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Hands On With the Samsung Galaxy Fold

Hands On With the Samsung Galaxy Fold
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The Samsung Galaxy Fold is big, expensive, and a little ridiculous. It’s also one of the most innovative and versatile phones we’ve seen in years.
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Samsung is well known for its versatile lineup of smartphones, from its low-end Galaxy J models to the flagship Galaxy S series. But the company’s latest phone, the $1,980 Galaxy Fold, is pushing the boundaries of versatility—as well as price—to new heights. Samsung visited PC Labs to give us some hands-on time with its first folding flagship. It’s big, it’s expensive, and it’s little ridiculous. It’s also really cool.

  • Thicker Than Your Average Smartphone

    It’s no surprise that the Fold is thicker and heavier than other smartphones. It weighs 10.35 ounces, and measures 6.33 by 2.47 by 0.66 inches (HWD) folded. That’s almost the same height as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (6.37 inches) and about twice as thick (0.35 inches).
  • Easier to Carry Than a Phone and a Tablet

    At nearly 11 ounces, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is noticeably heavy but well balanced. You can easily hold it folded in one hand on a long commute, or unfolded while reading a book. And it’s definitely lighter than carrying both a phone and a tablet.
  • Small Display, Big Bezels

    The front of the phone is home to a 4.6-inch AMOLED display and a 10MP selfie camera. The 1,680-by-720 screen is small but sharp. You can easily use it for any task you’d use a normal smartphone for, though the keyboard may feel a little cramped. The bezels around the display are pretty big, but after a few minutes you get used to them.
  • Unfolded

    Unfold the phone to find a stunning 7.3-inch, 2,152-by-1,536 AMOLED screen. There’s a small air gap at the top and bottom where the hinge is located. It’s also worth noting there is a protective shield that covers the display. Though Samsung hasn’t announced any type of service plans, we assume this is something that can be replaced by a technician should it get scratched.

  • The Crease Is Not a Big Deal

    Yes, there’s a small crease where the phone folds, but it’s nearly imperceptible unless you’re looking at it from an angle or you’re on a page with a white background. You can physically feel it, but we only noticed this once when running a finger across the middle of the display. In short, it’s not a deal breaker by any stretch.
  • The Back Looks Like Every Other Smartphone

    The back of the phone is pretty standard fare. There’s a Gorilla Glass 6 panel with a contrasting metal hinge. You’re looking at the chartreuse (Martian Green) model with a gold hinge, but there are six different color variations available. A triple camera stack sits on the back left side with a 16MP ultra wide-angle lens, a 12MP wide-angle lens, and a 12MP telephoto lens.

  • An Aluminum Frame Replaces (Most) Bezels

    A small aluminum frame wraps around the unfolded display. It’s small enough to be inconspicuous, but still doesn’t feel quite as polished as the foldable Huawei Mate X. Since this isn’t a hole punch display like on the Samsung Galaxy S10, there’s a notch at the top right corner. There’s so much display real estate that we don’t find it bothersome. If you do, you can add a virtual top bezel in the settings.
  • Chunky Hinge

    A chunky metal hinge sits in the middle of the Fold. It’s either dark polished silver or gold, depending on the color of the phone. When closed there’s a small gap where the hinge connects the front and back of the phone. The hinge gap is there intentionally; it provides a bit of vertical give to minimize damage if you accidentally drop it. While it’s sturdy enough to place in your bag or front pocket, you’re shouldn’t put the phone in your back pocket or apply a lot of pressure to it.
  • Magnets Provide a Satisfying Snap

    In addition to the hinge, Samsung uses magnets in the Fold, which provide a satisfying snap when you close it. That said, it’s much easier to close the phone with one hand than to open it. Although it’s possible to open the phone with one hand with a little practice, it feels a little precarious; using two hands feels much safer.
  • A Display (and UI) Made for Multitasking

    The Galaxy Fold ships with Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung’s new One UI design. While One UI is a solid addition to the Samsung Galaxy S10 lineup, it truly shines on the Fold. The shortcut switch navigation bar on the right side of the display allows you to quickly open multiple apps. You can open three apps on the unfolded display, with the option of adding an additional five popup apps. It’s perfect for when you want to send an email and watch YouTube at the same time, or have your calendar and email apps open side by side. That said, this feature works with a limited number of apps right now.
  • App Continuity

    App Continuity is where the Galaxy Fold shines. It lets you to open an app like Google Maps on the front display, then unfold the phone to pick up right where you left off.
  • A Better Value Than You Think

    While the Galaxy Fold is quite an investment no matter how you look at it, you’re getting three devices for $1,980: a smartphone, a tablet, and a pair of Galaxy Buds. In comparison, a 512GB iPhone XS Max, an iPad, a pair of AirPods, and a basic silicone case comes in at $2,066.
  • Availability

    Samsung sold out of its first batch of preorders, but you can currently register for the next round. AT&T started preorders on April 15 and at the time of publication the estimated ship date is June. T-Mobile will begin taking orders on Thursday, April 25. Select AT&T, Best Buy, T-Mobile, and Samsung Experience Stores will begin selling the phone on Friday, April 26.
  • Full Review Is Coming Soon

    Expect a full review of the Samsung Galaxy Fold in the coming weeks. We’re holding off until we get our hands on a US unit so we can properly test network connectivity, Bixby, Samsung Pay, and other features. We’re optimistic based on what we’ve seen so far, though. If nothing else, the Samsung Galaxy Fold brings excitement and innovation back to the smartphone market after years of cookie-cutter flagships.

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