What do you get when you mix an ambitious technology company, a saturated mobile device market, cutting edge technology, and an eye-watering price tag?
I will tell you.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold.
The device, according to Tracy Kyei, Head of Marketing at Samsung Electronics West Africa (Ghana), has been in the lab since 2011. It has been undergoing tests and developments over the years. However, with the outdooring of the first true foldable smartphone device in Ghana, we learn a few things:
- There are possibilities for mobile devices you have not even imagined yet.
- Folding screens, as scary as they might seem, are a delight to behold.
- Samsung is leading the charge for a new phone category but will need to learn and adapt quickly.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold was the first mainstream foldable smartphone. A prototype of the device was first seen in November 2018. The initial rollout of the device to reviewers did not go very well as Samsung was forced to recall the handsets. This was because the foldable screen was breaking after just a few days of use.
The device retails at GHC 12,999.
There is a need to put that fact out there before I go further so you understand the kind of waters we are swimming in. The Samsung Galaxy Fold device is not for everyone.
“We created Galaxy Fold also for those who want to experience what a premium foldable can do, beyond the limitations of a traditional smartphone.” That was how Tracy described it and for good reason as well.
The Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch cover display. When unfolded, it has the world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display. The device has six cameras in all (yes, six). There is the 10MP selfie camera on the cover; a triple rear camera set made up of a 16MP ultra-wide, a 12 MP wide-angle and a 12 MP telephoto lens; then there is the 10MP selfie camera and the 8MP depth camera when you flip the phone open.
Packed with 12GB of RAM, 512GB of internal memory, the mobile device pushes the boundaries a step further. The phone accepts one Nano SIM card and one eSIM card for the LTE version and only one Nano SIM for the 5G version. The fingerprint sensor is on the side of the phone.
The LTE version of the phone has a battery capacity of 4380mAh from the two batteries inside it while the 5G version packs a 4235mAh battery. With wireless powershare, you can charge other devices with the phone (something we have seen from the Galaxy S10 and the Note 10 range of devices).
Aside from all of this, Samsung Ghana is promising what it terms “premium service” with this device. Firstly, upon purchase, there are a number of goodies that come in the box. You get a pair of Galaxy buds (retailing at GHC 700), a case made of Kevlar material and a disposable screen protector. What you will also notice is a lot of warnings and notices in the box giving you indications on how to use the device, care, and support. Its a GHC 12,999 phone for a good reason.
You get a 24-month warranty on the device from Samsung Ghana.
Now that the specs and bells and whistles are out there, let us look beyond the numbers.
The price tag is a clear indication of the sort of people who will end up using this device. It is a luxury device, plain and simple. It is not the kind of phone you should be taking to the beach or the swimming pool or to the club for that matter. It is not certified water-resistant or dust resistant either.
There is a learning curve any owner will need to get over with the Galaxy Fold. For example, though most Google services such as maps are optimized for the device, other apps such a Snapchat are not. Also while notification will be swiped from the left section of the open device, navigation keys will be on the right side of it. These new ways of interacting with a device could put someone off but if you spent the money to buy the device, I am sure you will not mind.
What is clear though is it the device is one of a kind. It is a surprisingly delightful piece of tech to hold in one’s hand and play with. It felt solid and durable when I had my chance with it at the launch event and I have to confess that the 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display was so good. I played Asphalt 9 on it and it was a charm. I can imagine watching a few Netflix hours on it as well to great delight. The device can easily serve as your phone and tablet at the same time, which is what I believe Samsung was gunning for in the first place.
In all, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is a glimpse into the future of mobile telephony and the experiences we could be having. The Fold is a device you should experience to understand and appreciate. The opportunities are countless with the flexible display options but, how functional will these devices actually be and at what cost will it come?