Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Third times a charm

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the foldable smartphone you have always wanted.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Our verdict

Foldable screen is an innovative technology that has created a whole new form factor. In addition, the mobile comes with configuration and features from the top shelf.
Very, very expensive, and the camera is not quite as good as one should expect for the price. App continuity does not work with all apps.
  • Operating system: Android 10
  • Screen: 7.6 “Dynamic AMOLED, 120 Hz (2208 x 1768) (primary) / 6.2” S-AMOLED, HD + (2260 x 816) (front)
  • Processor: Snapdragon 865+ 7 nm 64 bit octa-core
  • Memory: 12 GB RAM / 256 GB storage (UFS 3.1)
  • Cameras: 12 MP f / 2.2 (123 °) + 12 MP f / 1.8 + 12 MP f / 2.4 OIS + 2x optical zoom (primary) / 10 MP f / 2.2 (front)
  • / 10 MP f / 2.2 (cover)
  • Wireless: 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
  • Dimensions and weight: 159.2 x 128.2 x 6.9 mm / 282 g
  • Battery: 4500 mAh
  • Web: samsung.com
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Price: £ 1799

Samsung’s latest foldable mobile is the successor to the first Galaxy Fold, which came on the market last year after a long delay.

The first Galaxy Fold suffered a bit from the fact that it came on the market about six months late compared to the originally planned launch, and moreover, the foldable screen seemed a bit fragile.

Samsung had mastered the screen this winter with the Galaxy Z Flip folding mobile, and it is the same type of screen as on the Galaxy Z Flip – made of so-called Ultra Thin Glass, a kind of glass alloy with a thin layer of plastic as a protective layer and flexible glass underneath – which has found its way to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Still, Samsung warns the user that the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is more fragile than normal smartphones. It happens already during the setup, where a screen early in the process points out that the phone is neither dust nor waterproof, that you must not press too hard on the screen, and that you must not let the phone get too close to credit cards or others things that are sensitive to magnets!

The foldable mobile is available in two colors, Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze. (Photo: Samsung)

Appearance and build

Nevertheless, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is noticeably more rugged than its predecessor. The much more solid and robust construction is immediately noticeable when you have your mobile phone in your hands.

Not least when you fold the mobile out and back together. There is significantly more resistance in the hinges – in fact so much that it is difficult to open with one hand – and the body of the mobile itself, made of glass on the front and an aluminum alloy on the back of the folded mobile, is now so robust that you do not is nervous about holding the phone in a firm grip or even about dropping it.

There are also a few other significant design differences between the old Galaxy Fold and the new Galaxy Z Fold 2.

First, Samsung has changed the hinge that connects the two halves of the foldable mobile. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has thus got a completely new hinge, where the hinge area itself is built into a form-fitting cylindrical housing – very precisely designed so that it is shielded as best as possible from dust and dirt.

Second, the selfie camera on the large primary screen is no longer separately placed in the large slice that marred the former Galaxy Fold. Instead, the camera is now visible through a punched hole in the screen. This means, among other things, that the foldable screen has grown so that it now measures 7.6 inches. In comparison, the first Galaxy Fold had to be “satisfied” with a foldable screen of 7.3 inches in the unfolded state.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has got a large 6.2-inch front screen. It is good enough in 25: 9 format and thus very narrow, but it is workable. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

Screen

The original Galaxy Fold had a small, amputated 4.6-inch front screen that could only be used for the simplest functions. But the new Galaxy Z Fold 2 comes with a front screen of 6.2 inches, which is probably very narrow (25: 9 format), but still has enough space to use the foldable mobile as a regular smartphone – including all apps – without unfolding it.

The foldable screen has the same dynamic 120 Hz refresh rate as the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, which is also a significant improvement over its predecessor.

On the other hand, the new screen has the same 4: 3 format as the old one, which means that the screen’s proportions correspond to the picture on older picture tube TVs. Most apps adapt to the special format without any problems, but when you want to watch video, you have to come up with fairly wide bars both above and below the image. Unless you can find older TV clips on YouTube from the good old days before the flat screen TVs made their debut.

With its 25: 9 format, the front screen is in a way therefore better suited for video than the primary screen, and it is of course also a lot more robust. But otherwise, the intention is that the front screen acts as a kind of entrance to the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

You might start an activity on the small screen, and as soon as you open your mobile, you get the same app and exactly the same image on the big screen. This little finesse is what Samsung calls app continuity, and it works surprisingly well. Not all apps support the feature, but for the most part it works great.

