Sunday, May 26, 2019
Home Tech A brave bet that is not ready

A brave bet that is not ready

The Galaxy Fold can be turned from a phone to a tablet. Yet every time I dropped my hands, I was almost immediately nervous. Not only because Samsung's new phone costs nearly $ 2,000. I started seeing reports that broke the screen for some reviewers. Sure, I let my family members and colleagues play with it, but then I felt compelled to ask for it within 30 seconds.

The good news is that my crease has not broken. Now that I have tested the Galaxy Fold for several days and use it as the main phone, I am confident that foldable phones have a future. But this first generation device gives me a mix of discomfort and excitement that makes it difficult to recommend the fold for all but the most courageous early users.

Publisher's Note: Samsung is delaying the launch of the Galaxy Fold due to reports on screen durability. As Samsung is taking steps to strengthen the screen protector, we will update this review with a review as we receive final test samples for the US and perform additional tests. We used a European model for this first review.

Galaxy fold price and release date

The Galaxy Fold smartphone should be available on April 26 through AT & T and T-Mobile, as well as Samsung.com and Best Buy. The new official release date is not yet known because Samsung delayed the launch.

The Galaxy Fold is one of the most expensive phones of all time. It costs $ 1,980 in the US and £ 2,000 in the UK (€ 2,000), or about twice the price of most premium flagships. (The Galaxy S10 Plus starts at $ 999 and you can get a model with 1TB of storage and 12GB of RAM for $ 1,599 – still hundreds less than the Fold.) For those who earn points at home, it costs the Fold $ 66 per dollar every month, at least if you pay off your phone in 30 months with one of AT & T's next plans!

Galaxy Fold Specs

starting price 1,980 USD
OS Android 9.9 with a user interface
central processor Snapdragon 855
R.A.M. 12 GB
warehouse 512 GB
External display (closed) 4.6 inches (HD +)
main display 7.3 inches (QXGA +)
Reversing Cameras 12 MP wide angle (f / 1.5 to f / 2.4); 12 MP telephoto (1: 2.4); 16 MP extremely wide (1: 2,2)
Front camera (closed) 10 MP Selfie (1: 2,2)
Front camera (open) 10 MP selfie (f / 2.2); 8-MP RGB depth (f / 1.9)
Fingerprint sensor Bixby button
To dye Space Silver, Cosmos Black, Martian Green and Astro Blue
battery 4,380 mAh
size 6.3 x 2.5 x 0.66 inches (62.9 x 160.9 x 17 mm)
mass 9.48 ounces

Design: Foldable Wow with some quirks

With the Galaxy Fold there is a wow factor that I have not experienced since I tried the original iPhone in 2007. Thanks to an ingenious 20-piece, biaxial hinge, you can open this shell like a book and the fold shape transform phone into tablet mode. The move is quite smooth and natural, and I admit, I felt a little bit like a secret agent when I used the fold in public, surfed the internet or saw a video and then closed the whole thing before I went away.

But when you're in a quiet place, you actually hear the Infinity Flex display unfold, and it sounds like unfolding plastic. This is because the main display is made of plastic and not like the Gorilla Glass outer cover. The sound was a bit disturbing the first few times.

When closed, the Galaxy Fold feels like a callback phone, a chunky one. It is quite tall and narrow and measures 0.66 inches. That is about twice as thick as the Galaxy S10 and the iPhone XS. This was not optimal for my jeans front pocket. it is better suited for a blazer bag.

I'm not a fan of button layout. For some reason, Samsung decided to disconnect the on / off switch and the fingerprint reader on the right edge of the Galaxy Fold. It would have made more sense to combine them, allowing users to turn on and off in a fluid motion. Instead, the fingerprint sensor acts as a Bixby button that you can program to open other apps as well.

MORE: Best Smartphones – Here are the 10 best available cell phones

If you buy the Galaxy Fold, I recommend that you do not receive it directly from AT & T or T-Mobile. That's because Samsung.com goes beyond the boring colors of Space Silver and Cosmos Black and offers both Astro Blue and Martian Green. I mean, if you want to stand out, stand out. For the models Astro Blue and Martian Green you can choose between two different hinge colors.

