Tech

Galaxy Fold hands-on impressions: Samsung thinks the future is foldable and so should you


Samsung Galaxy Fold

Galaxy Fold is immediately distinguishable for its clamshell-like design (Image: Express Newspapers)

Design and display

The Galaxy Fold is immediately distinguishable for its clamshell-like design that easily fits in the hand.

When folded, the Samsung handset shows a 4.6-inch Super AMOLED display that has incredibly thick bezels above and below it.

Samsung told this publication the panel’s 4.6-inch size is intentional and was used to retain a familiar aspect ratio for Android fans.

The borders above and below the display are incredible noticeable, especially for those that have used or own a traditional smartphone with an all-screen design.

The biggest benefit of the smaller display is the fact the user is able to reach every corner of it with one hand.

At the top of the cover screen sits the phone’s earpiece and a single 10-megapixel front-facing camera.

On the product’s rear is a triple-camera system that is exactly the same as found on the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+.

That means you get an incredibly diverse camera system capable of taking stunning shots that is formed of a 12-megapixel main, a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle and a 12-megapixel telephoto system.

It is worth noting when folded both sides of the phone do not sit flat on each other; a gap between them is present towards its hinge.

The hinge that allows the device to fold is remarkably complex; Samsung is calling the mechanism a “dual virtual axis hinge” that has cogs inside it to allow for a smooth transition between the phone’s folded and unfolded form factors.

During our hands-on session with the pliable product, Samsung representatives iterated the flagship has been designed to withstand 200,000 folds in total.

This amounts to five years of usage if the Fold is opened and closed 100 times a day for five years.

The South Korean tech giant appeared incredibly confident about the structural integrity of the Fold; employees conducing demos for the device were not reserved about opening and closing the flagship, instead they nonchalantly transitioned the device between its two form factors.

Just like most Samsung devices, the Fold oozed a premium and sturdy feel that left us incredibly confident in its build.

Unfolded, the Samsung device boasts a huge 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display that is HDR10+ certified and looks absolutely stunning.

Although such a size sounds humungous, we found it to be more palatable than we thought; the Fold’s small bezels are raised that not only protects the device when it is folded, but it also acts as a place to rest your fingers when using the product.

A distinct notch is present to the right-hand side of the larger display that houses the phone’s two other front-facing cameras.

As is the case on the Galaxy S10+ and S10 5G, the Galaxy Fold has an 8-megapixel depth sensor alongside its 10-megapixel selfie camera.

All in all, there are six cameras on the Galaxy Fold, meaning the user has plenty of snappers to choose from no matter which orientation it is being used in.

It is worth mentioning during our usage we were distracted by a crease in the middle of the hardware’s 7.3-inch screen.

While using the device at certain angles the crease was incredibly noticeable and is one of the few design aspects of the Galaxy Fold that reminds you it is a first-generation product.

It is worth mentioning the crease was not always distinct, but seeing it certainly left us wondering if it would become more prominent after prolonged usage.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Express.co.uk was extremely impressed with Samsung’s new hardware (Image: Express Newspapers)

Galaxy Fold

The Samsung handset has a 4.6-inch Super AMOLED cover display (Image: Express Newspapers)

The Galaxy Fold has two speakers that sit on opposite ends of the device that deliver impressive sound.

It is worth noting the flagship does not come with a signature headphone jack, however Samsung is making the transition to wireless easier by including a free pair of its Galaxy Buds in the box.

A 4,380mAh battery is housed under the hood of the Galaxy Fold; Samsung told this publication it is anticipating users will be able to get 24 hours of use with the device on a single charge.

Galaxy Fold is also capable of charging other devices that are placed on its rear through the use of Wireless PowerShare.

Samsung said the Galaxy Fold is powered by a 7-nanometre octa-core processor that this outlet assumes is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855.

This processor is accompanied by a whopping 12GB of RAM and at least 512GB of storage.

Galaxy Fold

Unfolded, the Samsung device flaunts a 7.3-inch panel (Image: Express Newspapers)

Galaxy Fold

The Galaxy Fold’s hinge is remarkably complex (Image: Express Newspapers)

Performance

Using the Galaxy Fold felt incredibly fluid and not just in terms of performing traditional smartphone functions.

