Galaxy Fold overview: The potential and peril of foldable telephones has by no means been clearer


I knew from the second I held it that the $1,980 Galaxy Fold, the world’s first main foldable cellphone, could be one thing totally different, one thing particular. Feeling the display open and shut was such a visceral motion that felt pure and proper. And after doing all the pieces from watching movies and studying the information to writing emails on that big 7.3-inch display, you may by no means wish to return to “solely” a 6-inch show once more. The promise — and peril — of a foldable cellphone is actual. And it is all within the display, middle crease or no.

We knew there could be rising pains, however no person anticipated the screens on some reviewers’ telephones to malfunction so shortly, or for Samsung to postpone the Fold’s April 26 sale date for weeks whereas it investigated what went incorrect. That sucked, as a result of the incidents forged a pall over the Fold and over the idea of foldable telephones basically. I had been tremendous excited to be one of many first on this planet to attempt the Fold, however the display meltdown let all of the air out of the balloon.

As a result of the Galaxy Fold is so vital as the primary actual cellphone of its sort, and due to the alarming display developments, I’ve taken my time making this analysis as thorough as attainable to keep away from any knee-jerk response. All of us deserve higher than that. I’ve used the Fold on daily basis for greater than per week in each approach an individual can use a cellphone, even (gasp!) to make calls. I ran two in a single day battery drains assessments, peered at its display from each angle and typed till my palms ached.

Though the early manufacturing overview unit that Samsung gave me by no means a lot as flickered, CNET will maintain off giving the machine an official ranking till we have absolutely examined a last manufacturing Galaxy Fold. The truth that the Fold suffered now 5 display meltdowns earlier than it even reached clients’ palms deeply considerations me.

That Samsung in some way missed correct high quality management earlier than releasing this machine will fire up recollections of the Galaxy Word 7 battery flame-out. If reviewers hadn’t caught the display issues on the Fold, lots of sad clients may need shelled out $2,00Zero for a tool that provides extra complications than glimpses of the long run. And, in fact, we’ve to surprise how this may have an effect on different foldable telephones, such because the Huawei Mate X and the (rumored) foldable Moto Razr. Will the true foldable revolution stall just a few years whereas ready for Corning’s bendable glass?

I ought to point out that Samsung is recollecting all overview models. Whereas it is doubtless the corporate desires to do some injury management earlier than extra points develop, reviewers have been additionally advised on the outdoors that we might have a restricted, 10-day overview interval earlier than having to present the telephones again.

Learn: The Galaxy Fold’s display malfunction: Every part that you must know

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Our Galaxy Fold did not break. Here is what’s good and…


After per week, I am nonetheless divided in regards to the Fold. The world would not want foldable telephones. We will get alongside completely positive with out them. However we should always need them — not because the Fold is now, however the way it could possibly be. I hope the Fold’s early misfortunes do not deter Samsung and others from making an attempt once more. The model is already rumored to be at work on two extra separate designs. Perhaps a kind of would be the ticket.

The Fold’s display issues, whereas actual, additionally distract us from evaluating the place this machine works properly and the place it would not. We want to have the ability to let the drama settle and actually take a look at what the Fold has to supply. So that is what I’ll do.

Let’s agree that the Galaxy Fold is a testbed machine for builders and the earliest adopters to purchase, and for the remainder of us to ponder over — after which lets put that apart and dive into the small print. Are you with me?

What the Galaxy Fold is finest at:

  • Display viewing, e.g. studying and watching movies
  • Opening and shutting
  • Multitasking
  • Being transportable
  • Grabbing folks’s consideration

What the Fold is not so good at:

  • Defending the inner display
  • Typing, particularly on the small exterior display
  • Lengthy-lasting battery life
  • Being round water
  • Easy scrolling

Whenever you open the Fold, any app you launched on the surface additionally opens on the within.


Why we care in regards to the Galaxy Fold within the first place

The promise of a foldable cellphone is all in regards to the display. Particularly, about supplying you with an expansive, uninterrupted show to look at movies, play video games and browse on, then put away in your pocket.

