Hands-On With Samsung's New Galaxy Fold

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After months of waiting and a design overhaul, Samsung's first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, is now available to customers who want to shell out $1,980 for a device that can convert from a phone into a tablet.

We decided to pick up one of Samsung's folding smartphones to test it out to see if it's worth the price point, so check out our video for our Galaxy Fold unboxing and first impressions.


Samsung initially planned to release the Galaxy Fold in early 2019, but after providing the device to reviewers, a host of major issues were uncovered that impacted the durability and performance of the device.


Samsung ultimately canceled the Galaxy Fold's launch and went back to the drawing board to address some of the problems that led to multiple broken devices within a matter of days after reviewers received a review unit.


So the new Galaxy Fold is supposed to have a more durable display with a better protective layer (which some reviewers thought was meant to be removed on the original version) and a strengthened hinge to prevent breakage from dust and debris, and other durability changes.

Samsung's updated device, as we discovered, comes with a whole host of paperwork and instruction, which makes for an odd unboxing experience. The Galaxy Fold is still delicate enough that users need to be instructed in the specifics of how to use it without breaking it. Many of the instructions are also outlined in a Samsung video:


Basically Samsung warns Galaxy Fold owners to use a light touch when interacting with the device, avoid water and dust, avoid excessive pressure, and to keep it away from objects that can be damaged by magnets. It's unsettling getting such a long list of warnings with a new smartphone.

Design wise, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is massive in size and heavy compared to a standard smartphone, but that's no surprise since it unfolds from a thick 4.6-inch smartphone into a 7.3-inch tablet.


There are volume and power buttons on the right side along with a fingerprint sensor, which is best suited to a thumb due to its position. There's a triple-lens camera at the back, two front-facing cameras at the front when it's unfolded, and one other camera on the front above the display when folded.


The versatility of the Galaxy Fold is useful because the small 4.6-inch folded size is ideal for one-handed use, but then the 7.3-inch display is ideal for when you have the time and space to use the phone unfolded. It's an interesting compromise for those smartphone users who have always preferred a smaller form.


Using a folded phone in practice is novel and it's not quite like anything else that's out there. The 7.3-inch display looks great, and it's perfect for media consumption and multitasking. Typing with the keyboard works well despite the split design.


There are new T-shaped brackets at the top and bottom of the Galaxy Fold that are meant to address the hinge issues present in the prior Galaxy Fold design. It also looks more resistant to dust, and the built-in screen protector now extends to the hinges and can't be accidentally removed.


The crease in the middle of the Galaxy Fold isn't really noticeable in person when it's in use, and it mostly blends right in.


We've only had the Galaxy Fold for a couple of hours, so it remains to be seen how well it's going to hold up over time, but Samsung is now offering a $149 screen replacement program for those who experience issues.


Despite the improvements, we've already heard reports of durability issues. TechCrunch's Galaxy Fold, for example, already has a broken display even though it wasn't damaged. TechCrunch's Brian Heater says he believes pressing on the display to close it may have caused the damage.

Since the Galaxy Fold is priced starting at $2,000, it's a niche smartphone, but if it proves popular, folding display technology could be the future.

Rumors and patents suggest Apple has explored folding display technology for the iPhone, but there's thus far been no concrete evidence that Apple has plans to release an iPhone that folds in half.

Article Link: Hands-On With Samsung's New Galaxy Fold
 
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gldoorii

macrumors newbie
Aug 20, 2015
26
60
It's weird to me that when it's closed it looks like a a really mediocre phone, so it's practically begging you to open it every time you want to use it. If I had to pull out my iPad Mini to "use my phone" I'd find it really annoying.
 

KazKam

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2011
490
1,649
Wow. Compromised in every possible way for some useless gimmick (IMO).
  • Awkward (non-standard) screen size in every configuration.
  • Hardware failure points galore
  • Not a good phone form factor
  • Not a good tablet/phablet form factor
  • And that off-center notch tho, ugh
This is NOT pushing the envelope or innovating or evolving, it's just a bad idea poorly implemented. Move along. A "throw crap at the wall" move in true Samsung style.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,366
15,535
I just can’t understand the supposed appeal for a device like this. Yes, I do think that foldable/rollable devices will someday be the mainstream device and our glass slabs of today will look quaint. BUT, the aspect ratios of this device are enough to make me firmly believe this ain’t it chief. Even if it was literally indestructible I have no interest in looking at this thing, it just looks like a terrible compromise that doesn’t fit ANY type of content correctly.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,534
25,266
It actually looks better than expected. That said: once the novelty of opening the phone in order to do anything productive wears off, there might be a bit of buyer’s remorse.

