31 Jan 2019
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The Takeaway:

The Galaxy Fold certainly takes a jibe at the future of the smartphone industry, which lies with foldable screens. It’s a technical marvel that reaffirms the technical prowess and command of Samsung in smartphone manufacturing. However, at this point, we can only recommend the Galaxy Fold to early adopters or those who can’t hold on to their money.

Pros:

  • The futuristic design (Foldable screen)
  • Great for gaming enthusiasts
  • The biggest battery ever from Samsung

Cons

  • Despicably expensive
  • Not proven technology
  • Vulnerable plastic screen

The highlights

Samsung Galaxy Fold is undoubtedly one of the most futuristic and technological marvel smartphones available in the industry, which finally marks the beginning of what we can call a functional foldable smartphone. And while other manufacturers are taking the jibe at foldable technology, Samsung has taken the lead with Galaxy Fold. That said, we are still in no position to recommend it to masses, except for the early adopters or die-hard tech fans who got the money to burn ($2000).

Moving on, one thing that’s for sure is that the Galaxy Fold is a head turner and you’ ll get all the attention (if that’s what you are looking for). The phone gets folded into a compact 4.6-inch outer screen while unfolding into a rather larger 7.3-inch display (almost a mini-tablet).

However, the biggest wow factor is the outrageous price which is almost double than any of the other flagship smartphones available in the market. And as mentioned earlier we still can’t say anything definitive about the durability of the screen (which could be the make or break factor for its success as a mainstream smartphone).

To the credit of Samsung, the company has taken all the necessary precautions to roll-out the most functional foldable phone in the market. That’s also one reason why it’s launch got delayed by almost 5 months when the company got bad reviews and vulnerabilities were pointed by early reviewers. The company did reinforce the vulnerable chokepoints, however, we still can’t say anything about the durability of the plastic screen.

Now, moving on to the positives of the smartphone, Galaxy Fold most definitely marks the beginning of the future of smartphones. It’s rather expansive 7.3 inches unfolded screen is created to boost productivity. The large screen makes it easy to get multitasking done. Not to forget, the Galaxy Fold takes the gaming to the next level, while also making it fun and easier to edit photos. As for the folded screen, Samsung has kept the size (4.3 inches) just satisfying (remember the good old iPhone that was all the rage back in time? Well, the thick bezel can’t go unnoticed and may cause feeling cramped at least initially, but we can assure you that it’s certainly better to feel than what it may appear otherwise.

As for the features, the Galaxy Folds inherits most of the features from Galaxy S10+, which includes the cameras and the power. However, you may miss some of the cool video modes offered by Note10. Plus, we thoroughly miss the S Pen stylus (understandably it isn’t a Note but a smartphone).

As for the battery, that’s one aspect where Samsung has gone all-in with its biggest ever 4,380mAh battery. This is good enough to last a day-and-a-half. However, the battery lasting time is heavily dependent upon the use of the phone (how long you would use it with the big screen open).

To sum up, Samsung Galaxy Fold is certainly the biggest leap in the smartphone industry since the launch of the original iPhone (and frankly, that could be the only reason why we can recommend anyone to go for it). As for now, the first foldable smartphone is better suited for early adopters or people who got money to impress. For the masses, we would recommend waiting as the technology matures and gets rationalize in terms of cost (you don’t have to wait for too long, this we can promise).

Release Date and Price

  • The price remains the biggest Achilles heel with the price tag of $1,980/€2,000
  • While originally it was set to make the debut back in April 2019, the launching gets delayed due to technical glitches and was finally launched back in September in US, UK, and South Korea
  • Only two color variations are offered as of now including Cosmos Black and Space Silver (sadly initially there were Astro Blue and Martian Green on offer but get axed due to unknown reasons)

The Fold Design Durability

The Galaxy Fold open a window into the future of Smartphone and tablets. It’s a futuristic 2 in 1 design that is the most radical shift in the smartphone industry since the launch of the original iPhone. The only thing we would want to test here is if the bendable screen technology does hold on to its durability.

The cover display for the Galaxy Folds stands tall at 4.6 inches, protected by Glass on the outside. The main display (mini-tablet display) stands at 7.3 inches, protected behind the plastic. The Samsung names the Galaxy Fold display as the"Infinity Flex Display", and while unproven for its durability, the design certainly carries a dazzle and embellishment.

The focal point for the Foldable design of Galaxy Fold is the Dual-Axis hinge, which is solely responsible to keep the display within 180 degrees. And while we still feel the fragility of the screen, the hinge stands as the valor guard meticulously designed to withstand any shock. The opening and closing mechanism of the Galaxy Fold is buttery, to say the least, and you can’t overcome the nostalgic magnetic click when folding the screen.

