The standard and the telephoto lens comes with optical image stabilization.
While unfolded, there are two lenses inside. First one is a 10-megapixel shooter with f/2.2 and 80-degree field of view. The secondary sensor is an 8-megapixel depth sensor with f/1.9 and 85-degree field of view.
Finally, on the folded front side a 10-megapixel shooter with f/2.2 and 80-degree field of view is available.
So, the overall camera system is the same as the Galaxy Note 10. Taking pictures is easier with the main display. You can get a better view of the scene.
The day time shots are impressive as expected but the quality takes a hit indoors and in the night time. The focus is not as sharp and also images come a bit grainy. The front cameras work fine, but the inner camera is better for a group photo as it has wider selfie support.
For video purpose, the phone has 4K at 60fps support for the main camera and with the front camera, you can take 4K at 30fps footage. Features like slow-motion, super slow-mo and hyper-lapse are also present.
We have already seen Samsung’s new One UI on top of Android 9 Pie, which is a great user interface, comparing to Samsung’s previous iterations. The app continuity feature is the one extra feature you cannot get anywhere else.
It is going to take some time to get used with these two displays. But after a few days, you will get a hang of it and enjoy the device in its full potential. As mentioned, while changing the screen it might lags for a second, but without that, you will not be able to see any hick-ups.
The Fold comes with dual stereo speakers but no headphone jack. The dual speakers are loud, clear and distortion-free, even on the maximum volume. If you prefer wireless music you will be fine as it comes with Bluetooth 5 and aptX HD. The phone also has the same Dolby Atmos suite, so there is a lot of space to tinker the audio output.
Samsung Galaxy Fold is available for purchase, but to be honest it feels like a beta version of something greater coming up. Samsung has to work hard to make something like this and the price is to paid by the users. Talking about using it, you have to be very careful. As there are no IP ratings, a single grain of sand or water drop can break the phone.
The phone comes with the best internals available, it also performs day to day works like it. The battery is OK for single day usage and the main focus is always on that big and beautiful display.
Galaxy Fold is the first step towards the future. If you are willing to help Samsung to be brave enough to make phones like this one go grab the Galaxy Fold. You and the people around you are certainly going to be impressed with the greatest ever offering from Samsung.