Firms have made foldable cellphone idea sketches and prototypes for years, however the Galaxy Fold marks the primary time there’s been sufficient crucial mass in curiosity and technological know-how to make a industrial machine attainable. Samsung is not alone. Huawei’s Mate X and TCL‘s dedication to future foldable are making this new bendable design extra actual on daily basis. 

Even Google’s in on the motion, pledging Android help in order that its software program will swap from one display orientation to a different as you fold and unfold the show. Somewhat-known firm bought the primary foldable cellphone, the Royole FlexPai, however Samsung’s Fold is the primary “actual” foldable cellphone for most individuals. 


Look carefully past the bezel and you may see a skinny movie ringing the Galaxy Fold. Samsung says this protecting layer is not a display saver, and also you should not take away it otherwise you would possibly injury the display.

Angela Lang/CNET

All foldable telephones will begin off ultra-expensive — the 4G model of the Fold begins at $1,980, and the Mate X prices about $2,600. UK and Australian costs have not been introduced, however $1,980 converts to about £1,500 or AU$2,750. 

There should be kinks to work out on launch. But when Samsung and its rivals can repair main issues that the Fold’s seeing now, and sufficient folks wind up clamoring for the design, then foldable telephones have an opportunity to alter the best way folks use their gadgets. A foldable cellphone might at some point make tablets out of date.

Learn: Galaxy Fold “loss” could possibly be Mate X’s and foldable Motorola Razr’s achieve

My Galaxy Fold’s 7.3-inch display: No breaks, however a dent

The Galaxy Fold has a small 4.6-inch display you need to use when it is closed, but it surely’s the 7.3-inch inner show that is your actual dwelling house. When you get chemically hardened Gorilla Glass on the surface, this interior display is created from plastic, not glass — as a result of we do not have bendable glass but. Meaning the display’s about as tender and tender as a younger shoot, and simply as simply mangled.

The Galaxy Fold’s physique depend is as much as 5 amongst early reviewers. My overview unit continues to be 100% usable, with out bumps or distortion, however should you take a look at it carefully, over on the left facet there is a small divot. You may see it clearly in our overview video.

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Galaxy Fold offers foldable telephones a black eye


It is doubtless that one thing vicious in my purse marked up the display after I tossed the Fold in open to complete a benchmarking check whereas getting off a practice. It virtually seems like a the half moon of a fingernail. I am not even positive when it occurred, but it surely does communicate to the fragility of one of these design.

Premium on the surface, low-cost feeling on the within

It is the bendable display inside that makes the Galaxy Fold so uncommon, however there’s rather a lot in regards to the total design that radiates its standing as first-generation and unfinished. 

It seems and feels premium on the surface when closed up tight, because of shiny glass surfaces, luminous colour and a gleaming, dressed-up hinge. Samsung needed to go this route as a way to justify the cellphone’s excessive worth. A magnetic closure helps the Fold really feel securely closed. 


I do not anticipate plastic bezels on a $2,000 “luxurious” cellphone. Do you?

Angela Lang/CNET

However while you open it up, the inside feels and appears toylike, with plastic bezels and a big notch to match the plastic display.

The plastic movie that is brought about such a ruckus is just one downside. Two reviewers took it off (I considered doing so, myself), which brought about the display to instantly malfunction. Samsung later mentioned it isn’t a display guard, however an integral a part of the cellphone’s construction. With a skinny border between this protecting layer and people plastic bezels, it is arduous to inform — there’s sufficient room to simply slide in a fingernail or instrument to present this movie a tug.

One other hassle is the mud and lint that likes to gather on this hole. Extra worrisome, maybe, are small twin openings between the display and the hinge, one on both pole when the Fold is open. You may see how one thing might work its approach in there.

On the intense facet, opening and shutting the Fold feels superior. The Fold is a cellphone you must perceive on a bodily stage that phrases and images do not do justice. You need to really feel how a lot pressure that you must throw into it to shut the machine and open it once more. To gauge the smoothness of that massive hinge because the “wings” open and shut. It is not arduous, however you do have to be deliberate, and I just like the little little bit of exertion the Fold calls for from you. And that clack when it does shut! Extraordinarily satisfying.


