Samsung’s new foldable phone is a pricey taste of the future

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Galaxy-Fold-inside
When will Apple catch up with Samsung?
Photo: Samsung

We won’t have flying cars and hoverboards in 2019, but thanks to Samsung, we do have foldable phones.

The Galaxy Fold finally got its official unveiling today at Galaxy Unpacked, and it wants to replace your phone and your tablet. Samsung calls it “a whole new world of mobile,” but it looks more like a prototype than a final design. And that futuristic folding phone certainly won’t come cheap.

The Galaxy Fold is like a Nokia Communicator reborn for the modern world. In some ways, it’s an incredibly innovative taste of the future that will blow your socks off. But in others, it’s an unfinished mess that makes its $1,980 price seem even crazier.

The Galaxy Fold puts a tablet in your pocket

That’s right — the Galaxy Fold starts at an eye-watering $1,980. It’s very nearly double the price of an iPhone XS, but for good reason. Samsung painstakingly redesigned almost everything about the smartphone to make it more than just a phone.

The star of the show is obviously the foldable display. On the front of the handset there’s a rather tiny (by today’s standards) 4.6-inch screen, but you can open it up to reveal a gorgeous 7.3-inch Infinity Flex display that’s big enough to replace your tablet.

Samsung’s software appears to deliver a seamless switching experience. The app you’re using on the front of the phone will automatically adapt for the larger screen when you open up the Galaxy Fold. And, for the first time on a phone, you can run three apps simultaneously.

Samsung uses a “revolutionary” hinge down the middle of the phone that’s neatly hidden away. When the Galaxy Fold is open in tablet mode, you won’t see it.

All-new chips for impressive performance

The Galaxy Fold is powered by a cutting-edge 7-nanometer processor that promises blazing-fast performance and unparalleled efficiency. The Samsung folding phone comes with a whopping 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage as standard.

Galaxy Fold front
Look at that tiny front-facing display!
Photo: Samsung

You also get AKG sound and six cameras — three on the back of the device, one on the front, and two inside for when you’re using it in tablet mode. You also get two batteries (one on each side of the device) that work together as one.

The Samsung folding phone looks rough around the edges

The Galaxy Fold is an impressive achievement. We certainly can’t argue with that. But it’s very much a first-generation device, which means you might want to hold onto your cash for now.

Just take a look at the size of the bezels on the front of the phone. They’re huge! There’s more bezel than screen, and in 2019 — when the race to eliminate bezels altogether is only getting more exciting — it just looks ludicrous. I mean, who would ever use this thing in phone mode?

Even in tablet mode, the Galaxy Fold doesn’t look quite right. Samsung did a great job of hiding the hinge. But then there’s a strange and unwieldy notch inside the Infinity Display for the device’s two cameras. It just looks messy and unfinished.

If you have $2,000 that you really need to spend, and you really want a foldable phone, maybe the Galaxy Fold is worth it. But for everyone else, foldable phones have a long way to go before they’re a worthwhile purchase.