Samsung Galaxy Fold review: An immersive smartphone-tablet hybrid that's first of its kind
Remember when flip phones were the coolest piece of tech we owned way back when? Well Samsung's iteration of that is probably more cutting-edge than a walk down memory lane. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Fold might just be the most groundbreaking innovation in 2019. Given that it has broken out of the typical mould of smartphones and entered a new category of mobile technology. What do you call a smartphone-tablet hybrid? Well, we'll leave it here for now before an official name has been coined.
At first glance, it looks like a skinnier version of the usual Samsung mobile. It fits perfectly into a hand, warranting a firm grip along with an added weight too, which makes sense considering the device can be opened (just like a book) bleeding into an impressive Infinity Flex Display. Holding a malleable phone was in every way, an extraordinary experience. One might find yourself unconsciously opening and closing the device (just because it feels good), but also admiring how the sharp and vivid colours of the Galaxy Fold come through once it unfurls in its full glory. The display was rebuilt in its entirety — embracing new screen technologies, methods and materials that have never been seen in a mobile device before.
Two exceptional faces
There are two sides to the Samsung Galaxy Fold. On the smaller screen, we found one-hand typing to be a breeze. The device's build and design proved its functions as we scurried down the streets while replying WhatsApp Messages, checking Instagram on the go, and switching between tracks on Spotify — all from the slimmer screen. Basically, it's the ideal platform to check in on urgent matters, without requiring a huge interface to marvel at. Whatever you can do on the front interface, can be done on the bigger screen — once unfolded — enhancing your experience whether it be watching an episode of The Politician or wording a long email to your client. Although, if we're being completely honest, the only way to do justice to the beautiful AMOLED display, is by watching movies or binging a series. Especially since it's bestowed with crisp clear audio on what Samsung dubs to be their most powerful dual balanced stereo speakers (sound by AKG, enhanced by Dolby Atmos) on a smartphone yet. We wanted to be in a space of a cinema, so we plugged in the Galaxy Buds (that comes with the phone) just to be fully immersed while reaping the best from the superior sound quality.
Transition at best
Make no mistake, the two screens shouldn't be seen as separate islands but rather they have the ability to work in harmony with each other. We found ourselves opening up a video from a text message thread on the front screen, and then expanding it onto the bigger screen. When we needed Google Maps to appear in full view while trying to navigate our way to dinner at a restaurant, we opened it up and everything that was previously shown on the front, remained in its place in its Infinity Flex Display. This particular feature, titled App Continuity can be applied to apps of your choosing. To increase our productivity at work, we enabled our Gmail interfaces, just so it can be easier to respond to an important email on a bigger screen.
Enter modern day's greatest challenge: Multi-tasking. Just like how we tend to switch from tabs to tabs on our desktops, we struggle to do the same on our mobile devices. Thankfully, the Samsung Galaxy Fold obliterated that hardship quite instantly with a feature where the big screen is easily split in three parts. At one point, we had a heart-to-heart Whatsapp conversation with a best friend going on, a photo attempt of our new kicks, and searching for a restaurant to book for the weekend. No manic switching needed, as everything was laid out clearly on a single screen. And even after a day's work of app-heavy usage, the battery life powered on — from a dual battery system that's even able to charge a second device (that's Qi-certified) via the Wireless PowerShare feature.
Snap like a pro
The evolution of smartphones have led us to forgo our bulky digital single-lens reflex cameras and instead, rely on our handy mobiles instead. Especially with the innovation of groundbreaking lenses that don't carry much weight. The brilliant thing about the Galaxy Fold is that, the camera manages to capture the scene at hand no matter how you choose to hold or fold it.
There are six lenses to boot — one on the front (for a quick single-hand selfie), two on the inside, and three (a telephoto, wide-angle, and ultra wide angle) in the back. Perfect for capturing the whole crew in a confined space. The lenses at the back are perfect while snapping photos in low-light conditions, while also nailing single-subject shots immaculately.
We loved how vibrant the colours were enhanced, brightening up the subject as well as the ambient background. And while our shaky hands are readily assuming a solid reputation of taking brilliant photos, most of the credit and legwork is actually done by this device. But then again, no one has to know...