Folding phones are no longer a novel concept for the terminally online, gadget-obsessed among us. However, my time with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 in recent months has reminded me that these fluttering devices still have a place in the overall smartphone universe.
During my 90-minute wait at the tire store, no less than three people inquired about it.
My iPhone 12 Pro max, which I also carry around, does not impress anyone.
Now that the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has been on the market for around ten months, we’re surely approaching the launch of its replacement.
That also means we’ve had some time to get to know what it’s like to live with a folding phone.
In a nutshell, it’s pretty cool. And it appears to have a lot of potentials.
What is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 and how does it work?
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 takes the top rank as the company’s flagship folding phone.
It sits above the Z Flip series, which is smaller.
The Z Flip 2 features a 6.2-inch screen when closed, which seems standard enough, but it has an unusually tall 25:9 aspect ratio.
It can perform everything you’d expect from a smartphone, including checking notifications, texting, and even surfing apps if you don’t mind gazing into the internet through a tall, slender window.
When you open the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s main screen, you’ll see a 7.2-inch display with a distinctively squared-off aspect ratio (it’s 22.5:18 if you’re seeking the actual statistics).
The inner screen is not just larger, but it also has a 120 Hz refresh rate, which makes scrolling much smoother and responsive.
The computer powerhouse put out some amazing results as well.
At its core is a Snapdragon 865 Plus processor.
The phone also has 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of super-fast storage.
Samsung designed this to show off top-of-the-line technology, and it didn’t hold back.
This contributes to the device’s high price of $1,799, but it wouldn’t make sense if it wasn’t blazing quickly.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 can do all a premium smartphone can and more, as its hefty spec list promises.
Because the screen is designed for multitasking, it comes with plenty of RAM.
It has no trouble running a browser window next to my email when the screen is folded open in tablet mode.
On the gadget, I ran high-end games, HD streaming services, video calls, and everything else without a hitch. That’s exactly as it should be.
Concerning those monitors
When you unlock the smartphone, you’ll see a 7.6-inch display on the screen.
It’s bright, and the 2,208 x 1,768 resolution is more than enough to render everything clear and precise.
Because the gadget has so much processing power, the operating system runs quickly and smoothly, even when a lot is going on on the screen.
It takes some getting used to the squarish form factor.
It makes sense when you’re multitasking. It’s fine to have two tall, narrow windows adjacent to each other.
However, when you’re only looking at one app, things might become a little strange.
You may end up viewing Instagram in a letterboxed window with a lot of dead space on the sides.
Watching information in a square format is also a little strange.
On the 7.6-inch screen, a full-screen YouTube video appears somewhat larger than on the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max display.
However, if you put the video at the top of the screen, you’ll have plenty of room underneath to do other things.
It took some time for me to fully get how Samsung intends for customers to use the extra screen space for multitasking rather than merely enlarging material.
From the initial Galaxy Z Fold, the exterior screen has been greatly improved.
The 6.2-inch display is tall and thin, but it’s brilliant and high-resolution.
With a resolution of 2,260 x 816, it comes close to matching the pixel density on the interior display.
Instead of the seamless 120 Hz refresh rate found on the 7.6-inch display, the outside screen only refreshes at 60 Hz. And the tall, slender shape isn’t good for long periods of use.
However, it is usable, especially if you type carefully.
How long will the hinge and screen last?
The initial Galaxy Z Fold had some screen and hinge durability issues, but the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a very different beast.
More cams were added to the hinge, as well as a built-in brush that directs dirt away from the mechanism before it can cause damage.
For months, I’ve been folding and unfolding the phone, and it still seems secure yet not so tight that it’s difficult to open.
It also moves without creaking or crunching, which is more than I can say for my own body at this point.
In terms of the main screen, the substrate sandwich now contains a layer of ultra-thin, flexible glass.
You’re tapping on a plastic surface.
It’s a screen protector designed to withstand damage from coins in your pocket or uncut fingernails while playing your favorite Android game.
Although the primary screen has developed several nicks and scratches over time, it has not failed and continues to appear great.
