The Galaxy Fold.
When it comes to the Galaxy Fold, what’s old is new. This is Samsung’s revised design to a phone that never officially launched to begin with, yet one that Samsung will have delayed for 154 days before the foldable phone goes on sale Sept. 27. Even though it’s been nearly five months since the last time I used a Fold in day-to-day life, it felt immediately familiar. Everything I liked in my original review came rushing back. Unfortunately, so did some of the annoyances.
That’s because Samsung’s do-over fixed the weaknesses that caused early Galaxy Fold screens to malfunction. It didn’t overhaul the Fold’s entire design.Â
These are crucial fixes that shore up weaknesses — keeping out dust, debris and particles from gumming up the inner workings of the Fold’s screen, and hiding the corners of a protective layer so you can’t pry it off. This time around, there’s also much clearer communication about what you shouldn’t do and what could break the Fold, like applying “excessive” pressure to the 7.3-inch plastic screen.
Every way Samsung improved the Galaxy Fold
Some of the phone’s other quirks, from an extended screen notch to the 4.6-inch external screen that’s uncomfortably small to type on, remain the same. In other areas, the improvements have really helped in small but significant ways.
Any way you look at it, the Galaxy Fold is a unique phone. As the first foldable phone to go on sale from any major brand, it sets the pace for what the future of phones could become. They might not all look like the Fold. (In fact, it’s a good bet that Samsung’s suffered enough growing pains from this experience that it will come out with a completely different look for future foldable devices.) But if enough phone-makers follow Samsung’s lead, there could be a lot more phones that open into tablets, or at least into larger-screen phones.
These are my ongoing impressions of life with the new Galaxy Fold. Check back, since I’ll keep updating this as I work toward my rated review.Â
Love: The Galaxy Fold’s 7.3-inch screen size
To Samsung, the Galaxy Fold’s 7.3-inch screen is the main screen. This is the large display you access when you open the phone from its folded-up position. Samsung expects you to do most of your typing, viewing and living on this display. It also happens to be the problematic plastic screen you have to baby, because plastic is much more fragile than glass.
Typing isn’t as easy as it is on even extra-large phones like the Galaxy Note 10 Plus (the Fold’s heft makes it heavier to hold, too), but it’s great having so much screen to do… anything.Â
I haven’t had many chances yet to dig back into multitasking, so stay tuned to see where that falls.
Hate: That inch-long notch
I had forgotten how much space the Fold’s camera notch really takes up. It’s a big chunk of the right part of the interior display, and it’s really unsightly. It’s as though someone took a big bite out of whatever it is you’re looking at.Â
Thankfully, the notch is off to the edge, so it won’t swallow up the action of a video or cut off a website, because the app’s border stops before you get to the notch. But when the screen is lit up, it does stick out like a sore thumb — it’s almost that large.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that the notch is hardly functional. It houses some sensors, including two front-facing cameras, but when you look at them in the light, you’ll find there’s a lot of dead space. I’d expect Samsung to slow-walk away from this design in its future foldable phones.
The Galaxy Fold’s wide notch houses a whole lot of nothing.
Love: The end caps on the screen
It’s a small thing, these plastic bits that remind me of the T-shaped peg in Tetris, but they’re effective and, compared to the first Galaxy Fold unit I used, they just seem to complete the look. Like they belonged there the whole time.Â
So far, they also seem effective. I’ve gently probed the opening with a fingernail. While I can slip a nail between the plastic bezel and the screen, this end cap has seemed to close a gap that existed in Samsung’s previous design. Here’s hoping it holds.
This 4.6-inch exterior screen is good for viewing, less good for typing.
Hate: The too-small exterior screen
It didn’t take long for me to remember that typing on the Galaxy Fold’s 4.6-inch exterior display (the one that’s actually topped with Gorilla Glass) is a challenge. Walking, it’s almost impossible.Â
Blame Samsung’s other extra-large screen phones if you like, but my fingers have completely fallen out of the habit of precision typing. Working the display feels more like hunting and pecking. It’s a useful screen to have — so you can use the Fold when the screen is closed — but the more passive viewing, the better.
It’s a very good thing you can start on this small display and continue what you’re doing on the larger screen, once you open the Fold.
Clack! The Galaxy Fold closes with a satisfying snick. Just keep those magnets away from your credit cards.
