The Samsung Galaxy Fold is the most ambitious phone since the original iPhone, which is saying a lot since the iPhone debuted 13 years ago.
As the first foldable phone available for sale in the U.S. from a major brand, the Galaxy Fold transforms from phone to tablet and back again using an innovative hinge and Infinity Flex display. The unique hinge uses an articulated spine design that features multiple hidden interlocking gears, which allows it open and close like a book.
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The result is a device that unfurls to reveal a mammoth 7.3-inch display, which is the largest screen you'll find on a smartphone. Plus, you can run up to three apps at once using the Galaxy Fold's Multi-Active Window feature for serious multitasking. It's not the perfect phone by any (ahem) stretch, but overall the Galaxy Fold richly deserves our Tom's Guide 2020 innovation award.
According to Samsung, the company tested thousands of prototypes before it landed on the final design for the Galaxy Fold. And it invented a new polymer layer to create a display that's about 50% thinner than your average smartphone screen.
The handiest feature on the Galaxy Fold is App Continuity. Say you're viewing a map on the front 4.6-inch display. All you need to open the screen and — boom — the same app opens on the larger panel and you can pick up right where you left off. In addition, Samsung has forged close partnerships with the likes of Google, Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, Spotify and more to build out an ecosystem of foldable phone-friendly apps.
Samsung has faced some challenges with the Galaxy Fold, and not just its relatively high $1,980 price. Some early Galaxy Fold reviewers revealed durability issues with the design before it went on sale. As a result, the company made several enhancements to the Galaxy Fold to prevent debris form entering the handset and to reinforce the display. Samsung also says that its work on the Fold hinge was integral to developing the Hideaway Hinge on the clamshell Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.
And that was the point of the original Galaxy Fold. It wasn't just to make a statement but to start a revolution and forge a new category of phones. And with the rumored Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 on the horizon along with a 5G version of the Galaxy Z Flip, we expect to see several more foldables from Samsung as it builds on this very exciting foundation.
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Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.