The sound of Samsung’s foldable Galaxy Z Fold 2 dropping into the mailboxes of US reviewers is no surprise given the device was teased three weeks ago at an event that launched, among other products, the Note 20 Ultra.
There’s currently no confirmed price for Australia or New Zealand, but in the US the Z Fold 2 will cost US$1999,99. That’s just US$20 more than the original Fold, so it’s safe to assume, in Australia, the Z Fold 2 will cost around the same, AU$2999, as the original. That’s an insane amount to pay for a phone, particularly during a pandemic, but if you have money to spare then the attraction of a phone that is also a tablet could be too much to resist.
Such is the short attention span of the cutting-edge tech scene that the Note 20 Ultra (reviewed favourably by us here) is now no longer the must-have phone in town. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is Samsung’s sequel to the troubled original Galaxy Fold, but what’s notable is the remarkable improvements the company appears to have made in under two years of development.
The Z Fold 2’s biggest improvement appears to be the external display, which was comically poky and awkward to use on the original Fold. The new device has an all-screen front with a camera embedded, and Samsung says, “Folded, it’s a phone. Unfolded, it’s a tablet.”
That’s not something it shouted from the rooftops with the original. This positioning sees the company try to erase that first device from memory.
Samsung is now comfortable enough to refer to the Z Fold 2 as a phone when closed. It’s weird that we should consider that an improvement but oddly it is for a foldable. There is less compromise this time around, and the phone looks more usable in its folded form than before.
The large internal notch is gone and it now sports a 7.6in almost-square display that is only interrupted by a single cut-out camera lens. It also has a 120Hz refresh rate to bring it in line with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, Note 20 Ultra, and other phones such as the Oppo Find X2 Pro.
All of this with 5G compatibility, a 4500 mAh battery, wireless charging, 12GB RAM, the Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset (no inferior Exynos version for us, hooray!), and the allure of having the slickest mobile device ever made. It irks though that there is half the storage of the original for the same price at 256GB, and there are no Galaxy Buds earbuds in the box as there were last year. It’s also a shame that the triple rear cameras remain 12Mp apiece, a downgrade on any model of S20 or Note 20.
This technology is clearly very expensive to make, hence the corners cut to keep the price the same year-over-year while delivering a product that is markedly better. The Z Fold 2’s interior display, now with a thin layer of glass like we saw on Samsung’s other foldable Galaxy Z Flip, should be more robust, and the hinge has brushes underneath it akin to those on a vacuum cleaner to sweep away dust from damaging the back of the display where there’s a gap for the mechanism.
The foldable future of phones has taken a few different forms from several manufacturers, Samsung included, but Samsung’s marketing might will probably mean this version will prevail. It’s a phone and a tablet in one, which is still amazing. But foldables are still in their infancy, and the price matches the Z Fold 2’s lofty ambitions.