Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on: Future of foldable device hinges on longevity

The Galaxy Fold is a new breed of smartphones under Samsung’s new product category of foldable devices. After its global unveiling earlier this year, the smartphone was launched in India on October 1 at a high — but seemingly justified — price of Rs 1,64,999. The device is a special offering, with one-of-its-kind dual-screen design, with the display folding inwards like a book. There are many other things that give the device a unique user experience.

Considering that the Galaxy Fold is unlike any other smartphone that we have seen so far, it requires special care and the company has mentioned some of them on the plastic film in which the phone comes wrapped. While the device’s build seems sturdy and durable in its natural folded state, one needs to be careful while unfolding the phone and using its bendable screen. That is because the phone’s bendable screen is made of a plastic-like polymer material without any protection. Similarly, the phone’s hinge has mechanical components that enable the folding mechanism and bring a sync between the phone’s primary and bendable screens. Therefore, any external element, however small, could cause a big damage to the hinge, rendering the phone unusable.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold does offer a different user experience, but it is not a phone that you could use without care; it requires extra attention to remain in the right shape. Besides, the phone’s dimensions in the folded state are unusual, so carrying it in pocket could be challenging. Though you could operate the phone with one hand while using the primary display, you would need both your hands to unfold and use the bendable screen.

If you manage to get around the phone’s folding mechanism, using it is actually fun and convenient. The phone’s primary screen has a good touch response suitable for regular phone operations like calls, messages, etc. However, its small screen estate of 4.6-inch limits its utility to basic operations only. You might like its bigger 7.3-inch bendable screen for tasks like streaming multimedia content, multitasking and games. However, you again need to be careful while using it, as any hard pressure — perhaps during an engaging game session — could damage the screen.

For a foldable device, the Galaxy Fold brings several neatly integrated features like app continuity and three-window multitasking. These features do improve the device’s overall user experience. The app-continuity feature allows easy transition between both displays. For example, you can open an app on the phone’s primary display and continue using it on the secondary bendable screen when you unfold the device. The three-window multitasking, on the other hand, comes in handy while utilising a bigger screen estate for opening three different supported apps simultaneously. The phone also allows you to manually adjust the app windows, and position one that you want to move at a place on the screen that you choose.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Fold seems quite robust for a device with one-of-its-kind bendable screen. However, it needs some polishing, especially with regard to its bendable screen and hinge mechanism, to become a better device that one could use as a daily driver. Until then, the phone looks more like a luxury device than a smartphone that makes life easy.

Samsung Galaxy Fold key specifications

Primary display: 4.6-inch HD+ super AMOLED (21:9), 1680 x 720, 399ppi

Secondary display: Bendable 7.3-inch dynamic AMOLED (4.2:3), 2152 x 1536, 362ppi

Selfie camera: 10MP, F2.2, Pixel size: 1.22μm, FoV: 80-degree

Secondary Selfie camera: 10MP, F2.2, Pixel size: 1.22μm, FoV: 80-degree | 8MP RGB depth sensor, F1.9, Pixel size: 1.12μm, FoV: 85-degree

Rear camera: 12MP wide-angle, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, F1.5/F2.4, Pixel size: 1.4μm, FoV: 77-degree | 16MP Ultra-wide, F2.2, Pixel size: 1.0μm, FoV : 123-degree | 12MP telephoto, PDAF, F2.4, OIS, Pixel size: 1.0μm, FoV: 45-degree

RAM and ROM: 12GB and 512GB

Battery: 4,380 mAh

Others: Stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support, Single SIM, LTE, fast charging, wireless charging and reverse wireless charging support

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