The hardware seamlessly transitions from its cover display to its main screen and vice versa, meaning if you have an app loaded up and you open the Fold, the user is greeted with the same software on a much grander scale.

Opening and closing the device feels incredibly natural; the raised borders on the Infinity Flex Display meant we were never worried about damaging the device’s screen if we did so too hard or too quickly.

Performance on the Galaxy Fold was rapid; during our hands-on time with the device it never stuttered or had any trouble transitioning between different apps.

Samsung’s newest device is capable of running up to three applications at once and is surely a testament to the vast amount of RAM housed inside.

One of the most appealing aspects about the Galaxy Fold that we were not expecting was its ability to incentivise multitasking.

We have never been a fan of using a series of apps at once on a device before but there is something about doing so on the phone’s 7.3-inch display that is incredibly appealing and more importantly satisfying.

Using single apps on the Galaxy Fold is incredibly immersive; seeing posts on Instagram fill almost the entirety of the screen not only makes use of the incredibly vibrant panel on offer, but the larger size allowed us to make out some of the finer details in pictures.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Fold’s cover screen has huge bezels on its top and bottom (Image: Express Newspapers)

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Galaxy Fold feels durable and incredibly premium (Image: Express Newspapers)

The large form factor makes Samsung’s newest flagship incredibly appealing when it comes to watching movies and other video content.

In particular, we used the Netflix app that is capable of filling the entirety of the phone’s display and, combined with the Fold’s loud and clear speaker system, we were offered an incredibly immersive experience.

It is worth noting the Netflix app in particular did not wrap around the phone’s notch, instead it left a black bar of the same thickness on the side of the cutout.

As expected, Samsung’s new handset runs the firm’s One UI skin over Android 9 Pie that has a laundry list of features and customisable options.

One of our favourites was the ability to change the positioning of the keyboard to allow for faster typing.

Galaxy Fold

Galaxy Fold is capable of running three applications at once (Image: Express Newspapers)

Galaxy Fold

The Galaxy Fold’s main pair of selfie sensors are the same as present on the Galaxy S10 (Image: Express Newspapers)

The Fold’s virtual keys are able to be split in half so some are positioned on the left-hand side and others are placed on the right.

This allowed for smooth and fast typing during our testing, especially when the device was being used in a portrait orientation.

One of the biggest concerns we have about the Galaxy Fold is with regard to how much we are going to use the phone’s cover display.

While the panel is perfectly usable, it is certainly much smaller than that offered by contemporary devices and left us wishing it was slightly larger.

Galaxy Fold

Galaxy Fold will be available to pre-order in UK markets from Friday, April 26 (Image: Express Newspapers)

Pricing and availability

The Galaxy Fold will be available to pre-order in UK markets from Friday, April 26.

Samsung’s new device will release the following Friday, May 3, and will cost a whopping £1,800.

In addition to the Fold itself, the product’s packaging also includes a free pair of Galaxy Buds, a protective case, a free year of Samsung Care+, four months free of YouTube Premium and a 25W charger.

The hardware’s cost means it will only be appealing to those that really want to be on the cusp of innovation – we think the kind of technology presented by the Fold will become much more accessible in time and will also be more refined.

Galaxy Fold

The Galaxy Fold comes with a triple-camera system on its rear that is the same as found on the S10 (Image: Express Newspapers)

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Galaxy Fold comes with a total of six cameras (Image: Express Newspapers)

Verdict

After using the Galaxy Fold for over an hour, going back to using a more contemporary smartphone felt strange, small and less immersive.

Huge bezels on the phone’s cover display aside, the Galaxy Fold is a gorgeous smartphone that is commendably ambitious and satisfying to use.

Taking advantage of the product left us imagining numerous instances in which our lives would be made better by having a gorgeous 7.3-inch screen to use at will, whether that be watching more absorbing YouTube videos on the train or scrolling through a grandiose Instagram feed on the sofa.

Samsung believes the future of smartphones is foldable, and after spending time extensively testing the hardware we can say we do too.

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