Samsung may have just launched its first foldable smartphone last September, but it’s already on its fourth model.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2, which launched on September 18 for $1,999.99, represents the culmination of Samsung’s efforts so far. It’s a design that largely maintains the same look as its troubled predecessor, but with some of the flourishes of its more compact Galaxy Z Flip.
At twice the price of a premium smartphone, it’s hard to recommend that anyone actually buy the Galaxy Z Fold 2. But, if you do, you likely won’t be disappointed — and that’s not something I could have said about the original Galaxy Fold or Microsoft’s Surface Duo.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2, as expensive as it is, doesn’t ask you to make too many sacrifices to get the benefits of having a tablet and a smartphone in one device.
But, of course, it’s not perfect. The device’s biggest drawback, other than its price, is that it can still feel awkward as a smartphone replacement.
As I wrote when I reviewed the Microsoft Surface Duo, devices that seek to replace your smartphone and your tablet need to provide an equally good alternative to both. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 does that better than its predecessor and Microsoft’s Surface Duo, but still takes some getting used to.
Here’s a longer look at what it’s been like to use the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 specifications
- Display size and resolution: 7.6 inches with 2,208 x 1,768 resolution (Main screen); 6.2 inches with 2,260 x 816 resolution (Cover screen)
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
- Main cameras: 12-megapixel ultra-wide, 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, 12-megapixel telephoto camera
- Front camera: 10-megapixel
- Cover camera: 10-megapixel
- Battery capacity: 4,500 mAh dual battery
- Memory: 12GB of RAM
- Storage: 256GB or 512GB
- Biometric authentication: Fingerprint sensor and facial recognition
Design and display
The Galaxy Z Fold 2’s design is similar to that of the original Fold, but with many improvements. Among the biggest of those upgrades is its more flexible and reinforced hinge.
Samsung had to delay the original Galaxy Fold’s launch after a small number of reviewers found that their device broke after just two days of use. In some cases, damage was caused by debris entering the hinge, while in other cases users accidentally removed a protective layer from the screen.
Samsung seemingly made improvements on both accounts. The company has implemented a new vacuum-inspired sweeper hinge to keep debris out. Upon unboxing the device, I also noticed that there was a label clearly informing users not to remove the phone’s screen protector film and providing other tips for maintaining the device.
There’s no IP rating on the Galaxy Z Fold 2, however, so be careful not to drop it in the sink.
From the back, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 looks similar to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: it comes in the same Mystic Bronze color as the Note 20 Ultra and has a similar-looking triple camera module.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 feels sleek and light as a tablet; when opened, it measures just 6.9 millimeters thin, making it only slightly thicker than the 6.1-millimeter iPad Air. Its roomy 7.6-inch screen also feels much more immersive now that Samsung has gotten rid of the notch in favor of its hole punch-shaped camera cutout, which has become a staple of its other devices as well.
But, when closed, it feels a bit thick and clunky. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 essentially looks like two smartphones stacked on top of one another when shut. It’s a bit cumbersome, but not unwieldy; it’s still compact enough to use with one hand or take a quick photo. That gives it an advantage over the Surface Duo, which felt too wide to use comfortably in phone mode unless I was gripping it with both hands.
The Galaxy Z Fold also gained another major upgrade compared to its predecessor: its larger cover screen. The front screen on the new Galaxy Z Fold measures 6.2 inches, making it the same size as the Galaxy S20. That’s a big improvement from the original Galaxy Fold’s minuscule 4.6-inch display, which felt too cramped to use for anything other than checking the time.
I often find myself using the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s cover screen when I want to send a quick text message or briefly check my email. While I appreciate the increase in size, the cover screen is still much skinnier than that of your average smartphone, so it still feels a little small to type on.
As to be expected from a device that’s mostly screen, the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s inner display resolution of 2,208 x 1,768 pixels boasts rich colors, sharp detail, and deep contrast. Although the crease is noticeable, it feels much more subtle on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 compared to the original Galaxy Fold. More