With the advent of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, a new generation in the company’s foldable line of handsets is a fact. Samsung was the first to launch a foldable screen phone, and since then, other manufacturers have either “responded” to the South Korean giant, or started to see more … the prospect of a new sub-category and what that could mean for the colossal global smartphone market.
To be completely honest, the first attempt was clearly addressed to fans of technological innovation and not so much to power users or the general public – because of the retail price and its features. The public’s comments seemed to be heeded, with Samsung making several changes in several areas.
So the question that we will answer through our text remains: can the successor build on what the original achieved, but also correct its failures?
Design – Monitors
For a start, let’s go from the outside in. Folded, the phone incorporates an external Super AMOLED screen with HD + resolution, dimensions 6.2 ”and 25: 9 aspect ratio, with the aspect ratio being a strange choice that remains from the first version of the Fold. In practice, we are talking about a screen that is suitable not only for quick glances and actions as it was last year, but we can more easily use it as a “normal” smartphone. The larger size and the smaller bezels definitely help, a combination that is a huge improvement compared to the Fold external display, where the 4.6 ”was a … miniature next to modern smartphones. Therefore, it is a very good solution as a basic screen in cases where unfolding is not possible or convenient, without this meaning that there is no huge room for improvement.
When you unfold the Fold 2, you will see a single 7.6 ”QXGA + resolution screen with a 22.5: 18 aspect ratio. Simply put, we are talking about a folded tablet in your pocket. Those who have already had contact with the first Fold, will feel a little deja vu because the design, externally, has not changed too much. Each screen offers vibrant colors and high brightness even in sunlight, as it is of equal quality to the company’s flagship devices. It is worth mentioning that the internal screen supports a refresh rate of 120Hz, with an option of automatic switching between 60Hz and 120Hz based on the displayed content for better battery management. Of course, this means unparalleled smoothness for mobile data, and using the screen for games or even simple scrolling, the difference is easily noticeable.
A big and positive change is the selfie cameras on the outside and inside, as we are now limited to one and it in turn has the design “Infinity O” without visually different from that of a Galaxy S20. Recall that in the original Fold, the corresponding selfie cameras were placed in the upper right corner of each screen creating a very large notch which is now a thing of the past. On the internal screen, this device lacked space and made the appearance somewhat strange, but this no longer exists. In addition, the gap between the two sides of a folded Fold 2 is smaller than the Fold but if we look at it realistically, we are talking about a change that is difficult to notice.
Essentially, it’s again a two-screen layout – a normal (but slim) exterior and an enjoyable, large interior – with all that entails for everyone’s needs and, unfortunately, two major problems that remain. On the one hand, the weight of the device is not negligible, weighing 282g while with the use of two panels (internal and external), the thickness of a folded Fold 2 is quite large and especially in the pocket. On the other hand, on every side of the mobile, whether folded or not, there is a camera, making taking photos a particularly easy process for any situation.
Inevitably, there will be comparisons with the corresponding foldable smartphone from Huawei, for which the Chinese company chose to integrate a panel that folds in such a way that the backs of the two parts of the phone join, leaving the usable side of the screen always facing outside. This achieves less weight and thickness, but increases the risk of scratches on one of the two sides – something that Fold 2 minimizes by setting clear boundaries on its screens. Each of these two designs has its fans and, for the price of each device sold, certainly minimizing the risk of damage to the screens is not an insignificant trump card for the Samsung device.
Speaking of durability, a major concern of prospective buyers was the lifespan of the hinge, or hinge that handles the folding and unfolding of the screens. Samsung has promised that by integrating different types of brush into parts of the device, it becomes difficult to penetrate dust that can later damage the electronic and non-electronic parts inside the device. This is something that without “solving” the device we can not know if it is valid, but what we can guarantee is that the mechanism worked perfectly and left us feeling more robust compared to the original Fold.
Despite the improvements, the folding mechanism continues to create a smaller problem, the “crease” in the middle of the big screen. It is something that existed in the original Fold and remains, mainly making its presence felt with very light colors but after a few hours with the device we stopped unconsciously observing it with few exceptions.
The two screens use their own app layouts, so that each makes the most of its capabilities. The exterior works more like a traditional smartphone, as as expected, emphasis was placed on the internal, larger screen. There, things become interesting, since we are talking about two completely different worlds.
An important feature is Flex Mode, which changes the way an application can work (and suit us). For example, the photo gallery shows the photos on one half of the screen and on the other half we have the control of the whole application, either for navigation, or for management and so on. Similarly, as mentioned before, half of the screen can become a support base for the other half, where the selfie camera is located, to give the right inclination for a perfect selfie or video call without additional equipment. Switching between full screen and 50/50 is done automatically when the screen is folded to a position between 75 and 115 degrees. In full position, the full screen is used for an application and when folded, the partition is made immediately depending on how it is defined by the application.
