This year we were expecting many folding smartphones, and the first major release to be the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Now, due to the Galaxy Fold’s problems, and Huawei’s current situation, the excitement around them has cooled. The Samsung Galaxy Fold was due to launch on April 25, but Samsung continues to delay it after issues with the screen. Despite this, there is still a lot to learn about the unusual device, so here’s absolutely everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
New Fold won’t launch in July
The revitalized Galaxy Fold is unlikely to launch in South Korea this July, according to Samsung officials speaking to the Korea Herald, despite repeated promises a new launch date will arrive soon. Samsung Mobile’s CEO DJ Koh has previously stated a new, revised Galaxy Fold would launch in May, and then in June, and most recently, before July. So far, a release has not arrived. Rumors of a July event have spread in South Korea since then, but were then silenced as a Samsung official told the publication: “If we are running such a media event this month, we should be doing something by now. Nothing has progressed since the April delay.”
Since recalling early review samples, Samsung had apparently concentrated on making the hinge more durable, and has revised the design of the screen protector, in an effort to ensure no further problems are encountered. Quality control work on the display and the film over the top was still in progress in May, according to unnamed industry insiders. Once ready for sale again, the revised Fold will have to undergo network certification tests, potentially pushing any date even further into the future. The company has also stated the new Fold may be released in South Korea before coming to the United States and other locations.
AT&T cancels Galaxy Fold pre-orders in what could be the beginning of the end
AT&T has given up hope and is canceling pre-orders for the Galaxy Fold, ahead of the revised June 13 release date that AT&T had previously told customers it expected to ship Galaxy Fold orders. AT&T is offering a $100 AT&T Promotion Card as recompense for the cancellation. AT&T’s action is just the latest in a series of setbacks for Samsung’s folding phone. In May, Best Buy canceled all outstanding pre-orders for the device after Samsung itself was forced to cancel Fold pre-orders due to federal regulations.
Samsung decided to delay the release of the Galaxy Fold soon after the review model recall. Digital Trends has reached out to Samsung for comment.
Galaxy Fold display problems
Some reviewers, who were the first to get their hands on the Samsung Galaxy Fold, found the phone’s display had either completely broken or was partially damaged after just days of use.
CNBC, for example, says that its review unit is completely unusable with all but a portion of the display still working. The Verge’s unit is also damaged, with a small bulge that’s causing the display to distort. YouTube reviewer Marques Brownlee removed the film on his phone to find that the display had broken. Samsung has warned users not to remove the protective layer of the phone, which may look like a basic screen protector. Still, CNBC says that it didn’t remove anything from the screen.
Following the reports, Samsung spokesperson gave Digital Trends the following statement:
“A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter. Separately, a few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen. The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.”
In iFixit’s teardown of the Galaxy Fold, the source of the device’s many reported display problems may have been spotted. The engineer notes a 7mm gap in the device’s bezel, near the bend, that could allow entry to dirt or other small particles. It’s entirely possible this could have lead to the problems observed on the recalled review units. iFixit said the Galaxy Fold unit was obtained from a “trusted partner,” iFixit subsequently removed the teardown video after Samsung requested the video be taken down.
Samsung issued a statement stating, “Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge. There was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.”
Samsung recalled all the review models sent to journalists. The model sent to Digital Trends did not break or stop working.
We recently got our hands on the Galaxy Fold. Check out the photos below
Design and display
Featuring an Infinity Flex display, the Samsung Galaxy Fold goes from a 4.6-inch display for phone mode and folds out to reveal a separate 7.3-inch display on the inside. Don’t worry, Samsung hasn’t emphasized the large screen experience over the small screen, as the Fold has also been designed to be comfortable to hold when folded. The 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Dynamic AMOLED display has a resolution of 2152 × 1536 pixels, while the smaller Super AMOLED 4.6-inch display has a resolution of 1680 x 720 pixels.
The fold is comprised of a sophisticated hinge system with multiple interlocking gears, hidden inside the spine. That fold is tested using a series of machines that repeatedly fold and unfold the phone. Samsung says that the stress test folds a device 200,000 times, and takes around a week to complete. Check out the machine in the video below.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold comes in four colors: Cosmos Black, Space Silver, Martian Green, or Astro Blue, and you can choose a different color for the phone’s spine.