The Infinity Flex show is product of a sort of plastic as a result of bendable glass is not out there but.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It is not simply me that thinks this. I’ve handed the Galaxy Fold round to coworkers, associates, good strangers craning to get a glance — even my septuagenarian dad and mom — and you may see their faces gentle up the primary time they bend and unbend the display. It is such an “aha!” second. (My mother known as the display colour “pure and glowing.”)

I do love that I can really zip the Fold into the pocket of a short-waisted, fitted leather-based jacket. After I’ve completed a session of use, I can merely shut it up with a snap and stash it away. 

Let’s be actual in regards to the display crease

Earlier than the Galaxy Fold screens started appearing up, this seam operating down the cellphone’s plastic Infinity Flex show was the factor worrying folks most. It was ugly, they mentioned, whereas fretting over long run put on and tear. Would the crease worsen? wouldn’t it get in the best way?

Sure, the crease is there, and it is extremely seen in sure gentle for the easy and enduring cause that foldable telephones have screens that bend in half. Till we discover a materials that fluidly self-heals when bending and unbending, we will should put up with some quantity of creasing. Foldable screens with outward bends such because the Mate X and FlexPai have an apparent ridge, too. So does your elbow.


If you happen to’re not navigating video games within the middle of the display, the crease in all probability is not in your approach.

Angela Lang/CNET

After I press down on the 7.3-inch display when the Fold is opened, I can really feel the hinge mechanism beneath, however I do not actually really feel it if I am swiping frivolously. It would not a lot get in the best way with the few video games I’ve performed to this point, and after I’m immersed in what I am doing, like studying the display or watching a video, all the pieces else simply fades away. 

I would fairly not have a crease, however at this level, it is the least of the Fold’s display worries.

The notch stands out like a sore thumb

As a lot as I just like the Fold’s seems, a few of its design components are actual head-scratchers. First, there’s that notch. It is a roughly inch-long cutout on the precise facet of the 7.3-inch show, housing two cameras and a few sensors. 

I will be trustworthy with you, it seems fairly ridiculous and unnecessarily giant. I get that Samsung wished to middle the cameras, however while you shine a light-weight onto the notch, you see that the lenses and two sensors take up far much less room than they should. Whenever you play video, the notch is a giant thick bump off to the facet. It would not ever impede the motion of a scene, however I do not assume it must be fairly so massive. 


The Galaxy Fold’s notch is taking over various house.

Angela Lang/CNET

In some apps, like YouTube and video games like Riptide Renegade, the display in step with the notch blacks out to create wider bars on both facet. You do not discover the notch a lot, however you additionally do not get the full-screen expertise.

If you happen to hate the notch sufficient, you may artificially black out a part of the display utilizing some show settings (Show > Full-screen apps > Superior settings > Conceal digital camera cutout). That’ll simply make the bezel look thicker.

The Fold’s 4.6-inch display is simply too small and slender

Samsung’s foldable cellphone is tall and slender when closed, and the 4.6-inch exterior show feels small floating in the course of the physique, surrounded on all sides by a good bit of empty house. This design offers the display the impression of being smaller than it’s. The choice, I suppose, could be to have a fair taller display, which could current a few of its personal challenges formatting frequent apps.

When it is folded up, the Fold feels a bit like a flip cellphone or older candybar cellphone, making it handy for putting calls. It is much less handy to launch the digital camera by double-pressing the facility button, or unlocking the cellphone when it is folded up. These buttons are on the second camel hump when the Fold is closed, so you must attain throughout one layer to press them. That results in inaccuracy.


Speaking on the closed-up Fold is comfy and is smart.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Fold will get certainly one of my favourite new Samsung options, Wi-fi PowerShare. This allows you to cost up one other machine you placed on the Fold’s again. That went properly for smaller equipment such because the wi-fi Galaxy Buds. However the S10 Plus, a wider cellphone than the Fold, needed to be located simply so or it’d slide off. 

