This is the reason why I am so invested in the world of technology. The Galaxy fold is one of the first folding smartphones. Since hearing the leaks and rumours about this device almost a year ago, I was immediately interested.
This device has completely changed the way I use a smartphone. It is such an incredible achievement by Samsung and it actually brought me back to the moment when I first unboxed and used the original iPhone all those years ago. The Galaxy Fold is basically a device that can be a smaller smartphone and when unfolded, it turns into a small tablet. Just the idea of that concept alone blows peoples minds.
“A device unlike any before. Galaxy Fold doesn’t just define a new category, it defies category. Today, we introduce the biggest breakthrough since the mobile phone. Today, the future unfolds with Galaxy Fold.”SAMSUNG
It isn’t often that a piece of technology comes out and is so significantly different. We’re so used to smartphones being these thin glass slates no matter the brand or model, they all use the same form factor and this has become such a norm.
Right from the unboxing, you are immediately greeted with a very premium and special experience. The model I have is the higher-end 5G model but you also get a 4G model with is slightly cheaper. Considering that this is quite an expensive device, I do appreciate Samsung including a pair of their awesome wireless earbuds, The Galaxy Buds, as well as a nice case.
The great thing about this device is that Samsung did not hold back at all in terms of specs and hardware. The Fold is a beast and blows all other devices away.
- A 4.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED panel with a 21:9 aspect ratio on the outside
- A huge 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dyanic AMOLED canvas with a form factor of 4.2:3 when unfolded.
The main cameras that you will be using are basically the exact same sensors that you’ll find on the Galaxy Note 10 Plus which are some of the best around.
- 2MP primary (Back)
- 12MP telephoto (Back)
- 16MP wide (Back)
- 10MP selfie (Inside)
- 8MP RGB depth (Inside)
- 10MP selfie (Front)
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- Memory: 12GB
- Storage: 512GB
- Resolution: 1680 x 720 (folded), 2152 x 1536 (unfolded)
- Connectivity: USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0
- Battery: 4,235mAh (5G model)
- Size: 160.9 x 62.9 x 17 mm (folded), 160.9 x 117.9 x 7.5 mm (unfolded)
- Weight: 263g (9.28oz)
- Operating system: Android 9.0 Pie
USING THE FOLD
As you might expect, there is some getting used to considering what a drift this is from the conventional smartphone. At first, I ended up only using the small front display and had to actually remind myself that I could unfold the device and use the bigger screen. I did get used to this very quickly though.
A lot of the negativity that this device has been getting is for the small 4.6′ display on the front of the device. Yes, it definitely is small and can be frustrating to use if you solely use it without unfolding the device. But people don’t get is that this front display is not meant to be used solely at all. It should be used just for small tasks such as checking at notifications, browsing through a text or email or for any quick task and at that, it is great. The idea is that when you want to actually use the device, it has to be unfolded – and this is where the magic happens.
Samsung has delivered a device which, in my opinion, best represents what technology or smartphones will be like in the future. The fact that I have a device in my pocket that is a smartphone as well as a tablet when I need to be just changed my entire workflow.
Split-screen multitasking isn’t just possible on this device, it actually makes sense and is quite useful. Split-screen functionality has been present on Android smartphones for years now but I never felt that it made sense because of the size of the screens. Splitting a smartphone’s screen in half just made things too small and cramped and I never used it. Things are completely different with the fold because of the size and form factor of the unfolded display.
Samsung has done a great job with the multitasking features built into the device’s software. By swiping from the left edge of the fold, a panel containing your 6 favourite apps appears, which then allows you to tap on the app icons and this will add the apps into a split-screen setup. You can have up to 3 apps open at once and interact with all 3 apps without any stuttering or slow down thanks to all the processing horsepower. I enjoyed using just two apps in split-screen mode which then gives you basically two smartphone screens and this makes for excellent multitasking.
