Student Loan News: Millennial Money Woes and New Debt-Relief Proposals

Welcome to Student Loan News, a weekly summary of developments and events affecting college debt in the U.S. Join us each Friday for a look at goings-on that could impact your own student loan situation.

Survey looks at the money struggles of younger adults

More than one-third of college grads aged 18-34 with student loans said “the debt wasn’t worth it,” at least according to a recently released survey from investment bank Merrill Lynch and research firm Age Wave.

The survey found that the average student loan borrower in that age group will spend 9% of their pretax income paying off their school debt for a typical 10-year repayment. And those with college debt contribute half as much on average to their retirement compared with their peers with no debt, creating a financial ripple effect far into the future, it said.

Among other findings: About a quarter of 18- to 34-year-olds with a 401(k) accounts have taken an early withdrawal — something you would only want to do as an absolute last resort — and more than half of respondents (58%) said they wouldn’t be able to afford their current lifestyle without the help of their parents.

How it affects YOU: It’s no secret that millennials have it rough, but this doesn’t mean that younger Americans can’t rise to financial success despite the times we live in. You can tap various strategies for getting out of debt quicker, as well as ways to become more financially independent from your parents.

Also note that research generally shows college to be worth the cost, once you account for the difference in earnings between those with and without degrees.

More student loan initiatives sprouting on Capitol Hill

The recent parade of plans to tackle student loan forgiveness and repayment is rolling onward, with a pair of new proposals to help borrowers.

First, a bill introduced earlier this month is sparking debate. The legislation, from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), would streamline repayment plans into just two: a standard 10-year plan and an income-driven option similar to the current Income-Based Repayment and PAYE programs.

The proposed bill would also seek to end interest capitalization on student loans, limit how much the government can seize in a student-loan wage garnishment and allow those on income-driven repayment to automatically recertify for the program each year.

The proposal was met with pushback this week from the conservative American Enterprise Institute, which said the language in the bill would allow some students to get out of paying most of the interest on their loans and was introducing “a giant new loan forgiveness program” by stealth.

Also this week, U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and a group of fellow Democrats called for adding language to an appropriations bill in order to make Public Service Loan Forgiveness easier to get. This one is different than the “five-year PSLF” proposal we reported on last week — here, it simply wants to ease the rules about counting eligible payments to qualify for forgiveness.

How it affects YOU: As with many of the bills and proposals at the federal level, the chances for passage are low for now, given the divided government and high levels of partisanship in national politics these days. That said, don’t forget to call your senators and your representative and urge them to advocate for rules that ease the burden of student debt. Likewise, keep watching this weekly news report for developments!

Also in the news … The Department of Education issued guidelines to schools on Monday, advising them on how to discuss financial aid with students. Recommendations included avoiding the term “award letter” for financial aid offers, making sure those letters include which “critical next steps” recipients need to take and listing different types of aid (grants, loans, work-study, etc.) separately. A commission with the nonpartisan American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) is calling for a loosening of the rules on discharging student loan debt through bankruptcy. Currently, federal student loan discharge is extremely difficult, but the ABI wants to return to older rules that allow discharge seven years after the loans are taken out.

News can be useful, but if you want some deeper advice, take a moment to sign up for the Student Loan Hero weekly digest email and get valuable financial knowledge sent straight to your inbox … for free!

Interested in refinancing student loans? Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019! LenderVariable APREligible Degrees  Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! 1 Important Disclosures for SoFi. SoFi Disclosures Student loan Refinance:

Fixed rates from 3.890% APR to 8.074% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.500% APR to 7.115% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.500% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.50% plus 0.00% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) 2 Important Disclosures for Earnest. Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road. Laurel Road Disclosures

FIXED APR Fixed rate options consist of a range from 3.75% per year to 5.80% per year for a 5-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term, 4.55% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term, 4.85% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.30% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan). The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.75% per year to 5.80% per year for a 5-year term would be from $183.04 to $192.40. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.25% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term would be from $137.84 to $147.29. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.55% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term would be from $103.88 to $114.31. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.85% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.30 to $90.16. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.30% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.66 to $79.16.

However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.

VARIABLE APR Variable rate options consist of a range from 2.75% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.75% per year to 6.90% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.25% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 1.50% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 1.75% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.00% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.25% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 2.75% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term would be from $178.58 to $194.73. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term would be from $136.69 to $147.77. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term would be from $102.44 to $113.04. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term would be from $76.50 to $87.94. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.75% per year to 6.90% per year for a 20-year term would be from $64.62 to $76.93.

However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

4 Important Disclosures for LendKey. LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.

5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond. CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.

All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.49% effective March 10, 2019.

