After showing off the folding screen technology during its annual developer conference back in November for an infuriatingly brief moment, Samsung has finally taken the wraps off its feverishly-anticipated foldable phone. Yes, the Seoul-based company left the boxy case that it used to disguise the handset last year and revealed the pliable flagship phone in all its glory.
It also confirmed the name of the device, which is Samsung Galaxy Fold.
The headline feature of the Galaxy Fold is the 7.3-inch flexible OLED, which folds and unfolds like pages of a bestseller. Samsung describes the display as something “never before seen on a smartphone”. The front of the Galaxy Fold sports a secondary, smaller display, known as the Cover Display.
When the 7.3-inch display is folded away, the 4.6-inch OLED kicks-in and lets you to continue to use the device. Apps can transition between the two displays seamlessly and automatically adjust to the new screen size. The 7.3-inch display allows the Fold to run three apps simultaneously.
Samsung recently overhauled its mobile OS. Gone is TouchWiz – the Android skin designed by Samsung and used on its smartphone range since June 2010 – replaced instead with One UI. This is a new Android Pie-powered mobile OS that acknowledges the difficulties with handling a large-screen device one-handed. To resolve that, it shifts the interactive elements of the user interface to the lower-third of the screen where they can be reached without difficult thumb gymnastics.
Samsung’s One UI will be running on the Galaxy Fold.
On the back of the all-new smartphone is a triple-camera system, with another two on the inside above the 7.3-inch AMOLED display, and finally, a single selfie camera on the front of the device.
That’s a total of six cameras on a single device, which is a lot.
The triple-camera on the back is the same set-up as the Galaxy S10 and the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus – but misses out on the quadruple-camera of the forthcoming Galaxy S10 5G. The rear-mounted camera combines a 16MP ultra-wide camera, a 12MP wide-angle sensor which can vary automatically between f/1.5 and f/2.4 based on the light conditions in the room, and a 12MP telephoto camera.
The latter enables the same 2x optical zoom as the other handsets in the Galaxy S10 range. Galaxy Fold also supports Live Focus photographs – the adjustable, artificial bokeh-style blur added to the background behind the subject of the image.
There’s a fingerprint scanner on the side of the device, which unlocks the handset and authenticates secure apps with a quick touch.
Powering the device is a 7-nanometre processor, coupled with 12GB of RAM. There’s 512GB of built-in storage, although there’s no word of whether this can be expanded via MicroSD card slot. Samsung has fitted the Fold with a 4,380mAh battery – or rather, two batteries – which are split on either side of the hinge.
Galaxy Fold is capable of recharging itself as well as a second device via Wireless PowerShare while connected to a regular USB-C charger, so you can leave your second charger at home.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold will cost €2,000 in Europe and will be available May 3, 2019. That’s a little later than the US launch date, which is scheduled for April 26, 2019. Unfortunately, there’s no word yet on the UK pricing, but it’s safe to assume you won’t get much change from £2,000.