Love: The way the Fold snaps shut
There’s something about this new Samsung design that seems to have changed the way that the Fold feels when it closes. Or at least the way I remember the Fold feeling. Without having old and new models side by side, it’s hard to know for sure. My overall impression, though, is that the Fold’s magnetic closure feels sturdier when you close it.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of physicality when it comes to the Fold. I’ve said since the very first that this is one of those gotta-do-it-to-believe-it moments that makes the concept of a foldable phone so compelling. People love tactile things, and phones have become the opposite.Â
Opening and closing the device feels like a return to more interesting phone days when devices had lots of buttons and keyboards that sometimes swiveled out.Â
Remember, this is an ongoing review, so there’s a lot more to come. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know about Samsung’s Galaxy Fold reboot.
Mi 11 and Mi 11 Pro Launch Announcement by Xiaomi Likely for Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit 2020
Xiaomi is likely to announce Mi 11 as its next flagship smartphone at Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit 2020 that will be virtually held between December 1 and 2. While the Chinese company hasn’t yet provided any details about its launch plans, Qualcomm has confirmed that Xiaomi co-founder and CEO Lei Jun will join the annual…
Xiaomi is likely to announce Mi 11 as its next flagship smartphone at Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit 2020 that will be virtually held between December 1 and 2. While the Chinese company hasn’t yet provided any details about its launch plans, Qualcomm has confirmed that Xiaomi co-founder and CEO Lei Jun will join the annual conference to announce its next-generation product developments. The Mi 11 is speculated to accompany the Mi 11 Pro, and both new phones are likely to come with Qualcomm’s latest flagship Snapdragon processor rumoured to be the Snapdragon 875.Qualcomm has posted details on Weibo that highlighted the presence of Lei Jun at the Snapdragon Tech Summit 2020. An official image shared by the San Diego-headquartered company on the microblogging network shows that the executive will announce Xiaomi’s latest product developments for global customers alongside sharing its long-term partnership with Qualcomm.The product announcements are likely to be around the Mi 11 as Xiaomi at the Snapdragon Tech Summit last year announced the Mi 10. The new Mi flagship phone is expected to be among the first models to come with the next-generation Snapdragon SoC.A listing on benchmark site Geekbench recently suggested the existence of the Mi 11. It showed Android 11 and 6GB of RAM. The phone also received a single core score of 1,105 and a multi-core score of 3,512.The Mi 11 is speculated to come along with the Mi 11 Pro. Both new Mi phones are rumoured to come with a 48-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera and an enhanced image stabilisation. The Mi 11 Pro is also tipped to feature a QHD+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate.In addition to its announcement, Jun is expected to reveal some key specifications of the Mi 11 series at the forthcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit. The flagship phones, however, may take some time to reach global markets.Is Redmi Note 9 Pro Max the best affordable camera phone in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.
Best phones under $500: iPhone SE, Pixel 4A 5G, Galaxy A51 and more – CNET
With the launch of its iPhone 12 lineup this year, Apple has discounted a few of its older models, including reducing the 2018 iPhone XR to $500. That pricing tier has been popular of late, and many big-time phone makers are offering great new phones in that range. One of them is Google’s new Pixel 4A 5G, which…
With the launch of its iPhone 12 lineup this year, Apple has discounted a few of its older models, including reducing the 2018 iPhone XR to $500. That pricing tier has been popular of late, and many big-time phone makers are offering great new phones in that range. One of them is Google’s new Pixel 4A 5G, which joins the Pixel 4A from August.Now more than before, people on a tight budget have more options to choose from. In addition to those new phones, there are plenty of reliable handsets from 2019 as well — and all of them cost about $500 or less. And despite their low prices, budget phones are getting more advanced and pack features akin to a premium phone, like amazing cameras, fast processors and modern-day software features.
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To see our top picks of the best budget smartphone, check out the list below of the best phones under $500 (which we’ll be updating regularly), and read CNET’s reviews. Note that we’ve linked to the unlocked version of each phone, and they should run on most of the big four US wireless carriers, unless specified otherwise.
Best cheap phones to try now
With a four-year gap between the 2020 iPhone SE and the previous one, Apple packed its latest budget phone with a bunch of upgrades. That includes wireless charging, better camera specs and water resistance. (Unfortunately, for wired headphone users, it doesn’t have a headphone jack.) If you’re looking for a new iPhone but want to save as much money as possible, the $399 (£419, AU$749) iPhone SE is your best bet for a cheap phone option.
Read our Apple iPhone SE (2020) review.
