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Samsung Galaxy Fold User Experience And Performance: Should You Buy It?
I have been bombarded with one question since the day Samsung introduced the Galaxy Fold in the Indian market- Is it worth buying? The fascination with this new piece of technology is totally valid. The Galaxy Fold breaks the monotony of notched-displays, punch-hole screens and full-screen devices that have kept consumers and manufacturers busy since last few years.
- Unmatched User-Experience
- Flagship Performance
- Decent Battery Life
- Productivity Machine
- Galaxy Buds Wireless Earphones In The Package
- Hefty price
- Feels Fragile In Hands In Tablet Mode
- No IP Rating For Protection From Water-Dust
- No 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Now when I have had a chance to use the fascinating Galaxy Fold for a couple of days, it's time I spill the beans. Although the timeline was quite short to evaluate the handset's performance in detail, it did give a gist of the foldable mobile technology to understand how it works and differs from a standard phone and tablets.
Having said that, I have tried to summarize my user-experience of the Galaxy Fold in the following quick review.
Tablet That Just Fits Into Your Jeans Pocket
Smartphones came into existence to enhance the multimedia user-experience. The small touch screens then quickly stretched to big 7 to 8-inch tablets; however, they were often criticized for their limited use-cases due to the portability factor.
The Galaxy Fold is the answer to this riddle. It's a tablet device that also works as a phone and fits into your pocket. Yes, it's hefty and feels like a brick in the pocket but you wouldn't mind carrying it along for the fact that it serves the job of two devices at the same time.
Unfold The Fold For Multimedia Jobs
When unfolded, the Galaxy Fold offers a 7.3-inch QXGA+ (2152x1536) AMOLED display. The big OLED panel is a delight to use, especially if you are always hooked to streaming apps and games. It's not the crispiest screen in the market as the QXGA+ resolution only delivers 362ppi; however, the color reproduction (HDR10 compatible), decent contrast levels and deep blacks make it perfectly usable.
The big screen also works wonderfully for PUBG and other popular game titles. Last but not least, the 7.3-inch display also amplifies the web-browsing and book-reading experience.
Most Immersive User-Experience
Unless you carry a tab with you all the time, most of us use daily apps such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. on our smartphones. Using it on a much bigger screen is an entirely new and immersive experience. Scrolling the Instagram feed, uploading stories and seeing pictures on the 4.2:3 aspect ratio is only possible on the Galaxy Fold. It makes the user-experience so unique and enjoyable. I also thoroughly enjoyed clicking pictures on the Galaxy Fold as the 7.3-inch view-finder makes it a delightful experience to frame and capture pictures and videos.
Enhanced Productivity- Customized One UI and Flagship Hardware
Backed by the powerful Snapdragon 855 chipset, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.0 fast storage, the Galaxy Fold is a productivity machine. A big credit of making the Fold work well for the foldable form-factor goes to the new One UI. While it is the same in-house software that runs on Samsung's other Galaxy devices, it has been customized heavily to run on the foldable screen.
As per Samsung, 100s of apps on the Google Play Store and the company's in-house Galaxy Store have been re-coded to run on the foldable display. Almost all the apps that I installed on the Galaxy Fold offered support for App Continuity. You can start using an app on the tiny display and continue the same on the big 7.3-inch screen. The One UI on the Galaxy Fold understands both the smartphone and tablet form-factor use cases.
The big 7.3-inch display can hold multiple applications at the same time, which also takes multitasking experience to the next level. I was able to use Chrome, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook simultaneously and it is nuts. You can resize the individual apps' windows as per your convenience to make the most out of the big AMOLED display.
The batter life is also pretty good. The 4,380mAh battery powering the Galaxy Fold can easily last a day with light-to-moderate usage. Overall, Samsung has ensured that the device's capabilities are not held back by any means when it comes to hardware and the underlying software.
Yes The Crease Is Visible And Get Used To It
The big OLED panel has been designed by using a thin plastic. The stainless steel hinge and the complex machinery packed inside it make it possible to bend the screen like a traditional book. When unfolded, a crease is visible in the centre and honestly, you cannot do anything about it. We might see an entirely seamless screen in the later iterations of the Galaxy Fold but for now, it's there and you have to get used to it. A simple hack, use a Black colored wallpaper on the 7.3-inch AMOLED panel to reduce the visibility to some extent.
Works Like A Regular Smartphone In Folded Form
The 4.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED display is perfectly usable. In addition to dial phone numbers, send text messages, use camera, etc., you can even play PUBG and Asphalt 9 on the baby screen. The user experience is far from being immersive and focuses on getting things done. It is much more comfortable to use the Galaxy Fold in the folded form because of its short width but the sheer length and thickness of the phone is a pain.
Use It With Utmost Care
The Galaxy Fold's design also has some other limitations. It is unlike the company's regular smartphones that ship with official IP67/68 ratings for protection against water and dust. The way the phone is designed, the hinge leaves a gap in between the two sides of the foldable display when the phone is folded. The gap can easily let in dust particles, water and other environmental elements which can damage the screen and other critical parts.
As the bigger screen uses a thin plastic layer and not a Gorilla Glass coating, you have to ensure nothing damages it when the phone is being used as s tablet. When folded, the outer frame of the phone feels robust.
The glass-aluminium body looks premium and feels rigid; however, I have my doubts for the hinge. It might loosen over time with daily folding and unfolding of the device. The sad part, I cannot give you a clear answer on its long-term durability due to limited review duration of the device. However, I can give you some stats. As per Samsung, the Galaxy Fold can survive 200,000 folds, which roughly accounts to five years worth of use. Do you believe it?
Freebies In The Package
Samsung is throwing freebies as well, including the Galaxy Earbuds, which alone costs Rs. 10,000. The company is also offering a slim cover with Aramid Fiber coating that straps on the outer body of the Galaxy Fold. Besides, you get a Type-C-to-Type-A connector, QC 2.0 compatible fast-charging adaptor and a Type-C cable in the box.
Should You Buy The Galaxy Fold?
The futuristic dual-display Galaxy Fold comes at a premium price of Rs. 1,64,999, making it the costliest consumer mobile device in the country. If you have that kind of money, it's the device to buy in the year 2019. The money you pay to buy the Galaxy Fold is for the entire decade that Samsung took to transform a mere concept into reality. And also for the fact that it serves the jobs of two devices at the same time, it's a phone and a tablet.
The technology still has fair challenges to overcome; however, Galaxy Fold will always be a special device no matter how many foldable handsets we see in the coming years. The market will offer multiple foldable devices next year and we are ready for it. Are you?