While the upcoming iPhone 12 may come with 5G, Apple naysayers are likely more than tempted to explore the heights of the fast connectivity lane with a brand that’s gotten there first. For that, we check out Samsung’s latest smartphone to date, the Galaxy Z Fold2.
Yes, I recently had a go with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G. Yes, I also had a chance to experience Samsung’s The Frame QLED TV in my own home; in short, it was amazing. And now, I’m back with yet another Samsung review — this time it’s for the Galaxy Z Fold2.
Already in its third-generation, the Galaxy Z Fold2 is everything you want in a foldable smartphone that doubles as a tablet. It has an insanely large screen; it’s perfect for movies and binge-watching; gaming is a totally new experience, and it’s also a great multitasking machine. Sure, the Galaxy Z Fold2 is an amazing smartphone/tablet, but what are the cons?
When it comes to the Galaxy Z Fold2, its design isn’t talked about often enough. For all the good it did on the first iteration, there was a lot for Samsung to improve on with the second-generation. Improve, it did… well, somewhat. In the first edition, the Fold felt somewhat rigid after excessive folding and unfolding over the span of a couple of weeks. But for the Galaxy Z Fold2, that didn’t seem to be the case.
It was large and gargantuan, much like last time but definitely with a new edge to its look. One of the biggest updates would definitely be the materials that went into building the device. This year saw the introduction of entire chassis of metal alongside brushed metal finishings to go with its Corning Gorilla Glass. This not only gives it a more premium look and feel, but it also appears slightly heavier than its counterpart. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the weight disparity is almost next to nothing.
Even the folding action felt a lot more natural to the touch, making it easier to do it singlehandedly. Its natural tilt to open and close is also a lot better than before, providing a natural lift-off and landing movement without too much force. This is helped with the use of a hideaway hinge that has been precisely engineered for incredibly smooth movement. With that said, Samsung has made sure the fluidity of the Galaxy Z Fold2 is impeccable, to say the least.
If you’re still new to this, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 has two screens to work with — the 6.23-inch cover screen and the 7.6-inch foldable dynamic AMOLED 2X touchscreen. Right off the bat, you know it it may take you a while to figure out the Galaxy Z Fold2, especially if you’re not into multitasking. Thankfully it all works out because you can always opt for the smaller screen over the much larger inner screen.
Starting with the outer 6.23-inch HD+ Super AMOLED display, you can see that Samsung went all out with it. Given how the previous iteration was off-centred and way too small to be considered practical, the Galaxy Z Fold2 fixes all that. The cover display screen now stretches from edge-to-edge, making it a worthy adversary to the inner screen for your precious screen time. The screen was big and bright enough to gain my attention without actually having to open it up fully. Then again, you can only do so much with it.
To truly experience the Galaxy Z Fold2 in all its glory, you have to utilise its entire 7.6-inch display to the fullest. It’s a massive screen, coupled with it being a massive device, to begin with. But fret not, Samsung ensures that your viewing pleasure is nothing short of amazing. One big update was not replicating the large notch from the Galaxy Fold and instead, opting for the Infinity-O display technology. Aside from that, YouTube videos were easy to stream with a clean and consistent connection; streaming sites like Netflix, Prime Video, and HBO Go were great with HDR10+ support as well as the 120Hz refresh rate. This made sure that whatever you threw at the screen, it knew how to make the best out of it.
All in all, the screen was definitely a sight to behold. Brightly lit with full of vibrant colour and vivid movements, it hits all the right notes for both smartphone and tablet display screen standards. While streaming and watching videos is what makes the Galaxy Z Fold2 great, it also found good usage in other areas. Working remotely has proven to be particularly fruitful: you can make full use of its large screen by putting up three different windows at one go. Gaming was also a big treat with the 120Hz refresh rate; this made sure my frame rates stayed the same without any lag or screen freezing.
Seeing as the Galaxy Z Fold2 is Samsung’s latest pride and joy, there’s no doubt they’d want to give it the very best. For starters, it’s housing the Snapdragon 865+ processor with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. There’s another variant that also offers 512GB of internal storage if you so desire. Given its flagship-level specs, you can only imagine the Galaxy Z Fold2 to impress from the get-go.
Whether it be for work or play, the Galaxy Z Fold2 can do it all. I ran it through my rotation of apps, which includes fan favourites like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Reddit. Messaging apps were also thrown into the mix, which mostly consisted of WhatsApp and Telegram. Given how we have to be on-the-go at a second’s notice, it works out to have the Galaxy Z Fold2 with me on my day-to-day. It was large enough for me to get work done while also being able to enjoy an episode or two of my favourite series.
It has also made swapping in between apps quick and easy without any hiccups in performance. I’ve switched between Netflix, WhatsApp, and Google Drive for hours on end sometimes and not once has it given me any issues. The battery life also never gave me any real cause for concern with a full charge lasting almost 20 hours at one point. I also appreciated the fact that the Galaxy Z Fold2 could be used in a myriad of ways.
But aside from all that, Samsung has really grown in terms of innovative technology, especially for its App Continuity feature. This allows you to open apps from the outer display and onto the main screen without any hassle. This ensures a smooth and seamless experience and while it isn’t available on just every app, I’ve not encountered any app that doesn’t work well with it.
Samsung made sure the experience is still miles better from its first edition. It simplifies and elevates the overall experience with the camera system, bringing in better software and performance. The Galaxy Z Fold2 has a total of five cameras to work with — three at the rear, one on the surface of the inner display, and the last one on the surface of the outer display. Essentially, you get two selfie cameras.
At the back, you’ll find a trio of 12MP lens sporting wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto properties with the necessary accessories like optical image stabilisation (OIS) and dual pixel PDAF. This combination works well together, ensuring you get the necessary shots from the push of a button. Colours were bright and vibrant, ensuring your subject shows off its best features and in the right light and setting. Its autofocus system was quick to the trigger; this was key in capturing the sharpness in our shots.
The telephoto lens made light work of its shots, being able to bring sharpness and clarity up to 4x levels of zoom. It can go up to 10x but that is when the picture gets all blurry and muddled. As for its Live Focus feature, it helps if your subject is in a well-lit environment to get the best out of your shots. Aside from that, it does well to blur out its background to give it a bokeh-like effect.
In all honesty, taking pictures with the Galaxy Z Fold2 has been a real hit-and-miss experience for me. On the plus side, taking pictures using the outer display with the triple-camera lens setup at the rear is exceptionally easy; but on the downside, using it in full view can be a bit daunting, considering just how large and fragile the device really is when unfolded.
After spending approximately three weeks with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2, I can see why it costs HK$16,998. For one, it’s foldable glass technology is pretty amazing; the fact that Samsung has been able to improve upon its earlier iteration of fold technology is one for the books. Of course, there is still much room for improvement with one of my biggest peeves being the slight curve on the hinges when the phone is closed.
And of course, being a smartphone that costs that much in a time of a global pandemic and recession doesn’t seem like a smart investment choice. Then again, if you have that much money to spend on a smartphone-tablet combo, you’re investing in a smart device that can do it all, and so much more.
This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur