Galaxy Fold Review: A Bold Bet That Is Not Ready

Updated: Feb 23, 2020

The Galaxy Fold is an amazing example of what foldable phones can do, but questions about its durability make it a tough sell even for early adopters.

Our Verdict

The Galaxy Fold is an amazing example of what foldable phones can do, but questions about its durability make it a tough sell even for early adopters.

For Innovative folding display Can run three apps at once Great battery life Very good cameras


Serious durability concerns Front display is too small Crease can be distracting Very expensive

Capable of transforming from phone to tablet, the Galaxy Fold is a phone that’s explicitly designed to be shown off. And yet every time I let it leave my hands I almost immediately started to get nervous. Not just because Samsung’s new phone is nearly $2,000; it’s because I started to see reports about the screen breaking for some reviewers. Sure, I let my family members and colleagues play with it, but then I felt compelled to ask for it back within 30 seconds.

The good news is that my Fold didn’t break. In fact, now that I’ve been testing the Galaxy Fold for several days and using it as my main phone, I’m confident that foldable phones have a future. But this first-generation device leaves me with a mix unease and excitement that makes the Fold hard to recommend for all but the bravest early adopters.

Editors' Note: Because Samsung says that is taking measures to strengthen the display protection, we will update this review with a rating once we receive final review samples for the U.S. and conduct additional testing. We used a European model for this initial review.

Galaxy Fold price and release date

The Galaxy Fold smartphone was supposed to go on sale April 26 through AT&T and T-Mobile as well as through and Best Buy. The new official release date is now going to happen in September, after Samsung announced the Fold would go on sale in South Korea on Sept. 6.

he Galaxy Fold is one of the most expensive phones ever. It costs $1,980 in the U.S. and £1,800 in the U.K. (€2,000), or about double the price of most premium flagships. (For context, the Galaxy S10 Plus starts at $999, and you can get a model with 1TB of storage and 12GB of RAM for $1,599 — still hundreds less than the Fold.) For those scoring at home, the Fold would cost you $66 per month, at least if you pay off your phone in 30 months using one of AT&T's Next plans. 

After the five month delay in the Fold's launch, it's unclear who will be taking orders for this foldable phone. T-Mobile has already said it's not going to offer the Fold once the phone arrives in September.

Design: Foldable wow with some quirks

There’s a wow factor with the Galaxy Fold that I haven’t experienced since I tried the original iPhone in 2007. Thanks to a sophisticated 20-part, dual-axis hinge, you can open this clamshell just like a book, transforming the Fold from phone to tablet mode. The motion is fairly smooth and natural, and I’ll admit I felt a bit like a secret agent as I used the Fold in public, surfing the web or watching a video and then closing the whole thing up before I walked away.

If you’re in a quiet place, though, you’ll actually hear the Infinity Flex display unfold, and it sounds like unfolding plastic. That’s because the main display is plastic, not Gorilla Glass like the outer cover display. The sound was a bit unsettling the first few times.

When closed, the Galaxy Fold feels like a throwback phone, and a chunky one at that. It’s quite tall and narrow and measures 0.66 inches thick. That’s about double the thickness of the Galaxy S10 and iPhone XS. This was not optimal for my jeans front pocket; it’s a better fit for a blazer pocket.

I’m not a fan of the button layout. For some reason, Samsung decided to separate the power button and fingerprint reader on the right edge of the Galaxy Fold. It would have made more sense to combine them, which would enable users to power on and unlock in one fluid motion. Instead, the fingerprint sensor doubles as the Bixby button, which you can program to open other apps as well.

MORE: Best Smartphones - Here Are the 10 Best Phones Available

If you do buy the Galaxy Fold, I recommend that you don’t get it through AT&T or T-Mobile directly. That’s because goes beyond the boring Space Silver and Cosmos Black colors and offers both Astro Blue and Martian Green as well. I mean, if you’re going to stand out, stand out. Plus, you can choose from two different hinge colors with the Astro Blue and Martian Green models.

Two other important things to note. First, the Galaxy Fold is not IP68 water resistant, so don’t get it wet or try to dunk it. Second, there’s no headphone jack.

Durability: A big question mark

The Galaxy Fold made a very poor first impression with some reviewers, as the screen broke or malfunctioned on several models. However, the cause seemed to vary. In some cases, users accidentally removed a protective layer on the display that is designed to very much stay put.

In another instance, it’s possible that some clay (used to prop up the unit for photos) got caught between the display and hinge. And in yet another instance, the screen just started flickering before fading to black for no particular reason.

In response, Samsung says that it is delaying the launch of the Galaxy Fold. It also said that the reported display issues "showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge."

This is not a good sign for a product that’s supposed to usher in an entirely new category of phones. But Samsung says that it is taking "measures to strengthen the display protection" and "enhance the guidance on care and use of the display."

MORE: The $2,000 Galaxy Fold's Screen Is Already Breaking

Even with more in-your-face warnings, the fact that users can so easily remove this essential layer calls into question the design of the Fold. It’s certainly possible that the Fold will hold up to Samsung’s claim of 200,000 openings and closings, as Samsung has demonstrated on video, but there’s a difference between a lab and the real world.

Displays: A tale of two screens (and a crease)

It’s best to think of the front display on the Galaxy Fold as an at-a-glance screen for quick interactions, like checking Slack notifications and changing tracks in Spotify. That’s because it’s just 4.6 inches, which is Lilliputian compared to even the best small phones (typically 5.5 inches and up). Because the screen is narrow, it’s also difficult to type on.

Author Nerdcore

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