Samsung’s much-hyped Galaxy Fold finally arrives on April 26, but some lucky tech reporters have already held it, folded and unfolded the screen, and — despite some concerns with The Crease — many of the first impressions are positive, even with the phone’s massive price tag.
In her brief hands-on time with the Galaxy Fold, CNET’s Jessica Delcourt said the foldable phone’s “4.6-inch display feels kind of small,” but also praised how apps quickly transitioned from the outside display and the larger 7.3-inch interior screen.
Delcourt didn’t seem bothered by the crease. She said there’s “a little one” and she could “feel the hinge mechanism underneath” but ultimately couldn’t get a sense of whether it would interfere with using the phone.
But while the Galaxy Fold’s larger screen appears to work well for running up to three apps at once, Delcourt also noticed “right away that the more apps you have open, the smaller the font, so you may not really want to use all three at once all the time.”
Writing for Wired, Lauren Goode said she “managed to squeeze the folded-up Fold into the side pocket of one of my most fitted jackets, but it’s inelegant in this state” and also likened to its slim narrow design to “carrying a TV remote.”
Using the Galaxy Fold, however, wasn’t as smooth as she expected. “There is a learning curve with the Fold,” says Goode.
“The display has a 4.2 by 3 aspect ratio, and the image appears bright and rich-looking,” says Goode. “You can see the center crease when you hold it at certain angles, the slightest ripple in a still pool of water.”
Despite her feeling the Fold would be good for watching videos and reading — Goode says “I am sure, however, that I won’t spend $1,980 on it.”
In his 90-minutes of hands-on time with the Galaxy Fold, Fast Company’s Harry McCracken says the device “exhibits some design decisions borne more of expediency than elegance, and won’t live up to its full potential until third-party developers rework their apps with devices like it in mind.”
Even so, he says the Fold “gets a lot things right.” In terms of design, McCracken said the outer 4.6-inch display is “surrounded by bezel—gobs of it on the top and bottom, and even an atypically large amount to the left and right.”
McCracken also said the “closed Fold is thick and heavy for a modern smartphone, at 17mm and about 9.3 oz., but it felt less brick-like in my hand than those specs might suggest.”
As for his thoughts on the crease, he said it wasn’t distracting and “was almost invisible unless I viewed it from an extreme angle.” Ultimately, McCracken thinks people “it may be the kind of thing most people forget about unless they choose to fixate on it.”
These first hands-on impressions are far from comprehensive reviews, but the main takeaways are exactly as we expected:
It’s expensive at $1,980
The outside display is really small and cramped
Unfolded, the larger interior display is useful for watching videos, reading, and running multiple apps at once
The crease probably won’t bother people
Third-party app optimization will be crucial
Based on these first impressions, we can safely say the Galaxy Fold is every bit a first-gen product. But despite its expensive price, it’s clear Samsung’s foldable phone is more polished than originally thought. It might not have everything figured out, but as a first-gen product, early adopters who pick it up might not be totally disappointed.