Samsung wants to welcome you into the Fold—but it will cost you $2,000.
Still, the buzz is strong for the company’s new high-priced Galaxy Fold folding smartphone, which goes on sale on April 26. The device, which Samsung unveiled in February, takes aim at conventional flat smartphones, like Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s own Galaxy S10.
Samsung has already stopped taking preorders online, saying the demand exceeded its initial supply. But it’s unclear whether that’s much of an accomplishment because the Korean conglomerate didn’t disclose how many Galaxy Folds it manufactured.
Whatever the case, a number of technology news outlets published their generally positive reviews of the Fold on Monday. But the articles also raised new questions about the device
Samsung’s device would be the first foldable smartphone to reach store shelves, shaking up a category that has been largely stagnant on the innovation front for several years. One potential wrinkle with its debut: Google’s Android operating system, as well as third-party apps for the device, have yet to be optimized for a foldable phone.
Still thinking about plunking down for $2,000 Samsung’s experiment? Here’s what you can expect.
What Sets the Galaxy Fold Apart?
When closed, the Galaxy Fold looks like a typical—albeit chunky—smartphone. The exterior has 4.6-inch touchscreen for accessing apps, playing games, and answering emails. When opened, however, it unfolds into a 7.3-inch screen. Other than that trick, the Galaxy Fold is a fairly traditional smartphone. It uses Google’s Android operating system, features plenty of operating power and storage, and operates on two carrier networks.
Other Key Features
Inside the phone, you’ll find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, which is the same chip that Samsung used in the powerful Galaxy S10 released earlier this year. To ensure that apps load quickly, the Galaxy Fold has 12GB of RAM, and the Fold’s 512GB of storage offers enough room to store several hours of videos and thousands of high-resolution photos without running out of space.
There’s one front-facing camera when the smartphone is closed and two additional front-facing cameras when it’s opened. All three of those cameras are intended for snapping high-quality selfies and video, according to Samsung. There are also three rear-facing cameras that can snap telephoto and wide-angle shots at 12 megapixels, and ultra-wide shots at an impressive 16 megapixels.
Samsung’s smartphone runs on Google’s Android 9.9 operating system and supports the millions of third-party apps in the Google Play marketplace. But again, those apps aren’t specifically designed for foldable phones.
Samsung let some journalists test the Galaxy Fold before its release.
On the positive side, CNET reviewer Jessica Dolcourt said that the device is “solid and surprisingly premium.” USA Today‘s Ed Baig added that the device’s screen open-and-close mechanism “is as satisfying as closing an old flip phone.”
There had been concerns about the Galaxy Fold’s inside screen. When opened, the its has a small crease in the middle. Baig said the crease is noticeable but “didn’t bother us as much as you might think.” Dolcourt said the crease was practically invisible during use.
But it wasn’t all good news. The Verge’s Dieter Bohn lamented that the Galaxy Fold has a black notch at the top of the screen that sits atop the display and houses the front-facing cameras. The notch got in the way of YouTube videos, he said.
TechRadar’s John McCann was concerned with the Galaxy Fold’s size. He said the smartphone’s folding feature causes the Galaxy Fold to have “double the thickness of most smartphones.”
Carriers, Price, and Availability
The Galaxy Fold will initially be available on T-Mobile and AT&T networks in the U.S. In addition to those two carriers, it will be sold through Best Buy[/f500link] and online directly from Samsung.
Customers who want to buy new phone outright must pay $1,980 upfront. But AT&T and Best Buy are both offering installment plans. At AT&T, the Galaxy Fold will cost $66-per-month over 30 months. Best Buy offers two installment plans: $66 per month over 30 months or $82.50 per month over 24 months. T-Mobile hasn’t announced any installment plans.