Update, Nov 9, 2019: Since this long-term review took quite a bit of time, we came up with a new way to keep you in the loop of how it was coming up. While the prolonged real-life testing was still going on, Victor shared his impressions as they came to him in a diary fashion. For the sake of completeness, this log can still be found on this page now that the full text is published on the preceding pages.
The dissymmetry is instantly obvious after being used to handling your typical "slab" phones for so long. I feel the need to flatten the hinge down :)
Whatever I am doing on the phone, I find myself constantly asking - alright, is this a big screen task or not? Should I use the small outside display or unfold. It feels quite unusual. Kind of stressful at times.
Do you remember phone socks? I feel like I need one now.
My car phone holder is now effectively useless. Even if I am willing to use the small display it is just not deep enough. Using the Fold will take more readjusting then I thought.
I am a very traditional person or rather set in my ways about navigation and well, many other things as well. I like my back button in the old-school right spot. Thankfully Samsung lets you choose where it goes, but it is one toggle for both displays. And just when I was about to remark that that is not ideal since I would prefer something further from the frame on the big display it turned out I can just shift the position of all three buttons to the center. Very nice attention to detail. The ease with which I got used to the typing experience on the big split keyboard is another testament to ergonomics and proof that Samsung actually tried to make the Fold usable.
I constantly find myself wanting to put the Fold down on a flat surface and use it like that. It is one beast of a device and does get heavy.
The included case does not cover the camera bump. Why oh why? As if I needed more reasons to worry about this phone.
The hinge kind of surprises you once it snaps free from the open position. A tighter and more linear effort would have been better. The current setup could result in dropping the phone.
I received a call while the Fold was open. I guess I need to close it to answer. At least it has 2 selfie cameras so if it was a video call it would have worked.
Had to set-up my home screen twice since the two displays don't share an arrangement. That's pretty smart actually, since I really can't fit as much on the outside one.
Just reached for a pair of headphones... Samsung can't convince me that there was no room for a 3.5mm jack on the Fold.
I swear the crease is getting bigger. Or at least more pronounced. I hope I don't get actual air pockets at some point.
Browsing Reddit on this display is something else... People on the subway do stare from time to time, though.
I am now pretty certain that the right half of the display is ever so slightly darker than the left one. Another annoying bit - the refresh cycle on the panel is done left to right not top to bottom which makes for some particularly wiggly straight lines while scrolling. Also, black to grey response times on this panel are particularly horrible even for an OLED resulting in a lot of motion smearing.
A little update on the fingerprint reader. Positioned right below the power button, it generally works pretty well. Snappy and accurate. However, the area is rather slim. When the phone is closed, this makes for a lot of misreads since you basically have to jam your finger between the two parts. Then the Fold starts complaining that your finger is not covering the entire reader. It gets worse still with the included case on.
I am pretty used to Samsung vibration motors and their above-average intensity, but the Fold still manages to surprise me every time it buzzes. Perhaps it's a mass per surface area thing? It's a good thing you can adjust that in Settings.
Interesting discovery, let's say. If you fold the phone half way just right, you can have a part of it in frame for a selfie. This might just be the first phone that can take a picture of itself?
Most apps I use regularly seem to scale fine, but some still have issues. Overblown raster images and assets on the inside screen here and there. That is kind of on the developers who should be using vectors instead. However, the more severe and hard to fix issues are surprisingly on the extra-skinny external display. It just doesn't play nice with certain traditional layout practices.
Android can't start adding fluent multi screen scaling, transitions and mostly multy window interfaces soon enough, since there is a lot of wasted potential on the Fold.
I am starting to become painfully aware that the outside of the hinge is not protected at all. And it's a very nice and shiny metal surface. Could just be my paranoia but I am kind of considering masking tape? That wouldn't be fair for the review, though. dbrand please help :)
I feel like there can't physically be so much lint inside my pocket. Plus, how does every last bit get inside the folded Fold? Seriously, I have to clean the display every time I open it. And be incredibly careful not to rub any particles in the soft top surface. This is really stressful.
The hinge has started loosening up. Can't say I didn't expect it, but it is still kind of disappointing to whitness the Fold gradually but surely succumb to basic usage. The tech is simply not there yet.
Face unlock with the outside selfie cam is really bad in low light. I think there simply isn't enough light. The small display appears to be trying to boost its brightness to illuminate my face, but it is just not enough. Maybe it's the smaller surface area. The display would have to get extra bright to work properly. That, however is going to be really uncomfortable in the middle of the night. Maybe Samsung realised this and made an executive decision not to blind people. And since the fingerprint reader is rather hard to reach when the device is closed the Fold is one tough phone to unlock. Unless you open it up, that is. Once opened both face and fingerprint work great.
I have been running some experiments. I have only been using the external panel for the last three days. Definitely an inconvenience at times, but I did successfully stay away from the charger for three full days. That is 72 hours with about 20% left on the Fold.
I am constantly finding great use cases for having such an enormous display at hand. The latest one has to be as an FPV/remote for a DJI Spark. I realise this is far from universally applicable, but I still feel I have to mention how amazingly better the experience is on a Galaxy Fold.
Stay tuned for more Updates! Victor will continue to share his impressions here until the review is ready a few weeks from now.