After a quick tease last month, Samsung has revealed everything about the Galaxy Z Fold 2, the sequel to the Galaxy Fold released this time last year and its third entry into the exciting world of foldable smartphones. Samsung has learned a lot about how to improve this very new type of mobile device since the Galaxy Fold, something that becomes clear as we delve into the design and specifications.
Folded up, the biggest visual change over the first Fold is immediately obvious. The front is covered with a large 6.2-inch screen, a considerable difference over the frankly tiny 4.6-inch screen on the Fold. This promises to make the phone more usable in its closed-up form, with minimized bezels around the sides to make the most of the space available. Closed, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is 16.8mm thick at the hinge, and 13.8mm thick at the tip. It’s a tiny bit heavier than the Galaxy Fold at 282 grams, which is more than the Microsoft Surface Duo and considerably more than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
Unfolded, the interior Dynamic AMOLED screen is 7.6-inches in size and has lost the large corner notch on the first Galaxy Fold, which has been replaced by an Infinity-O hole-punch for the selfie camera in the top left corner. The bezels are 27% smaller than before, and while the unfolded Z Fold 2 phone is slightly wider than the Fold, it’s slightly shorter in height. It has a 120Hz refresh rate, which, like the Note 20 Ultra, is automatically adjusted according to what’s happening on screen to maximize battery life. The combination of design and spec changes here immediately makes the Fold 2 look like the stunningly modern device it is.
Samsung has been busy working on the hinge, one of the areas that led to the original Fold suffering from tragic display failures and having its launch pushed back while it was refined. Samsung says its third-generation hinge is smoother than ever before, and its special design means it can hold itself open between 75 and 115 degrees, but still keep itself locked flat at 180 degrees. Inside the mechanism there are tiny brushes to sweep out any accumulated dust during the open and closing motion.
There are multiple cameras spread all over the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s body. The main array is on the back and consists of a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, and a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto with 2x optical zoom. Unfold the phone and there’s a 10-megapixel f/2.2 selfie camera set in the screen, and another identical sensor is used on the cover display.
The phone’s design and ability to hold itself open adds some fun features, such as being able to take super-steady long exposure Night Mode shots without a tripod and record video of yourself. Here, an Auto Framing feature uses machine learning to keep the subject in frame without any input from you, making it great for self-shot video. The cover screen works as a preview screen for when you’re taking photos of other people, and Pro Video Mode from the Note 20 Ultra has been ported across too.
Samsung says the phone is powered by “a 64-bit processor,” which we take to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 in the U.S., or the Exynos 990 elsewhere in the world. It’s paired to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage space. It connects to 5G networks, which you’d obviously expect at this point, and accepts either a regular SIM card or an eSIM.
Powering the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a 4,500mAh dual-cell battery with wired and wireless fast charging. The phone also has stereo speakers, a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, reverse wireless charging for other devices, and Bluetooth 5.0. The Ultra Wideband (UWB) connection technology also seen on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is included, as is Samsung’s DeX Wireless system to connect the phone to a large display for a desktop-like experience.
On the software side, the phone runs Android 10 with Samsung’s OneUI — plus additional Fold-specific tweaks. The multitasking system it calls App Continuity has been improved, with some apps having specific layouts for the cover screen, in the self-supporting stand-up mode at 80 degrees and in full-screen mode when completely unfolded. Flex Mode utilizes the half-folded 80-degree angle, showing a video on the top half of the screen and controls on the bottom, for example. It also works in the camera mode, just like we saw on the Galaxy Z Flip. The question here is whether Flex Mode will eventually be more widely supported, as the initial launch apps from the Z Flip are still the only ones available.
The large, unfolded screen lets you run up to three different apps at the same time. One interesting feature is being able to save pairs of apps that you often use together as a single quick-access screen layout, and then flip between different pairs for fast multitasking. Samsung provides an option to view the entire user interface like a phone or a tablet, and more apps support this feature this time, including Microsoft Office, YouTube, Gmail, and Spotify.
The phone comes in a fresh pair of colors, Mystic Black or Mystic Bronze, and there’s an option to customize the hinge color through Samsung’s own website in either silver, red, blue, or gold. There’s also a special (and more expensive) Thom Browne edition that comes with a color-matched Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Buds Live. Regardless of the version, when you buy a Galaxy Z Fold 2, you get access to Samsung’s special Galaxy Z Premier service, which provides a one-time use accidental damage protection plan for a year.
How much will the new Galaxy Z Fold 2 cost? It’s $2,000, but you can spread this out if you’d prefer, with Samsung saying monthly costs could be as low as $25 after an $800 trade-in of either the Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Z Flip (although, the number of people who will do that is likely tiny). In the U.K. the Galaxy Z Fold 2 costs 1,799 British pounds. But Samsung typically also offers generous trade-in values on other phones — up to $650 in value depending on the model. The Thom Browne edition with the Watch 3 and Galaxy Buds Live costs $3,300. Pre-orders will start at midnight on September 2.
- Samsung and Thom Browne give you a reason to spend more on a Galaxy Watch 4
- How to pre-order the Microsoft Surface Duo 2
- Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Everything you need to know
- What is YouTube TV? Here’s everything you need to know
- The best tablets for 2021