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Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

Samsung Galaxy Fold first impressions: Shut up and take my money, if I had

Samsung Galaxy Fold foldable phone will be available in India soon. As a technology enthusiast, the foldable phone looks quite interesting. As a customer, I cannot afford it.

tech Updated: Oct 03, 2019 09:25 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Samsung Galaxy Fold launched in India
Samsung Galaxy Fold launched in India(HT Photo)
         

How does it feel like holding a phone that costs more than your month’s salary? Scary. The 25-30 minutes I spent with the device was more about making sure I don’t drop the phone accidentally and take a good look at the phone and of course the folding mechanism. Ladies and gentlemen, here are our first impressions of Samsung’s Rs 1,64,999 foldable phone, Galaxy Fold.

Samsung Galaxy Fold stands out for its distinct design, even when it’s folded. Reminiscent to the classic Nokia Communicator, Samsung Galaxy Fold looks like a tall pencil box (62.8mm x 160.9mm). The front, which will be referred to cover hereafter, features a mic and a camera sensor on top. The cover has a 4.6-inch HD+ display which can be used as a normal phone – make calls, access apps and so on. The folded version of Samsung Galaxy Fold is quite thick – 15.77mm (sagging) and 17.1mm (hinge). You will also notice a gap at the hinge, between the two folded screens. At 276grams, it’s not light at all.

The real fun, however, is when you unfold the device. Samsung Galaxy Fold opens to a 7.3-inch-main display. On the borders of the screen, you will notice an extra layer of film for protection. There are two cameras on the top right corner. When opened, Samsung Galaxy Fold offers a 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED Display (4.2:3). While it’s obviously quite large, the screen experience is quite different from what you’re used to on a glass-screen. The good thing is it’s responsive and fast enough.

A side look at Samsung Galaxy Fold
A side look at Samsung Galaxy Fold ( HT Photo )

Samsung has very well optimised the interface for the dual screen. For instance, you get a split keyboard for easier typing. We tried watching some YouTube videos on the full screen. The video looks fine if you’re watching it on Portrait mode but when switching it to the landscape mode, the aspect ratio is a bit off. But what you can do with the phone is watch a video or run an app on the cover screen and then unfold the screen to continue using the same content – called App Continuity. During our brief experience, this feature worked fine. If you have used any Samsung app, you will find the UI quite familiar and easy to get started.

Samsung Galaxy Fold launches with a refined display design
Samsung Galaxy Fold launches with a refined display design ( HT Photo )

How’s it like folding-unfolding-folding experience you may wonder? Well, the folded version feels quite compact and allows easy single hand usage. The metallic sides, rather thicker than what it appeared in press renders, allow a good grip. The back panel, however, is a fingerprint magnet. In a very short time, it attracted a lot of smudges. Perhaps, an iPhone 11 or OnePlus 7T-like matte finish would have worked better. When you unfold the device, you’ll notice creases at the center. These creases didn’t really hinder my brief experience but yes you can see it when the screen is off. The folding-unfolding is smoother than our expectations.

 

Overall, Samsung Galaxy Fold is an interesting piece of technology. The fact that there’s a foldable phone that you can buy right now is a big deal. Also, note this is the very first generation of foldable phones. Based on the trends in the smartphone space for years, we’ve seen most of the premium technology sooner or later comes down to mid-range and budget segments. Even if Samsung Galaxy Fold sells very few units in India, it should inspire smartphone brands to join the bandwagon with their own spin and perhaps a better version of it.

We tried out Huawei Mate X in the past. These foldable phones are delicate devices and this is why brands are okay with the novelty or a luxury tag with them. There are rumors of Motorola working on a Razr Phone spin-off in a foldable format. Apple is also said to be working on a foldable phone. Well, that’s in the future, right now, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is the only foldable phone you can buy in India. Let us remind you again, it costs Rs 1,64,999.