The Galaxy Fold has a much bigger screen than its 7.3-inch diagonal suggests
That’s why we decided to take a closer look at the main advantage of foldable smartphones: the unexpectedly large folding display. On paper, the 7.3-inch display on the Galaxy Fold might not seem like a huge bump over something like the iPhone XS Max and its 6.5-inch screen. In reality, however, the gains in screen area are quite significant.
Display diagonal is just half the story
We're used to screen size being expressed by the length of its diagonal in inches. It's a practice dating back to the era of old-school tube TVs – a simpler time when all screens were more or less of the same rectangular shape. And because they had the same shape, a screen's diagonal length was enough for one to get a clear idea of how big that screen was and how it compared to other screens.
Diagonals, aspect ratios and screen size
Are foldable phones optimal for video watching?
But how good are those larger foldable displays when it comes to videos? Unfortunately, watching a typical 16:9 video on a phone like the Galaxy Fold will result in significant black bars. This is where regular smartphones gain back some of the lost ground. How much, exactly? Let’s see!
As expected, the bigger Galaxy Fold still holds a significant lead, displaying video across a 50% greater area. That’s without “stretching” the video to fill the display of the iPhone. If you opt to do that, you'll gain a few square inches but sacrifice parts of the video in the process, so we won't examine that scenario.
Since neither display's aspect ratio is exactly 16:9, both lose part of their areas to black bars. For the Galaxy Fold, this means black bars on the top and bottom, while for the iPhone, the bars show up on the sides. It should be noted that on the Galaxy Fold, the notch bites away part of the video (not shown in our graphic), while the iPhone's notch remains hidden in the black bars unless you choose to stretch the video. The Galaxy Fold has the option to shrink videos so that they don't extend beyond the edge of the notch, but this will cost you a few precious square inches of area.
- Galaxy Fold: 21.4% black bars, 6.81 inches video diagonal
- iPhone XS Max: 17.8% black bars, 5.56 inches video diagonal
Overall, the advantages of the Galaxy Fold's bigger display are unquestionable. You do get significantly more screen real estate for your browsing, gaming, and productivity needs. That's the case for video watching as well, although the gains aren’t as drastic. If YouTube is your main portal for entertainment, then a traditional plus-sized smartphone is more than enough to have a good experience. That is unless you want to be able to scroll through the comments while watching the video. In that case, the Galaxy Fold has no competition.