It finally happened. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is back and on its way to various markets now. Following delays amounting to almost half a year, staying true to its stance, and navigating through bleak times, Samsung was finally able to deliver the first mainstream foldable smartphone.
Is it perfect? Nope. Is it practical? A little bit. But there’s no denying that this is the start of a new era of smartphones that will no longer be confined to their physical dimensions and can provide a completely new experience. It’s not a product that we should be judging, but it's just a glimpse of what’s coming.
Spending some fine few moments with the Galaxy Fold, it was the fact that I was touching a bit of the future, even if it's fairly flawed in its current form. However, the very fulfillment of forwarding a fixture that can make the phone physically foldable is no frivolous feat or flex of its force, and Samsung should feel fiery for being the foremost front of this flowering that will change the face of this field forever.
This flow is likely to force the fellows' flat form-factors to follow suit, fixing the fallacy that foldables are a fad, but are instead full-fledged flagships.
The half-year-long silence by Samsung on the future of the Galaxy Fold let a lot of doubts among people. The phone was taking a hit at how it should have waited and baked to perfection, rather than rolling out a beta product that would leave a chance to complain.
Cautiously controlling our optimism levels, we went on to try out the Galaxy Fold. It is the first foldable to land in India, and, thus, was our first time going hands-on with a device of this kind. But the initial few moments with it were enough to relieve any doubts we had over the product’s practicality.
It’s still not perfect, but it is the closest thing currently possible to a functional foldable. One of the first things that struck us was how sturdy the entire package was. The hinge has the correct amount of tension and doesn’t wobble around or swing close on its own. It didn’t feel flimsy at all with a chassis this slim, which was a little surprising. But most importantly, the software bundle keeping everything tied together was pretty seamless.
App continuity is supposed to be a significant part of the Galaxy Fold experience, where you can switch from the small screen on the outside to the larger canvas on the inside, and it did a great job at keeping up with that. Samsung says that we can expect more apps to be compatible with this functionality in the future, which is what makes the entire experience.
Android is not known to be as good an operating system for tablets, and with the onslaught of iPad OS, the future looked bleak for big-screen devices as now. In such time, Samsung almost successfully created an experience that works well on small as well as big displays smoothly. Samsung has been among the few major manufacturers that still make Android tablets, and products like these are a highlight of its expertise in this space.
Playing a couple of YouTube videos and checking out some Call of Duty gameplay on the Galaxy Fold was another reminder of how smartphone displays are rightly getting bigger. It’s just a better and more immersive viewing experience, and the two side-firing speakers add an excellent loud surround sound. Ever tried playing PUBG on the phone with a small display to realize how difficult and unenjoyable it is, as your fingers cover most of the display? Gaming on the Galaxy Fold is like having double the screen real estate. Any task where viewing is a crucial element of the ordeal, a foldable will do a better job than any regular smartphone.
Our experience with the Samsung Galaxy Fold was rather brief, not enough to comment upon the longevity of the display and the hinge. It’s a challenge to keep that plastic display pristine for long or even the hinge that will bear dozens of flips every day, but that’s not the point here. It is a first-generation device, by all means, just here to test the waters, collect feedback, and develop an ecosystem for the foldable phones of the future. The durability issues are sure to go away with the advancement in technology, and Samsung being at the forefront of this new R&D is taking huge risks in helping achieve that future earlier.
Priced at Rs 1,64,999, the Galaxy Fold isn't meant for masses, but for those with that kind of a budget (presumably potential iPhone 11 Pro Max consumers, which can cost as much as Rs 1,41,900). There’s no other device that can offer the level of exclusivity as the Galaxy Fold; it's a feat that smartphone companies have just initiated to attain. If you can be extra careful, ready to baby the Galaxy Fold, it might be worth it.
For everyone else, who romanticize the idea of having a foldable phone but are not ready to invest that stature, hold on to your hats. Samsung is not the lone horse in this race and is soon going to be joined by Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, and many others, commencing the next chapter of smartphone form-factors. The added competition and investment is bound to bring more affordable and compelling foldable devices sooner than one may imagine.
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Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.