Verdict: Like the headline implies, Samsung has improved on this version of the Fold so much. The build quality of the chassis and hinge feel so much better than their first outing, the extension of the Cover Screen makes for a better overall experience with the device, and there are just so many use cases because of the hinge system.
It’s definitely not going to be for everyone, with the price being one of the biggest roadblocks at a whopping Php109,990. But, if you’re one of the few who had their eyes set on the first Fold and didn’t pull the trigger, we would happily recommend that you give this a look. We do, however, encourage taking a look at the packages that your telco of choice may be offering to lessen the sting of dropping over 100Gs on it.
It has been hailed as the best Folding device by a lot of other media outlets and YouTubers out there and it is worthy of the praise it’s been getting.
- Overall improvements to build quality
- Cover Screen is now usable
- Battery Life is surprisingly solid
- Apps need to be optimized
We think it’s safe to say that the initial outing of the Fold didn’t go as smoothly as Samsung had hoped. Initial reviews by some of the biggest names in the tech industry revealed some pretty big flaws with the hinge system and their main display. This made the Korean brand hit the pause button and go back to the drawing board. Issues were then resolved and they were able to go about it’s release.
One year later, the give us the second version of the series — the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 — and it looks like they have everything down pat with this one.
Design and Build Quality
The first time we got our hands on the first Fold, it felt like a device we had to treat with extra special care. After all, we didn’t want to owe Samsung an arm and a leg if anything had happened to the review unit they lent us.
That was a feeling we never got with the Z Fold 2.
Straight out of the box and until writing this review, it just gave us the feeling that we could take off our kid gloves for this review and treat it like any other device that we are privileged to get to review. From the Gorilla Glass 6 backing, to the sturdy metal frames and hinge mechanism, plus the Victus Glass that protects the Cover Screen — it all definitely gave us the confidence that it could stand up to all the wear and tear of typical use.
We’re sure Samsung also tested this for drops but if you’re known to be clumsy with your devices, we suggest skipping out on this device to prevent the massive heartache.
If you’re also looking for something slim and sleek that you can easily pocket. This is definitely not the phone for you since it’s essentially having two phones with you at all times; even though they have slimmed it down considerably from the past iteration. This is a device that we kept in a sling bag for the times that we actually ventured out to run errands.
With the time spent with Z Fold 2, the difference in the hideaway hinge system that we first saw in the Z Flip was also very noticeable. Samsung has advertised the CAM system they used to deliver a stable experience as you go through the motions and it certainly has delivered to that end but we do want to see if that would still be the case a few more months in.
As for design, the Z Fold 2 definitely borrows heavily from the Note 20 Ultra with a camera bump that’s hard to miss and ignore. Thankfully, they did bring over the Mystic Bronze colorway to this device with the same matte finish to give the backside of this phone a softer touch compared to contrast the rest of the materials used.
Overall, we think that Samsung did a bang up job with the overall build quality to their latest entry in the Fold line.
In the display department, let’s start of with the main one that measures in at 7.6-inches and utilizes the brand’s Dynamic AMOLED 2x panel with a refresh rate of 120Hz. This is where you’ll be doing the bulk of the tasks that require your focus whether it be answering email or, for our case, writing articles and scripts for videos. The real estate is conducive to multitasking with ability to display up to 3 apps if your attention will allow it or you can choose to have another app floating on top of another, which is what we prefer doing.
Since you are dealing with an unusual aspect ratio here, you will have to content with black bars while watching videos and one thing to really note here is that some apps still have to be optimized for this platform. Instagram, for example, has a gaps on either side so it still feels like it’s trying to fit into the aspect ratio of typical display.
Gmail on the other hand works seamlessly with the main display of the Fold 2; almost giving us full-on desktop vibes. We’re also thankful that they went with a punch hold this time around and got rid of the very distracting notch with the original Fold.
The biggest change in the display department is the Cover Screen since the one on the previous Fold was almost impossible to use; especially if you have big hands.
Samsung has extended the display to a 6.2-inch from the tiny 4.6-inches it once was. Granted that there’s still an adjustment period because of how narrow the phone when it comes to typing but it’s 100x better and we did find ourselves using the Cover Screen more often when we were just lazily scrolling our Facebook or Instagram feeds to pass the time.
They use their tried and tested AMOLED panel for this one and have it locked to 60Hz to save a bit on power so you still get the same punchy colors we’ve come to know and love. Videos are watchable but unless they’re shot in a 21:9 aspect ratio, again, prepare yourself for black bars that get in the way of the experience.
To go with the display, Samsung also has a pair of amazing speakers that sound really good and produce a good amount of volume, which is great if you take advantage of the so-called Flex Mode that the hinge is capable of.
As a recap, the Z Fold 2 has a total of 5 cameras. You get the same 10-megapixel selfie shooters on each of the displays tucked into a punch hole, while you have a set of 3 rear cameras all of which are at 12-megapixels. You have the main camera that’s equipped with Dual Pixel autofocus, an ultra-wide camera, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens so no crazy megapixel counts here.
The resulting images are pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Samsung’s flagship devices with a good amount of detail. There are times where I feel that the post-processing is a little too aggressive though and if you feel the same way, the easy thing to do is to turn off scene recognition. The brand’s ultra-wide shots are still some of the best we’ve seen with a really expansive field of view.
Low-light shots are still a bit of a mixed bag and has always been a bit of an Achilles heel for the brand even with the Night mode on and you can definitely see the ultra-wide struggle in this department.
Selfies on the other hand are pretty much on point but, again, I will have to advise you to turn off scene recognition since the HDR can get intense unless that’s the look you’re going for. You can even take selfies using the cameras on the back with the use of the Cover Screen.
There are a ton of fun things you can do with the cameras of the Fold 2 thanks to Flex Mode but I would be careful leaving it on a table in public spaces. There’s a lot of people with sticky fingers out there.
Performance and Battery
Just like the previous generation of the Fold, this bit is actually the most mundane part of the device but, of course, you get the best of the best here. The Z Fold 2 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor, a generous 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of expandable storage so pretty much everything we asked of this device was handled without flinching.
Samsung definitely had productivity in mind for the Fold line up but, of course, you can game on it as well at the highest settings but you will have to contend with the odd aspect ratio that limits your line of sight. It does look good on the main display though.
In terms of battery life, the Fold 2 surprisingly lasted longer than I was expecting it to. I got about a day and a half with its 4500mah battery and that’s mostly due to the fact that I used the main display on it less compared to the previous version. We’ll have to run our YouTube loop test to verify times so expect an update to this review soon.
Wrap and Conclusions
Samsung knows that the Z Fold 2 is a niche product that will appeal to early adopters. The ones who want to be on the bleeding edge of the tech scene and, if you were eyeing the first iteration of the Fold but have been sitting on the fence, this is definitely the one to push you past the tipping point. The improvements the company has made to the device are fantastic and, any qualms we might have had in the past have definitely been erased with this year’s iteration.
The price of entry is extremely steep and there’s definitely more work to be done to have apps optimized for this form factor but that’s part of being on the forefront. We do recommend looking into the offerings from local telcos though to soften the blow or the price of admission.