Samsung Galaxy Fold versus LG V50 ThinQ Dual Screen
Smartphones became interesting again, particularly with the arrival of high-end devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the LG V50 ThinQ Dual Screen smartphones. The last few years has seen the rise of large screen smartphones, erstwhile known as ‘phablets’, to the point where they have now become the norm. With more consumers wanting to enjoy mobile content on the go, but not wanting to also tote around a tablet, smartphone screens have ballooned. Consequently, most flagship smartphones are now at least 6-inches or larger.
But for some consumers, even that isn’t enough. Enter devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the LG V50 ThinQ Dual Screen. These are undoubtedly targeted at a section of the market largely populated by “power users” for whom there is no such thing as too much screen real estate. Both, however, take a distinctly different approach to the way this can be achieved with Samsung the more exotic, and more expensive, of the two. Performance-wise, each is almost identical as they powered by the same, ubiquitous, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core chipset although Samsung offers 12 GB of RAM compared with the 6 GB of RAM offered up by LG.
The Galaxy Fold as we all know has had teething issues, but it is a bold statement that offers users a hybrid of a regular smartphone with a 4.6-inch display when folded that you can use one-handed, but which unfolds to reveal a much larger 7.3-inch tablet. It uses Samsung’s advanced Infinity Flex display to achieve this outcome, but it isn’t without its drawbacks even though it is a technically stunning achievement. The LG V50 ThinQ offers a lower tech, but still clever, 6-inch second screen case accessory that fits the main phone which is then used to power and drive the additional display.
The result is of this additional screen real estate in both cases is that the Fold and V50 are multitasking powerhouses. They make it quite feasible to watch a movie, for example, while answering email or scrolling through your social media feed at the same time. The Fold can support up to three apps running simultaneously, but is most practical when watching a video and scrolling through a single additional app. The advantage that the V50 offers with its dual screen attachment is that you can watch a video without need to resort to a split screen configuration to enjoy scrolling through an additional app in full landscape mode at the same time on the additional screen.
On its own, the V50 combination is a lot of fun and certainly helps to negate the need to carry a tablet around with you as well (if that is your modus operandi). However, its biggest drawback is that when the second screen case is attached, it needs to be opened to be of any use. Unlike the slightly newer G8 ThinQ dual screen accessory, it doesn’t have a small monochrome display on the front of the dual case when closed which is useful for showing the time and notifications. This is not a problem for the Fold which has a fully functional 4.6-inch OLED display when the device is closed in phone mode. The Fold is also lighter and more compact in this configuration (although it still heavier than the average smartphone at 263 grams).
On the plus side, however, the V50 in dual screen mode offers the gamers an added advantage in that the second screen acts as a virtual gaming controller in gaming mode. There are several controller configurations to choose from depending on game type. If you are sick of your hands getting in the way when playing games on your smartphone, the V50 certainly offers a solution to this issue. In contrast, the Fold doesn’t offer this benefit, but because of the larger, tablet sized screen, your hands never really get in the way of critical action in games like Fortnite or PUBG. Its larger screen, and better audio, also makes for a more immersive overall gaming experience.
In the case of the V50, the second screen accessory can be removed allowing you to use the V50 as a regular smartphone whenever you choose. This makes it particularly versatile. On the other hand, switching between using the case/phone combo and regular use could start to get old. This is obviously not an issue for the Fold as you are locked into its approach for better or worse. However, it will constantly have a weight penalty -- it really does feel every bit like what a folded tablet of its size would feel in the hand or in pocket when in phone mode.
The other obvious drawback of the Fold is its display is vulnerable to damage, but I certainly wouldn’t say that it is “prone” to damage if you follow Samsung’s care instructions -- you quickly become comfortable with using softer touches and swipes. For the first time, too, I noted that having haptic feedback when typing is also big plus on a device like this as it helps to control how much pressure you apply to the screen. An unfortunate side-effect of Samsung’s approach (unlike the new Moto Razr) is that has a permanent crease running down the middle of the screen. Depending on lighting conditions and the angle of viewing, it isn’t noticeable, nor is it generally bothersome – it is a relatively small price to pay for what it otherwise offers.
Where the arrival of the iPhone in 2007 meant that you could finally banish the need to carry around a separate MP3 player in addition to your phone, 12 years later both the Fold and V50 banish the need to carry a smartphone and a tablet. As someone in this niche group of users, I really like what both each offers. However, if your budget can stretch to the Galaxy Fold, it is the clear winner. If not, the LG V50 (or the more recent G8X ThinQ with dual screen) is certainly worth a look. It might not be quite as magical to use as the Galaxy Fold, but it still packs plenty of great tech. The Samsung Galaxy Fold, however, is pretty close to mobile nirvana for users like me.