Hit, stand, or Fold? If you’ve got the folding stuff, go for it
Willing to gamble about R36,000 on Samsung’s new Fold? If not, there are less eye-watering Galaxy models
THE GALAXY FOLD
We were herded into in a darkened room, told to check our phones at the door, and to stand two-by-two at the counters. There, under the plexiglass, was a shroud covering the object that all the world was making a fuss about – the newest sensational flagship of Samsung’s Galaxy range – the Fold. Eventually, out came some men wearing white gloves who then handed the phones to us, tentatively, spying on me like I was a five-year-old in the supermarket, with a sweet in my hand, convinced I was up to no good.
It is understandable that they weren’t keen to hand over the goods. The folding phone has been a white whale for cellphone manufacturers for years. But now, finally, after eons of rumors, murmurs and registered cellphone patents it was here and it was, well, a little awkward.
One would expect that a folding phone would be thick, like a small sandwich, but it was a lot skinnier when folded than I imagined, harking back to the Nokia Communicator days of 1996. The skinny frame is as such because it is all the better to unfold into the nifty 18.5cm mini tablet-like display. After having a wide-set phone over the past four generations it is definitely something that will take some getting used to. As will the weirdly tiny front screen.
There is an adage in the tech world of “maybe wait for the next gen”, because no matter how pretty the new tech is, it’s still new. There are bugs that you don’t even know about and, frankly, only time will tell. More importantly, with time comes cheaper innovation.
Ever since Apple set a precedent with its luxury price points for its iPhone X (some weighing in at R33,000), we knew a folding phone – leaps and bounds ahead in innovation – would be playing in the same ballpark. The price on the Fold comes in at $1,980 (about R28,000 before tax) – which means that when local providers and import duty officers take their cut, we are probably looking closer towards R36,000. But I still don’t believe that phones – no matter how much we use them – should cost the same as a tricked-out gaming laptop.
• The Galaxy Fold is reportedly expected to arrive at the start of May in very limited numbers.
THE GALAXY 10S+
While you wait for the Galaxy Fold, you should go for the Samsung Galaxy S10+ instead. This phone is ridiculously slick. Not only is it slimmer and lighter, but thanks to the new “Infinity O display” it is pretty much toe-to-toe screen wise with the Note9. Sure, the punch-hole cameras in the top left corner are a little odd but it really does make the screen feel a whole lot tidier somehow.
The same screen – thanks to the AMOLED that supports HDR10+ – manages to bring a crisper and cleaner graphic experience. And all that 12GB RAM translates to superior navigation and happy apps. Plus, in spite of the superior screen and power, the phone battery lasts noticeably longer – easily a whole day after some hefty abuse.
The five cameras do everything that they promised – including live-focus selfies – although I have yet to find the mythical in-camera Instagram merger. That, along with the somewhat sticky in-screen fingerprint scanner that often hates my fingers, are the only gripes so far.
Well, that, and the fact that Samsung seems to be going the way of Apple and starting its S10 range at a higher price point than ever before. What used to set you back R15,499 (for the S9) now starts at R18,999. Yes, the global economy isn’t what it used to be but that is R1,000 more than the S9+ last year, which has now officially crept over the R20,000 mark by R999. The ever rising price is one new phone trend that I hope doesn’t become the new standard.
• The new range of Galaxy 10 phones will be available from March 8. R15,999 for the S10e; R18,999 for the S10, R20,999 for the S10+ 128 gig; R25,999 for the 520gig; and R35,999 for the 1Tb.