Browsing the web is incredible on the fold. Because of the large screen, you get so much more information on the screen at a time that the reading and browsing experience is so much more comfortable. As you can see from the comparison above, it is always going to be better on a larger display.
This is what makes using the Fold so special. Continuity allows you to be using an app on the front display and then when unfolding the device, you are seamlessly shown the same app in the exact same spot that you were in. So this is incredibly handy because you can be busy with a task on the smaller front display and in no time, when unfolding the device, you can continue with the same task on a much larger display.
As you can see in the example above, you can be viewing a map or directions on the smaller screen and when you unfold the device, you are still viewing the same task but now there is just so much more information.
As you might have expected, consuming media on the Fold is amazing. I always carried an iPad with me for this purpose and since getting the Fold, I no longer have to. High-quality videos look and sound so good on this device that I wouldn’t even mind watching a movie or Netflix when travelling.
I don’t do any gaming on the Fold but if you are a gamer, this would definitely be an incredible device for that. The screen, hardware, specs, speakers and form factor makes the Fold a killer device for gamers and gaming.
SECURITY & BIOMETRICS
The Fold has a really fast fingerprint sensor on the right side of the device right about where your thumb is situated when holding the device. It also features Samsung’s facial recognition features found in other Galaxy devices.
I have gotten a lot of questions about how the typing experience is on the Fold. It’s really good once you get used to it. Samsung’s keyboard is really good and most people will be happy with it since it has quite a bit of features and it gets the job done. The Samsung keyboard has a neat split mode which can be very useful fo those who prefer it. You can also use a third-party keyboard app such as Gboard or Swiftkey like any other Android device. I prefer to use Gboard as it is what I have been used to on previous devices. Because of the bigger screen, you can have a really comfortably-sized keyboard and this makes the overall use of the device so much better.
WHAT I DON’T LIKE
As you can tell, there hasn’t been a lot that I don’t like with this device but there is one main issue that I wish Samsung address in the next version:
THE FRONT DISPLAY IS TOO SMALL
This is the main issue with the Fold and if the screen was bigger, this would have been a perfect device for me. When folded, the front screen is just too small to do most tasks and it can be very frustrating at times especially when it comes down to typing. Because the screen is so narrow, the keyboard is incredibly cramped so typing normally is really difficult.
Some apps are just impossible to use on this small and narrow screen and you just end up closing the app or not feeling the need to continue and this shouldn’t be the case at all on any device.
I do have to admit that after some time with the device, this doesn’t bother me as much anymore as I have found how to properly use the device and how Samsung intended for it to be used once I got more acquainted and understood the device more. Once you understand the following, then things become much easier and you adjust very quickly:
The front display isn’t meant to be used for long periods, for typing out emails or performing longer tasks. Instead, it should be looked at as just a quick display screen for notifications, glancing at messages or performing quick tasks and for everything else, the device must be used unfolded. Once I had this mindset, the experience has completely changed and now I don’t really mind that small screen because it serves its purpose. I am now also able to type more effectively because I started using swipe typing and that is much better on the front display.
So yes, after a few weeks, this issue wasn’t as severe as I initially found it to be and I did find ways to work with it and now, after a few months, it doesn’t really bother me at all because I became good at using it as mentioned. But I do feel that Samsung needs to make this their main priority for the next version of the Fold and then, it will be perfect.
The Galaxy Fold is definitely not a device for everyone but it is a glimpse into the future and an incredible piece of technology and if you’re someone like me who does a lot of work and performs a lot of tasks on your smartphone, this will device is amazing.
I’ve never got so many questions and crazy reactions from people when using any other device in public like I have when using the Fold. It is something so unique and special and I believe that it is the beginning of a whole new era for smartphones.
The Galaxy Fold is a power-users dream device and an incredible piece of technology. I can safely say that after using the Fold, I will not be able to go back to using a regular smartphone and I can’t wait for the next version.
Great work Samsung, keep it coming!