Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – Design and Features
While you might think a phone that folds in half would feel weak in your hand, the Fold 2 is exactly the opposite. At a hefty 9.95 ounces and 16.8mm thick, the Fold 2 actually feels like an overcrowded ice cream sandwich or candy bar. This is a device that contains practically twice as much metal and is almost three times the size of the display area you can find on a traditional smartphone. No wonder it feels so strong in your hand.
If you’re concerned about reliability, the Fold 2 has been a solid device for over two weeks of testing. You won’t find any dust gaps under the ultra-thin glass display. Meanwhile, the phone has folded dozens of times a day, and although a distinctive crease has developed on the interior display, it only really becomes noticeable when the screen is off or when you look for it.
Compared to the first generation Galaxy Z Fold, this new model has flattened edges. The phone also borrows the flat paintwork of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with a mystical bronze color and a large rectangular camera bump – luckily, this time it only protrudes by a millimeter.
The biggest improvement over the Fold 2 is that you have a full screen experience both inside and out. The cover screen has been enlarged from 4.6 inches with a resolution of 720 x 1,680 to 6.23 inches with a resolution of 816 x 2,260.
The internal display is now 0.3 inches larger, giving you a 7.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1,768 x 2,208. The group of selfie cameras that take the corner on last year’s model has been reduced to a single pinhole camera, so this time the screen really extends to all the edges of the device.
The foldable display looks wonderful and despite the use of a flexible panel, the colors, pure black and high brightness are indistinguishable from the cover screen or any of the other Super AMOLED displays that Samsung brought to a phone this year . What’s even more impressive is that this foldable screen achieves a refresh rate of 120Hz – and for once, you don’t have to lower the screen resolution to achieve that number, unlike the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
When it unfolds into a 7.6-inch tablet, the Fold 2 isn’t too big for me to hold with one hand. I can easily rock it on a corner or grab it with my fingertips from the sides. The aspect ratio and display size are perfect for reading online articles. However, text scaling can vary widely depending on which website you visit and / or which app you are using.
Full page digital comics reading looks especially amazing thanks to the deep blacks and vibrant colors you get from a Super AMOLED panel. And for me, the screen size is just right to read entire pages without having to zoom in.
Samsung has often pushed multitasking on its mega smartphones, but with the Fold 2 it seems a lot more sensible to open three apps at the same time. With the larger screen, apps have more room to spread out so everything remains legible and the items are actually large enough for you to easily tap on without carefully blinking and nudging.
Another big improvement to the folding screen is the underlying hinge mechanism. While the original Galaxy Z Fold stood out in three different positions, the Fold 2 smoothly switches between folded and fully open and can hold its position from 75 to 115 degrees.
While it is half open, the phone activates Flex mode to give you additional functionality in certain apps. Partially collapsing the screen in this mode changes the user interface so that you get a clean viewfinder in the top half while moving all of the controls to the bottom display. Setting up the camera this way also makes for a great stationary camera that you can use for group shots or long exposures from any flat surface. Alternatively, you can watch YouTube videos while reading or writing a comment at the same time.
I just wish flex mode was implemented in more ways, e.g. For example, you can scroll through your list of emails while opening one in a larger preview window. Another great use would be the calendar app, which allows you to see the entire month at a glance and plan your days in a second window.
Of course, Samsung and Google will continue to improve Android 11 and apps for foldable screen experiences. I definitely hope that Google will finally start working on improving Android on bigger screens as Instagram looks like an enlarged version of the mobile app with poor scaling.
Watching YouTube and other streaming videos on a bigger screen is always better, of course, but thick black bars at the top and bottom take some getting used to. However, if you’re watching a lot of movies or other 21: 9 content, the title screen is almost the perfect aspect ratio, even though the display is smaller and thinner than most traditional smartphones.
Speaking of the cover screen, it’s way more user-friendly than that of the previous Galaxy Z Fold. I like the large and narrow aspect ratio for scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, but it’s not great for everything. Anything text-heavy, like web pages and emails, looks incredibly squashed, and the font is often too small for just a quick check of your notifications.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – Games and Performance
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 finally offers the flagship phone experience I’ve been expecting from Samsung all year long: it lets you set the screen to maximum resolution and frame rate at the same time.
Playing games at an extremely steady frame rate feels great on a regular phone and is even better with this convertible tablet device. On a bigger screen, you can just appreciate more of the smooth movement.
Of course, this bigger screen gives a bigger picture for gaming, and luckily most games don’t change the aspect ratio to fit the larger display. Instead, you’ll see almost double the vertical resolution of a normal smartphone, which can come in handy for spotting enemies high up in mobile shooters. When you have a larger picture, your thumbs will cover less of the screen. This is even better when you can move the virtual joysticks and buttons to the edges of the device.
The underlying Snapdragon 865+ processor of the phone has no problem keeping up with demanding mobile games like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Asphalt 9: Legends. More impressive is how well it can play games while surfing the web and watching YouTube videos at the same time – even if the audio is mixed up confusingly.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 picture examples
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 camera
For such an innovative foldable smartphone, the Fold 2 comes with a standard camera package. You get three 12-megapixel cameras, each with the usual ultra-wide, wide-angle and telephoto focal lengths. Unlike Samsung’s ultra-tier flagship phones, there are no dedicated hybrid space zoom features here. However, you can add up to 10x digital zoom.
As usual, Samsung’s camera sensors and image processing can capture vivid colors with plenty of dynamism and sharpness. The only problem I have with the Fold 2’s image quality is that it can be a little overly aggressive when sharpening extremely complex scenes like foliage, and this phone’s night mode can be a little bad or bad when it comes to evaluating exposure.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – battery life
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a decently large 4,500 mAh battery that is enough to keep me with me most days. Until the end, 45% of the capacity is still available. This applies to everyday use which consists of streaming video for two hours, searching social media for an hour or two, randomly browsing the internet, and playing cell phone games for an hour.
The good news is that Samsung has managed to incorporate fast charging into the Fold 2. With the supplied 25 W charger you get 46% of your battery capacity by plugging it in for 30 minutes and one hour of plugging in increases the capacity to 86%.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 costs $ 1999 and is available from Best Buy, Verizon, AT&T, or directly from Samsung.