It feels like Samsung’s been talking about the Galaxy Fold Foldable Phone forever.
In mobile phone terms, it pretty much has been, given that it started hyping it up in 2018 and then launched it at the same time as the Galaxy S10 family.
Then, of course, it all came rather… unstuck. Quite literally, as the protective screen on early review samples of the Galaxy Fold Foldable Phone were notoriously unreliable, forcing Samsung back to the drawing board for the Galaxy Fold. We should have seen the Galaxy Fold before the Note10 launched, not after it.
At IFA 2019, I had the chance to go hands on with an early commercial sample of the revised Galaxy Fold Foldable Phone . Samsung says it’s significantly strengthened the materials within to ensure that the screen breaking issues that the first generation had shouldn’t happen. That doesn’t quite make it the Samsung Galaxy Fold Foldable Phone , though — this is more like the Galaxy Fold 1.1.
I’ll be brutally honest here. I like the idea of foldable phones, but I’ve been around tech journalism long enough to know that you never invest in the first generation of a technology. It’s always improving, and the early adopters pay a hefty price for their early access. Samsung’s problems with the Galaxy Fold really only heightened my thoughts in that direction.
Then I got hold of one, and I was almost instantly impressed with it in most respects. For a start, it’s a surprisingly solid device, even though it’s a foldable phone. I’d had the opportunity for a much shorter play on a Huawei Mate X the day before, and that’s a light phone in your hand — which some folks might prefer — but the Galaxy Fold feels really solid.
Imagine if you will the solid body of the Galaxy Note10, and you’re thinking the right way about how the Galaxy Fold Foldable Phone feels, even though Samsung told me this was a preproduction sample. Given they’re going on sale literally the day after my review session in South Korea, I do wonder how true that was, but regardless, it feels like it’s been well engineered for the most part.
It’s also surprisingly fun just to flip it open and shut even if you’re not doing much else with it. Is that a flippant way to treat a $3,000 phone?
You bet it is, but I spent plenty of time trying to see if I could trip up the continuity feature — where the primary app running on the full 7.3 inch display transfers to the 4.6 inch display when you close it — and every time I unfolded it, I couldn’t help but grin.
I was also a little cautious about the camera setup. I loathe taking photos on a tablet, but the size of the full Galaxy Fold is just about enough to get me past that issue. I didn’t feel entirely awkward holding it up to take shots — although sadly I couldn’t take any samples away with me for publication — and of course when closed it’s quite easy to grasp.
Samsung’s also done some smart work with multi-app windows on the Galaxy Fold. Sure, you can use it as a huge photo gallery browser or indeed web browser, but it’s also pretty simple to have multiple apps running, including floating app windows to make the most of that phone screen real estate. More