If you want an affordable 5G phone, the Pixel 4A 5G is a worthy consideration. Available for $499 (£499, AU$799) handset has a solid battery life, fantastic dual rear cameras and robust software support from Google.
In addition to its main Galaxy S20 phones, Samsung has a more cost-conscious A series line of phones. This year it launched the Galaxy A51 5G, which has four cameras including a selfie camera, an in-screen fingerprint sensor and expandable memory. CNET reviewed the non-5G version that goes for $399, though we’ve seen it go on sale for as low as $280.
Read our Galaxy A51 review.
The $445 One 5G is one of the best, most affordable 5G phones available. This cheap smartphone option has a total of six, yes six, cameras, a 90Hz high-refresh rate display and fast-charing technology. It’s available now in the US on AT&T and on Verizon at a later date.
Read our Motorola One 5G review.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G
OnePlus is expanding its more affordable “Nord” family of phones with the launch of the Nord N10 5G. Available in Europe and North America at a later date, the phone costs £329, which is about $430 or AU$590. Though it doesn’t have wireless charging or an in-screen fingerprint reader like higher-end OnePlus phones, it does have a 90Hz display, a headphone jack and 5G. Read our OnePlus N10 5G review.
Available now on AT&T and Cricket, the K92 is a competitively priced 5G phone that features a 6.7-inch display with thin bezels and a hole-punch camera on the front. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 690 chipset and a 4,000-mAh battery. In addition to a 16-megapixel front-facing camera, it has four other cameras on the back: a 64-megapixel standard shooter, a 5-megapixel wide-angle camera, and two other cameras for depth sensing and macro images. Read our LG K92 first-take.
Released in August, Google’s Pixel 4A costs $349 (£349, AU$599). The 5.81-inch Google Pixel phone only comes in one color (black) and one size (as in there’s no Pixel 4A XL unlike past years). This Google Pixel features a headphone jack, a slightly larger screen and a bigger battery than the Pixel 4 and 128GB of storage right off the bat.
Read our Google Pixel 4A review.
The iPhone XR may be two years old, but second to the SE above, it’s one of the cheapest iPhones you can get new from Apple. Currently starting at $499 (£499, AU$849) off-contract with 64GB, it features a 6.1-inch LCD display, a 12-megapixel rear camera and the A12 Bionic processor. It’s also compatible with Apple’s latest iOS 14 software update.
Read our Apple iPhone XR review.
Although the Galaxy A50 came out last year (and is the predecessor to the A51 phone mentioned above), it’s still a great phone for $350. This Samsung phone has a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen, an in-screen fingerprint reader, front facing camera for selfies and a headphone jack.
Read our Samsung Galaxy A50 review.
When it debuted last year, the OnePlus 7T was a strong flagship device. It’s now available for $350 at T-Mobile, which is a great deal for a phone with a 90Hz display, a solid triple-rear camera array and a zippy performance.
Read our OnePlus 7T review.
If you’re looking for a cheaper Note 20 alternative, the Moto G Stylus features a stylus that you can store inside the phone along with a built-in Notes app to help with productivity. Currently priced at $200 from Motorola, the phone also features triple-rear cameras, 128GB of storage and a robust 4,000-mAh battery.
Read our Moto G Stylus review.
It’s been two years since its launch, but the Galaxy S9 is still worthy of consideration. Discounted at about $400 to $500 from Samsung and other retailers, the Android phone is water resistant, has wireless charging, expandable storage and a headphone jack. Plus, its curved OLED screen display lends the phone a modern-day look that still endures.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S9 review.
The Moto G Power is a tad cheaper than the G Stylus at $180, but it packs a robust 5,000-mAh battery. During our testing, it lasted an impressive four days without a charge. The phone has three rear cameras (one of which is a macro lens), a 6.4-inch display and expandable memory.
Read our Moto G Power review.
More phone advice
Black Friday 2020 ad scans: Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, Kohl’s, Sam’s Club and more – CNET
This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family. In 2020, the first harbinger of Black Friday is the retailer ad scan — not the scanned, grainy PDFs or JPEGs of yore, but “leaked” circulars put out by…
This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.
