We were expecting many folding smartphones this year, with the first major release being the Samsung Galaxy Fold. But due to the Galaxy Fold’s problems and Huawei’s ongoing issues, the excitement around them has cooled. Issues with the screen delayed the Fold’s initial April 25 release, but they are now fixed and and the device is finally available to the public.
You can check out our full Samsung Galaxy Fold review, but there’s a ton to explore outside of that. Here’s absolutely everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is now available
After months of delays and fixes, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is now available to the public. The device costs $1,980, and can be bought from Samsung.com — though it’s also available from Best Buy. If you prefer to buy through a carrier, the device can be bought through AT&T — though unfortunately, it’s not available from T-Mobile as the original device was supposed to be.
A new Galaxy Fold model is damaged — here’s Samsung’s comment
The new Galaxy Fold is finally set to start shipping to customers, however it seems like issues may not be totally addressed just yet. A report from TechCrunch notes that a new review model has been damaged after only a day of use. Brian Heater, the reviewer at TechCrunch, opened up the phone to find that there was a bright blog of pixels on the display, right over the hinge. Heater went on to note that the issue could be due to pressing on the display to fold it.
We reached out to Samsung, and a spokesperson responded with a comment.
“We have seen an enthusiastic response to the launch of the Galaxy Fold in several markets over the past few weeks, with thousands of consumers enjoying the unique experience it offers,” said the Samsung spokesperson in a statement to Digital Trends.
“The Galaxy Fold is a first-of-its-kind device, made with new materials and technologies that allow it to open and close just like a book.
“We encourage Galaxy Fold owners to read the care instructions included in the box and in the product manual available online. Products used within these guidelines are covered under warranty. If they have any questions, Galaxy Fold owners can consult with Samsung product specialists through the Galaxy Fold Premier Service any time, any day.”
It’s important to note that every phone has some manufacturing issues, and many other reviewers, including us, have been using the phone for a few days with no issue. Because of that, there’s no reason to assume that the new version of the Galaxy Fold is destined for the same issues as the original — at least not yet.
Here’s what has happened so far
When the Fold was initially releaser earloier this year, some reviewers, who were the first to get their hands on the Samsung Galaxy Fold, found the phone’s display had either completely broken or was partially damaged after just days of use.
CNBC, for example, says that its review unit was completely unusable. The Verge’s unit was also damaged, with a small bulge that caused the display to distort. YouTube reviewer Marques Brownlee removed the film on his phone to find that the display had broken. Samsung has warned users not to remove the protective layer of the phone, which may look like a basic screen protector. Still, CNBC says that it didn’t remove anything from the screen.
Following the reports, a Samsung spokesperson gave Digital Trends the following statement:
“A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter. Separately, a few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen. The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.”
Samsung recalled all the review models sent to journalists. The model sent to Digital Trends did not break or stop working.
After a few months of radio silence, news emerged, and was confirmed by Samsung, that the device would be rereleased in September — and soon after, Samsung announced a September 27 release date for a revised version Galaxy Fold. This revised model prevents users from being able to remove the protective film, and caps have been added to the top and bottom of the hinges to prevent dust and dirt from entering the phone. Unfortunately, Samsung cancelled all pre-orders of the phone, instead giving those that did pre-order the phone a $250 gift card. Customers were able to again order the phone if they wanted to, and they were not charged for their original pre-order.
Samsung also launched a new Premier Service for new buyers of the phone, giving customers the ability to contact Samsung support quickly and easily at any time of the day.
Design and display
Featuring an Infinity Flex display, the Samsung Galaxy Fold goes from a 4.6-inch display for phone mode and folds out to reveal a separate 7.3-inch display on the inside. Don’t worry, Samsung hasn’t emphasized the large screen experience over the small screen, as the Fold has also been designed to be comfortable to hold when folded. The 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Dynamic AMOLED display has a resolution of 2152 × 1536 pixels, while the smaller Super AMOLED 4.6-inch display has a resolution of 1680 x 720 pixels.
