Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on review

GSMArena team, 16 April 2019.

Introduction

The Galaxy Fold is Samsung's trailblazing effort into foldable-screen smartphones. Announced with the S10 family, it all but made them look ordinary and old right there at the launch event. A couple of months later we know the S10s are mighty good smartphones that we'd buy with our own money, but it's still the Fold that excites us in ways a regular slab of a phone just can't.

Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on review

The size of a small tablet, this Galaxy's display gives you the best of both worlds - in the unfolded state it offers a ton of screen area for productivity (or, realistically, media gobbling) but it has all the pocketability benefits of a phone, albeit a tall and chunky one.

That is, the Fold's main display. There's a secondary, smaller, 4.6-inch panel on the front, which Samsung calls a Cover display. This one is to be used for mundane single-handed tasks such as checking the time and making voice calls when the full-blown tablet mode isn't really helping.

Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on review

Unorthodox display situation aside, the Galaxy Fold is not unlike the Galaxy S10+. The Snapdragon 855 ticks inside (no Exynos Fold variant, however), there's 12GB of RAM on board and built-in storage is 512GB - so one of the higher end S10+s then.

Much like the S10s, the Fold has many cameras - one extra than that plain S10+, in fact. On the back, it's the same triple-module setup with a main, telephoto and ultra wide camera combo.

On the inside, it's a duo of a 10MP primary selfie-taker and an 8MP sidekick for depth detection. You'd think they're coming straight from the S10+, but here the main lens is slightly dimmer at f/2.2 vs. f/1.9 - the Fold's halves aren't as thick as an S10, so there probably wasn't enough room?

The extra camera we mentioned is on the cover - another 10MP module like the one inside, for taking quick selfies without bothering to unFold.

Samsung Galaxy Fold specs

  • Body: Foldable, 'innie' - display folds inwards on itself. 160.9x62.9x15.5mm folded, 160.9x117.9x6.9 mm unfolded, 263g both folded and unfolded; Space Silver and Cosmos Black essential colors, Martian Green and Astro Blue with Gold or Dark Silver hinges.
  • Display: Primary: Foldable 7.3" Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex Display, 1536x2152px, 4.2:3 aspect ratio, 362ppi. Secondary (cover): 4.6" Super AMOLED, 720x1680px, 21:9 aspect ratio, 399ppi.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 12MP, 1/2.55" sensor, f/1.5-2.4 aperture, 26mm equiv. focal length (77° FoV), dual pixel PDAF, OIS. Telephoto: 12MP, 1/3.6" sensor, f/2.4 aperture, 52mm equiv. focal length (45° FoV), PDAF, OIS. Ultra-wide: 16MP, f/2.2 aperture, 12mm equiv. focal length (123° FoV), fixed focus.
  • Front camera: Main: 10MP, f/2.2 aperture, 25mm equiv. focal length (80° FoV), PDAF. Secondary (depth only): 8MP, f/2.2 aperture, 85° FoV, fixed focus lens.
  • Cover camera: 10MP, f/2.2 aperture, 25mm equiv. focal length (80° FoV), PDAF.
  • Video recording: Rear: up to 4K 2160p@60fps, EIS up to 2160p@30fps, slow-mo up to 1080p@240fps, super slow-mo 720p@960fps for up to 0.4s (12s playback at normal speed); HDR10+ recording. Front: up to 4K 2160p@30fps with EIS.
  • OS/Software: Android 9.0 Pie, Samsung One UI.
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 855 (7nm): octa-core CPU (1x2.8GHz & 3x2.4GHz Kryo Gold & 4x1.7GHz Kryo 485 Silver); Adreno 640 GPU.
  • Memory: 12GB RAM, 512GB storage, no microSD card slot.
  • Battery: 4,380mAh total, Li-Ion (sealed), 2-piece, 15W wired charging (Adaptive Fast charging, QuickCharge 2.0 compatible), 15W Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare.
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM - one nano, one eSIM (where available); LTE-A, 6-Band carrier aggregation, Cat.18 (1.2Gbps/150Mbps); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac/ax MU-MIMO; GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0. USB Type-C (v3.1), no 3.5mm jack.
  • Misc: Capacitive side-mounted fingerprint sensor, doubles as Bixby button; stereo speakers.

As you can see, unique as the Fold may be, it also has the ordinary bits that make up any other phone like radios, speakers, and a battery - perhaps not enough battery, even though there are two pieces of it, one in each half.

Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on review

We won't be worrying too much about the battery endurance at this stage and we'll leave these practical matters for the in-depth review. For the time being, let's keep it simple and admire the Fold for its foldability.