In 2020, the first harbinger of Black Friday is the retailer ad scan — not the scanned, grainy PDFs or JPEGs of yore, but “leaked” circulars put out by the retailers themselves. These days, major retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Kohl’s and a slew of others publish their own “ad scans” on their own websites and their own schedules, to help beat the hype drums for their holiday sales. Black Friday ad scans are no longer borrowed from the pre-Thanksgiving week Sunday paper, nor do they solely hype “doorbuster” sales. Instead, we’ve got a mix of online and in-store discounts. Some sales last throughout the week (or even throughout the month), and some even expire before Black Friday.Since we want you to get the best deals of the season, we’re collecting the PDFs, landing pages and links to as many of those sales as possible, right here. You’ll also find more top picks with links to their respective online stores, as well as CNET stories where we’ve highlighted our favorite deals.
Black Friday 2020 sales and deals
Walmart launched not one but a whole series of sales that started at the top of November and run through Thanksgiving and Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. The first two sales events included electronics like TVs, computers and tablets and have already come and gone.But now we’re lining up for the main event: Event 3 will start online on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. ET, with additional deals being offered online on Nov. 27 (actual Black Friday) at 12 a.m. ET and in stores at 5 a.m. local time. Walmart has posted a 12-page interactive ad scan of the final sale on its website — you can check it out below.
CNET’s picks: See the best early Black Friday deals at Walmart
Best Buy has revealed a strong slate of deals, many of which already started. The full ad scan is below.
Best Buy Black Friday 2020CNET’s picks: See the best early Black Friday deals at Best Buy
Target has posted 62 pages of deals with prices available from Nov. 22-28. You’ll find discounts on everything from TVs to video games to vacuums to headphones to kitchen tools and more.
CNET’s picks: Target Black Friday 2020 ad scans: Save on Apple Watch, games and more
There’s no traditional newspaper ad circular at Disney, but you can browse the site’s many Black Friday deals here.
GameStop has revealed its full Black Friday deal slate. Many of the deals seem focused on in-store doorbusters, and it’s unclear how the gaming retailer will integrate online sales into its plans. That said, the Switch deal — the console with Mario Kart and a three-month Nintendo Online membership thrown in for no extra charge — seems to be available at other retailers, too.
GameStop Black Friday 2020 …See more at GameSpot: GameStop Black Friday 2020 ad and game deals revealed
The Macy’s Black Friday Specials page lets you know exactly how long remains to take advantage of the deals with a countdown timer at the top of the page before you start browsing for deals.
NewEgg Black Friday 2020 ad…CNET’s picks: Newegg Black November sale: Get guaranteed Black Friday prices all month long
Home Depot’s Black Friday sale started Nov. 6. The full ad scan is below.
The Home Depot Black Friday…CNET’s picks: Home Depot’s early Black Friday sale is on: See all the best deals available now
Looking for beauty supplies? There are 64 pages of Black Friday and holiday deals here at Ulta.
See Penney’s deals for Nov. 25-28 in the store’s sales circular. Housewares, electronics and kitchen appliances are top-loaded, but keep scrolling for fashion, jewelry and more.
HP’s “Early Black Friday Flash Sale” ended on Saturday. The full ad scan for the rest of its deals is below.
HP Black Friday 2020 ad scanCNET’s picks: HP Black Friday deals available now: Save $150 on the HP Spectre x360 and more
Bass Pro Shops
With over 90 pages of sales, the Bass Pro Shops sales circular is one of the largest we’ve seen. The deals are happening now, so be sure to browse the online ads and click through to get to the product pages.
Nike hasn’t built a Black Friday circular or made an interactive ad page on its site. But this is the page to check if Nike publishes any deals for the holidays.
Sam’s Club hasn’t published a traditional sales circular, but you can browse the retailer’s “10 Days of Thanks-Savings” deals online, good through Nov. 29.
Kohl’s has about 80 pages of deals across a pair of sales circulars — one focusing on deals starting Nov. 21 and the other for Nov. 25-27. Both online flyers are interactive; click a deal to see details, including the date the sale begins. You can change circulars by clicking the ad thumbnails at the top of the page or scroll all the way to the bottom.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is already knee-deep in holiday sales, and you can see everything the store has to offer online here in the store’s sales circular. Be sure to click a deal for details.
For a look at what Lowe’s is planning for Black Friday, check out the “Home for the Holidays Season of Savings Event” ad circular for the week of Nov. 19-25. You can also peruse the “Season of Savings Extended Event” ad, which covers Nov. 26-Dec. 2. Zoom in on specific pages and click on deals to see details, including the price and date the deal is valid.
Check out Costco’s Holiday Savings landing page, which currently lists all its online deals through Nov. 30.
More Black Friday ad scans are coming soon In the meantime, here are links to current and upcoming sales at major retailers.
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