Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Review: A Lot Can Change In A Year

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Review: A Lot Can Change In A Year

In 2019 year I wrote a non-review of the Samung Galaxy Fold. One year and a rebrand later, things are a lot different in the world of Samsung foldables. The Samsung Z Fold 2 is coming in swinging, and it’s worth paying attention to.

The original Galaxy Fold has its fair share of issues, to say the least. You may even remember that the first round of review devices resulted in a myriad of screen problems.

By the time the fixed models reached Australia months later, excitement had fizzled. Don’t get me wrong, it was incredible to use — even just for two days. But the price tag and overt compromises in the first-gen product made me cautious. Despite my childlike wonder, I couldn’t bring myself to recommend it.

So how did it fare this time around?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

WHAT IS IT?

The second generation Fold from Samsung

PRICE

$2,999

LIKE

Bigger front screen, feels more durable, good camera, it's fun

DON'T LIKE

Still expensive, no dust or water resistance rating, still scratches easily.

Improved Design

Gratuitous self promotion

One of the things you couldn’t avoid in the first generation Fold was how flimsy it felt. From the display to the hinge, it felt delicate and left me in a near-constant state of paranoia. I was sure I was destined to break it.

This is not the case with the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Despite the top layer of the screen having a softer plastic than the previous gen, it feels more durable. The same goes for the exterior of the device, which has sharper edges and the same matte glass back as the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Lastly, the hinge has gotten a much-needed upgrade, allowing the screens to stay in place regardless of of how wide they’re opened.

Overall the Z Fold 2 feels tougher and less like you could break it by placing it on the table a little too hard. While at over 280g it’s certainly heavier this year, this is not something that bothered me. But that’s coming from one of those freaks who enjoys a phone wallet.

My only real beef with the design is lack of official water or dust resistance rating. While I logically understand why, it would be a potential deal breaker if I was looking to buy. I hike, climb and get outdoors enough for this to be a concern. Not to mention the fact I am a clumsy bish.

I’m looking forward to when this material tech advances enough for this not to be a concern anymore.

Screen

This year we’ve seen a huge improvement in the screens. First and fore mostly and cover display has received a desperately needed size bump to 6.2-inches. The front-facing screen on the original Fold wasn’t great for active use. While you could get notifications, watch content and read things just fine, it was a nightmare to type on.

That’s a huge problem, particularly if you don’t always want to go into tablet mode. The larger cover screen on the Z Fold 2 meant I could actually use it for social, texts and active web browsing. While it will still be a touch too narrow for some people’s tastes, I liked it a lot.

The other new addition is a 120Hz refresh rate, which was lovely for both gaming and streaming TV shows. Everything from browsing to just swiping through apps was slick and speedy.

This experience was further improved by the OLED screen, which also made the Z Fold 2 easy on the eyes when it comes to reading e-books or even your favourite website, Gizmodo Dot Com Dot Ay Ewe.

However, that shiny refresh rate is also going to cost you some battery life. As is the 5G functionality if you are in an area that can take advantage of it.

Now, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 battery life is actually quite good. And at 4,500 mAh you’d certainly hope so. Even when I had 5G and 120Hz enabled I got to end of day without any issues. But I was naturally able to push this further if I switched them off.

For more precise metrics, the U.S. team managed to get just over 10 hours playback in a battery drain test. With 120Hz disabled they were able to bump this up to over 15 hours.

While this isn’t best in class, it gets the job done and I wasn’t left hanging by the evening.

But I gotta say, my favourite thing about the screen is still the multi-tasking capabilities. And this is generally what you’d most likely catching me unfolding it for. I enjoyed utilising the larger screen real estate to have Slack, a website and my emails up simultaneously.

Or, and far more likely, second-screening YouTube cooking videos while mindlessly scrolling Twitter.

My only real problem with the screen is that it’s still a scratch magnet. I was at least the second person to receive this particular review unit and the screens were already noticeably ‘etched’.

But to be fair, this is something you need to expect — it’s plastic. And while we’re all used to increasingly durable glass displays in flagship devices, Gorilla glass sadly cannot bend just yet.

Of course, I know what question you really want the answer to – is the crease still visible? Yes, and you can feel it, too. But this personally didn’t bother me. In fact, I quite liked running my finger over it as comforting stimming exercise.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Camera

Samsung phones are solid shooters, and they’ve been improving in leaps and bounds over the past few years. And the Galaxy Z Fold line up is no exception with its 12-MP main, a 12-MP ultra-wide cam and a 12-MP 2x telephoto lenses.

I still prefer the Google Pixel 5 (and Pixel 4) as well as the Oppo Find X2 for shots, but this still does a good job.

Interestingly, there’s actually one less camera on the Z Fold 2 compared to last year, but it really doesn’t matter. Straight off the bat, it’s worth mentioning that it doesn’t have the same focus issue as the Samsung S20 Pro and Note 20 Pro. It also doesn’t suffer from some of the low light inconsistencies I experienced with the latter a couple of months back.

So on paper, and sometimes in practice, the Note 20 has a better camera set up. However, I personally value consistency over potential wow factor. And the Galaxy Z Fold has a camera that can deliver that, as well as photos that most people will be more than happy with.

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Photo: Tegan Jones

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Price

The biggest sticking for me is still the price. And look, I get it. Foldables still aren’t a normal form factor and these things would not be cheap to make. Plus, it’s injected with a ton of other flagship specs.

But at $2,999 it’s a reminder that the future is here, but not for the vast majority of regular folk.

Should you buy it?

Can you tell I got into plants in iso?

Last year I said that the Samsung Galaxy Fold made me fall almost-in-love. By that I meant it was a device that’s equal parts wonder and compromise. For every jaw-dropping plus there was a far more practical downside.

But this year is different. If you can afford it and like to take a punt on early adoption, you may very well love the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.

A year ago a foldable phone made me feel the future beneath my fingertips. Now, I think that future is quite a bit closer.