[Test] Samsung Galaxy Fold : The future folded

Announced just before the Samsung Galaxy S10 in February of last year, Samsung surprised everyone with the presentation of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the first smartphone from the Korean manufacturer with a screen foldable.

But more surprising still, Samsung took the opportunity to announce the availability of the Galaxy Fold as soon as the end of the month of April. Now, as we all know, due to a few issues with the screens on test models, Samsung has decided to postpone the global release of the Galaxy Fold, initially scheduled for the beginning of may in France. The exact date is not yet known. If this test is done on a quasi-final, the return of the current models will take another test, that of the business model following the changes that is in the process of operating Samsung.

Still, it is part of the media trust and was able to try the smartphone for two weeks. We took our time to get used to this new format of smartphone, and we have a clear idea of what can bring this new form-factor.

The Characteristics and the Packaging

To recap on the specifications, the new Samsung Galaxy Fold offers you :

Name Samsung Galaxy Fold
Screen Internal At 7.3 inches foldable
– Dynamic AMOLED
– HDR10+
– 2152 x 1536
External Monitor – 4.6 inches
– Super AMOLED
– Gorilla Glass 6
– Format 21:9
– Definition HD+
SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
– GPU Adreno 640
– Etching, 7 nm
Software – Android 9.0 Walk
– Layer One IU
Ram – 12 Gb
Internal memory 512 Gb
Port Micro-SD Not
Battery – 4380 mAh (non-removable)
– Wireless charging
– Wireless charging reverse PowerShare
Camera back – The primary sensor of 12 MP
– FoV 77°, and Double-Aperture f/2.4 and f/1.5
– Autofocus Dual Pixel
– Sensor telephoto 2x 12 MP
– FoV of 45° and Aperture F/2.4
– Sensor ultra wide-angle 16 MP
– FoV 123° and F/2.2 Aperture
– Camera auto HDR
– Capture video UltraHD at 60fps
– Slow motion up to 960fps at 720p
– Optical stabilization
– Video Mode-Action-Cam super stabilized
Front camera internal – 10 MP
– Aperture f/1.7
– Smart Autofocus
– Face recognition 2D
– Auto HDR
– A Second device with a sensor, RGB 8-MP
– Video Capture front-end UltraHD 30fps
Front camera external – 10 MP
– Aperture f/1.7
– Smart Autofocus
– Auto HDR
– Video Capture front-end UltraHD 30fps
Dimensions 157,6 x 74,1 x 7.8 mm
Weight 263 g
SIM card 2 x nano-SIM (1 × nano-SIM + 1 eSIM)
Fingerprint sensor Physical Type on the button Bixby
Connectors – USB Type-C
– NFC
– Wlan 6 (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax)
– Bluetooth-5.0
– 4G LTE Cat. 20
GPS A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, Galileo
Jack Not
Water tightness Not
Colours Cosmos black, Silver Star, Blue, Astro Green Martian
Launch price – 2020 euros
– Comes with Galaxy Buds
– Samsung Care+ a year with a broken screen
– Protective shell in kevlar

In terms of the characteristics of a purely technical nature, the Galaxy Fold is something of a Galaxy S10+, but a screen with a foldable and an external display. Unlike the Galaxy S10, the Galaxy Fold, carry a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor 855 and there is no Exynos version. It should be noted that it is Dual-SIM but if there’s a slot for your SIM card, the second SIM is a eSIM, such as on the iPhone XS/XR. For the moment, none of the French operators do not support this new format but this may prove to be useful abroad as in the United States. Finally, no memory port Micro-SD but the internal memory of base 512gb with 12gb of RAM, which seems to us amply sufficient.

Let’s not forget that Samsung has positioned its smartphone as a luxury item due to its price. Also, there is a packaging larger and more imposing. The Galaxy Fold will be the passage distributed in very small quantities, especially when compared to the quantities of the Galaxy S10, for example. Inside, one finds a fairly classical elements such as the smartphone, of course, a cable USB-C, USB-C to USB-A, a fast charger, protective shells made of kevlar and headphones wireless, the Galaxy Buds. The Samsung Galaxy Fold will be available at a price of 2020, – euro. If the versions Cosmos Black and Silver Star will be the versions that are available by default, versions Blue Astro and Green Mars will be available exclusively on the Samsung website and with a deadline of 3 weeks.

The Design

On the design side, needless to say Samsung innovates with a new type of smartphone, and there may be concerns that Samsung had not anticipated, it is necessary to welcome the arrival of such a smartphone (or tablet, it’s up to you). In all honesty, the past few years, we started to get bored because smartphones were limited to a screen with an aluminum back or glass. Here, we are left with a design that is reminiscent of the phones clamshell or mini-computers such as the Psion or other Nokia Communicator.