When the Fold is totally closed, there’s an air hole — the opening closest to the Galaxy Fold’s hinge the place the 2 halves meet do not absolutely contact. It is actually smaller than I feared it might be, and whereas it is noticeable, it would not stand out. I might simply slip in a bank card. Then I slipped in one other. The Fold stayed folded, principally due to the strain created by the magnets. 

The Fold’s hinge strikes easily, however a big mechanism right here additionally makes the width of the cellphone’s “wings” fairly slender. Closed, it seems like a sandwich. On the precise facet, there is a quantity rocker and an influence button, and the fingerprint reader doubles because the Bixby button. I’ve by accident pressed it quite a few instances.


Life is totally different with a 4.6-inch display.

Sarah Tew/CNET

There isn’t any headphone jack, which is OK should you use the free Galaxy Buds wi-fi earbuds that come within the field, however dangerous if in case you have wired headphones you’d fairly use. The Fold is not water resistant, so that you must take care you do not drown your funding. 

On the subject of the actual enterprise of a cellphone — utilizing apps — the extra compact configuration is a little more of a problem.  Though the Fold’s display is far smaller than any cellphone you are used to, you may nonetheless entry all of your put in apps. Samsung preloads a big clock widget, which you’ll be able to faucet to get into your clock app (helpful for setting an alarm), and you may change this widget up if you would like. 

There’s additionally the Google Search bar, and house for 3 app icons. You may make folders, in order that helps put extra on the web page, and naturally there are a number of residence screens, so you may shortly get to your apps. The app tray can be simple to invoke by swiping up from the underside, as you’ll on different telephones.


Typing on that tiny display could be a problem.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Font dimension and icons are each miniaturized, which appears like a throwback to the times once we all hunched over our cellphone screens looking and pecking our approach by way of our apps. As I attempted responding to Tweets and messages whereas on the go, it grew to become clearer and clearer that this display and its digital keyboard, are too small to be helpful. I can virtually kind precisely after I’m motionless, however as soon as I began strolling or being bounced by a practice or bus, the errors grew to the purpose of being unreadable.

Perhaps it might be simpler to kind on the 4.6-inch display if the Samsung keyboard supported tracing. I might swap to Gboard, the digital keyboard I favor, however then I would lose the split-screen keyboard after I open the Fold. I scoured the settings and it would not seem like you need to use totally different inputs on the entrance and inside screens the best way you may set totally different wallpapers.

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My resolution was to make use of voice enter, however Samsung’s default software program solely mangled my phrases extra. I used to be in a position to flip it off within the settings, which fell again to Google’s voice enter, my desire all alongside. That helped tremendously.

I’ve smaller fingers, so it this was arduous for me, but it surely’s sure you may wrestle if in case you have greater palms. I would undoubtedly depend on Google Voice or Bixby to do sure issues, like place a name, seek for retailer hours or flip Wi-Fi on and off.

The one factor I’ll say is that the Fold is straightforward to make use of one-handed when folded up, particularly if all you wish to do is observe maps navigation or snap a fast photograph. 


The Fold would not shut completely flat.

Sarah Tew/CNET

‘App Continuity’ works as marketed

Whenever you open the Fold, any app you’ve got open on the surface may also unfurl on the within. That is known as App Continuity, and it is one thing Samsung and Google labored on collectively to make it possible for the Fold would not expertise lag. 

This works as anticipated and directly. However if you need the app on the within display to observe you to the smaller exterior one, you may want to pick out these apps within the Show settings. It is because you could not need each app to canine your heels. You would possibly determine that, for many apps, closing the cellphone means closing out what you are doing.

Proper now, WhatsApp, Microsoft, Spotify, Amazon Prime Video, Samsung and Google apps have all been optimized to make use of the design. If the app would not help App Continuity, it nonetheless works, however you may must resize the app for full-screen — in any other case you may see black bars on both facet.


The cut up display keyboard is useful.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The second you begin typing, you may discover that Samsung splits the keyboard to make it extra comfy on the bigger display. My palms nonetheless stretched throughout the display and obtained drained, however I by no means felt like I used to be going to drop the Fold and I nonetheless most well-liked it to typing on the smaller display.

