It has been a while since we saw such a paradigm shift in how we look at smartphones. However, this shift will reach its logical conclusion only if it manages to change how we use smartphones too. Time will testify to whether it is a true success or not, in its wholesome sense. Samsung would be hoping for the former. But here we are, and it is now time for the Samsung Galaxy Fold to re-emerge with a renewed sense of purpose. This is, at first, second, third or even the 99th glance, what we would often describe as (often rather loosely), as a futuristic phone. Does that mean the future is here? For starters, the future will cost you Rs 1,64,999.
For starters, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is, well, all about the fold. And there will be considerable interest and some glances laden with envy as you walk around with the Galaxy Fold in your hand. The aluminum chassis is a good base to build on, but this time around, the elaborate hinge mechanism plays a significant role. Samsung has taken pains to talk about the robustness of this hinge. The hidden recipe are the interlocking gears that click in and out of place every time you open and close the Galaxy Fold. Samsung says this has been tested to do as many as 2,00,000 folds as part of the testing process. Yet, it is perhaps only natural to feel a tad apprehensive about moving parts on a phone—and only time will tell the real tale. The price that you pay for this phone, only amplifies the fear factor.
And that neatly leads us to the display. In fact, there are two. First, when the Galaxy Fold is folded, is a 4.6-inch display. This is your quick gateway into the world that resides inside the Galaxy Fold, for all your apps, notifications and more. However, open this up and inside resides the large 7.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen which unfolds—and that is a sight in itself. Samsung has added App Continuity, which basically seamlessly switches any app that you were using on the outside display, to this large foldable screen. And you can continue doing whatever it is that you were doing. It is hard to ignore the crease that is very apparent as it runs down the center in a straight line. Interesting that this is only really visible when you are looking at a dark background and not when using apps in general. That makes the choice of dark wallpapers as the default option a tad perplexing. But this square-ish display is incredibly immersive for pretty much any app that you are using. Best utilized for videos
(Netflix on a phone has never been a more unique experience) and for focused multi-tasking that lets you share the screen space between three apps. And there is a lot of space, which makes it a genuinely neat experience rather than just a tick off on the spec sheet.
That said, it will take a lot of getting used to with this form factor that can morph. Muscle memory needs to be spot on, and you need to be attentive. It is thick when folded, and large when unfolded. That is compromise for the mix of two worlds in one device—a phone and a tablet.
The screen itself isn’t short of smartness too. It is HDR10+ compatible and also has Local Tone Mapping to keep the colours accurate. We didn’t really get time to watch something cool on Netflix, but in terms of the colours, the viewing angles and the overall richness, the Dynamic AMOLED is doing a great job. Dual speakers as well, tuned for Dolby Atmos too, and the entire media viewing experience is sorted.
There are as many as 6 cameras on the Samsung Galaxy Fold. On the back is the triple-camera combination with a 16-megapixel ultrawide, a 12-megapixel wide and a 12-megapixel telephoto doing the photography duties. When folded, you get a 10-megapixel Selfie camera for the selfies and video calling duties. When unfolded, there is the dual camera setup of a 10-megapixel Selfie camera and a 8-megapixel depth camera.
And that isn’t the only smart element as far as the tech specs are concerned. There are dual batteries inside the Galaxy Fold, primarily because of the requirement to keep them really thin. When one finishes and the other starts working, you don’t need to be bothered with that. As a user, you need to know that there is the combined power of 4,380mAh battery capacity powering the Galaxy Fold.
Samsung is bringing only one variant in India at the moment—12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. At this time, you will only be able to choose the Cosmos Black color variant at a store near you, and not the Space Silver. The Samsung Galaxy Fold brings with it an immense flaunt value—and dressed in gold, might have just added another weapon in its arsenal of style.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is bold. It is a bold vision on Samsung’s part. There is a sense of purpose too. And those are great starting points for any success story. For me, the very experience of using the Galaxy Fold, even if for a short while, was quite smooth. Most certainly not as jarring as I had imagined. Neither did the thicker form factor pose a challenge, nor did the hinge get in the way and when unfolded, the display was just something else. In a way, it felt quite nice to hold this in the hands and swipe away with a sense of purpose. It didn’t feel odd, it didn’t feel ungainly and it didn’t feel bulky.
That being said, a lot of people will have apprehensions about the strength and rigidity of the entire package. Justifiably too. It is hard to say at this point if this phone will be able to handle rough use, accidental drops and maybe even an absent-minded knock on the door handle as you exit a room in a hurry. Those are questions we really don’t have a definitive answer for at the moment.
You may probably find enough to criticize in the Samsung Galaxy Fold, and you would probably have your reasons for that. It is a first-generation product after all, and there will be rough edges. On the software side too. And it may take a while for everything to come together with updates. But, begrudging a company for the price tag they have plastered on this first of its kind phone to emerge from their stables, is perhaps a bit much. And this holds true for any company, any product, any service, any industry. There is a method behind what you may think is madness. This is a one of its kind smartphone in the Indian market right now, a premium price tag was perhaps to be expected. After all, the future will arrive at your home in the hands of someone wearing white gloves.