Galaxy Fold overview: For higher or worse, Samsung’s new foldable telephone is all about its display screen


Even earlier than the raft of display screen malfunctions, it was clear how necessary the Galaxy Fold’s $1,980 display screen is. Not like different telephones, which could stand out due to a large number of cameras, extra-long battery life or a wi-fi charging trick, the Fold, like different foldable ones, will dwell and die by the standard of its bendable display screen all the way down to the its middle crease. On the one hand, the 7.3-inch display screen is luxurious at its best, making it simple to take all of it in with out squinting. At its worst, the Galaxy Fold display screen that stops working because of scratches or worse might sink the entire ship. That’s the promise — and the peril — that this new foldable telephone class embodies. 

It is also no overstatement in saying that the very act of folding and unfolding the Galaxy Fold is one thing particular. It is not sufficient to see that show open and shut — you need to really feel it for your self. Bending a display screen is a visceral motion that for me feels fully pure and proper. And after doing every little thing from watching movies to studying the information to writing emails on the telephone’s monumental 7.3-inch display screen, you may by no means wish to return to “solely” a 6-inch show once more. The promise — and peril — of foldable telephones is actual. 

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 — till June 13 for AT&T’s preorder patrons — whereas it investigated what went mistaken. That sucked, as a result of the incidents forged a pall over the Fold and over the idea of foldable telephones normally. I might been superexcited to be one of many first on the earth to attempt the Fold, however the display screen meltdown let all of the air out of the balloon.

As a result of, as the primary actual telephone of its form, the Galaxy Fold is so necessary, and due to the alarming display screen 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-after-day for greater than per week in each means an individual can use a telephone, even (gasp!) to make calls. I ran two in a single day battery drain checks, peered at its display screen from each angle, and typed till my palms ached.

Though the early manufacturing overview unit 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 closing manufacturing Galaxy Fold. The truth that the Fold has now suffered 5 display screen meltdowns earlier than it even reached clients’ palms considerations me deeply.

That Samsung someway missed correct high quality management earlier than releasing this machine will fire up recollections of the Galaxy Observe 7 battery flame-out. If reviewers hadn’t caught the display screen issues on the Fold, loads of sad clients may need shelled out $2,000 for a tool that provides extra complications than glimpses of the long run. And naturally we’ve got to surprise how it will 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 a number of years whereas ready for Corning’s bendable glass?

I ought to point out that Samsung is retrieving all overview models. Although it is doubtless the corporate needs to do some harm management earlier than extra points develop, reviewers had been additionally informed on the outdoors that we might have a restricted, 10-day overview interval earlier than having to offer the telephones again.

Learn extra: The Galaxy Fold’s display screen malfunction: All the things 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 concerning the Fold. The world does not want foldable telephones. We are able to get alongside completely advantageous with out them. However we must always need them — not because the Fold is now, however because it might 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. Possibly a kind of will stick.

The Fold’s display screen issues, whereas necessary, distract us from evaluating the place this machine works properly and the place it does 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 machine 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 small print. 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 transportable.
  • Grabbing folks’s consideration.

What the Fold is not so good at:

  • Defending the interior display screen.
  • Typing, particularly on the small exterior display screen.
  • Lengthy-lasting battery life.
  • Being round water.
  • Clean scrolling.

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


Why we care concerning the Galaxy Fold within the first place

All the objective of a foldable telephone is to offer you an expansive, uninterrupted show to look at 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 essential mass in curiosity and technological know-how to make a business machine 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-after-day. 

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

If Samsung and its rivals can repair main issues that the Fold is seeing now, and sufficient folks wind up clamoring for the design, then foldable telephones have an opportunity to vary the way in which folks use their gadgets. A foldable telephone might someday make tablets out of date.

Learn extra: Galaxy Fold pains might assist different foldable telephones succeed


Look carefully past the bezel and you may see a skinny movie on the Galaxy Fold’s display screen. Samsung says this protecting layer is not a display screen saver, and also you should not take away it otherwise you may harm the display screen.

Angela Lang/CNET

Premium on the surface, low cost feeling on the within

The Galaxy Fold has two screens, however it’s the 7.3-inch internal show that is your actual dwelling area. Whilst you get chemically hardened Gorilla Glass on the surface, this internal display screen is created from plastic, not glass — as a result of we do not have bendable glass but. Meaning the display screen’s about as delicate and tender as a younger shoot, and simply as simply mangled.

