New Phone Shopping? Here's a Hands-on Look at Samsung's New $2,000 Galaxy Fold

When Samsung said this year it would launch a smartphone with a folding screen, the big question was whether the innovation was something people actually wanted or needed.Is the Galaxy Fold a gimmick to help sell more smartphones in a slowing market or a true breakthrough that will change how we use our devices?Major manufacturers have in recent years been largely updating smartphones with marginal improvements like better cameras and face scanning technology, so skepticism has been high.The South Korean electronics company this week offered the media a hands-on preview ahead of the release in the U.S. this month, and the first impression is that a folding screen in some circumstances might be a useful innovation -- but at a cost of almost $2,000 it won't be a mass market product anytime soon.WHY A FOLDABLE SCREEN?As people increasingly use their phones to do data-hungry tasks like view photos on Instagram and watch movies or TV shows on YouTube or Netflix, Samsung says the case for a folding phone has become clear: People want bigger screens but they also want a phone they can carry around in their pocket.Skeptics might say that folding phones are a sign that the smartphone industry has run out of good ideas and fallen into an innovation malaise. Samsung isn't alone. Little known Royole started selling its FlexPai in China last year while Chinese tech giant Huawei announced its own folding phone, the Mate X, days after Samsung's announcement.OPEN AND SHUTClosed, the Galaxy Fold is about 2.5 inches wide by 6.3 inches long. It felt like holding a TV remote control, but heavier. The phone's two panels are held shut by magnets, so a bit of force is needed to get it open. With a little practice I was able to do it one-handed by jamming my thumb between the two sections to pop them apart.Samsung spent nearly five years working on the hinge, which went through more than 1,000 prototypes. It uses cogs and gears to give it a smooth feel and has two open positions. First, it unfolds to 140 degrees -- handy if you want to put it down on your desk but still need to angle part of the screen for a video call, for example. Bend it further and the screen silently and solidly opens to a flat position. To close the phone, you click it out of the open position and snap the sides shut.  Continue reading...

Read More

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us