The long overdue Samsung Galaxy Fold finally arrived in the shops last week after a five-month delay caused by a series of major screen faults.
Unveiled alongside the Galaxy S10 range back in February, the world’s first major foldable smartphone was set to launch in late April, but Samsung was forced to recall devices before sales officially got under way.
Reviewers had experienced screen failures caused by the removal of a thin protective layer that many mistook to be a screen protector.
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But after several major updates to improve durability, including a tweaked display and reinforced hinge, the Galaxy Fold is now available in Britain.
Samsung’s release schedule for the Fold is staggered. The South Korean market was the first to get the Galaxy Fold, on 6 September, with customers in Europe coming next on 18 September. US buyers, meanwhile, will have to wait until 27 September to get their hands on the device.
Here’s everything you need to know about the handset and what the critics had to say:
UK release date, price and where to order
The Galaxy Fold launched in the UK last week, some five months after its original release date of 5 May. It is, however, currently only on offer through EE and is available in limited numbers.
The device is available exclusively with EE’s 5G plans, meaning users can connect the flexible phone to the next-generation mobile network.
Buyers can pick up a Galaxy Fold for £109 per month, with an upfront cost of £200. This package includes 30GB of data, 5G connectivity, plus unlimited calls and texts.
Samsung doesn’t appear to have taken the challenge of designing the world’s first foldable phone “lightly”, says TechRadar. The Galaxy Fold has been in development for ten years, which is reflected in the phone’s intuitive design.
“The book-like folding action does feel like a natural way to open the handset,” the site notes, and it’s “easier to get to grips with” than the yet-to-be-released Huawei Mate X – which has its screen on the outside when folded.
While the hinge is “smooth to use” and “snaps shut” like a glasses case, CNet says there’s “no getting away from” the crease that appears in the centre of the display. The issue is most apparent when watching “a dark video”, as reflections – and therefore the crease – become more visible.
The 4.6in front panel, meanwhile, “is just a little too small” and requires “accurate” button pressing to type on, the tech site argues. “It’s fine for seeing incoming calls” and changing songs on Spotify, but firing off a quick reply to an email or WhatsApp message can be “tough”.
Ultimately, though, Samsung has built “a really compelling” first foldable phone and has fixed the critical issues that plagued its launch, Pocket-lint says.
Some may be concerned about the device’s durability, given its moving parts, and the £1,900 asking price is certainly “expensive”, but the overall package is an exciting one that could kick-start the foldable phone “revolution”, the website concludes.
Under the skin, the Galaxy Fold is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor. It’s the same chip that’s in Samsung’s Galaxy S10 range, and is “plenty powerful enough” to cope with the novel design, says DigitalTrends.
Along with the latest Qualcomm chip, the company has fitted 12GB of RAM and 512GB worth of storage. There are also two battery units, one for each fold, with a combined capacity of 4,380mAh.
The Galaxy Fold is also covered in cameras. There are six lenses in total: three at the back of the device, two “inside” and one at the front, says CNet.
The three rear-facing cameras include a “12-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto camera and a 16-megapixel ultra wide camera”, the tech site says. The two inside are 8-megapixel and 10-megapixel cameras, while the one on the front is another 10-megapixel “selfie” lens.
What fixes have been carried out?
In July, Samsung outlined five key areas that have been reworked on the Galaxy Fold, including critical hardware improvements and upgrades to the overall user experience.
According to TechRadar, Samsung’s fixes included:
• Extending the 7.3in Infinity Flex AMOLED display’s thin protective layer “beyond the bezel” so that it now appears as an integral part of the screen and cannot be easily peeled
• Reinforcing the hinge to prevent small pieces of debris, such as flint and fluff, from getting into the device
• Introducing “protection caps” to the top and bottom sections of the hinge to strengthen the handset
• Fitting additional “metal layers” beneath the screen to improve protection and longevity
• Reducing the gap between the hinge and display
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