My overview unit continues to be 100% usable, with out bumps or distortion, however in the event you have a look at it carefully, over on the left aspect there is a small divot. You possibly can see it clearly in our overview video. I am not even certain when it occurred, however it does converse to the fragility of this kind of design.

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Folks attempt the Galaxy Fold for the primary time


The Fold seems and feels premium on the surface when closed up tight, because of shiny glass surfaces, luminous shade and a gleaming, dressed-up hinge. Samsung needed to go this path to justify the telephone’s excessive value. A magnetic closure helps the Fold really feel securely battened down. 


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 screen.

The plastic movie that is prompted such a ruckus is just one downside. Two reviewers took it off (I thought of doing so myself), which prompted the display screen to instantly malfunction. Samsung later stated it isn’t a display screen 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 device to offer this movie a tug.

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

On the brilliant aspect, opening and shutting the Fold feels superior. The Fold is a telephone you need to perceive on a bodily stage that phrases and images do not do justice to. You must really feel how a lot power 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 onerous, however you do should 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 isn’t simply me that thinks this. I’ve handed the Galaxy Fold round to co-workers, mates, good strangers craning to get a glance — even my septuagenarian dad and mom — and you may see their faces mild up the primary time they bend and unbend the display screen. It is such an “aha!” second. (My mother known as the display screen shade “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 concerning the display screen crease

Earlier than the Galaxy Fold screens started appearing up, this seam working down the telephone’s plastic Infinity Flex show was the factor worrying folks 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 way in which?

Sure, the crease is there, and it is extremely seen in sure mild for the straightforward and enduring purpose that foldable telephones have screens that bend in half. Till we discover a materials that fluidly self-heals when bending and unbending, we will must 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.


In case you’re not navigating video games within the middle of the display screen, the crease most likely is not in your means.

Angela Lang/CNET

After I press down on the 7.3-inch display screen 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 does not a lot get in the way in which with the few video games I’ve performed to date, and after I’m immersed in what I am doing, like studying the display screen or watching a video, every little thing else simply fades away. 

I might moderately not have a crease, however at this level, it is the least of the Fold’s display screen 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 correct aspect of the 7.3-inch show, housing two cameras and a few sensors. 

I will be sincere with you, it seems fairly ridiculous and unnecessarily giant. I get that Samsung wished to middle the cameras, however once you shine a light-weight onto the notch, you see that the lenses and two sensors take up much more room than they should. Once you play video, the notch is an enormous thick bump off to the aspect. It does 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 area.

Angela Lang/CNET

In some apps, like YouTube and video games like Riptide Renegade, the display screen in keeping 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.

In case you hate the notch sufficient, you possibly can artificially black out a part of the display screen utilizing some show settings (Show > Full-screen apps > Superior settings > Disguise digital camera cutout). That’ll simply make the bezel look thicker.

The Fold’s 4.6-inch display screen 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 midst of the physique, surrounded on all sides by a good bit of empty area. This design offers the display screen the impression of being smaller than it’s. The choice, I suppose, could be to have a fair taller display screen, 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 need to 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 one in all 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 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 absolutely contact. It is actually smaller than I feared it might be, and whereas it is noticeable, it does not stand out. I might 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 seems like a sandwich. On the correct aspect, 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 occasions.


Life is completely different with a 4.6-inch display screen.

Sarah Tew/CNET

There isn’t any headphone jack, which is OK in the event you use the free Galaxy Buds wi-fi earbuds that come within the field, however unhealthy when you have wired headphones you’d moderately use. The Fold is not waterproof, so you must take care you do not drown your funding. 

In relation to the actual enterprise of a telephone — utilizing apps — the extra compact configuration is a little more of a problem.  Though the Fold’s display screen is way smaller than any telephone you are used to, you possibly can nonetheless entry all of your put in apps. Samsung preloads a big clock widget, which you’ll 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 area 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 possibly can 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 screen generally is a problem.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Font dimension and icons are each miniaturized, which looks like a throwback to the times after we all hunched over our telephone screens, looking and pecking our means by apps. As I attempted responding to tweets and messages whereas on the go, it turned clearer and clearer that this display screen, 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.

Possibly it would be simpler to kind on the 4.6-inch display screen if the Samsung keyboard supported tracing. I might swap to Gboard, the digital keyboard I want, however then I might lose the split-screen keyboard after I open the Fold. I scoured the settings and it does not appear to be you should utilize completely different inputs on the entrance and inside screens the way in which you possibly can set completely different wallpapers.

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My answer 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 choice all alongside. That helped tremendously.

I’ve smaller fingers, so this was onerous for me, however it’s sure you may wrestle when you have larger palms. I might positively 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 photograph. 