I think the trouble is you can’t properly use it as a normal phone, in closed mode, as if it couldn’t be opened. They’ve gone all in for the fold novelty but then that means you’ve lost the “best of both”.

It’s not quite a phone because you need to put it in tablet mode to get the same experience as you would with other Samsung flagships, and it’s not quite a tablet either. I think if Apple were to go into the foldable territory, their “fold” would be incidental and harmonious to the product, rather than being the product itself.
 

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,303
8,174
Here(-ish)
whine all you want, this thing is interesting
Yes, I agree. It’s quite interesting that sheep would fork over so much money for such a faulty product.

Wow. Compromised in every possible way for some useless gimmick (IMO).
  • Awkward (non-standard) screen size in every configuration.
  • Hardware failure points galore
  • Not a good phone form factor
  • Not a good tablet/phablet form factor
  • And that off-center notch tho, ugh
This is NOT pushing the envelope or innovating or evolving, it's just a bad idea poorly implemented. Move along. A "throw crap at the wall" move in true Samsung style.
Couldn’t have put it better.
 
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dantroline

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2016
366
494
It's weird to me that when it's closed it looks like a a really mediocre phone, so it's practically begging you to open it every time you want to use it. If I had to pull out my iPad Mini to "use my phone" I'd find it really annoying.
But it is innovative. I don't need one but once this technology matures it will be everywhere.

What I want to see is a device that folds with the screen on the outside.
 

GadgetBen

macrumors 65816
Jul 8, 2015
1,435
2,569
London
$149 screen replacement cost for a screen that can be permanently damaged by your fingernail!!!

The durability is shocking, another rushed to market prototype.

See the video below, you'll have to skip the start as he blabs on a bit.

 
Last edited:

jermwhl

macrumors regular
Sep 29, 2014
209
300
Philadelphia, PA
It actually looks better than expected. That said: once the novelty of opening the phone in order to do anything productive wears off, there might be a bit of buyer’s remorse.

I think the trouble is you can’t properly use it as a normal phone, in closed mode, as if it couldn’t be opened. They’ve gone all in for the fold novelty but then that means you’ve lost the “best of both”.

It’s not quite a phone because you need to put it in tablet mode to get the same experience as you would with other Samsung flagships, and it’s not quite a tablet either. I think if Apple were to go into the foldable territory, their “fold” would be incidental and harmonious to the product, rather than being the product itself.
I agree. It has a “cool” factor while unfolded. But when folded I can’t imagine anyone using it for anything other than phone calls, and maybe sms. But that keyboard would be tiiiinnny.
 
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SpectatorHere

macrumors 6502
Apr 21, 2010
471
76
I have two minds on this one.

On the one hand I love that a big tech firm is taking chances this way. This obviously a very early phone, one that in normal situations would just be a beta or prototype. It's cool to get a chance to actually buy something this new and different.

On the other hand, this isn't a polished product and they're charging an arm and a leg for it. This isn't the future, it's a rough hack of what's to come a few years down the line when they will shrink the internals more and toughen up the screen.

Just a very interesting device all the way around, even if I'm not remotely interested in buying it.
 

realtuner

Suspended
Mar 8, 2019
1,712
5,051
Canada
Wow. Compromised in every possible way for some useless gimmick (IMO).
  • Awkward (non-standard) screen size in every configuration.
  • Hardware failure points galore
  • Not a good phone form factor
  • Not a good tablet/phablet form factor
  • And that off-center notch tho, ugh
This is NOT pushing the envelope or innovating or evolving, it's just a bad idea poorly implemented. Move along. A "throw crap at the wall" move in true Samsung style.
You forgot:
  • Runs Android
Since Android on tablets is basically useless.
 
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