When we received an invitation to give the Samsung Galaxy Fold a try, we immediately jumped the plane and headed to Samsung’s office. There, an Astro Blue unit was waiting for us, and we already shared our initial impressions of the device. Now, however, we have the phone at HQ and we are eager to put it through its paces and see where it fits in the bigger picture.
The first thing you see when you open the box is the majestic 4:3 OLED screen in an unfolded manner. It is pretty much a standard 7.3” tablet which, thanks to Samsung, you can now put comfortably in your pocket. And when it folds for the first time and hear the “thump”, you instantly become Owen Wilson and start saying “wow”.
When you see images of the Galaxy Fold at a specific angle, you might miss the crease. But it is always there. Slight natural light on the screen reveals the bend, and in some cases, there is even a color difference between the left and right half. This is clearly something we'll have to live with until technology matures further and we’ll see how bothersome it is during the review.
There is quite the debate among our team about when you would use the small front screen. Although it is 4.6” in diagonal, it has a 21:9 ratio, but humongous bezels around it. The obvious use case is talking - after all, the Galaxy Fold is a phone - there is no speaker on the inside, so you have to use the device folded. Even if you try to speak with a 4:3 slate next to your ear, the screen will promptly ask you to either close the Fold or use the speakers.
As to other uses - while you can do just about anything on the small screen that you can on the big one, the opinions are split if the user experience is going to be any good. After all this is a premium piece of technology and resorting to its tiny, bezel-heavy screen will always feel like a compromise.
One thing that we found worrisome is the gesture controls on the large screen. Sure, you can swipe up from the right part and go back or swipe up from the left side and see all running processes, but if you want to swipe from the middle to go home, the crease is getting in the way and that is pretty annoying. You better stick to regular controls with three software buttons.
There are plenty of cameras on the phone - one on the cover for video conversations, two on the inside for selfies and three on the back for the highest quality pictures. The rear setup on paper looks like everything you might want from a mobile device - regular shooter, coupled with a telephoto unit and an ultra-wide-angle camera.
All things considered though, the Samsung Galaxy Fold makes a first impression like no other phone in recent memory. It got the office buzzing and we are very curious to find out if everybody will be just as excited about it come the end of the review. Keep an eye on our homepage to find out!