My wife and I celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary last October 1, 2019 in Busan and she surprised me with a Samsung Galaxy Fold as her Anniversary gift. I was overwhelmed that she took time and effort to find me a unit since I’ve been reading articles about how hard it was to find a Samsung Galaxy Fold (even in Korea), as it was selling like pan cakes in both Korea and in the US. Not to mention the unit was outrageously expensive compared to other phones out in the market. But then again it has a foldable screen and six cameras… and as my wife said it “iPhone 11 was just a more expensive version of iPhoneX anyway”.
My first impression of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, when I first saw it at the Samsung shop when we picked up my phone, it was really stylish and chic. Not until they handed me the box, that I realized how snazzy a phone could be. For its price, the packaging was really impressive and they really delivered on making a good impression of it as a high-end smartphone. The black box was really classy with the white case inside which contains the unit, the free Aramid fiber case, the free Samsung Galaxy Buds, charger set, and a Samsung Galaxy Fold Owner’s Card (which was like a Louis Vuitton authenticity card/certificate). The Card also has a QR code printed on it which will be used to get freebees from the Samsung Page. Among the freebees are the Montblanc leather case (which will surely add class to the unit’s elegant look), and some free downloadable themes, wallpapers, icons and AODs skins. If I will rate the packaging and the included items and freebies I could easily give a 10/10.
It is undeniable that the Samsung Galaxy Fold has a really elegant and fancy look. Although, the unit’s front screen was relatively smaller than the usual smart phone screen that we have in the market. This makes it harder for me to use the front screen while typing messages or using apps. Compared to an iPhone or my previous phone which was a Huawei Mate20 the front screen is so small you could barely use both hands to type and I guess this is one of the significant downsides of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The front screen also makes it hard to see photos and other things on the screen since it was really small. However, one can easily get used to it with constant use and by adjusting the settings to make the keyboard keys bigger. Unfolding the phone would also give you a bigger screen which is really huge which makes it look like an iPad mini. The phone also uses a split keyboard when it is unfolded which makes typing a lot easier. This is one of the keyboard designs/options which I really appreciated since it makes it easier for me to type even with the wider screen. Unlike when you use a tablet, typing is really a struggle unless you would put your tablet on a stand or lay it flat on a table. I could say that the unit’s overall design was really impressive and it was really classy, however with the small front screen, I will give the unit’s design an 8/10 rating.
One of my first consideration on changing a phone unit is the ease of transferring my files, data or the transition from one phone to another. However, Samsung made it easier for me to transfer all my files from my Huawei Mate20 to my Samsung Galaxy Fold thru the Smart Switch application (which can be downloaded on your previous phone for free) and the USB adaptor included in the packaging. It only took me exactly 1 hour and 34 minutes to transfer all my data (including photos, music and in-app files) and all my applications from my old phone to be installed to my new Samsung Galaxy Fold. After an hour and a half, it was as if I was still using my old phone as it already has everything that I needed. So transition from your old phone wouldn’t be an issue at all, most especially if you were previously using an Android phone. Thus for the accessibility and transition I give Samsung Galaxy Fold a 10/10 rating.
One of the amazing functions of the Samsung Galaxy Fold which I really appreciated is the multi tasking capability. It can run up to 3 applications at the same time and up to 5 more pop-out application windows so a total of 8 applications open on the screen. Which I don’t think anyone would ever do as this will make your screen completely inefficient to use with all the pop-out apps on the screen. But with this multi tasking function, I can review excel sheets, use the calculator and reply to a message thru SMS or chat all at the same time. I can also do a video call while I am looking at reading an email or googling stuff on the web browser. Now, I don’t have to close an application or shift from one application to another just to review or compare data or reply to a message.
Doing video calls and watching videos on Netflix were also impressive with the massive screen when you unfold the phone. With the Samsung Buds (which comes free) audio quality was really good and without it you can turn on the phone speakers’ Dolby Atmos option which makes your watching experience really good. Another impressive function was the voice command. I used to have an iPhoneX and using Siri isn’t really as reliable as it is with Samsung’s Bixby. Bixby accurately responds to voice commands such as opening applications, doing web searches, setting phone alarms and even syncing my applications to the Samsung cloud.
One of the downsides of the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s functionality that I experienced is the 160 character limit for sending SMS. It automatically converts SMS to MMS if you go beyond this limit. However, it can be easily resolved by installing free messaging application which is available at the Play Store. The only issue about doing this is that you will not be able to use some of the Samsung messaging features like your personalized Avatar and the Samsung Chat. My rating for its user-friendliness is 9/10.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold has 2 batteries installed on both sides of the foldable phone. The two batteries has a total of 4,385 mAh power. The phone also allows wireless charging and power sharing which I usually use to charge up my Samsung Buds. Based on my daily usage I can say that the battery life is quite impressive compared to that of an iPhone. The downside of it is the charging part. It takes around 2 hours to completely charge the phone (from 7% to 100%). The Samsung charger does not support ultra/super fast charging like Huawei’s chargers. So I am giving it a 8/10 rating for its battery life and charging.
Camera Function and Resolution
The Samsung Galaxy Fold as I said earlier has a total of SIX cameras: 1 – front camera , 2 – front inside camera (unfolded) and 3 – back cameras. Just like the Huawei Mate 20 it also has a wide angle shot which is good specially when you are taking group photos or scenic photos. Taking selfies was also made easier with the voice command and the hand gesture function of the phone. You can also drag and add shutter buttons on the screen to make it easier for you to tap it when taking photos.
Just like other high-end versions of iPhone and Huawei it also take time-lapse and slow-motion videos, panorama and pro photos which is similar to a portrait photo option in Huawei and iPhone. The unique feature added to the Fold’s camera was the live focus option, which you can use to completely isolate an object from the background using filters and effects.
However, the resolution of the camera is comparatively lower, one of the downsides of the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s Camera compared to some phones. But the camera resolution is definitely better than that of an iPhoneX and the photos were still “Instagram Worthy”. I am giving a 7/10 rating for the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is probably one of the most fragile phones that I ever had. The Samsung guy who did a demo before handing me the phone strongly reminded me about that. The phone is NOT shock proof nor was it water proof or water resistant like the latest iPhones and Huawei phones. The Samsung guy also reminded me not to insert cards, coins or any object between the phone’s folded screen. He reminded me that the phone’s foldable screen unlike other smart phones is not made of glass, so it will not break but it may tear or may be ripped by hard or sharp objects. He also added that since it is not a glass screen I should not press too hard on it or put to much pressure while typing. Thus, Samsung Galaxy Fold is not for those who are always on the go or those with an active life style. Because of these, I am giving it a 6/10 rating for durability and we got an insurance for the phone as well. (I am not sure if Samsung Philippines would offer the same).
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Fold was a very impressive and undeniably a fancy phone. It may have some few issues and limitations compared to the other smart phones out in the market. But I can say that Samsung was really bold to launch such unique yet innovative smart phone and to be able to harness elegance with all these technology into a multifunctional foldable phone. Its uniqueness and elegance makes it a phone of choice for those who would value functionality, reliability and above all class.