Long-Awaited Galaxy Fold Brings Unique Phone Experience

Samsung unveiled the first major folding phone the Galaxy Fold last February and promptly recalled the device from reviewers before it reached consumer hands. 

While the phone has been out in Samsung’s home country, South Korea, since the September 6th, it finally reached the hands of American tech enthusiasts on Sept. 27.

Before the re-release, the phone was full of a few major issues that made the device very fragile, breaking many of the models sent out to tech reviewers. One of the biggest issues was in the hinge.

 The hinge left a gap large enough for dust to enter the phone, and the particles would break key components inside the phone. 

As expected, there were also issues where the screen would fail and one half of the inner display would fail to illuminate. 

The most surprising error was in the screen protector. The protector on the screen left a lip over the edge appearing as if the protector could be removed. What people did not know was that the protector was part of the screen, so when someone attempted to remove the outer layer it would break the screen.

The new version promises to fix those issues. The top of the hinge now has “T-shaped” caps on it to keep dust out of the display, and the lip on the screen protector has also been tucked underneath the caps. 

Tech reviewer Marques Brownlee responded to the fixes, saying, “It’s I guess a little surprising in hindsight that it didn’t have this or that they didn’t think of this, I mean it was kind of wild that the Fold had big gaps here [in the hinge].”

According to reviewer Lew Later, the screen has had some reinforcement done to “give it more robustness, it’s a bit sturdier feeling.” This should hopefully keep the screen from breaking as easily.

Perhaps the most interesting remedy to the phone does not have to do with the device itself, but the company’s YouTube channel. 

Samsung released a video titled “Caring for Your Galaxy Fold.” It shows that the new device is still very fragile and should not be submitted to the same abuse that the average device may be. 

“No extra films needed” closes down the thought of adding an extra screen protector on the inside screen, but the screen still appears to be quite weak as the video warns 

“Just use a light touch.” It goes on to say that the spine is “inspired by the precision of watch mechanics keep free of water and dust.” 

The Fold will not have the same water resistance we have become used to in mainstream devices.

Another  interesting quirk is the magnets used to hold the device closed. 

“Be mindful of objects that may be affected,” the video says with images of coins, keys and most notably, a credit card.

Dimond Computer Science and Information Technology teacher, Tracy Castoe said, “I drop my phone regularly so I keep a silicone case on it.” 

Durability will be a big issue on this phone. 

The main reason for the issues was the early release. The fold was not ready to be launched in February. There were a couple factors as to why the launch was rushed, primarily competition. 

Being first to market gives a tech company a large leg up in the area, and that is made more crucial in a slowing market and with  such large innovation.

The Royole Flexpai did technically launch before the Fold after its setback, but the device felt low quality and the lesser brand meant that the launch was insubstantial. 

“The folding screen on the outside is not the way to go,” said Brownlee. The real competition was the Huawei Mate X. 

With a planned launch in June the Mate X would have beaten the Fold had it not been postponed when the Fold encountered so many issues. It is the closest device to compete with the Fold but thus far has not been released, leaving Samsung to be the first major folding phone.

The other reason why the launch of the Fold was so rushed was a major breach in the project. 

Back in November of 2018 Samsung found that the plans for the foldable screen had been stolen and sold to a Chinese company. This threatened the secrecy of the project and Samsung decided to risk an earlier launch date in order to keep on top of the foldable market.

Unfortunately, after the massive failure that was the initial release, Samsung has reined in the final release. First of all: no fancy blue and green colors. The fold will only be available in space silver and cosmos black. 

“The whole launch is subdued now, the hype will never be what it was,” said Later.

The Fold will not be coming to Canadian markets, and if you’re not on AT&T you will have to buy an unlocked version to bring to your carrier as they are the only cell carrier carrying the device. 

Lastly, the 5G model will not come to the U.S. but is coming to South Korea and Europe. But hey, it still comes with a “free” pair of Galaxy Buds.

Samsung also cancelled all the previous  Galaxy Fold pre-orders saying the were going to “rethink the entire customer service experience.” 

The new release does, in fact, bring a new service program where, if necessary, they will send a person to you to help with your device.

Despite the delay and lowered hype, hopefully Samsung can still kick off a new era for smartphones. 

In recent years, the price of premium phones has risen dramatically and the number of major innovations have lowered. This has led to stagnation in the market as more people hang onto phones longer. 

The Fold aspires to kick off a new innovation in the industry and pull it out of the rut.

On the topic of how much more expensive a phone upgrade should be, “$200. I expect the price to be no more than $600 to $800 depending on the stats,” Castoe said. The sensors in a smartphone make it expensive, but there is no reason for a smartphone to cost over $1000.” 

The price of the phone will also be an obstacle.

Finally, why would anyone buy this? It has proven to be extremely fragile and has a $2,000 price tag pasted to it. It also technically is a Samsung phone that removed the headphone jack and added the notch. 

Yes, it is a good “proof of concept,” but is it worth getting?

To start, the phones specs are insane. The phone fits the latest Qualcomm processor, 12 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage. The battery is one of the largest ever seen in a phone at 4,380 mAh. 

The phone is really more of a tablet, the 7.3 inch display is outside of the phone range. Essentially, the phone is for anyone who needs a tablet size device that can be carried in a pocket.

“It’s still a unique experience for gaming, for web browsing, it’s awesome for email I think and of course just for multitasking in general,”

Samsung’s market points primarily towards productivity and business, much like the Note series. They advertise the use of the inner display as comfortably opening three to eight apps at a time and easier typing on the larger keyboard. 

The phone has a total of six cameras so there is no shortage of photography either.

Ultimately, version one may just be for rich tech enthusiasts living out on the edge of technology. Outside of the tech world, the fold has not gotten too much press. 

Dimond Senior Kurtis Brumbaugh admits he is not heavily involved in the tech industry and “heard about some folding phone like six months ago and forgot about it.” 

Castoe said she “heard it mentioned half a dozen times.”

 The fold is such a major upgrade, but that may not be enough to get it widespread.

“If mine [phone] is no longer usable or it inconveniences me, I’ll upgrade it,” Brumbaugh said. At such a large price, the device is mainly for people who want to have the latest tech and can afford to do so.