I tried the $1,980 Samsung Galaxy Fold and it's impressive for a first-generation foldable phone, though far from perfect
- The Samsung Galaxy Fold is an ambitious but flawed first attempt at what could be the future of smartphones.
- Both a smartphone and a tablet, the Galaxy Fold has some impressive features, including app continuity, multitasking three apps, and a long battery life.
- There have been some issues with the screen and the overall design can be improved.
- Business Insider's Lisa Eadicicco tried the phone to see if it's worth the nearly $2,000 price tag.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Lisa Eadicicco: You may have heard, but Samsung has delayed the launch of its Galaxy Fold smartphone as it investigates issues with the device's screen. A small number of reviewers reported that the screen on their Galaxy Fold review unit had completely broken. If you look really closely, you'll see there's a protective layer over the screen on the Samsung Galaxy Fold. This is the only plastic that I found over the phone when I was unboxing it for the first time. And as you can see, there's no message, there's no warning saying not to peel off the additional layer.
But keep in mind this is an early look at the device. Samsung did say that when the Galaxy Fold does launch, it will be very clear to customers not to remove that protective layer. This is the first generation of foldable phones, so it's not going to be perfect. So let's talk about what's really great about this phone and what needs to be improved upon.So the main attraction here is the foldable display. When it's opened in tablet mode, you can see this is a 7.3-inch screen. That's a bit bigger than an iPad mini. And when you fold it and it's in smartphone mode, it's 4.6 inches. It was a little bit too small to do most tasks. I would use it to check the time or check a text message. But as you can see, all of these app icons really do look pretty tiny. But one thing that I found interesting that I did not expect, the shape feels a little bit more like a landline phone than a smartphone. So when you're holding it up to your ear to make a phone call, it actually feels normal.
So what does this phone do well? App continuity is one thing. So because this device is meant to be opened and closed, the app experience is pretty seamless whether you have it closed or open it up. So there's my Twitter feed, as you can see, and once I pop this open, you can see it's pretty seamless. But let's take a look at what the experience is like on an app that doesn't support it. So we'll look at Business Insider's app. If we click on a story, on the front display, you can open it up, and as you can see, it's still in the app, but it's not in the same story that I clicked on. So a minor inconvenience, not quite as seamless but still pretty good.
It can actually run three apps on-screen at once. I found myself using it once in a while. Usually just for two apps though, three can be a little bit overwhelming. But still, it's a testament to the device's performance, it does run pretty smoothly. I never ran into any performance bugs or anything like that. The best way to take advantage of this big screen is just to dedicate the whole thing to watching Netflix or playing a game. This is like a four-by-three aspect ratio. So it's really comfortable to hold whether you're holding it this way, playing a game, or whether you're holding it this way kind of like an e-reader.
There's a Snapdragon 855 processor in here with 12 gigs of RAM, so you can definitely breeze through apps and games. The only exception I will say is that there are a couple of little design quirks. Sometimes when I'm holding it this way to play a game, my hands cover the speakers down here, so the sound becomes a little bit muffled. And the other thing too is sometimes when I open it, I accidentally hit the Bixby button, which is on the side of the phone over here. Other than that, it's been a pretty good experience as a tablet.
But one of my favorite things about this phone that is a little bit underrated is the battery life. I used this phone for two whole days without plugging it in, and I got through two full days, which is way more than I would normally get.
You have a bunch of cameras on the device as well. So this is a 10-megapixel camera on the front for taking selfies. You also have a selfie camera on the front when it's in tablet mode as well that's also 10 megapixels. There's also an 8-megapixel depth camera. You have three cameras just like on the Galaxy S10. So this phone, like a lot of modern smartphones, also supports wireless charging.Another feature this phone has is reverse-wireless charging, which Samsung calls Wireless PowerShare, which means you can actually use this device to charge other devices too. So for example, we have the Samsung Galaxy Buds right here, which are Samsung's wireless earbuds, kind of like their version of AirPods essentially, and these also come with the Galaxy Fold for free. They're usually $130, but you get them with the Galaxy Fold. Those are some of my favorite things about the Galaxy Fold, but there also are a few things I didn't like.
One thing I definitely think could be improved upon is the design of the phone when it's folded. As you can see, it's a bit thick. It looks like two phones stacked on top of one another. If you're planning to put this in a bag or a purse, that won't really be much of an issue, but I have a really hard time fitting it in my jeans' pockets. To be fair, my iPhone also doesn't fit in my jeans' pockets. But since this one's pretty tall, you can definitely notice it for sure.
So that's an early look at the Samsung Galaxy Fold. It is very much a first-generation product, but it is interesting enough and useful enough to prove that foldable phones are more than just a gimmick. They can actually be really useful, and I think there is a place for them in the future.
I know, I'm calling you from the Galaxy Fold right now. Isn't that crazy? OK, well if you have enough for your B-roll, I'll hang up now. OK, bye.