Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is the best phone of 2019
Some of you may not fully agree with the title but there’s enough evidence to support that the Galaxy Fold really is the best phone of 2019. Granted, it has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Samsung’s first foldable smartphone.
Samsung first unveiled the Galaxy Fold at its Galaxy S10 launch event in San Francisco on February 20, 2019. It wanted to be the first company to put a proper foldable smartphone on the market. Samsung announced that it would release the Galaxy Fold on April 26, 2019 for $1,980.
Like many Samsung fans, we were very excited to see the device. As we mentioned in our Galaxy Fold hands-on, we were blown away by not only the device’s futuristic look but also its sheer potential. This belief was strengthened when the review unit arrived in our office. We heaped praises on it in our Galaxy Fold review despite some shortcomings in the software.
Samsung had strictly controlled the Galaxy Fold’s exposure ever since the device was unveiled. The media wasn’t allowed to go hands-on with it even at the Mobile World Congress 2019. The device had also been kept very well protected throughout the development which is why there were no significant leaks. That may have been one of the reasons why the device’s durability wasn’t thoroughly tested in real-world scenarios.
After some reviewers ran into issues with the foldable display, it became evident that Samsung needed to do more in order to improve the device’s durability. Since the device hadn’t been released to the public yet, Samsung nipped this problem in the bud and announced that it would delay the Galaxy Fold’s global launch. It also took back all review units that had been sent out.
So began a long wait for Samsung’s foldable smartphone. After confirming the changes it had made to improve the device’s durability, Samsung confirmed that it would finally release the Galaxy Fold on September 6, 2019. The changes it made actually did improve the Galaxy Fold’s reliability. My own unit was able to survive a week-long beachside vacation in Egypt with plenty of sun and sand. The handset would then gradually make its way to more markets across the globe. Given that the launch didn’t go as smoothly as Samsung would have liked and the obviously high price tag, one would think this device can’t really be considered the best phone of 2019, but hear me out.
Many of you will remember the first Galaxy Note phablet very well. It can actually be credited with popularizing the term “phablet,” a combination of the words phone and tablet. Well, remember the first Galaxy Note? The original Galaxy Note came out in October 2011 and it was unlike any product on the market at that point in time. It had a 5.3-inch display, considered massive back then, in a bulky design that also featured the S Pen stylus. Nevertheless, it ended up being one of the most notable Samsung products of this decade.
It was a gutsy move from Samsung to go in a completely different direction from the market and while many felt that the Galaxy Note was a mistake, Samsung stuck to its guns. Fast forward a few years and the device that everyone took as a joke initially had singlehandedly transformed the mobile industry. It drove the industry to adopt larger displays to the extent that even displays over 6-inches are no longer considered too big for smartphones. It also demonstrated that while many had confined the stylus to history, there was a way to make it relevant in the modern age with great software features that particularly appealed to professionals.
The first Galaxy Note wasn’t perfect and neither is the first Galaxy Fold. We’ve said time and time again that Samsung needs to care more about adding functionality to the device. Look at where the Galaxy Note series is now. It has been significantly refined over the years. Just imagine what the Galaxy Fold can be in a couple of years.
That’s exactly what Samsung is doing with the Galaxy Fold. Having transformed the mobile industry once before, the company has now set to do that once again by leading the charge with foldable smartphones. Most smartphones look alike regardless of the manufacturer with the same design and form factor. Nothing has really shaken up the market for several years now and Samsung is doing just that with its foldable smartphone.
The Galaxy Fold put the elusive idea of a smartphone that folds within reach. No wonder it has been selling out almost instantly wherever it’s released despite the hefty price tag. Having proved to the market that foldable smartphones have potential, Samsung is now set upon democratizing this technology. Its next foldable smartphone is already expected to cost under $1,000 which would make it attainable for a lot more people.
Samsung has done what it did with the first Galaxy Note again, it has sparked change. A lot more manufacturers will now adopt the foldable form factor because they can either compete or get left behind. This, in turn, benefits customers as prices will come down when competition increases. If you look beyond the numbers, the spec sheets and the initial troubles, the Galaxy Fold can really be called the best phone of 2019. Not because of what it is, but because of what it represents.