2019 might well go down as the year that the foldable display went from the drawing board and fan generated concept images to a cutting edge product that consumers could actually buy. From Microsoft’s new vision to a reimagined version of the Moto RAZR that we loved more than a decade ago, the last few weeks have seen a slew of announcements. It was Samsung with its Galaxy Fold that was first off the blocks. No new path is without bumps and the Fold had its share of glitches when it first debuted. Samsung has glossed over most of those issues with the final iteration of the Galaxy Fold that has also launched in India. Does the pricey Fold make a case for the foldable display and is this where smartphones are headed in the immediate future?
If you enjoy attention at airport lounges or at your favourite nightspot, you’ll love those curious glances each time you flip open the Fold. That’s almost the moment that defines the Galaxy Fold, as it transforms from a small-screen smartphone to a stunning 7.3-inch AMOLED display. A sophisticated hinge with multiple interlocking gears ensures this device is ready to impress people around you for a long time to come. You don’t get to use all the screen real estate while watching Netflix or some HD Content and the camera cut-out is larger than Samsung’s newer flagships. But it’s still the display to beat with its combination of size and pixel density. I also enjoyed flipping through E-books on the Kindle App and using the full screen for games like PUBG. While some apps seamlessly switch from the small to big screen, many Apps restarted to switch between screens.
The hardware spec-sheet backs the large display and the Fold’s unique multi-tasking solution that allows you to run three Apps simultaneously. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Processor with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of Internal memory. The cameras are the other talking point; there are 6 lenses in total and it’s a formidable package that’s in the same league as Samsung’s other 2019 flagships. This is a solid all-round camera that flits between lowlight photography and videos with equal ease. I found it tough to frame images with the smaller 4.6-inch external display, forcing me to flip open the device each time I wanted the perfect shot. I barely used this smaller display for anything other than calls or typing quick text replies almost like back in the 2000s.
So, who’s the Fold for? The obvious answer is early tech adopters. Consumers who don’t mind paying top dollar for a device that offers a peek into the future. It’s too early to say if this is the direction that smartphones will head in the coming years. The extra heft (at 263 gm this is no lightweight) could be a stumbling block for some. Like all concept devices, the Fold has its share of imperfections. And yet this is a device that ticks more boxes than most pioneering devices have done in the past. The 4830 mAh battery is one such box, the Fold manages decent battery life for its large display. That’s where the Fold scores despite some obvious shortcomings. It’s a device that has one step in the future and yet does a lot of everyday things right.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold costs Rs 1,64,999. Samsung also offers a dedicated round-the-clock concierge service in India for the Fold.
Ashwin Rajagopalan writes extensively on Gadgets & Trends, Travel & Lifestyle and Food & Drink. He owns and manages Brand Stories, a creative Content outfit and www.bytesize.in, a premier lifestyle blog with a focus on short-format content. Instagram: ‘ashwinpowers’)