Two more important things to consider. First, the Galaxy Fold is not waterproof to IP68, so do not wet it or dip it. Second, there is no headphone jack.

Durability: A big question mark

The Galaxy Fold made a very bad first impression on some reviewers, as on some models, the screen broke or did not work properly. The cause, however, seemed to vary. In some cases, users have inadvertently removed a protective layer on the display designed to last a very long time.

In another case, it is possible that sound (used to set up the device for photos) got stuck between the display and the hinge. In another case, the screen flickered before turning black for no particular reason.

Samsung replies that it delays the launch of the Galaxy Fold. It also reported that the reported display problems "showed that they could be related to the upper and lower exposed portions of the hinge".

This is not a good sign for a product that will launch a whole new category of phones. But Samsung says it "takes action to strengthen the screen protector" and "to improve the care and use of the display".

MORE: The screen of Galaxy Fold for $ 2,000 is already breaking

Even with more warnings in mind, the fact that users can easily remove this important layer makes the design of the fold in question. It is quite possible that The Fold will withstand Samsung's claim of 200,000 openings and closures, as Samsung has shown on video, but there is a difference between a lab and the real world.

Show: A story of two screens (and one fold)

The front screen of the Galaxy Fold is best viewed as a clear screen for quick interactions, such as For example, check Slack notifications and change titles in Spotify. That's because it's only 4.6 inches, which is lilliputian compared to the best small phones (usually 5.5 inches and more). Since the screen is narrow, typing is difficult.

Samsung Galaxy Fold (left) and Apple iPad Mini (right).Samsung Galaxy Fold (left) and Apple iPad Mini (right).

Inside, the real action is announced on the 7.3-inch display – an oversized Super AMOLED screen that's sharp and colorful, but makes some compromises. On the plus side, I really enjoyed watching Ant-Man and the Wasp on Netflix on this huge panel and playing games like Marvel Champions; it really felt like I was using a tablet. I could even access and edit articles in the CMS of our website because the display is so wide. This is something I can not do on the 6 inch screens of the Galaxy S10 or iPhone XS Max.

However, the crease in the middle of the fold display is noticeable when using apps with a white background, such as Chrome and Gmail. It's not ugly, just distracting. And you can feel the crease when using different apps. The good news is that the fold is not visible when you look at the display from the front.

Another problem is the notch in the upper right corner of the screen, which can cut off videos if you choose full-screen mode. You can hide this score by enabling an option in the software. However, this will only display a black bar at the top of the screen.

MORE: Galaxy Fold fiasco is the worst possible start to a foldable telephone revolution

My biggest problem with Fold is that you can not swipe down from this side of the screen to see notifications and quick settings. Instead, I had to move my finger towards the center of the display. You can also use the fingerprint sensor to open and close the notification window by swiping up and down. It's a nice option that you can turn on, but I accidentally turned it on by simply sliding my hand over it while holding the phone.

Software: Three Apps at the same time and App Continuity

To make the most of the foldable design, Samsung has teamed with Google to develop a number of intelligent software features. The first is App Continuity, which allows you to open an app on the cover display and when the phone unfolds, the app can instantly fill the larger screen.

This feature worked really well in my tests. Most apps are displayed immediately. However, you must make a setting if you want a particular app to continue running on the small screen when you close the phone.

The other handy feature is the multi-active window, which allows you to run up to three apps on the Galaxy Fold's large screen simultaneously. You'll swipe in on the right side of the screen to open more apps. You can also resize the apps and move them with your finger.

A decent number of third-party apps already support this multitasking mode, such as Spotify and Slack. However, I have noticed that Skype does not do this. It will take some time for more developers to update their foldable phone software like this one.

By default, the large-screen keyboard provides a split layout to speed up thumb typing. However, I switched to a normal layout because I'm used to that. Unfortunately, typing with the swipe on this keyboard is not supported. It remains to be seen which third-party keyboards will work with the fold.

Six cameras – and a big viewfinder

If you have six cameras on a phone, that's overkill, but Fold's unique design is not there. Just like the Galaxy S10 Plus, there are three shooters on the back of the Galaxy Fold: a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 16-MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 12-MP telephoto lens. In front, when the fold is closed, there is a 10 MP camera for selfies. When unfolded, the Galaxy Fold has a 10 MP main camera and an 8 MP depth camera for portraits.

