Galaxy Fold overview: The potential and peril of foldable telephones have 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 telephone, could be one thing completely different, one thing particular. Feeling the display open and shut was such a visceral motion that felt pure and proper. And after doing every thing from watching movies and studying the information to writing emails on that big 7.3-inch display, you will by no means wish to return to “solely” a 6-inch show once more. The promise — and peril — of a foldable telephone are actual. And it is all within the display, middle crease or no.

We knew there could be rising pains, however no one anticipated the screens on some reviewers’ telephones to malfunction so rapidly, or for Samsung to postpone the Fold’s April 26 sale date for weeks whereas it investigated what went fallacious. That sucked, as a result of the incidents forged a pall over the Fold and over the idea of foldable telephones normally. I had been tremendous excited to be one of many first on the earth 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 necessary as the primary actual telephone of its sort, and due to the alarming display developments, I’ve taken my time making this analysis as thorough as potential to keep away from any knee-jerk response. All of us deserve higher than that. I’ve used the Fold day by day for greater than every week in each manner an individual can use a telephone, 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 gadget an official score till we have totally examined a remaining manufacturing Galaxy Fold. The truth that the Fold suffered now 5 display meltdowns earlier than it even reached clients’ palms deeply issues me.

That Samsung one way or the other missed correct high quality management earlier than releasing this gadget will fire up reminiscences of the Galaxy Observe 7 battery flame-out. If reviewers hadn’t caught the display issues on the Fold, numerous sad clients might need shelled out $2,00Zero for a tool that provides extra complications than glimpses of the long run. And, in fact, we now have to surprise how this can 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 items. Whereas it is seemingly the corporate needs to do some injury management earlier than extra points develop, reviewers have been additionally advised on the exterior that we might have a restricted, 10-day overview interval earlier than having to provide the telephones again.

Learn: The Galaxy Fold’s display malfunction: All the pieces you want to know

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


After every week, I am nonetheless divided in regards to the Fold. The world would not want foldable telephones. We are able to get alongside completely positive with out them. However we must always need them — not because the Fold is now, however because 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 type of would be the ticket.

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

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

What the Galaxy Fold is greatest at:

  • Display screen viewing, e.g. studying and watching movies
  • Opening and shutting
  • Multitasking
  • Being moveable
  • Grabbing individuals’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

Once 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 telephone is all in regards to the display. Particularly, about providing you with an expansive, uninterrupted show to observe movies, play video games and browse on, then put away in your pocket.

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

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


Look intently past the bezel and you’ll 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 still 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 individuals wind up clamoring for the design, then foldable telephones have an opportunity to alter the best way individuals use their units. A foldable telephone may in the future make tablets out of date.

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

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

The Galaxy Fold has a small 4.6-inch display you should utilize when it is closed, however it’s the 7.3-inch inside show that is your actual dwelling house. Whilst you get chemically hardened Gorilla Glass on the surface, this internal display is constructed from plastic, not glass — as a result of we do not have bendable glass but. Meaning the display’s about as comfortable 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 remains to be 100% usable, with out bumps or distortion, however for those who have a look at it intently, over on the left aspect there is a small divot. You’ll be able to see it clearly in our overview video.

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Galaxy Fold provides foldable telephones a black eye


It is seemingly that one thing vicious in my purse marked up the display after I tossed the Fold in open to complete a benchmarking take a look at whereas getting off a prepare. It nearly appears just like the half moon of a fingernail. I am not even certain when it occurred, however it does converse to the fragility of this kind of 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 so much in regards to the total design that radiates its standing as first-generation and unfinished. 

It appears and feels premium on the surface when closed up tight, due to shiny glass surfaces, luminous shade and a gleaming, dressed-up hinge. Samsung needed to go this route with a view to justify the telephone’s excessive worth. A magnetic closure helps the Fold really feel securely closed. 


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

Angela Lang/CNET

However once 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 precipitated such a ruckus is just one drawback. Two reviewers took it off (I considered doing so, myself), which precipitated the display to instantly malfunction. Samsung later stated it isn’t a display guard, however an integral a part of the telephone’s construction. With a skinny border between this protecting layer and people plastic bezels, it is onerous to inform — there’s sufficient room to simply slide in a fingernail or software to provide this movie a tug.

One other trouble is the mud and lint that like 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’ll be able to see how one thing may work its manner in there.

