Tech Guide goes hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone
Tech Guide has taken its first look at Samsung’s first foldable smartphone – the Galaxy Fold – which was unveiled back in February but in our hands for the very first time at the IFA tech show in Berlin.
From the first moment we got the Galaxy Fold in our hands we could feel the impressive build quality.
The metal edges and the sophisticated hinge felt solid in our hand.
In the folded position, it’s really easy to grip the device. In this mode, it’s less than the width of a regular smart phone but has enough room to fit in a 4.6-inch display.
We were immediately impressed with the quality of the screen on the front which is what you’d use for simple messaging, making receiving phone calls and any other task that doesn’t require much screen real estate.
The back of the Galaxy Fold had a glossy finish which easily showed up any fingerprints.
To unfold the device takes two hands. The hinge is pretty sturdy and needs both hands on the job to open it up completely.
When it snapped open, there was a satisfying click when the hinge locked into place and suddenly we were looking at a 7.3 inch Dynamic AMOLED display.
This is a tablet size screen that a few seconds ago was actually folded in half.
The screen is bright and responsive with a touchscreen just like any other smartphone you’ve ever used.
But now we had a bit of room to move and could enjoy web browsing on a grander scale.
Apps could now be used like never before and photos and videos came to life on this larger canvas.
We could imagine a user taking advantage of the larger folding screen to enjoy their favourite video content on a commute, on a flight or anywhere.
One thing that intruded on the larger screen experience was the camera notch on the top right corner.
You’d think with so much space inside Samsung could have tucked the camera away a little more discreetly to square off the top of the screen.
But despite that it was still amazing to browse our own website and look at images and videos in a way that could only be delivered if we had a tablet in our bag as well.
Having that larger screen also makes it easier for multitasking.
Users can run up to three apps at once.
We started with one app and then swiped in from the right side to reveal a list of other apps we could open.
Immediately the second app took up half the screen and we were able to adjust the amount of screen space assigned to the app by sliding a finger along the dividing line.
We swiped again from the right and shows yet another app to run with the others.
And you’re also able to drag and drop the apps and swap them to other locations on the screen.
To us, this is one of the biggest attractions of the device – being able to do up to three things at once.
Now your email inbox can take up a larger area as does the keyboard when you need to enter text.
The added size and width of the keyboard made it a lot easier to type on the go – something not many people would want to do on a small smartphone screen.
But the added space on the Galaxy Fold main screen made it really easy to type and stay productive.
The continuity feature was also pretty impressive. That means that whatever you’re doing on the inside screen will seamlessly continue on the outside screen when you fold the device.
It also works in the opposite direction if you’re using a screen on the smaller display and open up the Galaxy Fold, it will immediately be seen on the larger inside screen.
The big screen also comes in handy when you want to frame your photos through the dual camera system or the rear triple camera.
Even in the closed position you can access the rear camera and there is also a selfie camera above the front 4.6-inch display.
When the screen is open, you can notice the line of the fold in the right light.
But when watching your content or viewing photos and videos or using apps, the fold tended to fade into the background and wasn’t nearly as noticeable.
When you fold the device up again, there is a little bit of space near the hinge so it looks more like a wedge than a flat rectangle.
On the hinge side in the folded position, the device is 17mm thick and 13.8 mm on the outer edge.
When the Galaxy Fold is open to the larger display, the thickness is just 6.9mm.
Even when folded, the device wasn’t as thick as we’d imagined.
In fact, it was thin enough to easily fit in our back pocket.
Now we’re not sure we’d leave it there if we had to sit down but it is far less bulky than you think.
Would we use this as our daily driver? Most definitely.
Having that extra screen space literally at your fingertips is an exciting prospect and we can’t wait to do our complete review.
Australians can expect to see the Samsung Galaxy Fold in the next couple of months – we’re expecting an October launch – but we’ve been assured it will definitely be well before Christmas.
One thing we learned about the Galaxy Fold is that Australia will only be receiving the 4G variant of the device.
Other regions will be offered the 5G versions.
We’ve got no idea on what the price will be but, rest assured, it will be expensive.
Between our weak Australian dollar and the premium you pay for brand-new technology, the Galaxy Fold could well be around the $3,000 mark.
At that price, it’s not a product that everyone will be able to afford.
And for others, a regular screen is all they need.
Stay tuned to Tech Guide for a complete review of the Samsung Galaxy Fold soon.
* Stephen Fenech travelled to Berlin as a guest of Lenovo and Samsung