6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank. Citizens Bank Disclosures Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of April 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.50%. Variable interest rates range from 3.00% – 9.74% (3.00% – 9.74% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 3.89% – 9.99% (3.89% – 9.99% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled. Applicants with an Associate’s degree or with no degree must have made at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school. Qualifying payments are the most recent on time and consecutive payments of principal and interest on the loans being refinanced. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply. Borrowers whose loans were funded prior to reaching the age of majority may not be eligible for co-signer release. Note: co-signer release is not available on the Student Loan for Parents or Education Refinance Loan for Parents. 2.50% – 7.27%1Undergrad & Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.50% – 7.12%3Undergrad & Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.81% – 8.79%4Undergrad & Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.50% – 6.65%2Undergrad & Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.55% – 7.12%5Undergrad & Graduate

Visit CommonBond

3.00% – 9.74%6Undergrad & Graduate

Visit Citizens

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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Google Deliberately Slowed YouTube on Rival Browsers

Google has been accused by a former Mozilla executive and current Firefox product manager of deliberately slowing down YouTube load speeds on rival browsers.

According to Chris Peterson and Jonathan Nightingale, Google was able to make YouTube run slowly on Firefox and Edge by not issuing a specific API to these browsers. While this may sound fairly inconsequential, it resulted in YouTube loading five times slower on Firefox than on Chrome.

YouTube page load is 5x slower in Firefox and Edge than in Chrome because YouTube’s Polymer redesign relies on the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API only implemented in Chrome. You can restore YouTube’s faster pre-Polymer design with this Firefox extension: https://t.co/F5uEn3iMLR

— Chris Peterson (@cpeterso) July 24, 2018


So, is Google deliberately slowing down its services on rival browsers? And if so, what can be done about it?

Is Google Deliberately Slowing Rival Browsers?

From the allegations alone, it’s difficult to work out whether Google deliberately tried to slow down rival browsers.

However, Nightingale believes that senior people at the company make the decisions to implement changes which negatively affect the other browsers. When challenged, Google plays dumb:

All of this is stuff you’re allowed to do to compete, of course. But we were still a search partner, so we’d say “hey what gives?”

And every time, they’d say, “oops. That was accidental. We’ll fix it in the next push in 2 weeks.”

— Johnathan Nightingale (@johnath) April 13, 2019

Nightingale also claims that when Google launched Chrome, the company reassured Mozilla that both companies were pulling in the same direction, and that there was nothing to worry about.

When chrome launched things got complicated, but not in the way you might expect. They had a competing product now, but they didn’t cut ties, break our search deal – nothing like that. In fact, the story we kept hearing was, “We’re on the same side. We want the same things.”

— Johnathan Nightingale (@johnath) April 13, 2019

Then, after a while, bugs started appearing on Firefox when using Google services. More curious still, Chrome ads appeared next to Firefox search terms.

But Google as a whole is very different than individual googlers. Google Chrome ads started appearing next to Firefox search terms. gmail & gdocs started to experience selective performance issues and bugs on Firefox. Demo sites would falsely block Firefox as “incompatible.”

— Johnathan Nightingale (@johnath) April 13, 2019

This certainly makes it seem like Google was well aware of its actions, and was willing to try to sabotage competitor browsers to increase Chrome’s appeal. Again, there’s no definitive way to prove this, but it certainly feels like a growing case against Google.

What Can Be Done About Google’s Reach?

Sadly, not a lot at the moment. With Google controlling the services it issues, it’s free to push out updates as it sees fit.

What’s more, both Firefox and Edge use Chromium source code. Chromium is technically an open source project for internet browsers, but it is controlled by Google and powers Chrome.

This means that both browsers are, effectively bonded to whatever Google wants.

Antitrust

One drastic, but perhaps persuasive, step would be to hit Google with an antitrust case. This could, for example, call for the breakup of Chrome and Google’s web-based services.

As Google Chrome controls over 60% of the web browser market, with second-placed Safari way behind on 15%, it could be argued that it has too much control over the services and the delivery of these services, putting it in a monopolistic position.

This kind of action would require Chrome, YouTube, Google Docs, and other services to be completely removed from each other. It might limit some of the seamless convenience that many have come to know and love about Google services, but it might be a price worth paying for a fairer internet.

Read about the latest tech news on Tech.co

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The post Google Deliberately Slowed YouTube on Rival Browsers appeared first on Tech.co.

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Samsung Galaxy Fold: Hands-On First Impression

In one week, Samsung will release the Galaxy Fold, the first foldable phone available to consumers. The South Korean tech giant has begun showing off the phone at pre-launch events around the country, which means we got our hands on this innovative device and we’re ready to tell you all about it.

Samsung Galaxy Fold UnfoldSamsung Galaxy Fold Unfold

Samsung has teased the ambitious foldable screen technology at a myriad of events over the last few years to excited cheers. While their announcement event made a lot of bold claims, the prospect of a foldable phone was enough for us all to shove any skepticism under the rug for the foreseeable future.