On the intense aspect, opening and shutting the Fold feels superior. The Fold is a telephone you must perceive on a bodily stage that phrases and pictures do not do justice. You must really feel how a lot drive you want to throw into it to shut the gadget and open it once more. To gauge the smoothness of that massive hinge because the “wings” open and shut. It is not onerous, however you do must 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 manufactured from a sort of plastic as a result of bendable glass is not obtainable but.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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

I do love that I can truly zip the Fold into the pocket of a short-waisted, fitted leather-based jacket. Once 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 telephone’s plastic Infinity Flex show was the factor worrying individuals most. It was ugly, they stated, whereas fretting over long-term put on and tear. Would the crease worsen? Would it not get in the best way?

Sure, the crease is there, and it is extremely seen in sure gentle for the easy and enduring motive that foldable telephones have screens that bend in half. Till we discover a materials that fluidly self-heals when bending and unbending, we’ll need to 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.


Should you’re not navigating video games within the middle of the display, the crease in all probability is not in your manner.

Angela Lang/CNET

Once 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 evenly. It would not a lot get in the best way with the few video games I’ve performed up to now, and after I’m immersed in what I am doing, like studying the display or watching a video, every thing else simply fades away. 

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

The notch stands proud like a sore thumb

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

I will be trustworthy with you, it appears fairly ridiculous and unnecessarily massive. I get that Samsung wished to middle the cameras, however once you shine a lightweight onto the notch, you see that the lenses and two sensors take up far much less room than they should. Once you play video, the notch is a giant thick bump off to the aspect. 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 on numerous house.

Angela Lang/CNET

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

Should you hate the notch sufficient, you’ll be able to 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 slim

Samsung’s foldable telephone is tall and slim 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 provides 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 telephone or older candybar telephone, 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 telephone 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 sensible.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Fold will get one in all my favourite new Samsung options, Wi-fi PowerShare. This allows you to cost up one other gadget you placed on the Fold’s again. That went effectively for smaller equipment such because the wi-fi Galaxy Buds. However the S10 Plus, a wider telephone 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 totally contact. It is truthfully smaller than I feared it will be, and whereas it is noticeable, it would not stand out. I may simply slip in a bank card. Then I slipped in one other. The Fold stayed folded, largely 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 telephone’s “wings” fairly slim. Closed, it appears like a sandwich. On the suitable aspect, there is a quantity rocker and an influence button, and the fingerprint reader doubles because the Bixby button. I’ve by chance pressed it quite a few occasions.


Life is completely different with a 4.6-inch display.

Sarah Tew/CNET

There is no headphone jack, which is OK for those who use the free Galaxy Buds wi-fi earbuds that come within the field, however unhealthy when you have wired headphones you’d relatively use. The Fold is not waterproof, so you want to take care you do not drown your funding. 

On the subject of the true enterprise of a telephone — utilizing apps — the extra compact configuration is a little more of a problem.  Though the Fold’s display is far smaller than any telephone you are used to, you’ll be able to 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 (useful for setting an alarm), and you’ll change this widget up if you would like. 

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


Typing on that tiny display is usually 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 telephone screens searching and pecking our manner via our apps. As I attempted responding to tweets and messages whereas on the go, it turned clearer and clearer that this display and its digital keyboard, are too small to be helpful. I can nearly kind precisely after I’m motionless, however as soon as I began strolling or being bounced by a prepare 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 may swap to Gboard, the digital keyboard I choose, however then I would lose the split-screen keyboard after I open the Fold. I scoured the settings and it would not appear like you should utilize completely different inputs on the entrance and inside screens the best way you’ll be able to set completely 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 onerous for me, however it’s sure you will wrestle when 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 simple to make use of one-handed when folded up, particularly if all you wish to do is comply with maps navigation or snap a fast picture. 


The Fold would not shut completely flat.

Sarah Tew/CNET

‘App Continuity’ works as marketed

Once you open the Fold, any app you’ve got open on the surface will even unfurl on the within. That is referred to 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 immediately. However if you would like the app on the within display to comply with you to the smaller exterior one, you will 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 resolve that, for many apps, closing the telephone 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 assist App Continuity, it nonetheless works, however you will have to resize the app for full-screen — in any other case you will see black bars on both aspect.


