NO, WE CAN'T BELIEVE IT EITHER. Though closely guarded by eagled-eyed, glove-wearing staffers, Samsung let us fondle its supposedly new and improved Galaxy Fold at IFA on Thursday ahead of its UK release in two weeks time.
The device, Samsung tells us, is much tougher than the version before it, which was quick to suffer screen borkage that lead to its release being delayed by five months; the Fold was originally supposed to hit shelves in April following its debut at MWC.
Though the new model looks near identical to its glitch-prone predecessor, some "important" changes have been made. One of the issues causing borkage was the handset's tempting-to-peel screen protector which, it turns out, was designed to remain on the display permanently. Samsung has now extended the screen's protective layer beyond the bezel to make it clearer that it is an integral part of the display structure, and our incessant attempts to pick at the edges proved unsuccessful.
The hinge, which feels incredibly satisfying yet equally treacherous to open and close, has also been hardened, with Samsung adding protection caps to strengthen the mechanism and to ensure no dust gets underneath the screen.
The screen itself is bonkers, yet gorgeous. A tablet-sized 7.3in Dynamic OLED screen appears when you (carefully) prise open the 15.5mm-thick (!) device, and though impossible to operate comfortably with one hand, it's impressively bright, clear and colourful and is large enough that you can have three apps running simultaneously.
The same praise can't be handed to the Galaxy Fold's so-called cover display; a 4.6in HD+ AMOLED screen that feels like something you'd expect to on a device at Toys R Us (RIP) rather than at Europe's largest tech show. Though it's fully functional, the hefty bezels surrounding the screen make it feel antiquated and it certainly doesn't feel like it should be lauded as of the main features of a handset that'll no doubt fetch upwards of £1,000.
That's not the only problem - there's also the crease. Though Samsung has made some minor tweaks so it's not as visible as on the original Fold, you still can't help but notice the seam that awkwardly runs down the middle of the tablet-sized screen. If you're the sort of person who finds a notch visibly offensive, the Galaxy Fold probably isn't for you. Oh, and the handset has one of those too.
Thankfully, Samsung, with a little help from Google, seems to have nailed the software side of things. A feature called App Continuity, for example, enables you to open an app on the cover display and then have the app immediately fill the larger screen when you unfold the phone, while Multi-Active Window allows you to run up to three apps at once on the Galaxy Fold's mammoth-sized display.
While these features worked flawlessly during our hands-on time, it's currently unclear how many apps will support them; pre-installed apps such as WhatsApp and Microsoft Office will support continuity from the get-go, but developers who want their software to play nice with the bendy handset will have to bake this functionality into their apps. Given the Fold is likely to have limited appeal given the size of an average pocket, it remains to be seen how many will bother.
The Galaxy Fold also goes big on cameras. While we wouldn't advocate using a 7.3in phone to take photos in public, the handset boasts the same camera setup as the Galaxy S10 Plus; you'll 12MP wide-angle, 16MP ultra-wide and 12MP telephoto lenses on the rear of the device, and a duo of selfie-cam setups - a 10MP camera when the device is shut, and a dual 10MP + 8MP array when it's unfolded.
It's hard to summarise our thoughts on the Galaxy Fold. On the one hand, we loved it; it's new, it's different and it sort-of made us feel like there might be a future to this whole foldables thing. On the other hand, it feels rushed. Though Samsung claims the design has been in the works for the past eight years, the screen's visible crease is impossible to ignore, and the smaller cover display cheapens what could have been a luxurious smartphone.
Of course, we'll reserve full judgement until we get our mitts on a Galaxy Fold to review thoroughly. It's time to start growing our nails. µ