Life Tech The phone Samsung hopes can bring users back into the Fold

The phone Samsung hopes can bring users back into the Fold

Samsung Galaxy Fold
Samsung is back in the game with an uneventful Galaxy Fold relaunch and now the Z Flip. Photo: Getty
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When you fall flat on your face, it’s what you do next that matters most.

You can scamper and hide and keep your head down until the next person falls over.

Or you can pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and pull off a triple-summersault back-flip in front of a watching audience.

In April last year, Samsung bit the dust hard when it released its much anticipated foldable Galaxy smartphone – which had a tendency to break and crack along the all-important fold.

The laughter was loud. The jokes were many.

With the manufacturer’s exploding Galaxy Note 7 not yet a distant memory, it could’ve been all over for Samsung.

But they bounced back. They quietly re-released the Fold in September and then made quite the splash this week with the Galaxy Z Flip.

Yep, some smart cookie in a boardroom said, ‘Hang on, why don’t we just fold it this way?’ and voila – you’ve got the new must-have phone.

The flip opens up like a clam, rather than out like a butterfly, and stands up against Motorola’s revamped Razr for the novelty phone factor.

By early comparisons, the Z Flip is looking to be the slightly better buy, with better cameras, more storage, a faster processor and a lower price point. (When we say ‘lower price point’ please note that still means $2225 for the Razr and $2047 for the Z Flip.)

The Razr is available to order in Australia now, and the Z Flip dropped on Valentine’s Day.

So while we wait for the Z Flip test phone to trickle down the line into our laps, here’s a trip down memory lane, to when TND  was given a re-launched Galaxy Fold to play with in December.

Wait – is that a phone? Hanging out with the Galaxy Fold

The unboxing of the re-launched Samsung Galaxy Fold takes place in The New Daily‘s office with great fanfare.

We’re all poor, clumsy journalists with cracked iPhones – being in the presence of a $3000 phone (yep, that’s the pricetag) is a rare event, let alone being allowed to hold and use it.

The first impressions are, it’s huge. When you fold it out in all its glory, the main screen is 7.3 inches. That means you’ve really got to be wary of what content you’re accessing in public, because every man and his dog can see your screen.

(The crease is noticeable, but it’s not bothersome just yet. The light glare off the custom OLED screen however, very bothersome.)

You can use the Fold unfolded or folded: the latter has a (comparatively) wee little 4.6-inch touchscreen that you can still do everything on, just in miniature. It’s cute.

What’s cool

Just straight up, the Fold is impressive. I have to chaperone a 10-year-old’s birthday party. I’m more popular than the cake and lolly bags put together.

Even adults are impressed. I can’t pull it out in public without a stranger asking: “Wait – is that a phone? Can I hold it?”

Side note: the Fold makes for an excellent wingman.

The cameras are excellent. All six of them.

The front cover is a 10MP selfie camera, inside there’s another 10MP selfie plus an 8MP depth camera, and on the back you get a 16MP ultra-wide, a 12MP wide-angle and a 12MP telephoto. Phew.

If you owned this phone and had enough money leftover to go on a holiday, you’d destroy the ‘gram with your vacay shots.

The options the Fold gives its user are great. The flexibility (get it?) of being able to swap between a full screen and an easy-access screen is fantastic.

When it’s closed up, you can still access all the Fold’s features on a smaller front screen. Photo: Getty

I love the full screen on my morning commute – its tablet-like functionality allows me to jam out some work and get a head start on my day. When it’s closed, the front screen means I can reply to texts, check the time or quickly Google something without unfolding the whole thing and attracting the paparazzi.

Not being the gaming type myself, a colleague road tests a few games on it. Apparently the graphics are excellent, and it’s generally “really, really sick” to wile away hours on.

I also dig the battery life (I’m averaging 36 to 48 hours between full charges) and the fact I can juice up the supplied Galaxy Pods through wireless charging.

What’s less than cool

The Fold is bloody heavy. More than 270 grams, to be exact. One of my first thoughts when I picked it up was, “Damn this would hurt if you dropped it on your face”.

I inevitably dropped it on my face and got a small bruise on my right cheekbone.

Because of its weight, the Fold isn’t the most ergonomic thing to use for long periods. It hurts one’s wrist. Seriously, if I used it for more than the two weeks I would’ve had to go to a physio.

It’s also really big, even closed up. Phones don’t fit in girls’ jeans as it is. This one barely fits in my handbag.

You can almost ignore the Fold’s flaws for how good its cameras are. Almost. Photo: Samsung

The light glare on the inside screen has already been whinged about. The Fold packs facial and fingerprint recognition to unlock it. But because of where the face sensor is (centre top) and the fingerprint sensor (the slimmest darn side button) it’s a bit of a hindrance to unlock if it’s sitting flat on one’s desk.

Yeah, I know, First World problem. But this is a First World phone, dammit – $3000.

I’m an Apple girl. Always will be. So try as I might get past the frustration that is an Android operating system, I can’t help but feel the OS has been rushed to fit into the Fold without being properly thought out and customised.

Worth it?

For $3000? No. Towards the end of the two weeks I can already feel the Fold starting to lag. There’s too much going on for it to sustain peak performance with the hardware it’s been given.

I also have serious doubts about the longevity of its screen. Even though Samsung fixed the faults in the original design that led to cracks, it still doesn’t feel 100 per cent break proof.

But it does excite me for the next generation of smartphones. The versatility of the two screens was a massive bonus, and I did miss that when I went back to the always-flat iPhone.

For now, even with the Z Flip, just admire from afar – this is just the beginning of foldable phones.

Wait to see what Apple does with the tech.

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