When the fold is closed, the edge experience feels like it's so compact. You simply press the on / off button twice and start shooting. It's especially good for selfies, as you do not have to keep your fingers crossed to shoot.

The problem is that the 4.6-inch screen for taking pictures is quite small. I found myself using the larger 7.3-inch panel when I wanted to make sure I liked what I caught. Surprisingly, I did not find it embarrassing to film with a tablet-sized display in front of my face, which is probably due to the small bezels on the screen. But it's a two-handed affair in this mode.

MORE: Galaxy S10 vs Pixel 3 Camera Shootout: Which phone wins?

The Galaxy Fold delivers great photos with rich colors and amazing details, as this flower close-up shows. The rich purple really shines through and the veins in the petals are well developed.

I also enjoyed playing with the multiple lenses in Times Square. The standard wide-angle camera picked up the myriad characters with crisp details, and I could easily see details on the characters when zooming. The wide-angle view resulted in a noticeable fish-eye effect on the edges, but one too many more of the surrounding buildings in the frame.

Like the Galaxy S10, the Galaxy Fold has artistically new live focus modes, including spin-bokeh, zoom-bokeh, and color printing. I like the latter option especially as it colors the main theme, while everything else stays black and white.

performance

Since the Galaxy Fold has the same Snapdragon 855 processor as the Galaxy S10 phone line, it's not surprising that it offers comparable performance. The main difference is the rich 12GB of RAM included in the Fold. This seemed to help open multiple apps on the screen at the same time. I did not notice a big delay because I ran three apps at the same time. Sometimes, however, the screen did not immediately respond to my taps.

On the Geekbench 4, which measures overall performance, the Galaxy Fold scored 10,593 points, which is comparable to the Galaxy S10 Plus (10,732), but behind the A12 Bionic chip on the iPhone XS (11,420).

The Galaxy Fold is a graphics powerhouse, just like the Galaxy S10. In 3DMark's Sling Shot Extreme Open GL test, the Fold scored 5,408, slightly behind the Galaxy S10 Plus (5,648), but ahead of the iPhone XS (4,393) and Pixel 3 XL (4,396).

Battery life and Wireless PowerShare

With a 4,380 mAh battery, the Galaxy Fold has a great endurance performance. On a day of intermittent use of snapping photos, streaming music, watching video clips, and checking e-mails, the phone still had 60 percent capacity at 9:15. And I pulled the phone out of the socket at 6:30.

On a day when I used the Galaxy Fold more heavily, including two full TV episodes on Netflix, the Fold had dropped to 25 percent and arrived at 9 in the morning. That's still more than a full day of stamina. We will do our surfing test on the Internet as soon as we get the US version of the Galaxy Fold in our hands while testing the European version of the phone.

I loved using the Galaxy Power's PowerShare feature, which allows you to charge other phones and accessories simply by placing them on the back of the Samsung handset. These include the wireless Galaxy Buds, which Samsung brings in for $ 1,980.

What is included in the Galaxy folding box?

The Galaxy Fold comes with a pair of Galaxy Buds, one of our best wireless earplugs, which interferes with the lack of headphone jack. Samsung also offers a lightweight case to protect your investment, made from a material such as Kevlar.

ultimately

Galaxy fold is what can happen when you try to launch a new innovation. It is untrue to say that the Galaxy Fold was rushed, as Samsung says, this design was 8 years in preparation. However, it can be said that Samsung has not spent enough time performing quality controls on real users.

It's not clear what Samsung is doing right until the official launch of the Galaxy Fold, but I do not think it will be dramatic if we talk for just a few weeks. Even if you put aside the broken screens of previous testers, the Galaxy Fold has some first-generation problems, such as: B. a visible kink in the foldable control panel and a little too small front display.

Call me crazy, but I'm still optimistic about the future of foldable phones. I like the idea of ​​a phone that can act as a tablet, and the Mate X by Huawei and the fold-out design seem to have potential. The same applies to other form factors, such as the alleged return of the Motorola Razr as a vertically developing shell. At the moment I see the Galaxy Fold as an exciting performance that is not durable or polished enough, but I will revisit this report with a final rating once the final units are available.

Photo credit: Tom's Guide

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