If we talk about innovation, it is because by opening the Galaxy Fold, there is no mini-keyboard with a screen but rather a screen foldable, and that is a big first in the world of smartphones. If some do not see the value of a screen bendable for a variety of reasons, we cannot remove the fact that it’s been a long time that there has not been such a change in the world of smartphones. It should not be forgotten that the Galaxy Fold is only the first smartphone from this new genus. Other form-factors will come with time and very personally, having a larger screen into a footprint divided by two, I’m not against it at all. This is also the case with the Galaxy Fold, I had a smartphone and a tablet all the time with me the last two weeks and this, in a single pocket.

Once closed, the level of workmanship is always excellent with a glass back very successful, but as usual, the back is able to take out all traces of the world. We will talk about screens later. Also, not everything is pink. If the finish is exemplary and that the hinge seems to be the test of daily life, the problems encountered by the american journalists are not innocent. If Samsung has decided to recall all of the Galaxy Fold in the world, it is also because there may be things to improve, at the level of this hinge in order to avoid that foreign bodies can penetrate through it and cause damage to the screen collapsible. I remember all the same that there has, to date, three cases with real problems and foreign bodies. They have all been listed in the United States. This is crazy that no faulty model has not been listed in the rest of the world.

Still, despite the bad press that some in the media have been put in place (through ignorance of the product or other), the majority of people I’ve shown the Galaxy Fold liked the product and appreciated the novelty. The funny thing was to see that some media are convinced that the screen foldable had no future (so that they did not even have the product in test), but that the general public (to whom I showed the product) has shown to be more forgiving on the possible future of such a product. Clearly, nobody’s going to spend 2000 euros for the Galaxy Fold, but all saw a future. Even the idea of having the equivalent of a small tablet (like the iPad mini or ereader in a smaller footprint, once in the pocket, is what comes up the most often.

If the Galaxy Fold plays the card of finesse when it is unfolded (6.9 mm), it remains thick when folded (17mm). It is still the equivalent of two smartphones, one on the other. It must really not forget that this is a first generation and that the future will reduce the overall thickness. Remember the first smartphones with the edges of screen half a centimeter, well, it is the same, the next generations look promising. We expected a larger space at the level of the fold, but in reality, it is relatively small. It is still a far cry from the Royole Flexpai. The Galaxy Fold is not heavy in itself, especially if we consider it as a tablet but when folded, it is not the lightest of smarpthones. The other hand, with its 263g, if it’s still heavy, it still is lighter than an iPhone XS Max with a shell of protection.

Once closed, the Samsung Galaxy Fold offers a design that is in length, which allows an easy handling and easy one-hand. So, it is held very well in hand and there is no risk of you slipping out of your fingers like smartphones, super thin, with screens XL. With the Galaxy Fold, no fingerprint sensor under the screen, it is a sensor in the physical and it is located on the button dedicated to Bixby. If it works very well, we think that it would have had to be at the level of the power button. By the way, because I don’t use Bixby, I configured the appeal of Bixby on a double-tap on its button, which has the consequence of never activate it.

And, finally, the famous question about the screen foldable : outside (such as the Mate X of Huawei) or inside (such as the Galaxy Fold) ? Honestly, I did not yet definitive opinion on it. Side Fold, the fold is more pronounced, but the screen undulates not and it is protected. Side Huawei, it makes it better, but I’m not sure that the solution is thought out for daily use and the whole thing seems to me more fragile. See when I have the one from Huawei

The screens, the fold and the sound

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has two screens, an outdoor screen Super AMOLED, and Gorilla Glass 6 4.6 inches with a HD+ and a format 21:9. On the side of the main screen, of course it is foldable and features a screen Infinity Flex Dynamic AMOLED 7.3 inches with a definition of 2152×1536 and a format close to 4:3.

Let’s start with the outdoor screen. If it’s done 4.6 inches, it is in the format 21:9. So, it is clearly small. It will suffice of course for the notifications or even consultation but to type text, or others, it remains too small. This is also one of the remarks that many of the testers had done to him. What is funny, is that many refer to this default screen as if it had been only a control screen of a few lines showing information such as the mode “Always On” of the Galaxy S10, no one would have criticized. So yes, we would have liked a bigger screen or wider but in the same concept of the Galaxy Fold, I have not found this to be illogical. In addition, the transition to the large internal screen via the Continuity is quite pleasant when the application is scheduled for.

For the internal screen, it is in 4:3 format and is roughly the same diagonal size as an iPad mini Apple, for example. If the gain will not be felt necessarily on multimedia content such as videos, this format makes it a lot easier to read. However, many also compare it to an ereader. In the end, having the equivalent of a tablet in a clutter of smartphone, it is very tempting every day .

