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The Samsung Galaxy Fold. This is a device that was announced earlier this year before the announcement of the Galaxy S10 series of smartphones. Months passed and eventually, the Galaxy Fold was available for purchase. We have one on our hands – and we’re sharing our experience using the Galaxy Fold.

Since words can’t describe our thoughts of the Galaxy Fold, we have a video here.

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The Samsung Galaxy Fold is unlike any other device that we’ve seen so far. This is not the first foldable display in the market – but Samsung refined it so much that both the hardware and software are made to complement each other.

Unboxing

Samsung Galaxy Fold

To start this review, we’re not going to talk about the unboxing since there are numerous Galaxy Fold unboxing videos out there. We want to highlight two particular items that are included with the Galaxy Fold – the Kevlar case that is split into two halves. This Kevlar protective case adheres to the Galaxy Fold itself, which is understandable since the hinge part is impossible to latch on.

The other item that comes in the box is the Galaxy Buds. Yes, the Galaxy Fold does not have an audio jack – but to compensate for that, Samsung bundled along with their very own wireless earbuds. I mean, for the price of the Galaxy Fold, it’s the least they could’ve done. Samsung did not include their AKG-tuned wired earphones, though.

Samsung Galaxy Fold
A prompt to connect when the Galaxy Buds is opened. Nice.

Design

The Samsung Galaxy Fold comes in this funky design that splits into two parts. The hinge in between covered with this metal shroud instead of a rubbery material that we’ve seen in the Royole Flexpai.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Galaxy Fold is available in two different colors – Space Silver and Cosmos Black, though it doesn’t really affect the overall look much. Only the color change on the hinge shroud and the back of the phone are most apparent.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

I have to say, the Galaxy Fold is a fingerprint magnet. It is fairly heavy and very slippery too. Not particularly great for a phone this fragile, in my opinion.

Gripping the Galaxy Fold is a completely different story. When it is folded, gripping it with one hand is simple. There is also a dedicated fingerprint scanner on the right side of the phone, so you can use that if you wish.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

When the Galaxy Fold is unfolded however, it might be too wide to grab with just one hand. I have a large hand so there I don’t have any issues with it.

Connectivity

The Galaxy Fold still packs most of the bells and whistles like its current generation of flagships. It has a single USB-C port at the bottom of the phone, has the aforementioned fingerprint scanner, power button, and volume rockers on the right side of the side, and dual front-firing stereo speakers too. Well, they’re not front-facing – more like side-firing stereo speakers.

The Galaxy Fold also has dual SIM support. It has a single dedicated nano SIM card tray and another eSIM support. There is no microSD card support but that’s fine since it has a total of 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage in this device.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

And Samsung still managed to pack Samsung Pay, NFC, and Wireless PowerShare feature into the Galaxy Fold too! And yes, it is able to wirelessly charge the Galaxy Buds via this feature.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Display

Okay, I think this might be the longest part of this review. The Samsung Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch Super AMOLED display with a 720p display that has a 21:9 aspect ratio. I find that this display is perfect as an auxiliary display to read some messages and notifications. Great to get something quick and simple done, too.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

When unfolded. it reveals the flexible, foldable 7.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED display. This is a display that has 2152×1536 pixels in resolution, which measures to a 4.2:3 aspect ratio display. Honestly, I find this resolution to be weird at first, but eventually fell in love with this aspect ratio because it is great for work since I have a pretty square display.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Samsung made 4 key changes to this version 2 of the first generation of Galaxy Fold. Firstly, there are end caps around the top and bottom of the hinge for better ingress protection. Secondly, there is a thin metal sheet under the flexible display for strength. This actually also makes the display lay flat without wrinkling itself, preventing the “orange peel effect”.

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Thirdly, the protective layer on the display is extended from edge to edge now, so there is no urge to peel off the display anymore. Last but not least, Samsung also narrowed the gap between the two halves of the phone when unfolded, which essentially makes the hinge shroud disappear.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

In a way, I’m glad that Samsung had to delay the Galaxy Fold’s release date. With these refinements, the Galaxy Fold now feels even more polished to the point that it is actually very practical for a first-generation product of a new form factor.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

To address some concerns about the crease – yes, we can all see the crease, but only at a specific angle or with bright light reflections. Because of how we mostly hold the phone and look straight at the screen, the crease is invisible for most of the time.

I can feel the crease when I’m playing games like Mario Kart Tour that requires swiping from left to right constantly. That crease is definitely felt, but it is tiny and never once hindered my performance in getting long drifts in the game.

