Even if it’s taken the better part of the year to arrive locally, there’s a lot about the Galaxy Fold that Australian consumers might find a little familiar.
Samsung’s first foldable phone has the same triple-lens rear camera found in the S10 and Note 10. It runs on a more-or-less identical version of Samsung’s OneUI software experience. It’s even got the same vibrant “oil spill” color palette of flagship Note 10+.
However, the one thing (apart from the obvious difference in form-factor) that separates the Fold from every other Samsung flagship that’s landed on Australian shores this year is that it features a Spdragon processor.
Why is this important?
In the US and China, Samsung's premium handsets usually come powered by the latest Snapdragon 800 series processor. Traditionally, Australia (plus a few other regions) doesn’t get that model. Instead we get versions of those same devices that are powered by Samsung’s own Exynos hardware.
Samsung have never really disclosed an official reason for this two-tiered approach. However, given the importance of the US and Chinese markets to Samsung, you could infer or intuit that Samsung care enough about those specific markets to pay to put superior processors in their devices and then save money by using their own hardware everywhere else.
Benchmarks aside, it's somewhat self-evident that the Snapdragon does provide better performance for users. If it didn't, I can't fathom why Samsung wouldn't just use their Exynos SoCs across every region. It’s something I’ve complained about in (basically) every Samsung review I’ve ever written because it always leaves me feeling like Australians are getting to the (slightly) worse product.
The Galaxy Fold is the exception to this unspoken rule.
There are still two variants, however they’re separated by 4G and 5G connectivity rather than by processor spec. This is exciting because, in addition to letting Fold buyers get their mitts on the best processor on the market, (this side of Apple’s A13 Fusion, at least) it also opens the door to possibilities that you might not expect.
It raises the ceiling for what the Fold is actually going to be capable of in the long run.
Having a phone with a Snapdragon processor inside it means that you can theoretically sideload the Google Pixel camera app - letting you address one of Samsung’s biggest weaknesses in the current smartphone landscape and make the triple-lens camera on the Fold even better.
Does it make it better enough to justify the exorbitant asking price? Difficult to say. However, it feels fair to say that a version of the Fold that could potentially support ported Pixel camera features like Night Sight and Super Res zoom is a lot easier to endorse than one that doesn't.
The Galaxy Fold goes on sale in Australia on the 30th of October for AU$2999.