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I think the Galaxy Fold is worth its $2000 price, but I'm still not buying one

The Galaxy Fold is one of the biggest technical achievements in modern mobile computing. The form factor isn't new, but it was engineered in a way that's certainly new to the landscape of modern technology.

We've known all this time that the biggest hurdle for Samsung in creating the Galaxy Fold was to create foldable and flexible OLED displays that could be bent multiple times without degrading in quality. It took a while to reach that point but they finally did. The problem is the other bits of technology needed to make this experience something of a game changer weren't yet ready.

We needed a massive battery. There couldn't be a single millimeter of bezel separating any parts of the extended display. It had to be thin and pocketable when folded up. And none of this could be ugly, because Samsung is too big a name to be raked across the coals for amateur engineering.

That technology is ready now, and it's on full display in the Galaxy Fold. (By the way, if you didn't happen to catch the announcement of Samsung's new toy, what are you waiting for?)

It all sounds mouth watering until you get to the price tag: $2000, give or take for tax. Samsung's new smartableputerphone (or whatever the hell we're looking to call it) costs more than some people pay for used cars. That's more than some people pay for rent and mortgage. It costs more than some people pay in medical bills.

That's not to say Samsung is unjustified in its asking price for the Galaxy Fold. The tech on display certainly can't be found anywhere else right now, nor was it likely cheap to research. But I just hate the fact that the first device in a long time that genuinely gets me excited about the future of technology is so far out of my reach.

Not many devices make me genuinely giddy. This one is different.

Obviously, I want it. It's new and fun and full of wonderful things that make me want to use it as the primary computing device in my life. I share Russell Holly's desire to get one for no reason other than the advancement of science.

It's taking every fiber of my being to resist buying the thing, but I simply can't allow myself to spend that much money on the unknown. And yes, the Galaxy Fold is very much the unknown.

It's the first phone in a new category that everyone is interested in. It has almost everything you could even think of and maybe has more than a mobile computing device even ever needs. But you have to think about the reality of technology and the pitfalls that come with owning a first generation device.

Samsung will make all these claims about how great the Galaxy Fold is in everything it can do, but that's its job. What Samsung won't do is admit that some aspects of the phone and user experience might not be up to their usual standards. That's not from lack of trying, but because this is the first pass at making something that feels completely new and different.

That's not to say the Galaxy Fold is guaranteed to have the issues that first-generation devices and products regularly present. We haven't even been able to test the thing yet, although we will get that chance quite soon as it's due April 26. When that day comes, I will not be joining the legion of tech enthusiasts who'll immediately fork over $2000 for it.

It's just too new right now. There's no telling what kind of bugs we'll have to deal with, whether the displays will have a negative impact on battery life, and whether Android truly plays nicely with this new form factor with minimal developer input. We don't know if that fifth or sixth camera will be as strong as the other primary options to cover all your photo and video needs. We don't know how solid the hinge mechanism is, so we have to worry about whether prolonged usage of the Galaxy Fold will make it lose friction over time.

I can't say any of these things for certain because I have not touched the device, but that's the point — I can't pay $2000 for something unproven. Even if I did have the money, my principles simply won't allow it. And even after the evaluation period is over, there's no guarantee I'll be compelled enough to forego basic human needs and my own personal pleasures for a couple of months to have it.

Just wait. The Galaxy Fold will get better and cheaper.

Instead of thinking about the downsides of buying the Galaxy Fold or any other new first-generation device, I like to think about the positives of being patient. Generally speaking, technology gets better and cheaper as time goes on. These benefits might even pass on to the Galaxy Fold before a follow-up is even conceived as it could result in periodic price cuts as time goes on.

But more importantly, it will allow Samsung to work out the kinks and discover new breakthroughs in both the component and manufacturing technologies to make the second device way better. Even without using it yet, I can tell that it definitely has to get sleeker when folded up, and that phone-mode display might be a bit too narrow for my liking. Other potential quirks will take more time to surface.

We've seen it before in the Galaxy S6. While not a bad phone (in fact, it was quite good), Samsung could have done better. The first iteration in this new design language brought us a device with no water resistance, no microSD slot, and a few other niggles that were hard to forgive at the time. It only took until the third device in that very family of phones — the Galaxy S6 edge — to see some improvement and even a new trick in the now-standard curved display. The Galaxy S7 was a much more complete device, and then Samsung caught its stride with the Galaxy S8.

Even in Samsung's own recent history, we can see that it was wise to wait even just one year before jumping into the new hotness. The cost of technology came down and Samsung's manufacturing expertise kept increasing, making for a situation where devices were getting much better without massive hikes in the price tag. Plus, Samsung took care to address common pain points from the first attempt and used critic and user feedback to shape its next masterpiece.

I contend that the Samsung Galaxy Fold is a pure wanderlust device along the same ilk of Google Glass and Waymo's self-driving cars. It's for those so bored with current tech that they'll pay anything to get it. It's Samsung teasing the future while gaining valuable feedback on how to improve this technology and steer this from being just a form factor into a game-changing X-factor.

I wouldn't even be surprised if Samsung's initial production run for this thing was just a mere 10,000 units; even it has to admit that most consumers will not be interested in paying $2,000 for something we're not sure adds enough meaningful utility to the mobile computing experience.

Do we even need 12GB of RAM? Does anyone really want their tablet and phone to be the same device? And who the hell actually needs 1TB of storage on their phone? Those questions and more will be answered in the weeks to come. But for now, I'm not jumping into the Fold just yet, and I have a strong feeling I'm not alone.

