On top of the many latest technologies introduced to smartphones this year, the biggest one to stand out has to be the introduction of foldable smartphones. As the year ends, only one foldable smartphone has made its way to the Malaysian market; the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
As foldable smartphones are relatively new overall, it makes sense for it to be pretty expensive and niche. It doesn't help that the Samsung Galaxy Fold had to delay its launch due to what many would consider as issues that should have been fixed beforehand. But now that all is said and done, and the Galaxy Fold is currently available to consumers, it's time to see if it's worth the hype.
The difference between the first Samsung Galaxy Fold and other foldable smartphones isn't just the way it's folded. Compared to the Motorola Razr that's folded like a clamshell, or the Huawei Mate X that folds back on itself into a double sided phone, the Samsung Galaxy Fold opens up like a tablet and folds to become a thicker yet slimmer smartphone.
When I say thicker, I really mean it. With the hinge, the folded smartphone measures at 17mm from top to bottom. While it's not exactly heavy, it's not pocket friendly if your pockets are shallow, and considering how fragile the device is, I wouldn't recommend putting it in your pocket anyways. Speaking of which, the device is not dust or water resistant in any way so... yeah. Don't put it in your pcket.
Even with that said, folding and unfolding the Galaxy Fold doesn't feel fragile at all. It does feel a bit worrying when you try to unfold it due to the magnets that keep the folded phone in place, but the hinges and the overall experience makes the smartphone feel sturdy and can take as many folds and unfolds that you want. Just... don't put anything inside of the folded screen. Not even a slip of paper or a coin as you could leave an imprint on the screen unknowingly.
Probably the biggest concern many would have is whether you can see the crease of the fold when the Galaxy Fold is unfolded. The answer is; yes, you can see it. But it's not going to be constantly obvious to the point that you can't enjoy the bigger screen. In certain angles, the fold is barely visible, even more so when the screen is completely white. I wouldn't worry about it at all.
On one side of the back, you'll find a camera setup similar to the Samsung Galaxy S10, and you can definitely expect a more than decent camera on the Galaxy Fold. Pictures actually look amazing, and it's definitely a step up from how most tablets cameras have been unreliable thus far. The best part is that you can move the shutter button accordingly to accommodate your preferred place to snap your pics.
Double the screen
To detail further on the Galaxy Fold screens, it features two displays: a 4.6in HD+ Super AMOLED (21:9) with a 720x1680 resolution on the outside, and a 7.3” QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex Display (4.2:3) with a 2152x1536 resolution making up the unfolded mini-tab.
The front screen (the screen you see when the phone is folded) is really small and should only be used for simple tasks like checking notifications, making calls, or even setting up music or YouTube. To be fair, I actually like the smartphone when it's folded - but more for those simple things as I mentioned earlier. Reading anything on that screen is nearly impossible.
Unfold it though and I was definitely impressed. Not only were images bright with vivid colours, I was seeing more details on my games' starting screen and was blown away by the amount of details I had never seen before. It's definitely a great smartphone if you want to do gaming or even watch videos because it is definitely amazing visually and it has the specs to back up for it.
One of the features that got me excited about the Samsung Galaxy Fold is definitely the split view - the ability to have three apps open at once on the big screen. While I know most smartphones have the split view, the Galaxy Fold makes opening these apps easy as you just need to drag the right side of the screen to find a list of apps that you can open. All of which are adjustable and you can also select an app to type on and the keyboard pops right up - just make sure you've arranged your videos right in order to do this multitask easily without losing what you're seeing.
There's all the App Continuity. This is where you open a supported app on the front display, then watch it scale up when the phone is unfolded. With something like Google Maps or Instagram it works brilliantly, but I was definitely impressed with how seamless it was to go from the smaller screen to the bigger screen as it lacks any lag or having to reload in any way.
I'm not going to deny that the Samsung Galaxy Fold was undoubtedly impressive. But then came the question of would I actually get one for myself and the answer is; unlikely. The fragile aspect has me doubting on its value, as it definitely comes off as a device that shouldn't be taken around anywhere and should instead be kept safe at home.
But that's the thing with the first generation of foldable smartphones; it was always going to be a hit or miss. In this case, I would say it's more on a miss based on the fragility aspect, although tech wise it definitely has enough to leave me impressed. But if you're looking for a smartphone for the sake of portability and ease of use, this isn't it. I can see those who stay at home a lot will use this device, but for those on-the-go, it's definitely a no.
Even with that said, I will say that this is still a great start. Despite its fragility, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is undoubtely powerful and comes with some great features that makes it stand out. And I'm sure with more being made, Samsung is bound to improve and make it better in the future. Maybe then I will foresee people actually using foldable smartphones on a daily basis.