Cameras

Because of how the Galaxy Fold folds, there are a total of 6 cameras on this device. The Galaxy Fold has these cameras:

  • Triple rear-facing cameras
    • Ultrawide angle: 16MP f/2.2 with 123° FOV
    • Main: 12MP f/1.5 or f/2.4; with OIS
    • Telephoto: 12MP f/2.4; with OIS
  • Folded selfie camera: 10MP f/2.2 with autofocus
  • Unfolded selfie cameras:
    • 10MP f/2.2 with autofocus
    • 8MP RGB Depth Camera

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Essentially, it’s the Galaxy S10+ (review) but wrapped in a completely different form factor. The duplicated selfie cameras mean that you can take selfie pictures with the auxiliary display or the big display – and the transition between the two selfie cameras is seamless.

Anyway, we’ve seen this picture quality before. It’s technically the same cameras found on both the Galaxy S10+ (review) and Note10+ (review) anyway. You can view the pictures in full resolution with all metadata in our Shutterfly album here.

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Software – Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung One UI v1.5

This version of One UI on the Galaxy Fold has some other features built into it. We still has most of the One UI features found on other Samsung flagships here, too. Particularly, we just want to highlight two new features here – app continuity and triple app multitasking.

The app continuity here is made specifically to accommodate the unfolding and unfolding of display and how the app “continues” from one display to another. By default, all apps opened with the small display will try to scale up to the big display when unfolded. Emphasis on the word “try” here because not all apps support the app continuity.

I highly recommend you to watch our review video to fully understand what we mean here.

By default, when the Galaxy Fold folded, it goes to sleep as if the power button had been pressed. But Samsung developed another feature to manually select apps to scale from the big unfolded display to the smaller display. Once again, not all third-party apps can scale properly.

For the latter use case, I can only think of Google Maps is the one use case – and it scales back and forth the small and big display seamlessly too. I also tested with Pokémon Go – and surprisingly, that game scales without any issues!

Samsung Galaxy Fold multitask

As for the triple multitasking app, it is pretty much the same as Samsung’s current split-view but has another app running. Functionality remains the same, too. With such a big display, it makes multitasking much easier.

Performance

I’m not going to talk much about the performance of the Galaxy Fold here. It’s running this hardware:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • 12GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage
  • 4,380mAh battery

This type of hardware isn’t particularly new or special, so I’m just going to breeze through. The benchmark scores are as follows:

Samsung Galaxy Fold 3DMark benchmark Samsung Galaxy Fold VRMark benchmark Samsung Galaxy Fold Geekbench 4 benchmark Samsung Galaxy Fold Antutu benchmark

Gaming

Obviously, the Galaxy Fold can handle whatever games we throw at it. However, the gaming experience in this form factor is what makes it different.

Because of its form factor, the gaming experience on the Galaxy Fold is unlike any other. It is using a squarish display in a world of rectangular displays, the pre-rendered parts of the game look weird and stretched. Luckily, the game itself is perfectly fine – at least with those that we’ve tried.

Even with games that require swiping across the center of the crease, I had no qualms with it. Take a look at our recorded Mario Kart Tour gameplay.

Battery

Samsung employed split-battery technology. There are two batteries in the Galaxy Fold – one on each half – and totals up to 4,380mAh in total.

Throughout our use, we found out that the battery life test isn’t exactly applicable here since there are two displays and the battery life varies depending on which screen you use more. However, we can safely say that the Galaxy Fold can last you throughout a single day’s use.

Samsung Galaxy Fold battery life benchmark

Charger

the Galaxy Fold does come with a 25W charger, and it uses USB PD 3.0 standards just like the Galaxy Note10 series. Its charging speed is pretty similar to what we found in our review of the Galaxy Note10+ here.

Folding up the Samsung Galaxy Fold review

I honestly love this phone. Can I even call it a phone? The Samsung Galaxy Fold is a special device that broke my preconception of what a handheld companion device can be. This device is practical as both hardware and software are made to complement each other.

Obviously, there is room for improvement. I would like to see a display that can be manhandled and IP-rating on a foldable device. Other than that, the device is perfectly fine on its own. Maybe a grippier and a not-so fingerprint magnet design would be better?

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Perhaps it might be a far-fetched wish – but I do wish that there is an S Pen hidden inside the hinge, like the Nintendo DS and 3DS. That would make the Galaxy Fold the ultimate device.

For the price of RM8,388, it’s definitely not a must-buy. However, we here at Nasi Lemak Tech cohesively said that the Galaxy Fold is a must-try. I was a skeptic at first – but then I used the Galaxy Fold for a good week, and now I am a firm believer. Despite being a first-generation product to a completely new form factor, the Galaxy Fold is very well-made.

The experience is just out of this world. The form factor and compactness are amazing.


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