The fold is comprised of a sophisticated hinge system with multiple interlocking gears, hidden inside the spine. That fold is tested using a series of machines that repeatedly fold and unfold the phone. Samsung says that the stress test folds a device 200,000 times, and takes around a week to complete. Check out the machine in the video below.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold comes in four colors: Cosmos Black, Space Silver, Martian Green, or Astro Blue, and you can choose a different color for the phone’s spine.
Samsung worked with Google and the Android developer community to tailor apps like WhatsApp, Microsoft Office, and YouTube. The interior screen is so big it can be used for three-app multitasking. You can watch a video, chat about it, and browse options on the web all at the same time. Samsung has shown this off with YouTube running on the left, a WhatsApp chat window at the top right, and a web browser at the bottom right.
The displays work together for a seamless experience thanks to something Samsung calls app continuity, so you can switch between screens without missing a beat. The demonstration showed us a smooth transition between screens while using Google Maps and Netflix.
“The Galaxy Fold is a device unlike any that’s come before it,” said Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president of mobile marketing. “It’s a versatile smartphone, tablet, and camera.”
Don’t worry, you get cutting edge specifications to match that cutting edge design.
There’s plenty of processing power inside the Samsung Galaxy Fold, thanks to the inclusion of this year’s flagship — the Snapdragon 855. That chip should be plenty powerful enough to handle the Galaxy Fold’s unusual design, while 12GB of RAM means it should also be excellent at handling multiple apps at once. It’s worth noting that a high amount of RAM makes more sense on the Galaxy Fold than other smartphones, as the unfolded screen can be used to run three apps at once. There’s no need to worry about running out of storage space either. The Galaxy Fold comes with 512GB of universal flash storage, and it can read data twice as fast as other smartphones.
There’s one final surprise hidden inside the foldable smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy Fold has two batteries — one in each side of the device. Splitting the batteries like this allowed Samsung to get around the problem of having to have a folding battery. While that may seem like a lot of juice, if you’re switching to the large inner display a lot (and why wouldn’t you?) then it’s likely it’ll last you about a day. There’s a difference between the battery sizes, depending on the model you get. The LTE model’s battery is rated at 4,380mAh, while the 5G model will have a 4.235mAh battery.
Wired charging capabilities are slightly disappointing due to Samsung’s continued love affair with QuickCharge 2.0 — other devices have moved on to Quick Charge 3.0, and even 4.0 — but wireless charging is also included, and you’ll even get one of the Galaxy S10’s headline features; Wireless Powershare. Plonk your Galaxy Buds case down on your Galaxy Fold and you can charge it using your phone’s battery.
With all the innovation in design, it would be fair to give Samsung some slack on the camera front. But you needn’t do so — the Korean company has pulled out all the stops, adding six camera lenses to the Galaxy Fold.
You’ll find the first camera lens on the cover, above the 4.6-inch Super AMOLED front display. It’s a 10-megapixel selfie lens with an aperture of f/2.2, and a field-of-view (FOV) of 80-degrees. You’ll find three more impressive lenses are around the back of the device though. The first is a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with an aperture of f/2.2 and an FOV of 123-degrees. Next comes a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens with Super Speed Dual Pixel autofocus, optical image stabilization (OIS), a variable aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.2, and an FOV of 77 degrees. The final lens is a 12-megapixel telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, phase-detect autofocus (PDAF), OIS, and an aperture of f/2.4.
We’ve not forgotten the final two lenses though. Open the Galaxy Fold up and you’ll find two more selfie cameras looking out at you from the device’s odd notch. The main lens is a 10-megapixel lens with an aperture of f/2.2, and a wide FOV of 80-degrees. The second lens is an 8-megapixel depth-sensing lens with an aperture of f/1.9, and a wide-angle FOV of 85-degrees.
All of this comes with Samsung’s now usual bevy of A.I.-powered extras, including the Scene Optimizer and the Flaw Detection that can tell you if someone blinked or moved suddenly. Video capabilities are also impressive, with the ability to record 4K UHD footage at 60 frames-per-second (fps) and super slow-motion video at 960 fps.
Pricing and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Fold starts at $1,980. It’s available from Samsung, Best Buy, and AT&T now.
Updated on September 27, 2019: The Galaxy Fold is now available.