Technology

24 hours with Galaxy Fold: What it’s like to use Samsung’s first foldable phone for a day





The Galaxy Fold was redesigned to maintain out mud — and hold you from peeling off any important components.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Samsung not too long ago unveiled the second iteration of its first foldable, named the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Particulars in regards to the new system stay scant. The corporate says it will share extra info, together with the Z Fold 2’s price and preorder details, on Sept. 1. Within the meantime, the original Galaxy Fold stays an intriguing telephone, one that you could really purchase proper now (get the Galaxy Fold for $1,980 at Best Buy). I purchased one final 12 months and spent the day with it so I might report again on every little thing from the folding hinge to the show. The decision? I liked the Galaxy Fold greater than I believed I’d. I unboxed it within the morning, after having waited in line at Samsung’s London retailer since 5:30 a.m. the day of its launch. After spending the day enjoying about with its jazzy hinge design, I observed just a few issues in regards to the telephone. Learn on for final 12 months’s account of 24 hours spent with Samsung’s first foldable.


To start with, there is no noticeable protecting layer that you just is perhaps wrongly tempted to peel off. This was one of many major errors in the phone’s first design; a movie was laid excessive of the show that appeared similar to a kind of layers you fortunately peel off if you get a brand new telephone. It was really a vital a part of the design, and a few journalists who had early review samples of the Fold peeled it off, which ruined the show. 

The shortage of seen movie on the up to date model means there’s much less likelihood of you wrecking your dear telephone on Day 1. Samsung has additionally extra securely sealed the sting of the show with plastic caps on the two factors the place it folds, which hopefully will cease mud particles getting underneath the floor (one other ache level from spherical one). 

The unique design had a spot between the hinge the place the Galaxy Fold does its folding, and the 2 arms of the screens. That is now diminished. Additionally, you may’t see an extra metallic plate beneath the show, which is supposed to bolster the delicate plastic display, however Samsung assures us it is there.

However past these design tweaks, the telephone stays unchanged. The hinge feels clean to make use of and the telephone snaps shut satisfyingly like these snappy circumstances you get along with your glasses. 

However what in regards to the crease within the show? Properly, it is there and there is no getting away from it. Catch reflections from overhead lights in the fitting manner and you’ll simply see ripples throughout the floor, as a substitute of the sleek expanse of glass you will see on every other smartphone. 

It may be just a little off-putting at instances. I discovered that it is largely an issue if you’re watching a darkish video, which makes overhead gentle reflections — and subsequently, the crease — extra apparent. But it surely’s solely the reflections that make you discover; the show itself does not warp and there is no change in shade or brightness the place it folds. 

In the event you watch a brilliant video — otherwise you’re in a darkish room with no reflections from ambient gentle — you will not discover. I actually did not once I watched a number of Carfection YouTube videos in our dimly lit studio. The identical was true for an episode of Breaking Dangerous on Netflix. I actually could not see any sort of crease and will as a substitute simply benefit from the content material on a large display.

samsung galaxy fold ifa 2019 product photos 1


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There is, of course, a cut-out notch in the top left corner (assuming you’re holding it in landscape orientation, and in the upper right corner when it’s in portrait mode). I’m quite used to notches and cut-outs now from the recent iPhones and the Galaxy S10 Plus, so this really wasn’t a problem for me and it didn’t spoil my viewing. If you don’t like notches on other phones, odds are you won’t love it here either. At least there’s so much screen that the notch takes up relatively less space than on other devices. 

Later on in the day, I was navigating my way through London’s maze-like Soho district, trying to find an office for a meeting. In the taxi on the way there it was great seeing Google Maps displayed on that massive screen. Out on the street, however, I didn’t want to gingerly carry a massive — and expensive — device so openly, so I snapped it shut and used the 4.6-inch outer display. 

For me, this display is just a little too small. It’s fine for seeing incoming calls, changing music on Spotify or using as the camera viewfinder instead of looking like a buffoon who takes pictures on a tablet. But its small size means you have to have accurate fingers to type on it. Sending a quick reply to an email or a WhatsApp message is tough, particularly if you’re walking, but opening up the phone to its full tablet mode often isn’t convenient either. 

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The Galaxy Fold is best used in tablet mode.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It’s frustrating, as that outer screen looks squashed in. I’d have loved to have seen it go further to the edges, giving enough room to make it usable as a standalone device. Right now, it’s best thought of as a stopgap until you can find a moment to unfold it into true tablet mode. 

It was my first day with the phone, so I reserved judgment on the processor performance, camera quality and battery life until we were able to do a lot more testing. Read more about the phone’s performance in our in-depth Galaxy Fold review. Plus, here’s our review of the Galaxy Fold’s original design, with many more details from our sister site Tech Republic on what it’s like to use a foldable phone.





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Author

Andrew Hoyle