September 27, 2019
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is now, at last, finally, available to buy in the US. After being announced in March, then being delayed, and delayed again, it's here — a week after it was available in the UK and South Korea as well, mind you.
But the question remains: Should you actually buy the Samsung Galaxy Fold? Should you spend almost $2,000 on one of the most anticipated and innovative phones of the year? Should you spend $2,000 on a phone that has a reputation for unpredictable and catastrophic failures?
We've spent some time with the Galaxy Fold here at Tech.co, along with the latest flagships from Samsung and other companies — including the the Galaxy S10 Plus, S10 5G, and new Note 10+. So is the Galaxy Fold worth almost $1,000 more than every other phone on the market?
Will the Samsung Galaxy Fold Break?
We've only had limited time with the Galaxy Fold so it's difficult for us to be completely certain (when we get a Galaxy Fold for a full review, we'll definitely let you know.)
However, the early signs are not promising for Samsung. One day after the phone made its full US debut, a TechCrunch reporter revealed that the screen of his Galaxy Fold had become defective. The reporter in question thinks that the fault may have occurred after he was pressing too hard in the middle of the screen to close the device. Which, frankly, is pretty inexcusable — a $2,000 phone shouldn't break because of where or how you press on the screen.
When we tried the phone, it felt solid enough. But the process of opening and closing the phone felt decidedly dicey as it snapped in-and-out of place.
“You have to be extremely deliberate with it — particularly when you're closing the device,” we wrote at the time. “We found the easiest way was to push in the middle of screen – although this is unlikely to be Samsung's ‘preferred' way of operating it.”
Samsung has issued a lot of guidance for owners on how to properly care for their precious Galaxy Fold, so if they take that info on board the risks should be mitigated. But, really, you shouldn't have to explain to people buying a $2,000 phone how best to open and close it.
Does it Come With 5G?
No, it doesn't. Despite being comfortably the most expensive phone on sale in the US, and supposedly the phone of the future, it can't connect to the network of the future. However, in the UK and South Korea, you can get 5G variants of the Samsung Galaxy Fold — weird, right?
In truth, this seems like more of an annoying oversight by Samsung rather than a deal-breaking issue. 5G coverage is patchy anyway, even in big cities, so when you do get 5G signal, it won't be for long.
If you're really bothered about 5G speeds, get the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G or Note 10+ 5G — they're both great phones. But, really, there's not that much point in getting worked-up about 5G just yet.
Is it Actually a Good Phone?
This is probably the hardest question to answer. The Fold is so completely unlike any other phone on sale, we're tempted to not judge it against regular phones.
However, the small 4.6-inch front screen is almost comically narrow and this makes it very difficult to use. The larger, 7.3-inch folded-out screen, on the other hand is brilliant and swapping back-and-forth between the two is incredibly good fun.
There's no doubt in our mind that the Galaxy Fold will be great for gaming and watching films or TV shows. How it'll actually work as a phone (apologies for sounding like someone's dad) though, remains to be seen.
Its only real rival is the Huawei Mate X which was announced around the same time as the Galaxy Fold but still hasn't seen the light of day. The competition it faces is from high-spec Note 10+ models and iPhone 11 Max models. At the moment, we'd be tempted to stick with a Note 10+ rather than take a chance on the Galaxy Fold. The Fold is a genuinely intriguing device, but it might be better to wait for the Galaxy Fold 2.
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