I am not the world’s greatest fan of the Samsung keyboard, and it is irksome which you could’t hint to kind in split-screen mode. I am positive that third-party digital keyboard replacements will rise to the problem. 

Multitasking: There’s an artwork to utilizing three apps directly

Multitasking is without doubt one of the Fold’s greatest promoting factors. With the ability to use as much as three apps on the identical time is, in spite of everything, one benefit of utilizing a bigger display. However multi-active home windows, because it’s known as, is difficult and a little bit complicated, so bear with me and I am going to do my finest to elucidate it.

More often than not, you may open an app the best way you usually would, both by tapping the icon on your own home display, selecting it out of your Recents tab, or swiping up from the underside to pick out from the app tray. Now say you wish to chat with somebody when you’re enjoying YouTube movies. You swipe from the precise facet of the display (the place the sting show is on different Galaxy telephones) and launch an app that approach. 


You should utilize as much as three apps directly.

Angela Lang/CNET

You may discover that opening the second app scooches the primary one over to the left so the second can load as a tall, slender panel. Then, should you add a 3rd app (identical approach you add a second), the secondary panel divides in half to make room for the third panel. You may barely resize these home windows, shut them out, and drag and drop to reposition them utilizing blue “handles” on the high of the app. For instance, if you need your third app to change into your fundamental window, you may drag it over into that place. 

I observed immediately that the extra apps you’ve got open, the smaller the font. So you could probably not wish to use all three directly on a regular basis. However if you wish to shortly open the calculator when you’re studying a information story, you do not have to cease what you are doing to modify focus. You can too flip the cellphone to panorama mode to alter the orientation, which makes the home windows wider and shorter. 

To load an app on the primary window, you swipe as much as entry the app tray. To open an app on one of many different home windows, you flick from the app tray on the precise and launch an app that approach. Yet one more professional tip: You can too construct out your multiwindow display by dragging and dropping icons from the Recents tab. 


Closed, the Fold seems like two telephones stacked one on one other. You may see the fingerprint reader/Bixby button under the lock button. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Every part I simply described occurs in an ideal world, however there are limitations. You may by no means have the choice to open some apps as secondary or tertiary panels, and that basically sucks. I am hoping Samsung will work with high app builders to make this occur.

Curiously, I observed that some apps would possibly open not as a panel, however as a pop-up (see my embedded Tweet above). On this case, I opened Netflix to start out a obtain, after which opened Google Drive to discover a file whereas I waited. I had anticipated Drive to open as a panel, and was stunned to see it as a window in a window, rather a lot just like the picture-in-picture view that permits you to see Google Maps navigation as a thumbnail whereas specializing in one thing else solely. I expanded the pop-up and moved it round utilizing the identical “handles.”

Talking of the Netflix obtain (two episodes of the British interval spy drama Traitors), the picture did not naturally fill the display and I did not see an onscreen management to increase it — simply black bars on the highest and backside. Samsung will certainly wish to work with Netflix on formatting, as a result of this isn’t a great association. You may pressure the app to increase should you dig round within the show settings, however that did not change something for Netflix.


The Galaxy Fold is available in black, inexperienced, silver and blue.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Fold’s six cameras are nearly as good as on the S10 Plus

The Galaxy Fold has a complete of six cameras: three on the again, one on the entrance and two inside:

  • 10-megapixel digital camera for fast pictures and selfies (outer display)
  • 10-megapixel digital camera (interior display)
  • 8-megapixel RGB depth sensor (interior display)
  • 12-megapixel fundamental digital camera (backing)
  • 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle (backing)
  • 12-megapixel telephoto lens (backing)

You would possibly get stared at taking images with the Galaxy Fold open, however you may fine-tune your shot.

Angela Lang/CNET

When you can snap pictures utilizing the 4.6-inch display, Samsung expects you to make use of the Fold unfolded to take most images, as a result of you’ll higher alter the blur and settings that approach. I do not love holding up a tablet-sized display to take my images. I make enjoyable of these folks (sorry, folks). Now I’ve change into a kind of folks. 

