Samsung’s initial Galaxy Fold got off to a rocky start, many early reviewers had broken screens within the first few days of testing the device. Samsung went back to the drawing board and modified the design before releasing the original Fold to the public. Now its time for Samsung to release the second version of their most technologically advanced Smartphone.
I have now been using the Galaxy Z Fold 2 as my daily driver for over a week, so now its time to review the device and find out if it’s worth parting with £1700 for.
Design & Performance
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is available in two colours, Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze. My Fold is Mystic Bronze as I fancied a change this time from the usual black or white. The Mystic Bronze has a luxurious matte feel on the rear of the device. I was initially worried that the bronze version would be too pink, however my concerns were unfounded. In certain lights, the bronze colour looks somewhat gold. Samsung has made dramatic improvements over the initial Fold, the outer screen display has now increased from 4.6 inches to 6.2 inches.
I have actually found myself using this display quite often, whether it is for scrolling social media or quickly replying to a message. The phone is ideal for calls too when folded as its narrow shape is easily manageable despite the thickness. Typing is much improved over the initial Fold, however, can still be tricky if you have thicker fingers. I can manage to type well now on the small keys after a weeks worth of practice. It is worth noting that you can use an alternative keyboard such as Swiftkey or the Google Keyboard. These keyboards allow you to heighten the keys to make typing somewhat easier on the narrow display.
Samsung has also made huge improvements to the inner display, this has now increased from 7.3 inches to 7.6 inches. The huge notch on the original Fold has now been replaced with a punch hole for the front camera. The inner display has also followed the Note 20 Ultra to offer a 120hz refresh rate. This makes scrolling through social media delightful and also gives you that slight edge in games such as Call Of Duty Mobile. As we have now come to expect from Samsung panels, colours are vibrant with the deepest possible blacks. The Fold comes with two plastic screen protectors fitted, one on the outer display and one on the inner. Samsung advises not to remove the inner protector and insist if that you take it to a professional if you really want it removing. I have found the inner protector to be somewhat of a fingerprint magnet, also having regular small particles sticking to it. I have decided not to remove the protector due to the advice of Samsung and instead complete a daily cleaning ritual with a microfiber cloth.
I have been very impressed with the performance of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 in my first week of usage. The phone has handled everything I have thrown at it without a stutter and without any real heat in the device. This is thanks to the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor, I am delighted that the UK actually get a Snapdragon device from Samsung rather than the usual Exynos. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is also a multitasking champion thanks to its 12GB of ram, whether you are using the split-screen feature or returning to a game a few hours later this device will handle it all.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is future-proofed with 5G and is also technically a dual sim phone. You can use one sim card in the tray and another via the E Sim method. The E Sim feature was turned on by the latest UK update. The Z Fold 2 comes with 256GB built-in storage, however, this isn’t expandable. I do wish Samsung had stuck with 512GB due to the power of this phone, the storage can get filled quite easy if you are using emulators or installing the latest and greatest games. The Z Fold 2 is also equipped with superb speakers along with Dolby Atmos, the Folds speakers are some of the best I have heard on any 2020 phone.
The battery life on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is solid, however not groundbreaking. In my first week of use, I am averaging 4-5 hours of screen on time a day. I hope in future variations of the Fold, Samsung will include batteries bigger than the current 4500 mah. It is worth noting that I am a heavy power user so usage may vary. Samsung includes a 25W fast charger in the box and this can charge the Fold from 0-100% in around one hour and thirty minutes. This isn’t as fast as some of the competitors from China, however, its fast enough to get a quick top-up whilst having a shower or something similar.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is no slouch in the camera department, offering three 12 Megapixel cameras. The three cameras are your main shooter, a telephoto lens and an ultrawide camera. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 does not offer the 50x zoom of the recent Note 20 Ultra, however, the Fold can still take some superb photos.
Additionally, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has an ace up its sleeve that makes it one of the best devices for vlogging and selfies. Thanks to the cover display on the Z Fold 2, you can take selfies and vlogs using the main 12 Megapixel shooter. This allows for much more detail than a normal selfie camera would provide.
Samsung’s Super Steady mode is present again on the Z Fold 2 and this is ideal for capturing steady video without the need of a tripod.
I already had a look at Samsung’s One UI 2.5 in our Note 20 Ultra Review, however, I will cover it again here. The Fold Z 2 features all of the bells and whistles of the Note 20 series (minus the S-Pen). Wireless Dex is present again and can be a great way to internet browse and use your applications on a larger smart TV.
One of the first applications I usually install on my Android devices is the third party launcher “Nova Launcher”. However, on the Z Fold 2, this hasn’t really been plausible. Samsung’s One UI launcher allows you to have two completely different layouts on the outer screen and the main tablet display. Unfortunately, third party launchers show the same home screen on both displays which results in ridiculously small icons and silly-looking widgets on the outer screen. I am hoping that some of the popular third-party launchers will incorporate a dual-screen layout due to the popularity of the Z Fold 2.
Samsung aims to take advantage of the large display on the Z Fold 2 by offering extensive multitasking options. You can run three applications at the same time and even pop up others that will minimize to little bubbles (Similar to chat heads on Facebook Messenger).
As mentioned above, performance on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has been sublime. Samsung has come a long way since the days of Touchwiz and its over-bloated UI. Samsung has also bought over some of the features they initially launched on the Z Flip last year. One of these features is Flex Mode, this allows you to fold the hinge halfway (in the style of a laptop) for an alternative experience. This is mostly for Samsung’s stock apps, however, I have been using this most regularly on YouTube, this allows for watching a movie whilst browsing the comments. Another useful feature is using the camera in flex mode, as you don’t need to hold the device, this will let you capture superb photos without a tripod.
I have now had the pleasure of using the Z Fold 2 for almost 3 weeks. It still surprises me to this day that I can unfold my smartphone into a tablet. Of course, the Fold is not for everyone, at £1799 it is possibly the most expensive smartphone you can currently buy. However, with the Z Fold 2 you are getting a reasonably sized smartphone, an iPad Mini-sized tablet, a replacement computer via Dex Wireless and finally a portable console thanks to Xbox Game Pass. Can the Fold be improved? Yes, I would love to see an IP Rating an also for tougher glass on the inside so I don’t need to use Samsung’s Smudgy protector. Next week will see Apple launch its new iPhones with an expected starting price of £1099. When you consider what you get with the Galaxy Z Fold 2, maybe it isn’t as expensive as it initially seems. If you can afford it and aren’t afraid to take extra care of your phone then you cannot go wrong with the Z Fold 2. However, it is worth noting that the case selection is currently non-existent in the UK. This makes protecting the Fold that little bit harder.
- Folding form factor that actually works
- Superb performance
- Great speakers
- Stunning 120hz flexible display
- No IP Rating
- The installed screen protector is a fingerprint magnet
- Lack of protective cases currently in the UK