Otherwise, yes, the fold of the internal screen is indeed visible. It even feels physically when one passes his finger on the screen. Now, to be honest, when one is in front of the screen, you see it barely, and over time, it integrates, as the notches of the iPhone XS, for example. We know that many hope to one day be a screen without the fold but that only the future will tell us because we might have looked for, we did not find an everyday object in rigid plastic on which a fold would not be.

Outside of this fold, the two screens are really very good. If I’m not specially surprised for the external screen, quite a classic in itself, I had my doubts about the screen-house with its slab is thin and its multiple layers of plastic. You had to follow the misadventures of the first testers in the u.s. (yes, because in the rest of the world, there does not appear to have had trouble), and clearly, one is entitled to ask questions as to the sustainability of such a screen, and only time will bring us answers. In this regard, it welcomes of course the decision of Samsung to push the release and recall all products of tests. This will enable the manufacturer to revise some things. Yes, it is not as virulent as some colleagues. The product was not available in the trade, one does not see too why so many people get excited about the product. It is better for the consumer. And to those who remember at all is that Apple would not have made such a mistake, it reminds you of the “bendgate” iPhone 6 Plus or, more recently, the problem of the keyboards of the MacBook Pro which is still not solved to this day.

We find the technology HDR10+ on the internal screen and if the definition is not as good as on a Galaxy S10, it is still very satisfactory for a first generation AMOLED screen foldable. In terms of sharpness of the display, I defy you to find a difference with the naked eye at the level of texts and other. The blacks are very deep and the colors are contrasting. To be very sensitive to colours because of my passion for photo, there is no problem on that side. Samsung comes out with honors to the colors. The chroma is controlled. The angles of visions are good and I’ve had no problems of visibility in full sun.

This could not have escaped the person, the Samsung Galaxy Fold no longer has a jack port, that is also why it is delivered with the Galaxy Buds (see our test HERE) which are very practical in everyday life. It is thought that the next Galaxy S and Note do the offer any more. In all cases, it is in the era of time. If you are already switched to wireless, it will not fail you.

Besides the support for Dolby Atmos, the Galaxy Fold has two speakers that were more powerful than those found in the Galaxy S10. It is just a shame that Samsung have not been able to place four speakers as it is the fashion of the tablets, the most recent to propose a sound experience similar to any tablet. Of course, there is talk of speaker and uses which derive from it, you will not be able to power a cinema room either, huh ?

One IU daily

Like the Galaxy S10, we find the surchouche One UI on Android 9.0. Nothing to report, it still works very well. It was more than stoked on the Galaxy S10, we find the user experience that suits me perfectly. The only real difference is the ability to have up to 3 apps on the screen. Everything is done from a drawer of the applications side which allows you to drag & drop apps directly on the screen.

With an external screen, Samsung also brings the technology Continuity, developed with Google. Basically, when an application is open on the external screen, and you open the Galaxy Fold, we are left with the application optimized for the internal display. The problem is, that all the world is not set yet. Suddenly, on applications like Google Maps, it is perfect, but for Twitter, for example, the Galaxy Fold will ask to restart the application to apply the resolution of the internal screen since it is different from that of the external monitor. Daily, this was not too annoying but it is necessary to know. Elsewhere, in speaking of the resolution of the application, there are applications that handle very poorly in the 4:3 format of the Galaxy Fold, I am thinking particularly of the stories of Instagram, which are displayed in full screen and thus find themselves cut off in the display.

If this is not enabled by default, you can also do Continuity in the reverse direction, that is to say, since the internal screen to the external screen. So why is this disabled by default ? This is because Samsung has taken the party to consider that when we close the Galaxy Fold, it is that one stops using the smartphone.

Otherwise, in everyday life, the experience is pretty close to what Android offers stock and even if Samsung tries always to impose certain technologies such as the personal assistant Bixby… that I still didn’t…

Performance and battery life

On the side of performance, the Galaxy Fold features a SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. It is a beast of a race. Of course, I’ve tried all the recent games like Brawl Stars (j’adooooore), Fortnite or even PUBG Mobile and there is not much to say except that it is perfectly smooth, especially since the publishers are now working hand in hand with Samsung. But where the Galaxy Fold detaches from the smartphones to the design more classic, this is a screen 4/3 allows the controls virtual that does not hide the game, and in games like PUBG, it is super significant. It should be noted the presence of the technology On Device I HAVE that allows you to understand applications in memory and to close some or reduce the performance as a function of use and to avoid over-consumption of energy unnecessary.