Taking images whereas the Fold is closed up is workable, however not superior as a result of it is arduous to inform in case your photograph is in focus, and it is a lot tougher to maneuver tiny sliders for Reside Focus (portrait) pictures. However should you’re actually taking a fast pic, or do not wish to draw consideration to your self by unfolding the Fold, then it’s very positive. You may both share the photograph immediately, or open the Fold for fine-tuning.

It is rather a lot simpler to take selfies from the closed place than from the open place, and it is also extra personal — you do not have everybody and their canine watching you examine your tooth in your 7.3-inch display. 


One-handed digital camera pictures are good for taking a fast photograph to share immediately.

Angela Lang/CNET

Since Samsung is utilizing the very same cameras on the Galaxy Fold because it does on the Galaxy S10 Plus (and S10 5G), so that you nice high quality images. 

I am intrigued by the 8-megapixel depth-sensing digital camera on the within, because it’s primarily going for use for selfies, not for AR experiences in entrance of you (or else it might be on the rear). Maybe if Samsung magically activates safe face unlock utilizing the depth-sensing digital camera, this is able to be one solution to open the Fold earlier than unlocking it. It could possibly be used to confirm on-line funds. Till then, the fingerprint reader is quick and straightforward sufficient to make use of open or closed. I am going to get into that in a little bit extra element under.

Strong battery life and efficiency, however scrolling can get bizarre

Samsung guarantees all-day battery life on the Galaxy Fold’s 4,380-mAh energy supply (which is cut up into two batteries, one for all sides). 

As all the time, how lengthy you get is determined by how you utilize the cellphone. In my assessments, the Fold definitely went from morning till night time, however I did must plug it in once more on the finish of the day. The Fold will last more closed than it would should you frequently use it open, for the easy cause that the bigger display calls for extra energy.


We see the identical digital camera setup because the Galaxy S10 Plus.

Sarah Tew/CNET

That was evident in CNET’s looping video drain battery check in airplane mode. Open, the Fold lasted 16 hours on the primary run and 17 hours on the second. Examine that to the Galaxy S10 Plus, which ran 21 hours with the identical check.

The Galaxy Fold makes use of the identical Snapdragon 855 processor because the Galaxy S10 telephones, and I am joyful to report that benchmarking check scores fall proper in line. Utilizing apps on the large and little screens felt quick. App continuity, which shuffles apps between the interior and outer screens, is a very new trick, so there is a fraction of a delay there that I will not maintain in opposition to Samsung and Google at this early stage.

What I’ll level out — and I do know I am not the primary reviewer to take action — is a bizarre impact known as “jelly scrolling” that makes the textual content scroll at totally different charges on the Fold’s left hemisphere versus its proper facet. Whenever you scroll shortly in both route, blocks of textual content seem like they slant up or down. It is not going to get in your approach, however the two sides clearly aren’t aligned. Only one other thing for Samsung’s to-do listing.

Galaxy Fold vs. the Huawei Mate X


Samsung Galaxy Fold Huawei Mate X
Show dimension, decision 4.6-inch Tremendous AMOLED; 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED 6.6-inch (2,480×1,148 pixels); 6.38-inch (2,480×892); 8-inch OLED (2,480×2,200)
Cell software program Android 9.Zero with Samsung One UI TBA
Digicam 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (extremely wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto) 4 rear cameras
Entrance-facing digital camera Two 10-megapixel, 8-megapixel 3D depth Not less than one
Video seize TBA TBA
Processor Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Kirin 980 processor
Storage 512GB 512GB
Expandable storage No No
Battery 4,380-mAh twin battery 4,500-mAh twin battery
Fingerprint sensor Energy button Energy button
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack No No
Particular options Foldable show, wi-fi charging, quick charging Foldable show, quick charging
Worth off-contract (USD) $1,980 TBA, converts to $2,600 (2,299 euros)
Worth (GBP) TBA, converts to £1,500 TBA, converts to £2,000
Worth (AUD) TBA, converts to AU$2,750 TBA, converts to AU$3,620

Initially printed April 15 at 6 a.m. PT and up to date typically.


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