- Impressive Design
- Solid Specification
- Good Software Experience
- Better Improvements Overall
- Does feel Fragile no matter what
- Crease on the display is Obvious
Let’s face it, as much as they are a novelty device, it’s no surprise that foldable devices are here to stay and it definitely going to be a part of the future. We have seen prototypes from various brands but last year is the year we got to see real consumer end products. The Samsung Galaxy Fold was one of them. Announced in the first Quarter of 2019 and then things got a little messy with the display and then it came back with all the tweaks and came for round two. Lucky for us, we had the chance to review it, all thanks to the lovely folks at Samsung Malaysia and during our time using it, here’s what we feel about it.
Design and Build
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is a fine piece of tech held by that gorgeous hinge and a glass finish on the outside. It literally looks like a slice of bread that’s folded into half and this is where pretty much the whole magic happens. The hinge is an articulated spine like structure that makes the whole folding smooth AF. With that said, it’s certified to withstand up to 200,000 folds which is not a lot but more than enough. As you open up, it hides the bigger display on the inside and this time around they have added T Brackets on the top and the bottom to make it safe to use and the previously “do-not-peel” screen protector is now tucked under the display. Not sure why they didn’t do that the first time instead.
As for the build, it is without a doubt one solid bar. The way it feels in my hand, I love it. As for some who loves using a device with a really nice weight to it, this really was a dream come true. On top of that it was just gorgeous – we got the Cosmos Black for review and it was just stunning. As for the security, they have opted in for a side mounted fingerprint sensor although they could have gone for a front physical sensor right below the display. Other than that, it comes with just one port – that is the USB-C located at the bottom. Since it’s their very first foldable device, there is a little open gap here and there, which shows that this device is not waterproof unlike the S or the Note series.
Without the case, it’s extremely scary to use and with the case, the Kevlar like material sleeve that sticks onto the fold feels like it needs more protection but on the bright side does offer good amount of grip making it nice to use and a safer grip overall.
Specification and Benchmark
For such a premium device, expect it to rock a premium specification. Under the hood, the device rocks the following:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Processor – Octa core with 7nm Architecture
- 12GB RAM and 512GB Built in Storage with no expansion slot
- 4380 mAh Dual Cell Battery
- 12W Ultra-Fast Wireless Charging and Wireless PowerShare
Expect it to perform pretty much as the same as any flagship smartphone out there with slick and solid performance throughout. Everything is pretty much as what you’d expect and we benchmarked the device with Antutu, Geekbench 5 and to verify the specification, used AIDA 64. Thing about the Fold is that it only comes with a Snapdragon 855 and there isn’t a Samsung Exynos powered device.
Battery on this thing is pretty much as you’d expect – it’s really good. With an active usage of 13 hours+, I got about 6 hours and 30 minutes of Screen on Time and that’s as good as it can get. Charging the device isn’t big of a deal, thanks to the solid high-speed charging via wired connection supporting up to 45W respectively.
Possibly the main focus of this device would be the display because it’s the star of the show. Starting off with the smaller display on the outside, it packs a 4.6” HD+ AMOLED Display and for a size that small, a HD+ resolution is good as you can expect as it offers good colors, better viewing angles and just about enough room to get basic tasks done.
When you fold it open, the device shines with a Dynamic AMOLED Display with a QHD+ Resolution at the size of 7.3” respectively. On the top right corner of that display is a weird cutout that holds the cameras which I will get into a bit.
The material the opted for the mini display is the usual Corning Gorilla Glass which we are no strangers to. What makes the display inside different is the fact that it’s constructed in plastic, hence the possibility of folding the device but because of that, there is a huge and a very obvious crease smack right in the middle which is something you cannot ignore. For a plastic display, it does have really good viewing angle and the touch response was just neat. Other than that, its pretty much as loaded with feature as other Samsung flagship displays with HDR10 support and so on. Take note the display requires a lot of care thank you think. So much so that our Samsung rep told us during the brief – not to keep ANY paper or credit cards in between as it affects the display as it can damage the display.
This device has more cameras than one can ever carry on a smartphone. It has a whopping 6 camera all over the place.
- On top of the mini display, a 10MP Selfie Shooter
- Once opened up, on the top right corner, a 10MP Selfie Camera and an 8MP RGB Depth Sensor
- On the back, a Triple 12MP Camera setup
- 16MP Ultra-Wide Sensor
- 12MP Wide-angle Sensor
- 12MP Telephoto Sensor
Shooting with the rear camera is as pleasant as ever and flipping between the smaller and the bigger display while shooting, pure bliss. The selfie camera was the scary one because as you flip it wide open and want to take a picture with a group of friends, you cant help it but to feel you are going to drop the phone because the small display isn’t much helpful while taking pictures. Check out the shots we have taken with this device.
As much as the specification is important to power up the device, what it all comes down is how practical and functional this device is – which is of course the key importance of the foldable device.
In terms of practicality, what Samsung did with the whole dual display is very smart – theoretically speaking but when applied in real life setting, it doesn’t turn out the way as I thought it would have. Starting off with the small display on the front – it’s a good display, no doubt about it and for someone who has enjoyed a smaller display at times, I really appreciated it, but my fat thumbs clearly didn’t. Typing on that petite (got to say it was cute though) keyboard, was just nerve wrecking and I just had to flip the display open and use it right away with both my thumbs, which I would say a relief but at times it just wasn’t doing enough justice. But for those who’d require a little visually better display, the bigger inside feels like anyone could get accommodated to it.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for the software experience Samsung added onto the Galaxy Fold – this device would have been just but just a foldable phone. Bundled with Samsung’s Custom UI – One UI made it extremely user friendly and switching between devices almost as seamless as ever. Say if you are in an app on the front screen and want to bring it up to a bigger screen, all you have to do is just open up and voila, you are in – that’s how simple and easy it is. Another thing about the Galaxy Fold is how opening multiple windows on the bigger screen is a god send because you can open up to 3 different application and get your productivity going on. It’s just too good.
Other than the software, using the bigger display feels like holding a bezel less Kindle with an AMOLED display and reading on it is quite the fun indeed. From my standpoint, the Fold feels more of a productivity centric tool and a little bit of an entertainment, mostly content consumption such as watching Netflix and that’s pretty much it. Say if you want to play some games on it, you can but over time you’d feel like it’s a little overrated and you’d prefer something that’s much of a normal phone instead.
Truth be told, the only thing that made the Galaxy Fold stand out is nothing but the display and pretty much every aspect of the review revolves around the display. Nonetheless, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is a very innovative smartphone I got to review in 2019 and it holds a special place in my heart for daring to be different. What made me love the fold more is how they took matters seriously and patched things up right away – minor changes but as they always say, “little things matter too”.
I do have few suggestions for it, what I’d love to see with the next gen Galaxy Fold, not the rumored Fold Z is this – throw in an S Pen and a headphone jack or two USB-C Ports really, not only this pushes the limit of the Galaxy Fold but you got yourself a pocket beast that lets you do both work and play on the move. Great attempt, excited to see what’s next with the foldable device with Samsung.