The cut up display keyboard is useful.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The second you begin typing, you will discover that Samsung splits the keyboard to make it extra comfy on the bigger display. My palms nonetheless stretched throughout the display and acquired 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 that you could’t hint to kind in split-screen mode. I am certain that third-party digital keyboard replacements will rise to the problem. 

Multitasking: There’s an artwork to utilizing three apps without delay

Multitasking is likely one of the Fold’s greatest promoting factors. With the ability to use as much as three apps on the identical time is, in any case, one benefit of utilizing a bigger display. However multi-active home windows, because it’s referred to as, is difficult and a bit of complicated, so bear with me and I am going to do my greatest to clarify it.

More often than not, you will open an app the best way you usually would, both by tapping the icon on your property 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 whilst you’re enjoying YouTube movies. You swipe from the suitable aspect of the display (the place the sting show is on different Galaxy telephones) and launch an app that manner. 


You need to use as much as three apps without delay.

Angela Lang/CNET

You will discover that opening the second app scooches the primary one over to the left so the second can load as a tall, slim panel. Then, for those who add a 3rd app (identical manner you add a second), the secondary panel divides in half to make room for the third panel. You’ll be able to 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 would like your third app to develop into your principal window, you’ll be able to drag it over into that place. 

I observed immediately that the extra apps you’ve got open, the smaller the font. So you could not likely wish to use all three without delay on a regular basis. However if you wish to rapidly open the calculator whilst you’re studying a information story, you do not have to cease what you are doing to change focus. You may as well flip the telephone to panorama mode to alter the orientation, which makes the home windows wider and shorter. 

To load an app on the principle 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 suitable and launch an app that manner. Yet another professional tip: You may as well construct out your multiwindow display by dragging and dropping icons from the Recents tab. 


Closed, the Fold appears like two telephones stacked one on one other. You’ll be able to see the fingerprint reader/Bixby button under the lock button. 

Angela Lang/CNET

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

Apparently, 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, so much just like the picture-in-picture view that permits you to see Google Maps navigation as a thumbnail whereas specializing in one thing else totally. 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 broaden 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 super association. You’ll be able to drive the app to broaden for those who 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 pretty much 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 photographs and selfies (outer display)
  • 10-megapixel digital camera (internal display)
  • 8-megapixel RGB depth sensor (internal display)
  • 12-megapixel principal digital camera (backing)
  • 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle (backing)
  • 12-megapixel telephoto lens (backing)

You would possibly get stared at taking pictures with the Galaxy Fold open, however you’ll be able to fine-tune your shot.

Angela Lang/CNET

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

Taking pictures whereas the Fold is closed up is workable, however not superior as a result of it is onerous to inform in case your picture is in focus, and it is a lot more durable to maneuver tiny sliders for Reside Focus (portrait) photographs. However for those who’re truthfully taking a fast pic, or do not wish to draw consideration to your self by unfolding the Fold, then it’s very positive. You’ll be able to both share the picture immediately, or open the Fold for fine-tuning.

It is so much simpler to take selfies from the closed place than from the open place, and it is also extra non-public — you do not have everybody and their canine watching you examine your enamel in your 7.3-inch display. 


One-handed digital camera photographs are good for taking a fast picture 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 pictures. 

I am intrigued by the 8-megapixel depth-sensing digital camera on the within, because it’s basically 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 may be one strategy 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 simple sufficient to make use of open or closed. I am going to get into that in a bit of 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 at all times, how lengthy you get relies on how you utilize the telephone. In my assessments, the Fold definitely went from morning till night time, however I did have to plug it in once more on the finish of the day. The Fold will last more closed than it would for those who frequently use it open, for the easy motive 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 take a look at 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 take a look at.

The Galaxy Fold makes use of the identical Snapdragon 855 processor because the Galaxy S10 telephones, and I am comfortable to report that benchmarking take a look at scores fall proper in line. Utilizing apps on the large and little screens felt quick. App continuity, which shuffles apps between the internal and outer screens, is a totally 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 referred to as “jelly scrolling” that makes the textual content scroll at completely different charges on the Fold’s left hemisphere versus its proper aspect. Once you scroll rapidly in both path, blocks of textual content appear like they slant up or down. It is not going to get in your manner, 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)
Cellular 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 A minimum of 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 revealed April 15 at 6 a.m. PT and up to date usually.


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