The Galaxy Fold comes with a battery of 4380mAh. There are also fast charging and wireless charging compatible with Qi and PMA (PowerMat). But this is not all since we also find the charge reversed, PowerShare. If it’s always fun to be able to charge a friend’s smartphone, the charging reverse takes all its sense with the accessories Galaxy that Samsung offers like the Galaxy Buds, supplied as standard with the Galaxy Fold. Practice.

Otherwise, in terms of usage, the Samsung Galaxy Fold provides fully a day, and this, regardless of your uses. For the past two weeks than I have in a test, I’ve never had to complain and panic of a possible smartphone off before I go to sleep. Still, it’s nice to say that their smartphone or even tablet, to 40% or 50%, rising can largely hold up in the middle of the afternoon and, without changing his habits.

I remind you that Android learns from your uses (a week usually) and if the benchmarks can give a kind of ranking between different smartphones, they are not necessarily representative of reality. So, here are more captures at the end of the day with what I’ve done. This allows you to better appreciate the uses :

Photo and Video

The photo is obviously one of the big strong points of a smartphone Galaxy S, and it is also on the Galaxy Fold, because, to put it simply, the back, the Galaxy Fold takes up the block picture of the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+. For the block photo linked to the internal screen, it uses the same block photo the Galaxy S10+ in the front. The little novelty is, therefore, the camera no longer bound to the external screen which takes up the block picture of the Galaxy S10 front is a sensor of 10 Megapixels with a wide angle lens and an aperture of F/2.2.

As a reminder, with the Galaxy Fold, we found the autofocus is super fast ” Dual Pixel “, but also the “Dual Aperture” on the photo sensor main. The main camera offers a wide-angle lens (FOV of 77°), with a double aperture, F/2.4 and F/1,5. When the brightness is above 100 lux, the Galaxy Fold will use the first opening and when the brightness drops below 100 lux, the Galaxy Fold will pass to the second opening, the more light. If you’re wondering why not have a single aperture of F/1,5, which is capable of doing in the theory of F/2.4 ? Simply because with goals so small, according to Samsung, this would increase the risk of aberrations and over-exposure.

Technically speaking, the Galaxy Fold offers the back a standard camera with a sensor of 12 Megapixels, a camera with an ultra wide angle lens (FOV of 123° and F/2.2) and a 16-Megapixel sensor. And finally, a third camera, which is nothing else than a telephoto lens x2 (F/2.4 and an FOV of 45°) with a sensor of 12 Megapixels. In front with the internal screen, there’s a big camera angle with a sensor of 10 Megapixels, Autofocus, Dual-Pixel and record videos in UltraHD, and a second camera with a sensor RGB 8-Megapixel camera with an aperture of F/1,9, which will be primarily used in Portrait mode and the calculation of the depth. And finally, with the outdoor screen, we find the same thing as with the internal screen, but without the second camera. If I can understand that one can take selfie with the Galaxy Fold unfolded, I think I would have preferred to have the contrast between the block picture of the screen foldable and that of the external monitor.

In general, as for the Galaxy S10, we note a tendency to propose a color temperature a little warmer and a slight overexposure compared to the competition. These are not defects per se, but a different approach, which is useful in some circumstances and not in others. But in the absolute, in the condition of good light, there is worry, the autofocus is fast copy, and it is unlikely that the Galaxy Fold rate.

In low-light conditions, Samsung offers still no night mode on the Galaxy Fold, but it should not be long to arrive since it is available on the Galaxy S10. The Korean manufacturer always prefers colors that are close to reality with a nice render of details, but without the night mode, everything stays the less luminous end compared to the Galaxy S10. There must, therefore, be content for the moment of recognition of scenes which offers more details in the absence of more light. The block picture of the Galaxy Fold is complete on a daily basis and unlike some competitors who offer a block photo equivalent, Samsung offers mostly the results are very homogeneous, regardless of the focal length used. Now, if you’re looking for a large zoom, the Galaxy Fold will not be your first choice.

Regarding the video, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is part of the best videophones currently on the market. The stabilization works very well and there are otherwise the mode action cam with stabilisation close enough to the technology HyperSmooth of the latest GoPro Hero7 Black. The video output is rich in detail and offer a good dynamic, the only regret is the crop of the video that will make you lose the focus lens on the main sensor.

And finally, compared to the Galaxy S10, if of course you can use the external monitor to frame the shot, it must be confessed that the use of the internal display allows you to see better and, therefore, some part of better fit. Yes, we mocked the people who use their iPad to take photos. Well, it’s not very far, but the advantage of this is that we do not store a tablet in the pocket. On my side, on those two weeks, I’ve almost done everything with the external monitor, and I was enough in everyday life, especially as the Galaxy Fold folded was more manageable with one hand.

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