The Fold does 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 can even 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 does not expertise lag. 

This works as anticipated and at once. However if you would like the app on the within display screen to comply with you to the smaller exterior one, you may want to pick out these apps within the Show settings. It’s because chances are you’ll not need each app to canine your heels. You may determine 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 does not help App Continuity, it nonetheless works, however you may have to resize the app for full-screen — in any other case you may see black bars on both aspect.


The cut up display screen 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 screen. My palms nonetheless stretched throughout the display screen 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 screen.

I am not the world’s largest fan of the Samsung keyboard, and it is irksome that you may’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 among the Fold’s largest promoting factors. Having the ability to use as much as three apps on the similar time is, in any case, one benefit of utilizing a bigger display screen. However multiactive home windows, because it’s known as, is sophisticated and somewhat complicated, so bear with me and I am going to do my greatest to clarify it.

More often than not, you may open an app the way in which you usually would, both by tapping the icon on your private home display screen, 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 correct aspect of the display screen (the place the sting show is on different Galaxy telephones) and launch an app that means. 


You should 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, in the event you add a 3rd app (similar means you add a second), the secondary panel divides in half to make room for the third panel. You possibly can barely resize these home windows, shut them out, and drag and drop to reposition them utilizing blue “handles” on the prime of the app. For instance, if you would like your third app to turn out to be your predominant window, you possibly can drag it over into that place. 

I observed straight away that the extra apps you’ve got open, the smaller the font. So chances are you’ll probably not wish to use all three without delay 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 change focus. You may as well flip the telephone to panorama mode to vary 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 correct and launch an app that means. Another professional tip: You may as well construct out your multiwindow display screen by dragging and dropping icons from the Recents tab. 


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

Angela Lang/CNET

All the things 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 basically sucks. I am hoping Samsung will work with prime app builders to make this occur.

Curiously, I observed that some apps may open not as a panel, however as a pop-up. 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, quite a bit 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 screen 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 possibly can power the app to increase in the event 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 photographs and selfies (outer display screen).
  • 10-megapixel digital camera (internal display screen).
  • 8-megapixel RGB depth sensor (internal display screen).
  • 12-megapixel predominant digital camera (backing).
  • 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle (backing).
  • 12-megapixel telephoto lens (backing).

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

Angela Lang/CNET

Whilst you can snap photographs utilizing the 4.6-inch display screen, Samsung expects you to make use of the Fold unfolded to take most images, as a result of you’ll higher modify the blur and settings that means. I do not love holding up a tablet-size display screen to take my images. I make enjoyable of these folks (sorry, folks). Now I’ve turn out to be a kind of folks. 

Taking images whereas the Fold is closed up is workable, however not superior as a result of it is onerous to inform in case your photograph is in focus, and it is a lot tougher to maneuver tiny sliders for Stay Focus (portrait) photographs. However in the event 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 advantageous. You possibly can both share the photograph straight away, or open the Fold for fine-tuning.

It is quite a bit 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 screen. 


One-handed digital camera photographs are good for taking a fast photograph to share straight away.

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), you get nice high quality images. 

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 would be on the rear). Maybe if Samsung magically activates safe face unlock utilizing the depth-sensing digital camera, this might be one solution to open the Fold earlier than unlocking it. It might 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 somewhat 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 both sides). 

As at all times, how lengthy you get depends upon how you employ the telephone. In my checks, the Fold actually 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’ll in the event you regularly use it open, for the straightforward purpose that the bigger display screen 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 pleased 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 internal and outer screens, is a very new trick, so there is a fraction of a delay there that I will not maintain towards 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 completely different charges on the Fold’s left hemisphere versus its proper aspect. Once you scroll shortly in both path, blocks of textual content appear to be they slant up or down. It isn’t going to get in your means, however the two sides clearly aren’t aligned. Only one thing more for Samsung’s to-do record.

Galaxy Fold vs. the Huawei Mate X


Samsung Galaxy Fold Huawei Mate X
Show dimension, decision 4.6-inch Tremendous AMOLED (1,680×720 pixels); 7.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED (2,152×1,536 pixels) 6.6-inch (2,480×1,148 pixels); 6.38-inch (2,480×892 pixels); 8-inch OLED (2,480×2,200 pixels)
Cellular software program Android with Samsung One UI TBA
Digital camera 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 At the least 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
Value off-contract (USD) $1,980 TBA, converts to $2,600 (2,299 euros)
Value (GBP) TBA, converts to £1,500 TBA, converts to £2,000
Value (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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