If you were to ask me to read the “room” during Samsung’s virtual briefing for its new Galaxy Z Fold 2, I’d say it felt weirdly tranquil. Throughout the hourlong session, the company casually breezed through specs and features as if the dumpster fire that was its first attempt at a foldable never even happened.
Samsung executives emphasized qualities like “stronger than ever” glass and a redesigned hinge for optimized flexibility. Even in its press release Samsung assures customers that “you can feel confident using it everyday” — you know, everything you’d already expect in a device that costs almost $2,000.
It’s safe to say durability is the main selling point here, but to entice you to drop that much money on a foldable, Samsung was generous enough to include some new features including an updated chipset and 5G connectivity, along with additional capabilities for both multitasking and camera mode.
It will be available for pre-order starting September 2, the Z Fold 2 5G (to give it its full name) will officially go on sale for $1,999 starting September 18. In case you’re on the fence though, let’s get into exactly all that it has to offer.
An emphasis on durability, finally
When Samsung released the first Galaxy Fold, it felt more like a proof of concept — as if the company simply wanted to prove it could manufacture a device with a folding glass display. Whether or not the phone was sustainable over time felt like an afterthought. But with the Z Fold 2, it appears that durability and practicality go hand in hand.
The company incorporated a few elements originally featured on the Galaxy Z Flip (its second ever foldable phone that actually launched without a hitch), starting with its Ultra Thin Glass (UTG). While the improved version of the Galaxy Fold had a metal layer underneath the glass to prevent it from breaking, the UTG on the second-generation version is made up of flexible glass with a layer of plastic over it.
You’ll find that UTG when you open the Fold 2 to reveal a 7.6-inch AMOLED display, which is larger than the 7.3-inch display on its predecessor. Samsung also incorporated its Infinity-O technology, reducing the bezels by 27 percent. And, as with its S20 and Note 20 lineups, the device features a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother scrolling and graphics.
Those of you still worried about breaking the display can rest assured it comes with a factory installed screen protector. So, this time around you (hopefully) won’t be peeling off the actual display.
Meanwhile, the front of the Z Fold 2 is home to a 6.7-inch HD+ Super AMOLED cover display, which is bigger than the 6.23-inches on the original device. It’s made of Corning’s new Gorilla Glass Victus, which can survive drops from up to 6.5 feet onto hard surfaces. Again, proof that durability here is finally of importance with this family of phones.
Another feature borrowed from the Z Flip is the free-standing hinge, which allows you to position the phone at different angles. It makes it a lot easier to do things like prop the phone up to take selfies or do video calls, hands-free.
In case Samsung’s excitement over this new hinge isn’t apparent enough, you also have the option to choose from a variety of hinge colors. While the Z Fold 2 is available in either Mystic Bronze or Mystic Black, you can pick either a metallic silver, gold, red, or blue hinge to really make it pop.
As with , there will also be a Thom Browne designer edition with red, navy, and white stripes. The price has yet to be confirmed, but since that edition will also include the Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Watch3, and a few other accessories, it’ll cost you a lot more.
As for the Z Fold 2’s size, it remains the same as the original Fold when folded and unfolded. The only change to its build is that the second-generation version has a slightly boxier shape to it.
As for under the hood …
When it comes to the chipset, the Z Fold 2 has Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 865+ processor with 5G connectivity. It also supports both “slower” sub-6 5G and mmWave for the faster speeds. But you’ll only be able to take advantage of it if 5G is currently available in your area.
The device also only comes in one storage configuration: 12GB of RAM with 256GB internal storage. As for battery life, the Z Fold 2 has a 4,500mAh dual battery which is slightly bigger than the 4,380mAh in its predecessor. Additionally, the phone is also compatible with Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare feature. So you’ll be able to use it to power other devices using the back of the phone.
Familiar cameras sensors with some new features thrown in
Samsung has been pushing the limit this year with its cameras — both the S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra feature 108-megapixel rear sensors. But the Z Fold 2 plays it safe, by actually downgrading the cameras a bit.
On the back, you’ll find a triple camera setup that consists of a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, 12-megapixel wide-angle lens with a 123-degree field of view, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. While both the wide-angle and telephoto lenses remain the same, the original Fold has a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens. Meanwhile, both the sensors on the cover display and the selfie camera are 10-megapixels.
As for new features, the Z Fold 2 has an auto framing feature for video that takes advantage of the free-standing hinge. When it’s propped up in Flex Mode, you can use the rear camera to record video without having to worry about what’s in the view finder. It uses machine learning to identify human faces and detect movement, so if you’re not in the frame it will automatically adjust accordingly.
With its Dual Preview mode, you can use both the main and cover screens simultaneously to snap a photo. So, if someone else is taking a photo of you, the cover display will allow you to see what’s in the frame. You can also it when taking selfies, so you’re not limited to using only the front-facing cameras.
As with the Z Flip, you’ll also have Capture View Mode which allows you to take photos with the top half of the phone while scrolling through the last few photos you took on the bottom half. And, as with the S20 and Note20, you’ll have access to features like Pro Video Mode, Single Take, and Night Mode.
Don’t call it a smartphone, though
Throughout the virtual briefing, Samsung was careful not to call the Z Fold 2 a smartphone — instead referring to it as strictly a device. That’s likely because its large display coupled with its multitasking features creates a tablet-like experience.
For starters, the Multi-Active Window Tray and Edge Panel have merged into one. You can now access your preferred apps in the drawer and also launch the multi-active window mode by swiping to the right or left of the screen (depending on where Edge Panel is set on your device). You can either open one app into full screen mode or split the screen into two or three parts — with the ability to adjust the layout of each app.
It’s also worth mentioning that upgrades have been made to Samsung’s App Pair feature, too. Originally, you were able to launch two apps at once, but with the Z Fold 2 that’s been increased to three. Additionally, a new drag and drop feature now lets you transfer images or text from one app to another.
Using the main screen, you’ll also have the ability to switch between two layouts. There’s the tablet layout where you can see more content at the same time, and a smartphone layout which makes the content larger.
As with the Note 20 lineup, the Fold 2 works with Samsung DeX too, which allows you to connect your phone to a mouse, keyboard, and monitor to mimic the desktop experience. Now, you’ll also be able to cast content wirelessly to your Samsung TV rather than having to search for a dongle or cable.
It also comes with Nearby Share, which is basically like Apple’s AirDrop, and was originally introduced with the Note 20 Ultra. Since the Z Fold 2 has Ultra Wideband Technology (UWB), users can transfer content and files to any other device that features UWB.
Redemption remains to be seen
Since Samsung recycled a lot of the same features from the Z Flip for the Z Fold 2, I’m not too concerned about its durability.
Having used the Z Flip for a short period of time myself, I can confirm that it felt durable and also practical. Its hardware clearly just works — I mean, Samsung launched a second iteration only a few months later with the same exact design but with an updated processor with 5G connectivity.
However, while all of these improvements to the second-generation device sound wonderful on paper, the Z Fold 2 has to prove itself in person. Be sure to check back soon for our full review of the second-generation foldable.