In the closed state, the phone gets enveloped outside in the all-glass design. Now, while the glass exterior certainly is slippery, the foldable size is so oddly satisfying that you won’t need the Fiber Case that comes with the box to improve the friction. This ease of handling and the ideal design size is one thing that highlights the efforts put in by Samsung it the design process.

All in all, whether you are a big screen fan (this is the biggest smartphone screen you will get) or long for good old small screen sizes, Galaxy Fold is great for both purposes. And we are only looking at the beginning of the Future.

Screen

  • 4.6 inch folded outside the display
  • 7.3-inch mini-tablet main display
  • Great aspect ratio 4.2:3, probably the best for gaming
  • HDR10+ brightness
  • Uneven refresh rate
  • Middle crease

Now, beyond the fascinating design, the main 7.3-inch display is also impressive. However, there remain few technical glitches highlighting the relatively new and untested technology.

Nonetheless, the expansive display does certainly improve the web browsing experience (as much as 1.4 times compared to Note10). Plus for gaming enthusiasts, the large display certainly takes the gaming experience to the next level with as much as 2.2 times bigger screen display (probably a definite reason for gaming enthusiasts to own one Galaxy Fold).

To give enhanced brightness effect to the display, Galaxy Fold is fitted with HDR 10+, which significantly boosts the contrast ration against supported video content as well as making the display easily visible outdoors. One thing that can’t be overlooked in the middle crease, which will constantly glare indoors or outdoors; we believe with the time you will get used to it.

Interface

  • Introduction to App Continuity (easy transition between screens)
  • Multi-Active Window

Moving on from the hardware, Samsung does put in lots of effort on the software end, starting with the App Continuity that makes transitioning between small and large screens quite frictionless. You can easily transition from small screens to large screens using an app, without any lag. And the reverse is also true when you instantly fold the phone while using an app. However, in this case, you have to tick each app you want to keep using in display settings.

Now, the other great software update is the Multi-Active Window, which according to Samsung offers "endless possibilities". Now, the endless possibilities only hold for up to three active apps. Nonetheless, the Multi-Active Window does work great (however only for 3 apps at present), we believe the technology will get mature over time.

Performance

  • 12GB RAM
  • 512GB internal storage (without SD card slot)
  • Performance similar to Note 10

Now, let’s be very clear the outrageous $2000 price you are giving away to own Galaxy Fold isn’t to get the fastest performance, rather it’s for the screen innovation. That said, while the Galaxy Fold doesn’t pack the latest chipset, it certainly holds up to the performance level of Note10 of Galaxy S10+.

The phone packs the Snapdragon 855 chipset. We believe that Samsung could have gone with the better and enhanced 855 Plus chipset though. Nonetheless, the performance is leveled out quite fairly by 12GB RAM, which enables seamless use of the phone with multiple apps open.

Cameras

  • 3 rear cameras
  • 1 cover display camera
  • 2 inner front cameras
  • Camera quality similar to Galaxy S10 Plus
  • Not the best Samsung Cameras

The Galaxy Fold packs a total of six cameras, which essentially are quite similar to the five cameras found in S10 Plus or the four cameras found in Note 10.

The cover display camera comes with a 10MP configuration with a 1.22 microns pixel size and an aperture of f2.2. This is the same configuration that comes with the front camera in Note 10. The only difference here is that with Galaxy Fold, you can take Live Focus Videos and Photos. When unfolded, you got the two front cameras at the inside which are again a 10MP selfie camera coupled with 8MP RGB camera (meant for depth-sensing; similar to S10 Plus).

Battery

  • Two Batteries with the combined capacity of 4,380mAh
  • Can last a day-and-a-half on average use
  • No super-fast charging
  • The battery time heavily depends on the use of large unfolded screen

While Samsung has gone all out with the biggest battery even (4,380mAh) with Galaxy Fold, the ultimate lasting time for batteries depends upon the use of the large screen. On average the battery is good enough to last a day and a half, however, extensive use of unfolded screens can exhaust the battery within a day.

Concluding:

You should by the Samsung Galaxy Fold if:

You are looking to impress the world. The bendable phone will certainly be the talk of the town for foreseeable future

You are a gaming enthusiast and can’t wait to try out your favorite games on a massive 7.3-inch screen

You shouldn’t buy Galaxy Fold if:

You don’t want to throw away $2000 just to show-off or impress your peers. You can wait some time for the technology to mature and price to rationalize

You are sure to break this thing. Even with all the guarantees and reinforcement from Samsung, it’s still a vulnerable technology (at least at present) and you wouldn’t want to waste $2000 just to get few days with a foldable screen, right?

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