The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the second iteration of Samsung’s foldable screen smartphone. The Korean firm is marketing the ultra high-end with a product sold for 2020 euros in France. For this price, it’s not only a great phone that’s on offer, but also a taste of the future. But is it worth it to break the bank for all that?
Foldable screens on phones have been hearing about for years. Samsung took the plunge in 2019 with the Galaxy Fold. A true technological showcase with its large foldable screen in its center, it nevertheless had many flaws, such as an external display that was too small, a certain fragility of the interior screen … but the main flaw was actually in the shape of the product: Samsung hadn’t really worked on the use part, making it more of a gadget than anything else. The company has since picked up steam, relying in particular on the Z Flip. A year and a half after the release of the first Fold So comes the Z Fold 2, which inherits the Z in its name in passing to mark the flexible aspect. A smartphone that shows that the concept is finally ripe, if not affordable.
Yes, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a great smartphone. Moreover, he seeks to completely revolutionize the way of using a terminal of this type with some success. The future is on the way, but not for everyone. It is currently only reserved for the wealthy with its price of 2020 euros. However, this allows you to a good idea of the direction in which the builder wants to go in the medium term. A placement completely assumed by the latter upon opening the box, which displays the message “change the shape of the future”.
An uncompromising technical sheet
For its Fold 2, Samsung has set itself no limit for components, even if it means again exceeding the 2,000 euros mark. In the chassis we therefore find a processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ supported by 12 GB of RAM. The emphasis is obviously on the display. The small 4.6-inch screen of the first Fold gives way to a 6.2-inch full-length display with its 25: 9 ratio, or a magnification of 60%. The interior screen is also impressive with its 7.6 inches, its definition in QHD as well as its refresh rate of 120 Hz. Of course, the two panels are Super AMOLED, Samsung technology requires.
Two little things do tickle all the same in this impressive technical sheet. The photo part, first of all, with a main module equipped with 3 12 megapixel sensors, then the 4500 mAh battery, which seems little with such greedy screens.
|Galaxy z fold 2|
|Screen||Internal: 7.77 ”
AMOLED Infinity Flex
(2208 x 1768 pixels)
ratio 4: 5
|Chipset||Snapdragon 865+ (7nm)|
|BONE||Android 10 / One UI 2.5|
|Main sensor||Triple photo sensor
12 megapixels, 1.12 µm, f / 2.2 (Ultra Wide)
12 megapixels 1.8 µm f / 1.8 (wide angle)
12 megapixels 1.0 µm f / 2.4
|Selfie sensor||10 megapixels, 1.22 µm, f / 2.2|
25W fast charge
11W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
|Biometrics||Fingerprint reader on the edge|
|Audio||two AKG stereo speakers|
Price and availability
The Galaxy Fold 2 will be released in France on September 18. It will be sold at a price of 2020 euros on the Samsung site and at partner resellers.
We’re going to take it easy, the Z Fold 2 is a great design success. There are two versions: black and bronze gold. The latter, which offers an aluminum frame of the most beautiful effect, completely assumes the luxury side of the product. Samsung lent us this model for our test.
The back cover is sober and resumes the same lines as the Galaxy Note 20, presented at the same time, and that the Samsung Galaxy S20 released earlier this year. At the rear, we therefore find the unadorned cover (here in aluminum) as well as the imposing photo module which protrudes from the chassis by a few millimeters, which makes the smartphone wobbly when it is placed on this side.
The exterior screen takes this time the entire facade, no longer giving the impression of being a simple notification window. To its right, we find the physical buttons: the volume button as well as the power button. The latter also serves as a fingerprint sensor. Samsung has chosen a physical sensor and not included under the display for a very simple reason: in this position, it is easily accessible whether the smartphone is open or not.
On the edges, we find a USB Type-C port and no Jack socket, just like on the S20 or Note 20. You will therefore have to opt for a Bluetooth headset or use the AKG headphones provided in the box which plug into USB -VS. To the left of the main screen we find the hinge. Samsung has not taken that of the first model, rethinking it from scratch. More flexible, less hard, it allows you to leave the screen open in any position.
One of the complaints against the Fold premier of the name is the space left by the smartphone when it is closed. Samsung worked on this for the Fold 2. The yawn is still present, but minimized and barely visible. The magnet system that helps to close the product prevents any unexpected opening and is effective.
Once opened, we have a screen that takes up the entire facade (89% ratio). Here, the big change compared to the Fold 1, it is the absence of a notch. Indeed, on the slab sits a punch for the front camera, which frees up space. Note also the presence of edges that protrude slightly from the screen to protect it once it is closed.
The format of a large screen folded on itself logically thickens the terminal compared to a “classic” smartphone. It is 16.8mm thick, all the same (against 6.9 mm unfolded), which is slightly more than the first model. This is a lot and might bother some users. It’s hard to slip it into a pocket of a little tight jeans, for example. It will also take its weight: the Fold 2 weighs 282 grams on the scale, which is huge for a smartphone. A beautiful baby, but that’s the price to pay for having two terminals in one.