Be aware, however, that app continuity basically only works one way. If you have opened an app on the big screen, it does not move to the small screen when you fold the mobile. The intention is for the mobile to be closed when you fold it, Samsung says.

Under the menu item “Continue apps on the front screen”, however, you can choose between a number of apps that can also move the other way when you close the phone. This option is supported by most apps, but you have to select each app manually to make it work.

Sound

Like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 stands out by offering really good voice quality. And there are actually people who occasionally talk on their cell phone.

There is no physical input for headphones, so you have to connect your earbuds or headphones via Bluetooth. But then the foldable mobile also offers a dynamic sound image with lots of juice and power in all frequency ranges.

Particularly surprising, though, is that the Samsung Z Galaxy Fold 2 also features two excellent stereo speakers that deliver a powerful audio experience. In fact, both sound quality and volume are so impressive that the phone sounds better than many of the cheaper Bluetooth speakers one can buy for a few hundred bucks.

Using the front screen and the ultra-wide-angle lens of the primary camera, one can take the worst selfies. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

Camera

Basically, the Samsung Galaxy Fold has the same camera structure as its predecessor. That is, with three lenses, which are a real ultra-wide angle, a normal wide angle and a telephoto, respectively. A good combination of focal lengths that are convenient to photograph with in everyday life.

The camera app has a number of different photo and video settings, and in automatic mode the user interface is fairly clean with a choice of focal length, filter and automatic help. In manual mode, you can, as usual, adjust ISO, focus points, white balance and exposure compensation. But also contrast and color saturation as well as manual aperture change.

The app also offers a few special features that take advantage of the foldable screen – including the so-called Capture View Mode, which shows the user the latest recording on the lower half of the main screen, while the camera mode remains activated on the upper half.

Furthermore, due to the special design, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has not just one, but two whole selfie cameras. Above the small front screen we find a single 10 megapixel lens that takes excellent pictures, and on the inside there is an identical selfie camera, so you can take quick self-portraits, no matter what screen you use.

It is also possible to use the front screen as a camera viewfinder, so you can take really bad selfies with the main camera’s ultra-wide angle lens.

All in all, it is easy and straightforward to shoot with the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Under normal conditions, the automatic succeeds well with exposure, correct white balance and fine colors. Night mode, on the other hand, is nothing to write home about, just as the camera only comes with 2x optical zoom. So it is also clear that Samsung, despite the extremely high price of the foldable mobile, has not prioritized the camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 as highly as on top models like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy S20 Ultra.

You can easily get really close. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

Performance and features

There is not much to an oversized, foldable screen if the large screen area is not used for anything. But Samsung has solved that task in a sensible way by letting the Galaxy Z Fold 2 support multitasking in various designs. You can thus have several apps open at the same time on the big screen, just as you can also open several windows from the same app and see them side by side on the screen. With drag-and-drop functionality that you know from your computer, you can pull text, images and documents from one app to another.

And while it obviously takes a lot of effort and energy to power such a large mobile phone with so many features, screens and cameras, the Galaxy Fold also does more than honorably on that front.

Where Samsung Galaxy Fold as mentioned suffered a bit from the fact that it came on the market with an “obsolete” processor, then Galaxy Z Fold 2 has been equipped with the p.t. fastest processor on the market: Snapdragon 865+ with 5G.

At our latitudes, we are otherwise used to Samsung’s flagship mobiles coming with the South Koreans’ own Exynos processors – Galaxy Note 20 Ultra thus came with Exynos 990 octa-core – but Qualcomm’s best processor is actually faster across the board, which our benchmark results also testify.

With a 4500 mAh battery, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 holds power all day and lasts almost ten and a half hours in our benchmark test, which pushes the mobile to the extreme.

Our benchmark test shows that the 4500 mAh battery holds power for almost ten hours and 30 minutes at maximum load. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

Conclusion

It does not go unnoticed that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is very, very expensive! Almost 16,000 kroner for a smartphone is so much money that not even Apple can participate. Even the most expensive version of the iPhone 11 Pro Max costs “only” 12,999 kroner, so you really have to be happy with the idea of a foldable mobile screen (or very wealthy) if the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is to be tempting.

But if that is the case, then the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a great product that corrects all the childhood diseases from its predecessor. And just as Samsung has succeeded in creating its very own product category with its Galaxy Note mobiles, we definitely expect the Galaxy Z Fold products to come to stay.

The foldable form factor offers completely new possibilities – both in terms of work and entertainment – and if you were already tempted last year, but hesitated because the first Galaxy Fold seemed unfinished, then now is the time to strike.

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