Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Ars Technica Reviews the Samsung Galaxy Fold

Ron Amadeo reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Fold for Ars Technica and does not seem impressed:

The inside screen would benefit a lot from being bigger. While the inner aspect ratio is the same as an iPad Mini, in practice the two devices are nothing alike. The 7.3-inch Galaxy Fold display is noticeably smaller than a 7.9-inch iPad Mini, and, critically, the iPad doesn’t have to waste space on an on-screen navigation bar and a giant camera notch. An iPad aspect ratio doesn’t work when you have to chop off sections of the screen like this—iOS dedicates nearly the entire display to the app area, and the Galaxy Fold does not. Overall, there’s just not enough room on the Fold display for apps to make it a significant improvement, or any improvement at all, over a regular smartphone.

A wider body would also allow for a smartphone-sized front screen instead of the tiny, useless screen that is on the front now. It could display apps at a normal size, with a normal width, and the keyboard would be usable. A wider body would also allow for a wider interior screen, which would be better for split screen, better for media, better for multi-pane tablet apps, and more normal for most Android games.

However Samsung arrived at this form factor for the Galaxy Fold, it’s a disaster. Nothing justifies this shape. Neither screen is good for its intended purpose, and this is something anyone could figure out if they just tried the phone for a few minutes next to a normal smartphone. You don’t see more Android content on the bigger screen, the app area is not the right aspect ratio for split screen, and most forms of media would benefit from a wider, less square screen. With such a considerable increase in price and heft over a normal smartphone, the Galaxy Fold just isn’t worth it.

This is a review of the Samsung Galaxy Fold as a product, and it is a brutal invective. But let’s be realistic: the Fold should not be a product. It is a prototype that you can, for some reason, buy today. Its hardware is ill-considered; its software feels like a stretched smartphone rather than a shrunken tablet. This is a two thousand dollar way to say “first”.