Ultimately, the Fold 2 design is very successful. Chic, pleasant in the hand and well designed at its hinge, it marks a real progression in the range, to the point that next to it, the first Fold almost looks like a rough-cut prototype. A real success.
Two impeccable screens
The Fold 2 has two screens that are very different in size, but similar in technology, since both are Super AMOLED displays. The smallest, located on the outside, is a 6.2-inch panel with a definition of 2260 x 816 pixels. Its ratio is 25: 9, which makes it very long, and its refresh rate is 60Hz.
The interior screen is 7.6 inches. Not so long ago, this size was reserved for tablets, we remember the Nexus 7 from Google, the SHIELD K1 which was 8 inches or even the iPad Mini which was 7.9 inches. The slab adopts a definition of 2208 x 1768 pixels as well as an unusual 4: 5 aspect ratio.
Note that it is HDR10 + compatible and is equipped maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. On this point, Samsung offers an adaptive refresh rate: the screen automatically switches to 120 Hz when needed and returns to 60 Hz when not needed. Users concerned about extending the battery life of their Fold 2 can block this rate at 60 Hz.
The main screen folds in on itself at its center to close like a book. This technology, still young, causes what is called a “wow effect” which has become too rare on the market. For the first few days, opening and closing your Fold will seem overwhelming, if not almost unnatural. A real technological feat which is beginning to be fully mastered by the manufacturer. The fold appears logically on the panel and feels under the fingers. However, she is very discreet and does not interfere with use. The protective plastic film that was so popular with the release of the first Fold is back, but this time Samsung has stuck it under the edges of the display, making it impossible to remove. On the other hand, it easily attracts fingerprints and gives a little “slippery” aspect when browsing. Note that the screen is not compatible with the S Pen.
We probed both screens to see their technical quality, and we were not disappointed! Both displays give similar results. Their contrast is infinite, AMOLED obliges. The blacks are deep and the whites brilliant. Respect for colors is present, with an average Delta E of 2. If it is not perfect, especially in terms of reds and yellows which exceed 4, it is still excellent (which is the case for a score below 3). The temperature of the two panels is very well regulated, revolving around 6800 K, or very close to the 6500 K of the video standard. On a white display, the panel does not pull towards blue or towards red. Note that in the settings, Samsung offers to adjust the temperature to reduce visual fatigue.
Finally, the maximum brightness of the two screens reaches 530 cd / m², which is enormous. It will be possible to use your smartphone with peace of mind, even in direct sunlight. The reflections of the slab, very present, will not interfere with navigation. Ultimately, the Fold 2’s two screens are technically excellent.
The audio part is exemplary, with a clear and balanced sound that is very good for a smartphone. It is broadcast using two AKG loudspeakers located on the lower and upper edges. They are placed so that while watching a video or playing a game, the user does not place their palms on them.
One of the most powerful smartphones on the market
The Galaxy Z Fold 12 is equipped with the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor (engraved in 7nm) supported by 12 GB of RAM. Let’s not get into the suspense: yes, it is an extremely powerful terminal. In our usual tests on a series of benchmark software, the Fold 2 delivered excellent results. It’s even one of the best products on our panel at this point, barely overtaken by the ROG Phone 3 which has the same processor, but more RAM.
With such power, the user will be able to use all kinds of greedy software, serenely run the most demanding games in the PlayStore and multitask without worry. We ran big games like Asphalt 9 in our test, and they never showed any sign of slowing down. Be careful though, some titles are not suited to this strange ratio interior signage. This is the case with Score Match, or Forza Street, for example.
The storage is 256 GB, which is very significant. It is compatible with 5G network, which will arrive in France in a few months. Not much more to say on this point, as the terminal is exemplary.
Two products in one
Samsung engineers have studied the habits of owners of the first Fold of the name a lot and they noticed something unexpected: the outdoor screen is used as much as the folding screen indoorsr. As a result, they have greatly improved its size and grip for the 2.
Thus, the external screen can be used as a “normal smartphone “, One would dare say, and no longer just as a display of notifications. Whether it is to write a message quickly, read your emails, scroll on Twitter in the metro or even check something in a few seconds on the net, this larger screen brings a comfort absent from the first model. In addition, its curious ratio makes it very easy to use it with one hand. All is not perfect .. It is indeed quite narrow compared to current standards and if you have big fingers, writing might be a bit difficult.
Samsung has worked so hard on using the indoor screen, based in particular on the Flex Mode introduced with the Galaxy Z Flip at the beginning of the year. While the exterior screen can be used for quick use, the interior is dedicated to multimedia. Here Samsung has cleverly thought of the fold. We no longer have just a large screen, but a machine with flexibility never before seen on the market. When an application is open, the transition is natural if you switch between views by unfolding it.
When the Surface Duo was presented in 2019, Microsoft promised to use the two screens of its smartphone in a complementary way to transform it into a computer. This is exactly what Samsung does herei, dividing the big screen in half as needed. Indeed, the One UI 2.5 overlay fully embraces this true-false dual display in its operation. This of course means that any third-party launcher (like Nova Launcher) not suitable for this format is to be avoided. You will therefore have to use the default Samsung interface, which is quite pleasant to use.
