REVIEW | Samsung Galaxy Fold

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Samsung has introduced a whole new category of smartphone with the Galaxy Fold.

Smartphones have been getting bigger and bigger with each new version yet physically there is a limit in terms of portability and usability. With the new Samsung Galaxy Fold Samsung have brought together the best of the smartphone and tablet in one device.

The hardware

Imagine two phones nested on top of each other, and that is exactly what the Samsung Galaxy Fold looks like. Add a smooth flexible hinge and a lovely 7.3” flexible screen inside, and you have a new category of device which is both a smartphone and a tablet.

Flexible displays have been shown in concept for a few years, and the Galaxy Fold is the first major product to incorporate such a screen in a device you can buy and use.

The star of the Fold is the OLED 7.3’ inside display. Opening the Galaxy Fold reveals the lovely screen, which offers excellent colours and contrast along with smooth usability. All apps used correctly scaled to the large screen and working on a tablet size screen for emails and other productivity apps was an excellent experience.

There is another screen that is on the outside of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and for everyday mobile use, and quick WhatsApp’s this 4.6” screen is good but pales when the Fold unfolds, and the inside screen seamlessly switches the content to the big flexible 7.3” OLED.

The dual-axis hinge is a small masterpiece of engineering and Samsung have assured its customers, that they have unfolded this hinge over 200,000 times with no incident. Opening the Galaxy fold feels futuristic. Folded the Galaxy Fold is manageable with one hand and even open the Fold is relatively easy to use and well balanced in your hand

The Samsung Galaxy fold is thick and heavy and as such, will prove to be challenging to use or carry every day. The weight and heft reminded me of the Nokia E90 communicator which also had two screens and folded.

The camera

The Samsung Fold includes six cameras. There is a 10 MP front selfie camera a rear triple-lens camera and another dual front camera on the inside. The cameras all proved to be as good as the latest standard offering from Samsung the Galaxy S10 Plus which means they are class-leading in many aspects with fast flawless performance across all conditions.

Wireless charging and wired fast charging are also standard. In all other technical aspects, the Galaxy Fold is similar in speciation to Samsung’s current flagship Galaxy S10 series.

Durability

The Samsung Fold was first show earlier this year and due to some design choices proved too fragile to release. Samsung has corrected many of those issues, yet the Galaxy Fold devises still feel a bit weak as the internal screen is plastic, and ultimately the folding and unfolding of the screen bring a little anxiety that it will crack or break.

Samsung assures us that it will not, but as a first-generation device in a new category there are some compromises that may prove to limit the longevity of the equipment. A metal layer has been added below the screen to aid in durability and overall fit and finish improved significantly.

Due to the size of the Galaxy Fold, a massive battery with a capacity of 4380 mAh is included and even with the huge display, the battery life was good to very good. A full working day with some video and gaming was easily achieved.

The software

The Galaxy fold uses Android 9 with an experience very similar to other Samsung Galaxy devices. The interface has been cleverly and seamlessly updated to integrate the inside and outside screen with the switchover from one to the other happening smoothly and seamlessly. The Fold is DEX compatible so can serve triple duty as a phone tablet and PC.

The user experience is very satisfying for a first-generation device and all apps used, and the Fold can run multiple apps on-screen, felt polished. No app I tried did not scale and work as it should

As per the other Galaxy family smart devices, the new One UI is good overall with some clever touches that make your day more productive

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is a truly unique device in a sea a very similar looking smartphone. The main question is, should you jump in and get one if you can. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is available in minimal quantities worldwide, and it will be difficult if not impossible to pick one up.

The hardware feels premium, and the inside screen is flexible and fantastic. And despite being a first-generation product the Samsung Galaxy fold feels premium polished and most importantly is genuinely usable.

The downsides are the price which is significant at R43,999.00, which makes this the most expensive smartphone ever, as well as the slight feeling of fragility despite a solid and polished construction.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is a brilliant first shot at a foldable phone. It works and works well. The huge tablet-like inside screen is a pleasure to use and folded the Fold is relatively easy to handle day to day.

If you must have the latest coolest gadget then the Samsung Galaxy Fold is for you. Otherwise there are equally accomplished yet much more standard devices available in the Samsung Galaxy.


Steven Ambrose | @ambio | mail me |


 



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