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24 Comments
  • 2000.00?!!! That's lot of chicken nuggets.
  • It's not worth the price.
  • To you and to most people sure. Neither is a private jet, or a yacht or organ, stand up harp, good violin.. etc. I bet you own a TV, but every household didn't run out and buy the first version of the television either. Most people in canada/us didn't get Internet until waaaaay past the dial-up days. Nobody jumped to ADSL or whatever at first who was willing to pay that much??? All of literally everything was cost prohibitive at first to pay for R&D to develop it and the R&D required to make it cheaper for the rest of us. So yes it is worth the money if you have the money to spare. All of us will probably be using folding devices in 10 years for sure, thanks to the people who spend 2000 dollars for devices like this.
  • Your response is a logical fallacy. A foldable smartphone is no way nearly as important as the first TVs or internet first came into the home. A foldable phone is a luxury item, not a major advancement in technology.
  • can you justify paying $2000 for a phone thats gets a crease in the middle of the screen?
  • I've always said that portables are balancing between two exclusive needs/wants: You want enough screen real estate and input area to use them easily, but you want a small enough size to carry them easily. This platform is a new way to balance that.
    There's always a bit of calculation when something truly new comes out. You balance the pros of having that new thing right now against the cons of helping to refine the new thing for the next generations. There's even a calculation about when to jump. You can get in at the start, wait for some refinement (but how many generations do you wait?), or wait until the new is actually kind of old.
    I wasn't there for Android's first generation. I was still holding out to see if WindowsCE might continue to evolve. As it is, I'm glad I waited a few generations on that. I was there when the Note first came out and was glad to have that innovative piece of tech from the start.
    Yes, the price tag is hard to swallow. It's a bit better if you figure it combines a small cell-connected tablet as well as a phone, giving you a lot of the best of both. If you start adding up the cost of a flagship phone and a decent resolution small tablet, you won't be far off.
    I'm still not sure if I'm going to jump on this from the get-go. I want it to succeed and I want to see subsequent generations. I suspect that that will happen even if a lot of us give it a pass this first time, though Samsung may look at sales and at least put future development lower on priority.
  • For what it is, I'm not mad at the price. If you think of it as two s10 smashed together it more than makes sense. If you think of it as two s10 smashed together with a third screen, an extra camera or two, a second battery, the highest ram available on a phone right now and more base memory than most phones then its absolutely priced within reason. If it had an S-pen and a headphone jack with a 32bit DAC built in, to purchase this device wouldn't even be a question of if but when. People were buying the top spec iPhone X max and that was $1500 for what equates to simply a bigger iPhone. Nothing particularly special. At least the Galaxy Fold is somewhat of a revolution in mobile phone design. In a sea of "me too" slabs it brings something new and truly innovative. I think the price is justified but I will wait for LG's offerings in the form of the V50, the other foldable phones and of course the Note 10 reveal later this year. Once all is said and done, I'll decide Which device will carry me into the future.
  • $2,000 for a phone really isn't worth it. Even if you have money to throw away. There are much bigger priorities that you can spend $2,000 or invest that into.
  • Can be said for every flagship device.
  • The second gen, if it happens, is always better. That's coming from a Galaxy Note edge and Note 7 first adopter.
  • I agree, wait for Fold 2.0. Cheaper, probably sleeker and any issues worked out. Mostly cheaper!! But damn, I still want it now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 2 grand for a foldable gimmick phone ahahahahahahaha!
  • Because $1300 for your notched, no micro SD, no headphone jacked Pixel is better, right zbeno?
  • way better than this crap, nuff said
  • You've heard of good cop/bad cop, right? I think, as far as Google shills go, Andrew Martonik and Beno are playing smart cop/stupid cop.
  • Not a gimmick. Egde screens were/are a gimmick, this is the next gen of phones, and a significant change unlike the past 4 -5 years.
  • Not worth it with that pitiful cover screen
  • I prefer one big smartphone screen, and if I want a tablet, I want something bigger than what the unfolded Fold is. Ie. The main screen is too small, and too small unfolded. The article is well written, but don't say you can't understand 12GB RAM and 1TB of storage.... Both make sense in a 5G world.
  • I don't think it's big enough when open, I wish it were wider like an earlier Note (4/5/7) when closed so it would allow for more screen real-estate when open. Also, how does this NOT have an Spen or at least compatible with an Spen?
  • i need to review the unpacked event but... it looked like when DJ pulled his fold from his pocket and opened it, the middle of the screen looked like it had seen better times.
  • Were you this excited for the ZTE Axon M?
  • Stopped in BB today to see the S10+, which I have preordered. In talking with the Samsung/BB employee about the Fold, I told him I wanted it, but why didnt it launch with a Spen?- Like Fuzzy Dingo mentioned, it should. His response was " the entire purpose of the Note line was additional screen for the Spen". His mind looked to be blown lol. Wacom doesnt bend I guess......
    As far as the price tag? I'm finally at a place that I could afford it(took 50 years! lol), with out sacrificing basic needs. But without the pen, its just a small tablet with a phone app. And I have always wanted that for my 1 device. Having to carry an iphone for work, and then a Fold, would be like carrying 3 phones when it was, ahem, folded.
  • I won't pay that for one, but like others i am excited to see it come to life and want to play w one. I wonder if they will try to make a note version later on, or if in a couple years it will have an spen and become the note lol. I could see me paying more than i care to admit for a note version down the line, but not 2k, and certainly not w out an spen... this thing is just begging for an spen!! My opinion, yours may vary
  • BTW...Hauwai (sp?) just released one too, it's not the only one that's out there unlike what the author states.