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Hands On: Samsung Galaxy Fold – a stunning glimpse at the future

It has been seven months, one failed launch and a renewed device later since the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Fold – finally, Samsung are ready for it to be seen by the world with sales kicking off this week.

The first market to get the phone will be Korea – no shock, it’s their home ground advantage and allows them to say they got a folding phone out first when Huawei drops their Mate X soon.

No word yet on when it will come to Australia, but we expect it before Christmas.

In the hand, it’s a big beast. Tall, narrow, and fat. Strange really – not like anything you would have used before in the smartphone world.

You’ll need both hands to open it – not because it’s a hard or heavy hinge, but because of the way the hinge snaps into place, either open or closed. No drama though, with something costing in the area of $3,000 you don’t want any accidental drops.

The work done on the device since the failed launch a couple of months ago sees the screen’s upper most layer pushed to beyond the visible edge so there’s no temptation to peel it back.

Likewise down the bottom there are new small tabs over the hinge and screen on the centre – this stops any debris getting in under the screen.

Continuity of apps is impressive. No matter what you are doing inside or out, open or close the device and that same app appears.

For me what makes that impressive isn’t that it happens, but that it’s done right. If you have a map open, the centre of the front screen is what’s shown on the centre of the big screen when opened.

You can open three apps at a time, because – space. I found it hard to clear the multiple windows though, and a Samsung trainer present in the room used the back button to do so – not entirely the best solution.

This is an epic look at the future of smartphones, there’s no doubt this folding format will take on – just in what form factor we don’t know.

I like the book form, it is a natural extension of the mobile.

But by generation 2, 3 and 4 there are a fair few things they need to get right.

It’s too fat. Strange to hold, strange in the pocket.

The Front screen is tiny – hello – did anybody say “Screen to Body Ratio?”

We have to talk about the elephant in the room – the Fold. Not the device in total – the actual fold. It’s visible. Easily.

It most certainly does NOT get in the way or distract you, in fact you quickly learn to look past it.

In dark screens it’s worst, and of course in the brightest environment it’s going to be a shocker.

Then there’s the open Tablet – there’s a huge notch for the cameras, actually sits “on top” of the screen when watching a video.

These are picky things, like the fact it’s a wedge shape, it doesn’t fold totally shut – and for something pushing $3k that’s not great in terms of design.

There’s no speed issues, it seems snappy, the camera looks great, but we were testing in a very controlled environment in a limited time.

This is – unquestionably, one hell of a device. It’s build quality is Porsche level not Tesla. The form and function are spot on, and I get it – there’s a solid use-case.

But I think the above issues have to be top of line for Samsung in the next 6 months. Version 2 has to blow our minds to keep this category rolling.

We’ll await Aussie launch date and pricing, and like you – we want one, if only to say we have one and to keep for the grandkids to show that those folding things they have – we had the first one.

EFTM’s coverage of IFA 2019 is supported by Vodafone, Porsche & Samsung

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Hands On: Samsung Galaxy Fold – a stunning glimpse at the future
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