Samsung Galaxy Fold Review: Is it worth the hefty price tag?

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During the launch event of its Galaxy S10/S10+, Samsung announced (and even showcased) a new phone with a revolutionary design. Aptly named, it was called the Galaxy Fold and it really did hype up tech geeks all around the globe. However, due to some reason, the new device wasn’t available for a hands-on experience and thus its specs weren’t really known.

Fortunately, that has changed as the Galaxy Fold has been finally available for the public. Much to the sigh of relief for people who feared it wouldn’t make it to production, Samsung even gave us an official release date of 26th April this year. Costing at $1980, it is the most expensive regular production phone/tablet you can buy. Is it worth the hefty price tag? Let’s find out.

Design & Display

Samsung Galaxy Fold Transformation
Image: Samsung

The design of the Galaxy Fold is probably its most noteworthy trait. It is truly revolutionary and is precisely what we expect from a giant like Samsung. As the name suggests, the Galaxy Fold can, well, fold. In its compact form, it looks and feels like a tall, chunky smartphone. When folded away, you get a screen in the front for quick usage.

Samsung calls it the Cover Display. It measures 4.6″ with a resolution of 1680×720 (21:9). The panel is Samsung’s own Super AMOLED so do expect to see great colors. However, it is to note that the display isn’t exactly large, especially by today’s standards. The aspect ratio is also odd and let’s not forget the bezels that seem to go on for days.

But you know what? All of this can be forgiven because this isn’t even the main attraction. That honor would go to the massive 7.3″ display that has a resolution of 2152×1536 (4.2:3). It’s called the Infinity Flex Display and it is, you guessed it, flexible. As you unfold your Galaxy Fold, you are presented with the Dynamic AMOLED panel in all its glory.

Samsung Galaxy Fold Dimensions
Image: Samsung

While I could go on all day on how amazing this display is, there are some problems that need to be addressed. The first one being that when you unfold the device, the main display doesn’t exactly straighten out. Along the line, where the display folds, there is a small ridge, much like a book. When I say small, I mean it’s barely noticeable when you look at it straight on. You really notice it when you either look from an odd angle or swipe your finger across the screen. Needless to say, it would be unsettling in both situations and would need getting used to.

Another problem with the Galaxy Fold’s display is that it has a notch. Now I know you may be wondering why I am calling out Samsung for using a notch in this day and age but hear me out. It’s not an ordinary notch that’s small and at the center of the display. It’s massive and is placed at the top-right side of the display, making it asymmetric.

Samsung Galaxy Fold Front and back
Image: Samsung

But I guess these issues are still trivial considering this device is the first of its kind and there’s still room for improvement based on customer feedback. The rest of the design is flawless. The hinge is sturdy and is rated to survive 200,000 folds. The folding mechanism is spring-damped and there are magnets to tightly hold the screen once folded.

Cameras

You may remember me getting impressed by the Galaxy S10+ having 5 cameras here. Clearly, I did not see this coming then as the Galaxy Fold has 6. The one additional camera is placed on top of the cover display for quick selfies. It is a 10MP unit with an aperture of f/2.2. There’s nothing really much special about it as it is made for convenience rather performance.

The rest of the setup is similar to that of the Galaxy S10+. The main front camera and depth sensor have a resolution and aperture of 10MP with F/2.2 and 8MP with F/1.9 respectively. They reside in the abysmal notch we talked about earlier. The triple back cameras are stacked vertically, unlike the horizontal setup on the Galaxy S10/S10+. The setup consists of a 16MP wide-angle unit with f/2.2, a 12MP main sensor with f/1.5-2.4 and a 12MP telephoto lens with f/2.4.

Samsung Galaxy Fold Cameras
Image: GSMArena

Performance

Again like the Galaxy S10/10+, the Galaxy Fold comes packed with Qualcomm’s latest and greatest 7nm Snapdragon 855. It’s the most powerful chipset for Android devices available out there, enough said. Surprisingly, the Fold will not come with an Exynos variant, unlike every other Samsung flagship. You can only get it in a single configuration, that is, paired with a 12 GB RAM and 512 GB non-expandable storage.

As far as the battery is concerned, the fold has a dual-battery setup, taking up both sides of the hinge. The capacities are 4380 mAh for the LTE variant and 4235 for the 5G variant, yes, there will be a 5G variant as well. To be honest, the Galaxy Fold could do better with bigger batteries considering it has 2 screens, one of which is over 7 inches.

However, charging the batteries won’t be much of an issue as the Galaxy Fold does support Samsung’s fast charging via charging cable. In case that’s too basic for you, the Fold also supports wireless charging, albeit at a much slower rate. Also, like the Galaxy S10/S10+, it has reverse wireless charging.

Software & Security

There’s nothing much interesting here as the Galaxy Fold comes out of the box with Android 9.0 paired with Samsung’s OneUI. You either love it or hate it, there’s no in between. Additionally, the software has been tweaked for optimal viewability on both the screens and Samsung has done a pretty good job with it. The way an app transitions from the smaller display to the larger is definitely proof of that.

Samsung galaxy fold fingerprint bixby
Image: Samsung

In the security department, things aren’t that great. The Galaxy Fold does not inherit the Galaxy S10’s In-display Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner. Due to the complexity of the Galaxy Fold’s design, it was not feasible to install one here. What the Galaxy Fold gets is a fingerprint scanner on the side like the Galaxy S10e. However, unlike the S10e, the scanner doubles as a Bixby button rather than the power button which is odd, to say the least.

Price & Verdict

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the Galaxy Fold retails at $1980. For this, you get, along with your device: all the essentials, the Galaxy Buds, and a slim-cover. In my opinion, the price may be justified given that it’s a revolutionary piece of tech, the first of its find and was probably expensive to produce. However, does it mean that you should buy it? Absolutely not.

Well, that is if you’re an average person, looking to get a decent phone. At this point in time, it is only aimed for tech geeks who can spare a pretty penny on devices they don’t need. And that’s completely normal. So if you’re one of the former, which most of you will be, buy a Galaxy S10/S10+.

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