Because the outer layer attracts more fingerprints than a conventional smartphone screen, I’ve grown accustomed to washing it off regularly before it becomes too gnarly.
Unless light strikes it from a steep angle, I don’t notice the seam down the middle of the main screen anymore.
It’s becoming more noticeable over time, but it’s still perfectly OK.
It would have stood out a lot more in my mind than it did in reality.
If I see the indentation, I usually adjust the screen’s position slightly, which makes the hinge almost invisible.
The majority of cellphones’ software is self-explanatory.
Things change as operating systems evolve, yet they still function in similar ways.
There is a learning curve with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.
I used the device as a transforming version of a standard smartphone throughout my first few days with it.
It was odd to utilize only one app at a time.
If you want to get the most out of your gadget, you’ll need to multitask.
The custom dock from Samsung is incredibly useful.
It resides on the screen’s edge and lets you drag apps (via their icons) to different places on the screen.
You can also create useful software shortcuts, such as saving app pairs that can be opened simultaneously.
From a usability aspect, the gadget makes a lot more sense once you get into this level of customization.
When you’re used to strewing your belongings across a large display, going back to a single screen takes some getting used to.
However, the system is far from ideal.
Things don’t always appear where you expect them to.
Alternatively, if your layout is awkward, you may encounter some pretty clumsy scenarios.
For example, I mistakenly set my picture-in-picture YouTube window in front of my search results, which took a few moments to discover why I couldn’t see what I was looking for.
Making use of the samsung galaxy fold Z
While it’s easy to hold the phone flat the majority of the time, I found myself bending it slightly like a paperback book just to make it feel more balanced.
It didn’t have nearly as great of an impact on the screen’s viewing angle as you might assume.
The device can sit partially open on a table like a tiny little touchscreen laptop thanks to the robust hinge.
While I’m delighted the phone has this capability because it appears to be useful in the future, I didn’t find myself using it very much—or at all, rally—during my time with it.
Cameras for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
If you look closely at the Galaxy Z Fold 2, you’ll notice that it has five separate cameras sprinkled about.
Each display includes its 10-megapixel selfie camera, which is visible through a small hole at the device’s top.
The main camera array on the back consists of three 12-megapixel cameras with various lenses.
An ultra-wide, a regular wide-angle, and a telephoto lens are all available.
I won’t go into detail on the cameras because they don’t do anything to differentiate themselves from what you’d expect.
The main cameras deliver consistent, if slightly oversaturated, colors and exposures.
The photographs are relatively detailed and the lenses are crisp.
They appear to be photos and movies taken using a high-end (but not flagship) Samsung smartphone.
You might say the same thing with selfie cams.
You’d be better off spending your money on something like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which ups the ante when it comes to camera capabilities like optical zoom.
Who should consider purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2?
With a price tag of $1,799, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 was less expensive than the first-generation model.
Nonetheless, it’s a high-end item geared at executives with a lot of wealth and a need for maximum multitasking, or early adopters who want the coolest new gadget regardless of its utility.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 has had an opportunity to establish itself as a legitimate device with real-world utility now that the initial hoopla has died down.
Its ability to manage multiple activities at once is difficult to beat in terms of productivity.
And, while the screen on the previous Z Fold felt like a burden, I have no reservations about the Z Fold 2’s design.
I’m not the gentlest with phones, but this one has held up admirably.
A few features that would make the device even more useful are still missing.
The current model does not work with Samsung’s S Pen stylus.
All of that screen real estate is sacrificed for capabilities like handwriting and drawing, which you’ll find on the Galaxy Note S21.
Maybe in the next iteration. There are still some issues in the software to iron out.
I expect things to get even smoother than they are now as foldable screens gain more and more support.
If you do decide to get the Galaxy Z Fold 2, you’ll probably enjoy it a lot, even when the novelty wears off.
You may become addicted to having so much space to multitask.
Without YouTube to spice things up, email on one screen feels so dull anymore.
Stan Horaczek is the author.