Update Oct 1: Our full Galaxy Fold review is live with final verdict and rating.
Is it fixed? And is it finally worth $2,000?
I’ve spent several hours so far with the new and improved Galaxy Fold, and it definitely seems fixed. For one, Samsung has made a ton of improvements to this smartphone in terms of durability. The company is also going above and beyond with dedicated customer service for this luxury product.
On the other hand, Samsung has compromised the premium user experience in one annoying way (thanks to the help of a partner), and some of my complaints remain from the original Galaxy Fold.
Here’s 5 things I like and 3 things I hate about this foldable phone based on my limited time with the mega phablet.
GALAXY FOLD: WHAT I LIKE
The Galaxy Fold feels sturdier
Samsung made four key improvements to the design of the Galaxy Fold to prevent this foldable phone from breaking as some of the original review samples did. First, it extended the top display so that users won’t accidentally peel it off. Samsung also placed caps on the hinges of the Fold to prevent debris from entering the design and narrowed the gap between the two parts of the display when the phone is closed. Lastly, there’s a metal layer beneath the display for increased rigidity.
Opening and closing the Galaxy Fold feels smoother this time around with the improved design, and there’s still a satisfying clasp. But only time will tell if these improvements go far enough.
Galaxy Fold display still feels magical (even with crease)
Although I haven’t played with a Galaxy Fold in months, there is still something awe-inspiring about being able to easily transform from phone mode to a 7.3-inch mini tablet. Whether I was framing photos in Times Square or watching the Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker trailer on YouTube, this Super AMOLED panel is very immersive. Plus, Samsung's app continuity feature makes it easy to, say, start watching a video or navigating a map on the small screen and instantly transition to the larger canvas. The crease is still visible, but I don't mind it that much so far.
Improved Galaxy Fold customer service
Every Galaxy Fold now comes with Galaxy Fold Premier Service, which is designed to provide a concierge-level experience for customers. It comes with dedicated 24/7 support and access to Fold experts. (I asked and you get U.S. support during U.S. business hours, and then it goes overseas).
You can also have video chats with Premier Service reps or even schedule one-on-one sessions in which an expert can come to you. I look forward to trying this out over the coming days.
Everything you need is in the box, including Galaxy Buds and a case
For close to $2,000, you should expect some in-box goodies with the Galaxy Fold, and Samsung delivers just that with a pair of Galaxy Buds powered by AKG. And because the Galaxy Fold offers reverse wireless charging, you can charge the Buds just by placing them on the back of the phone.
Samsung also throws in a snug case with the Galaxy Fold, which comes in two pieces and has a nice soft-touch feel. However, I found that the front piece slid too easily from left to right.
GALAXY FOLD: WHAT I DON'T LIKE
The Galaxy Fold has WAY too much AT&T bloatware
I couldn’t believe my eyes after I set up the Galaxy Fold and swiped to the right to see the second home screen. I counted no less than 19 apps pre-loaded apps from AT&T. These range from games like GOT: Conquest and the CNN app to DirecTV Now and Visual Voicemail. For a $2,000 device, you deserve a clean slate when it comes to software, but perhaps this is the price of doing business with AT&T. (T-Mobile was going to carry the Galaxy Fold until it backed out after the initial delay.)
It’s still pretty bulky
As someone who carries around a pretty hefty iPhone XS Max, there’s not denying that the Galaxy Fold is a bulky device. It weighs a hefty 9.5 ounces, compared to 7.97 ounces for the iPhone 11 Pro Max. So that's significantly heavier than Apple’s biggest phone.
The Galaxy Fold is also fairly thick when folded up, so I really noticed it pressing on my legs as I walked up stairs. This is a phone that’s better placed in a breast pocket or purse.
Galaxy Fold lacks 5G
The Galaxy Fold is one of the most cutting-edge phones ever, but its networking technology is not future-proof. Yes, the iPhone 11 series suffers from the same flaw, but the difference is that Samsung already offers 5G versions of its other flagships in the Galaxy S10 5G and Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to leave its top-tier flagship out of the 5G mix.
Galaxy Fold Outlook
I’ll be spending a lot more time in the coming days with the new and improved Galaxy Fold, but for now I’d say my enthusiasm hasn’t dulled for the idea of owning a foldable phone. I like the flexibility of having a big screen when I want one and smaller display when I need one for glancing at notifications. I’m just not sure I would make the “Galaxy Fold 1.5” my first choice.
Stay tuned for our full test results, benchmarks, camera comparisons and more.