It’s the most buzzworthy phone we’ve seen in quite some time, it was rumoured, teased, recalled, rumoured again and now it’s finally seen the light of day - it’s the enigmatic Samsung Galaxy Fold.
It hasn’t been an easy journey for the Galaxy Fold. With a piece of tech on its hands that no other manufacturer was ready to launch, Samsung initially rush-released the Fold, which led to early models coming back with some serious faults.
Since then, Samsung fixed the issues and has now released the head-turning smartphone to consumers.
Here at uSwitch HQ we’ve been lucky enough to get some hands-on time with this highly sought-after smartphone, so let’s see what the Samsung Galaxy Fold has to offer.
First impressions and design
First and foremost, you’re going to notice the design - simply put, the Galaxy Fold looks like nothing else out there. It folds inwards like a book, when closed the rectangular ‘cover’ hosts a 4.6-inch screen that does everything you need - check your emails, make calls, download apps - all the normal things you do on a smartphone.
Its shape when closed is a bit of a throwback to the days before smartphones. It’s a bit chunky, but it’s really easy to grip and use on the move - check a message while walking or quickly snap a photo and you’ll have absolutely no concerns of a big screen device slipping out of your hands and having an unwanted meeting with the pavement.
Then when you’re settled, at your desk, on the tube, at home, you can open the Fold to reveal the 7.3-inch screen - it’s like having a mini tablet in your pocket. Not only does this dual screen set-up look really cool, it’s also incredibly practical.
When opened, the big AMOLED screen is a stunning sight to behold. It’s bright and clear, and shows plenty of detail so it’s excellent for reading books, playing games, streaming content and watching videos.
The folding mechanism is really solid too. When it’s closed it's firmly in place, so there’s no danger of it unfolding in a bag, and when opened all you have to do to close it is gently press the barely-noticeable crease in the middle of the display and shut it with a satisfying snap.
Samsung has perfected the dual-axis hinge, so it’s smooth and sturdy with no awkward feeling when you go from open to closed and vice versa. It's said to be good for over 200,000 folds too, which is more than enough to keep you folding for around five years.
If you’ve got any lingering doubtss that the Galaxy Fold is a gimmick that won’t match up to ‘traditional smartphones’ you’re mistaken, its camera is just as good as you’ll find on other devices. The three camera set up on the back of the Fold is the same as you’ll find on the Galaxy S10 and S10+. There’s a 12MP wide-angle camera for portraits, 16MP ultra wide-angle camera to get the bigger picture and a 12MP telephoto zoom camera to close in on the action.
As mentioned, you can use the camera like normal when the Fold is closed, but open it up and take wonderfully detailed photos on the big, square screen. Instagram in particular looks fantastic, so it’s an excellent device for social sharing.
There are three cameras on the front too, which in total give the Fold an impressive six camera line up. On the front cover you’ll find a 10MP camera to snap quick selfies with. Open up the big screen there's another 10MP camera and an 8MP depth sensor camera. With the Fold’s bg screen you get a great view of your selfie before you’ve even snapped it.
Performance and battery life
The Galaxy Fold has the same internal make up of the S10 and Note 10, so you’ll get a fast and fluid smartphone that multitasks without a hitch even with multiple tabs open. In fact, multitasking is something the big screen does really well. You can split the display and literally work on multiple apps a once - reply to a message without having to pause your stream.
And with a screen that’s bordering on tablet size, the Galaxy Fold needs a battery to match, and in fact it has two. There’s a battery in each side of the Fold, combining to give the biggest batter seen in a Samsung with 4,380mah of juice to keep you going for around a day and a half's worth of regular use. If you’re constantly streaming and gaming this may drop down a bit but you should still get through a whole day.
Value and verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is an exciting device. Here at uSwitch mobiles we’ve had people coming to get a play of the Fold from all over the office, no other device can match it’s buzz and intrigue.
It works exceptionally well as a knockout combo smartphone, the front screen is more than worthy of doing general smartphone tasks, and when unfolded you’ll be thinking “did this mini-tablet really just come out of my pocket?” From watching content on a long train and playing games in super-sized fashion, for pure entertainment purposes it takes all the accolades.
But, compared to most other releases, it’s quite clunky and certainly weighs more than even the biggest smartphones. Whether you want to use a small rectangular screen and have the big screen for special use is also a factor that may not be appealing to some consumers.
And finally, there’s the price. The Galaxy Fold is not cheap. In fact, it costs £1900, that's more than an iPhone 11 Pro Max or a Galaxy Note 10 Plus. But, for your money you’re getting a truly unique device that doubles up as a smartphone and a tablet that fits in your pocket. And at the very least will impress practically everyone you meet.