Samsung worked with Google and the Android developer community to tailor apps like WhatsApp, Microsoft Office, and YouTube. The interior screen is so big it can be used for three-app multitasking. You can watch a video, chat about it, and browse options on the web all at the same time. Samsung has shown this off with YouTube running on the left, a WhatsApp chat window at the top right, and a web browser at the bottom right.
The displays work together for a seamless experience thanks to something Samsung calls app continuity, so you can switch between screens without missing a beat. The demonstration showed us a smooth transition between screens while using Google Maps and Netflix.
“The Galaxy Fold is a device unlike any that’s come before it,” said Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president of mobile marketing. “It’s a versatile smartphone, tablet, and camera.”
Don’t worry, you get cutting edge specifications to match that cutting edge design.
There’s plenty of processing power inside the Samsung Galaxy Fold, thanks to the inclusion of this year’s flagship — the Snapdragon 855. That chip should be plenty powerful enough to handle the Galaxy Fold’s unusual design, while 12GB of RAM means it should also be excellent at handling multiple apps at once. It’s worth noting that a high amount of RAM makes more sense on the Galaxy Fold than other smartphones, as the unfolded screen can be used to run three apps at once. There’s no need to worry about running out of storage space either. The Galaxy Fold comes with 512GB of universal flash storage, and it can read data twice as fast as other smartphones.
There’s one final surprise hidden inside the foldable smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy Fold actually has two batteries — one in each side of the device. Splitting the batteries like this allowed Samsung to get around the problem of having to have a folding battery. While that may seem like a lot of juice, if you’re switching to the large inner display a lot (and why wouldn’t you?) then it’s likely it’ll last you about a day. There’s a difference between the battery sizes, depending on the model you get. The LTE model’s battery is rated at 4,380mAh, while the 5G model will have a 4.235mAh battery.
Wired charging capabilities are slightly disappointing due to Samsung’s continued love affair with QuickCharge 2.0 — other devices have moved on to Quick Charge 3.0, and even 4.0 — but wireless charging is also included, and you’ll even get one of the Galaxy S10’s headline features; Wireless Powershare. Plonk your Galaxy Buds case down on your Galaxy Fold and you can charge it using your phone’s battery.
With all the innovation in design, it would be fair to give Samsung some slack on the camera front. But you needn’t do so — the Korean company has pulled out all the stops, adding six camera lenses to the Galaxy Fold.
You’ll find the first camera lens on the cover, above the 4.6-inch Super AMOLED front display. It’s a 10-megapixel selfie lens with an aperture of f/2.2, and a field-of-view (FOV) of 80-degrees. You’ll find three more impressive lenses are around the back of the device though. The first is a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with an aperture of f/2.2 and an FOV of 123-degrees. Next comes a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens with Super Speed Dual Pixel autofocus, optical image stabilization (OIS), a variable aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.2, and an FOV of 77 degrees. The final lens is a 12-megapixel telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, phase detect autofocus (PDAF), OIS, and an aperture of f/2.4.
We’ve not forgotten the final two lenses though. Open the Galaxy Fold up and you’ll find two more selfie cameras looking out at you from the device’s odd notch. The main lens is a 10-megapixel lens with an aperture of f/2.2, and a wide FOV of 80-degrees. The second lens is an 8-megapixel depth-sensing lens with an aperture of f/1.9, and a wide-angle FOV of 85-degrees.
All of this comes with Samsung’s now usual bevy of A.I.-powered extras, including the Scene Optimizer and the Flaw Detection that can tell you if someone blinked or moved suddenly. Video capabilities are also impressive, with the ability to record 4K UHD footage at 60 frames-per-second (fps) and super slow-motion video at 960 fps.
Pricing and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Fold will come in LTE and 5G versions and is planned to be available in the U.S. and in Europe. Prices will start from $1,980. Following the device’s delay, pre-orders were stopped, and unless instructed otherwise, companies including AT&T and Best Buy canceled any pre-existing orders for the Fold.
Currently, Samsung is asking those interested in the Galaxy Fold to sign up on its website for more information. Before pre-orders were canceled, AT&T priced the Galaxy Fold at $66 a month for 30 months.
Updated on June 14, 2019: Rumors of a South Korean Galaxy Fold event in July are dismissed