Two months after an announcement where Samsung talked about the Galaxy Fold but did not allow anybody to actually touch it, we finally got our hands on it today. The $1,980 device begins shipping on April 26th, but it will likely be in very limited quantities.
Okay, here’s what you are really waiting for: you can see (and feel) the crease on the folding screen, but it’s really not that noticeable and perhaps worth the trade-off of having a big screen that you can fold up.
Buying the first iteration of any new kind of gadget is fraught with risk. And the Fold is a first: it’s a phone with a 4.6-inch screen that folds out to reveal a 7.3-inch tablet inside. That’s how we have all thought of it, anyway: as a folding phone. But after using the Galaxy Fold for about an hour today, I have started to come around to thinking of it as a small tablet that happens to fold up.
That brings me back to that screen: it has 7.3 inches in a nearly 4:3 aspect ratio. It gets plenty bright, and you can use it fully flat or with the Fold sort of half-open like a paperback book. As I said above, you can see the crease from an angle, but it mostly disappears when you are looking at it head-on. You can also feel the crease, which is a little disconcerting. But you get over it.
There is also that notch in the upper right corner, which houses the two cameras and various proximity and light sensors that every phone needs. That notch does get in the way sometimes.
In terms of specs, the Galaxy Fold is very similar to a Galaxy S10 Plus. It has the same Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. The cameras are similar to what you’d find on that phone, too, but there are more of them. The battery is 4,380mAh, with cells on both sides of the fold
On the back, you will find a three-camera array: one regular, one telephoto, and one wide angle. When the phone is closed, there is a single front-facing 10-megapixel lens. When you have it opened to tablet mode, there’s a giant notch that houses yet another camera plus an RGB depth-sensing camera.
That’s technically six cameras, which is probably too many cameras.
Yes, there are rough edges in the software, and the folding screen does not feel as premium as other screens in this price category. There are still plenty of reasons to turn your nose up at the Galaxy Fold, especially at a price of $1,980.
It’s a totally working folding phone. That’s amazing. Whatever cynicism you want to feel about its issues, you can’t be cynical when you open it up for the first time.