When Samsung officially unveiled its first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, earlier this year, initial reactions were excited, but cautious. This is the first of its kind, after all, and there is always the chance that something could go very wrong. But it turns out that the Galaxy Fold appears to be a pretty solid handset, at least as far as first impressions are concerned.
First impressions are out for the Samsung Galaxy Fold, and the majority of feedback for the company’s first foldable phone is pretty positive. Of course, these are just initial impressions, not reviews at all, so things could change over time and with plenty of usage. But if you’ve been considering the Galaxy Fold, initial reactions may be enough to sway you.
So, here’s a brief roundup of all the initial hands-on takes we’ve seen. Not all of them; just a few to whet the appetite before the reviews start filing in later this month. For those in the United States, the Galaxy Fold launches on April 26, and it will retail for $1,980.
“That change in perspective makes a big difference in terms of the physicality of the Fold. If you think of it as a phone, it’s ridiculous. It’s super tall and much thicker than any phone out there when it’s closed. There’s a little gap when you fold it up because the screen can’t be fully folded flat. The front screen is tiny. Even though it’s 4.6 inches, it feels much smaller because it’s so narrow and because it sits inside such a tall phone.
But if you think of it as a small tablet that happens to fold, all of those foibles start to feel less like foibles. Instead, it’s like you have an iPad mini that can be packed down to become more pocketable. I say “more pocketable” intentionally. It’s large enough that it’ll stick out of any but the deepest pants pockets. This is a device designed for a purse or a coat pocket.”
“I did like some of the software touches here that make the Fold’s bigger screen more useful. When you’re using an app like Google Maps or YouTube on the outside screen, open up the phone and the app automatically expands to take up that larger inner display. This is particularly useful for seeing more directions in Maps, but the big canvas also offers extra room for multitasking. You can launch up to three apps at the same time on the 7.3-inch display, and by default the keyboard layout is split down the middle so you don’t have to stretch your thumbs to reach the keys in the middle.”
“Holding the Fold when it’s closed isn’t what I was expecting at all. The small outer screen is tiny by today’s standards and it has a comically large top and chin. Thing is, it’s so narrow and easy to hold I can see this being used solely for checking the odd message, taking a call and keeping an eye on your route. Almost every other action will likely be done with the phone open. This clearly isn’t the ideal look Samsung is going for, though, and really feels like a sacrifice that had to be made for this first-generation product.
The near-square display is most comparable to an iPad Mini – broken only be a very annoying notch towards the right side – and anything you’re looking at on the front screen mirrors to the larger panel when you open the phone up. If you’ve got Google Maps open and you unfold the device then it instantly switches the big screen without any fuss or lag.”
“The fold does feel like a natural way to open the handset – with many years of book opening behind us we’ve become pretty adept at the action – and it’s certainly easier to get to grips with than the opposite fold of the Huawei Mate X.
Open up the Galaxy Fold fully to reveal the 7.3-inch display and the 20-part, dual axis hinge locks into place, preventing you from over-extending the display past 180 degrees.
Fold it back up and the Samsung Galaxy Fold snaps shut with a satisfying sound, giving you confidence that it won’t accidentally unfurl itself in your bag.”
“But to focus on its purchasability is to miss the point of what it is—and anyway, this isn’t a formal review. Samsung has made a folding phone it says will fold over 200,000 times before it shows signs of degradation (a claim that could take months or years to verify). In order to do that, it had come up with a display that could fold over on top of itself. It had to figure out what to do about the battery. It literally had to develop a spine. And then there are the apps, the ones that will need to work as well on a large 7.3-inch screen as they do on a 4.6-inch screen.”
“My time with the Fold has been a flurry of activity, but I’m just now able to dig into setting up the device as my own. I haven’t had enough time to master the nuances of the multiscreen interface, but long enough to get a general feel of the device and what I still want to know.
As I said before, the phone feels solid and sturdy, but Samsung does put a two-part case in the box. The Fold’s hinge mechanism moves smoothly, but a large hinge also makes the width of the phone’s “wings” quite narrow. Closed, it looks like sandwich. On the right side, there’s a volume rocker and a power button, and the fingerprint reader doubles as the Bixby button.”
So, what do you think? Is the Galaxy Fold from Samsung your next daily driver?