Of course, functionality depends on each application. If it is made to take advantage of the uniqueness of Fold 2 then it will be adjusted accordingly, but most applications still do not use it and behave as if running on a tablet. For example, Instagram leaves gaps left and right of the feed, while Facebook is “stretched” to reach the edges. The same is true, but vice versa, for the external screen, where the Facebook stream seems compressed due to a narrower screen.
Speaking of which, it’s particularly convenient how we can launch an application on the external screen and continue what we did internally, really immediately. A few times we happened to take the cell phone out of our pocket for something we thought would take seconds, but in the end it lasted minutes. The applications for which this will happen, we can define them from the device settings and so Samsung offers something that many of us wondered how it could be missing from the original Fold.
Combined with the ability to run up to 3 applications shared on the big screen, Fold 2 can become a valuable work tool for someone who constantly manages e-mails, calendars and other applications where information is shared and simple action is converted. in complex. In fact, up to three apps can be saved as a set and easily accessible with a single tap from the Edge app, so you don’t have to constantly search for the ones you use most often at the same time.
When it comes to productivity, the ability to connect wirelessly to a compatible TV via Wireless DeX is another step towards eliminating the need for a computer: it is clear that Fold 2 aims to be flexible and efficient for any possible scenario – usability three applications at the same time remains when using DeX.
Performance and Cameras
Behind the screens, the phone has received several improvements, just as important as the external ones. The Snapdragon 865+ chipset is one of the best on the market and is a clear improvement over the Exynos 990 found in the Note 20. With 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, there’s absolutely no room for complaint beyond use – the storage space is not scalable. During the period we tested the mobile, it performed consistently at high levels with no trace of overheating even in more demanding scenarios.
In fact, for those who are thinking of investing in Fold 2, the integration of 5G technology is a very welcome addition considering that Fold that arrived in our country last year used 4G while from the beginning of next year we will officially see the first commercial networks in our country. Given the high-end chipset, the over-sufficient (for current data) RAM and the support of 5G networks, we estimate that the device will be able to perform at a high level in a very respectable depth of time.
Let’s talk a bit about the cameras, five of which you will find on the various sides of the Fold 2. In the upper left corner on the right back of the device, the main camera system is located with three cameras in a vertical arrangement and of course, each serves different purpose – but as Samsung is used to, for some reason each has a resolution of 12 Megapixels.
Initially, the wide-angle camera has an aperture of f / 2.2 and performs quite well in the morning, but at night the results are at least mediocre. The main, wide camera with f / 1.8 aperture is fast and has an optical image stabilizer, so it performs very well in the morning and obviously better than the wide-angle at night, but again, there is a lot of noise when the outdoor lighting conditions are not ideal. Finally, the f / 2.4 aperture telephoto lens is equipped with dual stabilization but only 2x optical zoom, which disappointed us as we certainly did not expect something so basic.
In terms of video recording, things are more or less the same: impressively stable, good performance in the morning, not so good things when the sun goes down. In short, we are certainly not talking about the best combination of smartphones and cameras that Samsung offers with the current models it markets.
Nevertheless, the design of Fold 2 still manages to stand out, as in addition to what we mentioned with the use of Flex Mode, taking photos and videos hides even more goodies. For starters, using the full, unfolded screen as a viewfinder is the least impressive and easy-to-use, but also useful for photographers, who can see themselves through the camera-screen pair on the outside of the device.
In the field of battery, we could not say that we were impressed. With 4500MAh capacity and 25W fast charging support, we are talking about standard (for the price-class data) things and we definitely expected more. With a full charge, our device took a full day of use with typical daily use and at night it was always … time to charge. As expected, increasing the refresh rate on the internal screen means more consumption, so if you make intensive use of the large screen and in combination with “heavy” applications such as games, then it is possible that it will need charging in the afternoon.
Finally, like its predecessor, it supports both wireless charging and PowerShare, so that by leaning compatible devices (such as the Galaxy Buds + case) on the back of the device, you can charge another device in an emergency.
Samsung has made the new fold with several obvious improvements in various areas, giving us without a doubt the best foldable it has built to date. This is advanced in both design and software and hardware, with substantial additions and changes.
It’s hard to say that it stands out in areas like performance or cameras, but its meaning is different. It is an extremely flexible mobile that bets on productivity, as processing a document and with a simple drag and drop motion fills its text or edits a file with two more open applications for help, is invaluable. It practically eliminates the need for a tablet and up to a point, for a laptop, especially if you use Wireless DeX which turns it into a mini computer. Based on this, even its high cost, which exceeds € 2,000, can be justified for a professional who until now used three devices of, say, € 600 each just for the needs of his job.
With the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung has taken an important step towards perfecting foldable technology and so, perhaps in a short time we will see it adopted by more and more manufacturers, breaking down the main obstacle that is not only the available options but also the cost of one of them. For now, it deserves the praise for trying a new form factor and for its persistence to improve it, with the … ear turned to the “want” of the users.