I will admit I’m a little giddy right now.
I’ve just opened and closed (and opened and closed and…) the Galaxy Fold for the first time since Samsung announced its foldable phone in February, and I’ve got to say, I’m thrilled by the experience so far. Yes, some of this comes down to novelty — after the Huawei Mate X, this is only the second foldable phone I’ve ever held and used.
There’s also the hype. By keeping us reviewers far away from the Galaxy Fold — this is previously the closest I got — and releasing teasing videos, Samsung has built a certain mystique around its folding phone. This is a handset I’ve been drooling over for weeks, and now it’s finally here.
But despite the plastic interior screen and bezel, the moment I picked it up (opened) and started using it, it truly felt like a cohesive, premium phone.
Foldable phones are an insane idea, not because the phone itself bends, but because the screen does, and that’s really hard to do and even harder to do well — I’ll eventually let you know if this one does. A few years ago, a foldable phone sounded like a futuristic joke: Oh, sure, you’ll just fold up your phone and stick it in your pocket, uh huh. We can’t stop our regular glass phone screens from breaking, and now you want to make the screens plastic and bend them?
But now there’s enough critical mass, thanks to phone-makers like Samsung, Huawei and TCL, that foldable phones are becoming more real every day. Even Google’s in on the action, pledging Android support so that its software will switch from one screen orientation to another as you fold and unfold the display. A little-known company sold the first foldable phone, the Royole FlexPai, but Samsung’s Fold here is the first “real” foldable phone for most people.
Foldable phones will start off ultra expensive — the 4G version of the Fold starts at $1,980 and the Mate X costs about $2,600 — and there may be kinks to work out. (UK and Australian prices are TBA, but $1,980 converts to about £1,500 or AU$2,750.)
But if enough people clamor for a device that puts a big screen in a little body, then a foldable phone design has the chance to change the way people use their phones: multitasking, interacting with the device and possibly even making other devices, like a tablet, obsolete. I’ve said it before: foldable phones are the wild west. More