SAMSUNG GALAXY FOLD $1,980
New phone/tablet will create buzz
Yes, you can see the crease. But the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s weight — three-quarters of a can of soup — and its astronomical price are bigger issues for most of us.
Still, the Fold is worth your attention as a potential new branch on the evolutionary tree of the most-important gadget in our lives. Our desire to do more, more, more with our phones — working, gaming, watching TV — has outgrown our hands and pockets. To keep giving us more screen, Samsung had to figure out how to break beyond the rectangular slab and into a new world of origami shapes.
It’s going to take more time to understand whether the Fold is the future or just a Frankenphone. It could be very convenient to have both phone and tablet, but how many of us travel around with both right now?
Here are some notes on the device:
• Think of the Fold as a taco. Now lay the folded tortilla on its side. That’s the front, or the “phone” part. It’s a smidgen taller (6.3 inches) than a “plus”-size iPhone or Galaxy but only three-quarters as wide. It’s enough screen to make calls and look at very skinny versions of apps.
• On the Fold, that’s where the “tablet” part is on a separate interior screen that’s a little smaller than an iPad Mini. It’s also the most functional part of the Fold, the screen you will return to. It’s awkward to type on, though.
• There’s a very nicely executed experience that links the exterior phone screen and interior tablet screen. Launch an app on the front, and open up to find it on the full screen.
• The Fold is about as thick as a stack of two smartphones, or two-thirds of an inch. It is not as bulky as you might imagine, but might not be practical for skinny jeans.
• The crease is definitely there and a little surprising, at first. The crease is more visible when you look at the phone from the side than head-on. But it doesn’t get in the way of reading a story or watching a video, and mostly disappears when the screen is lit up. Our consensus: People will talk about the crease so long as folding screens seem new, but you won’t notice after a while.
• The hinge on the back makes the phone stay at exactly 180 degrees. But when it phone closes up, there’s a slight interior gap, which could be a lint magnet (and gives the potential for some water to get in).
• There are six cameras: one for selfies on the front, three on the back for zoom, regular and wide shots, and two cut out from the screen on the inside for even more selfies.