However, as leads began to come out, potential first adopters began to see the downside of being an innovator of new technology. Rumors of massive creases, broken screens, and bulky designs have plagued Samsung, making them pretty defensive before the phone has even launched.

First Look at the Galaxy Fold

There’s nothing more exciting than getting your hands on a brand new device, and the Samsung Galaxy Fold is no different. Upon first glance, it’s almost surreal to see the foldable screen in action, bending seamlessly at the hinge and displaying the same apps, content, and overall experience without a glitch. Yes, the device is a bit heavy, as is to be expected with two batteries, and when folded up, it does seem a bit small. But hey, you can’t always get it perfect on the first try. Here are a few specs, just in case you forgot:

7.3-inch Infinity Flex display 512GB storage 7nm processor 12GB RAM Two batteries, one Android operating system Available with LTE and 5G versions

For a better look at exactly how this phone works and what it feels like, take a look at our in-depth review below and check out our best phones for 2019 guide for more great devices!

Does the Galaxy Fold Have a Crease?

Samsung Galaxy Fold CreaseSamsung Galaxy Fold CreaseWhile the foldable interface was as seamless as Samsung insisted, there was one glaring issue that made it hard to take it seriously; one hugely problematic aspect that was assured, nay, promised not to be too noticeable. And I spotted it from across the room.

So does the Samsung Galaxy Fold have a crease? Unexpectedly, undeniably, unequivocally yes! The second we unfolded the Samsung Galaxy Fold, a huge, glaring crease could be spotted from pretty much every angle. You could feel it, you could see it, heck, it was so obvious you could almost smell it. Even while displaying Samsung’s now signature butterfly image, the innovative device brazenly brandishes the one thing they were trying to avoid when it came to foldable phones.

This was at least somewhat expected though. Between the problematic leaks, the unsettling rumors, and the CEO of Huawei insisting the tech is impossible without a crease, the likelihood of a crease-less device hitting the shelves was understandably low. Still, after months of Samsung insisting this kind of innovation was possible, it’s hard not to be disappointed when you see a cavernous valley splitting the middle of your almost $2000 smartphone.

Galaxy Fold Pros

Just because Samsung didn’t back up their most important promise in regards to foldable screens, doesn’t mean the Galaxy Fold doesn’t have its moments. For one, the intuitive interface really does make it easy to take advantage of the new technology. Swapping between the folded and unfolded interface was truly as quick and seamless as Samsung demonstrated at their announcement, and it doesn’t just work on your favorite apps.

To put the interface to the test, we opened up Chrome and visited the ESPN website, an online labyrinth of links, displays, and galleries that certainly puts a strain on my phone when I open it. Much to my delight, the Galaxy Fold effortlessly allowed me to switch between skinny phone and small tablet mode on the page without issue.

Additionally, the unique keyboard on the unfolded version is a solid decision by Samsung, giving users a typing experience akin to the old Blackberry feel: two-hands on the device, all thumbs. However, if you’ve gotten used to swipe typing, which at this point many of us have, you’re going to have trouble readjusting to this stretched layout.

Galaxy Fold Cons

Samsung Galaxy Fold SideSamsung Galaxy Fold SideOutside of the crease, the Galaxy Fold does boast a few other notable flaws that will likely prevent it from gaining massive popularity. For one, it’s a bit bulky and decidedly heavy. This what obviously going to be the case, as multiple batteries and all that added screen space add up. However, from an objective standpoint, that will be a serious deterrent for some users, particularly those with thin pockets.

The primary contributor to this bulkiness problem is that, as you see here, when the phone is folded, the screen isn’t flush against the body of the phone. This kind of design might have flown in the early 2000s. But in 2019, when sleek design rivals intuitive interface as the most sought-after feature on any mobile device, you’re going to have a hard time pitching a foldable smartphone that looks like a three-ring binder.

Should You Buy the Galaxy Fold?

Truthfully, you probably shouldn’t buy the Galaxy Fold, at least not right away. Even if the crease doesn’t bother you, review devices have been breaking almost immediately for a wide range of reasons. The smartphone, as you may have heard, comes with a screen protector that looks like the plastic film you’re supposed to remove after purchase. However, when removed, the edges of the screen immediately begin to crack and your device is effectively the most fragile piece of tech you’ve ever owned.

Simply put, this is brand new technology that is obviously incredibly hard to get right, and the first attempt is just not where you want to start. Hopefully Samsung, and other brands rushing to make a viable device, can learn from these follies and put out a foldable phone in the future that deserves your $2000.

The post Samsung Galaxy Fold: Hands-On First Impression appeared first on Tech.co.

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