Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on review

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on review
Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on review
Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on review

Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on review at a glance

  • 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.