The smartphone can therefore be used as a tablet to take advantage of a very large display, but also as a mini-computer by placing it on a table, bent between 90 and 180 degrees: the overlay “breaks” the display in many applications. When you write a message horizontally, for example, the keyboard appears at the bottom, while the text appears at the top. The Samsung keyboard, whose key locations can be adjusted for this type of use, gets the job done. Here again, it will be necessary to use the manufacturer application, Gboard is not (yet) adapted to Flex Mode.
Many applications are compatible with this Flex Mode, such as YouTube. By folding the smartphone, it is possible to let the video run on the upper display and have the navigation bar or read comments on the lower part. The same goes for the Gallery or taking notes. If desired, the user can lay their smartphone flat like a PC to watch a movie, or put it in tent mode, like a classic hybrid PC, to view its content on the small screen. Convenient for watching a series on the train.
In vertical use, Samsung offers a side flap (can be deactivated) for smoother navigation. With a simple finger gesture, a submenu appears. It can display the weather forecast, a compass, contacts, various tools such as screenshot or even quick apps. Likewise, by scrolling left, we access Samsung Daily, which provides personalized information flow.
Finally, multitasking makes it possibler up to three applications at the same time. It is possible to adjust their positioning and give space to specific software. Handy if you take notes while watching a video, for example.
Flex Mode takes the Z Fold 2 to a whole new dimension. This time, Samsung has thought about making full use of the fold and the formula is working. The small size of the folded screen, however, does not turn it into a real back-up computer like the Galaxy Tab S7 can. But the product still allows a lot of things to be done intuitively. It should also be noted that the photo module, which protrudes slightly from the frame, may interfere with this use. When the Z Fold 2 sits on the back cover, it gets wobbly. It is therefore better to place it with an external screen on the ground.
In our test, we discovered a surprising use that we will call “book” mode. In vertical mode, we found ourselves never fully unfolding the screen. Open like a book, the smartphone is really pleasant to use, whether it is browsing the web, writing messages or playing games. The image is not distorted by the bending and this position is very convenient in the hand.
Finally, it should be noted that Fold 2 allows you to make calls folded and unfolded. In folded mode, they are done in a classic way. In unfolded mode, the size and lack of a well-placed microphone will require you to use headphones or the speaker. You will see a message warning you each time. If you want to wear it to your ear, just fold your terminal and take your call.
Ultimately, the Fold range is no longer just a showcase of foldable technology, but a real terminal whose use is designed around this particularity. A pleasant product to use comes out which brings another dimension to the object “smartphone”, so much so that it’s hard to go back to a classic hard-screen phone.
A recessed photo part
Regarding the photo part, the Z Fold 2 is doing well, even if it is below other high-end models from Samsung, like the S20. At the back we find a module with three 12-megapixel sensors: a classic sensor (f / 1.8), a wide-angle sensor (f / 2.2) and a Telefoto sensor (f / 2.4 ) with X4 optical zoom and X10 digital zoom. Two other 10 megapixel cameras are enthroned on each screen.
Photos taken with the Fold 2 are correct, with good management of lights and colors, but not extraordinary. If the zoomed-in photos are bound to be noisy, software smoothing can make them sharper, even if the result is not convincing. Night mode is quite powerful, allowing you to take good shots in total darkness with a 3 second pause.
But it’s on the software side that Samsung surprises. While it is possible to use the 10-megapixel sensors for photos, they are actually used more for facial recognition than anything else. Indeed, whether it is in selfie or in classic shooting, the software is made to make you use the module with the 3 12-megapixel sensors. It is possible to take pictures with the smartphone open and closed. When taking a selfie, it is advisable to activate both screens at the same time. The exterior will then display what the AFN sees. Also handy for a group photo with a self-timer. In addition, the format of the smartphone makes it easy to stall it for this kind of situation.
Finally, the photo software also uses the folding of the interior screen and is very well thought out. When this is unfolded, the AFN takes up the entire display. By bending it slightly, the application places on the left screen (or bottom if held horizontally) the contextual menu as well as the last picture taken.
The software itself remains classic and allows you to take wide angles, add filters … Everything you find on an Android smartphone today. Note that it is possible to take a picture in 4: 5, the aspect ratio of the screen, in 4: 3 or even in 16: 9. Here are some photos taken with the Z Fold 2
We were a little worried about the autonomy of the Z Fold 2. It is equipped a 4500 mAh battery, which seems a bit tight for its two displays, including a large one with such a high refresh rate.
But against all odds, the terminal is doing well in this part. By using it in a normal way (a little web, a little play, a little photography), it is possible to easily last a day and a half, which is already better than the S20 which requires it to be recharged every night. This performance is due to the fact that we use the small screen (not very greedy) as often as the large one. A good surprise, even if the autonomy still does not spark.
Note that the battery is compatible with 25 watt fast charging (the appropriate charger is supplied). In about an hour and a quarter, it is possible to fully recharge your terminal, which is appreciable.