The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the direct successor to last year’s Galaxy Fold, Samsung’s first attempt at producing a foldable smartphone. The original Fold was an exciting yet slightly flawed piece of kit, with its main strength — the ability to fold — also being its main weakness, given the durability issues it created. However, Samsung has jumped right back into it with the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which improves on the specs of the first Fold while also promising greater durability via a redesigned hinge and updated screen tech.
It certainly looks like a better foldable at first glance, but is it really a better smartphone overall? We’re going to answer this question by examining how both phones perform across a variety of categories. By taking a closer look at their displays, performance, batteries, cameras, software, and price, you should be able to decide which Samsung foldable you prefer.
|Samsung Galaxy Fold
||Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
|Size||Unfolded: 160.9 x 117.9 x 6.9 mm
Folded: 160.9 x 62.9 x 15.5 mm
|Unfolded: 159.2 x 128.2 x 6.9 mm
Folded: 159.2 x 68 x 16.8 mm
|Weight||263 grams (9.28 ounces)||282 grams (9.95 ounces)|
|Screen size||7.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED||7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X|
|Screen resolution||2152 x 1536 pixels (362 pixels per inch)||2208 x 1768 pixels (373 pixels per inch)|
|Operating system||Android 10; One UI 2.1||Android 10; One UI 2.5|
|MicroSD card slot||No||No|
|Tap-to-pay services||Google Pay, Samsung Pay||Google Pay, Samsung Pay|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus|
|Camera||12-megapixel wide, 12MP telephoto, 16MP ultrawide rear, dual 10MP front,||12MP wide, 12MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide rear, 10MP front|
|Video||4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps, HDR10+||4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps, HDR10+|
|Ports||USB 3.1, USB-C||USB 3.1, USB-C|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes, side-mounted||Yes, side-mounted|
Fast charging (15W)
Qi wireless charging (15W)
Reverse wireless charging (4.5W)
Fast charging (45W)
Qi wireless charging (11W)
Reverse wireless charging (4.5W)
|App marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Network support||All carriers||All carriers|
|Colors||Space Silver, Cosmos Black, Martian Green, Astro Blue||Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black|
|Buy from||Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart||Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart|
|Review score||3.5 out of 5 stars||4 out of 5 stars|
Design, display, and durability
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Galaxy Fold are both foldable smartphones, but the Z Fold 2 has an updated design. It now bears a stylistic resemblance to the latest S20 and Note 20 devices, featuring sharper, more angular contours than the Fold around its casing. Its bezels have been reduced by 25% compared to the first Fold, giving it a more sophisticated and streamlined look.
Other than that, its inner touchscreen is 7.6 inches, while its cover touchscreen (which you see after folding the phone) measures 6.2 inches. By contrast, the original Fold’s cover display is only 4.6 inches, while its main, unfolded touchscreen is 7.3 inches. This means it’s not quite as wide as the Z Fold 2, something which may or may not be an advantage, depending on your willingness to hold a slightly larger — and heavier — smartphone.
On the other hand, the Z Fold 2’s touchscreens are more impressive and more detailed. The main display offers a resolution of 2208 x 1768 pixels, which works out at 373 ppi. This compares favorably to the Fold’s resolution, which at 2152 x 1536 pixels can muster only 362 pixels per inch. This isn’t a big difference, but when coupled with the Z Fold 2’s 120Hz refresh rate, it’s going to mean that the newer foldable is a little more pleasing on the eye.
As for durability, both phones are likely to have similar problems, although the Z Fold 2 looks like it will withstand more repeated use than its predecessor. It comes with Samsung’s latest Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) foldable screen technology, which was introduced on the Z Flip and seems more robust than previous screen material. Samsung has also fitted the Z Fold 2’s hinge with tiny bristles, which sweep and clear dust away every time you move it. This should, in theory, make it last for more folds than the older model, something that our review of the phone suggests will be the case.
Both smartphones lack an official IP68 rating, so it’s probably not a good idea to submerge either of them in water. Still, given its revamped design and subtly improved display, we’re going to give this round to the Z Fold 2.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
Performance, battery life, and charging
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is powerful. It’s equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus, the same processor that makes the Note 20 Ultra the powerhouse it is. It also comes with 12GB of RAM, and while this is identical to the Fold, the inclusion of a newer processor and CPU should mean that it handles the latest apps and games a little more smoothly.
That said, the original Fold comes with 512GB of internal memory as standard, while the Z Fold 2 comes with 256GB (and the option to buy a 512GB version for a higher price). This might be more important for anyone who tends to store plenty of files and media on their phones, although the lack of a MicroSD slot on both smartphones prevents you from upgrading further in either case.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is home to a 4,500mAh battery, while the Fold offers 4,380mAh. While the Fold 2 will last for at least a day, it’s unlikely that this slight difference will result in it lasting noticeably longer than the original Fold, which comfortably lasts for more than a day without needed a refill. This is because the Fold 2 has larger screens, which will likely suck up more battery power, canceling out the added 120mAh.
One battery advantage the Z Fold 2 does have, however, is that it supports fast charging at 45W. By comparison, the Fold’s fast charging has an output of only 15W. This will help you recharge more quickly with the newer smartphone, particularly when you’re near empty.
This round is a fairly close one, since the Fold isn’t too far behind the Z Fold 2’s performance. Nonetheless, with a better processor and better charging, we’re giving a narrow victory to the newer phone.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the Galaxy Fold offer near-identical cameras. Both devices pack a triple-lens setup on the rear. The Z Fold 2 has 12-MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, and 12MP telephoto lenses. The Fold has the same, except that its ultrawide lens is 16MP rather than 12MP.
We found the Fold provides a versatile camera that can take good shots in most conditions, despite faltering a little in low-light situations. Its more powerful ultrawide lens may be more useful than the Z Fold 2’s equivalent, but our review of the Fold 2 found that it’s a great camera phone in its own right, even without the extra 4MP. It takes consistently strong photos, characterized by a good balance of colors and tones, even if it can produce oversaturated shots at times.
One potentially significant difference is that the Fold offers a dual selfie camera on its inner 7.3-inch screen. This combination of a normal lens with a depth sensor takes pleasingly detailed photos, although the Z Fold 2 lets you take selfies with the more powerful rear cameras, using the smaller cover screen as a viewfinder. This more than compensates for the lack of an extra selfie camera lens.
The Galaxy Fold and Z Fold 2 both capture video at 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. This isn’t quite as high as the resolution offered by the Note 20 Ultra, for example, but it will be high enough for most purposes.
We’re calling this round a tie, since even though their specs and setups are slightly different, both the Fold and Z Fold 2 offer very good all-round camera experiences.
Software and updates
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Galaxy Fold both run on One UI 2 OS. This is Samsung’s very own Android 10 skin, which has been designed for larger devices like the Fold (or the Note). It provides larger app icons and a variety of customization options, making it easy to navigate as well as fun to change to suit your tastes.
As with most Samsung smartphones, the Z Fold 2 and Fold are likely to suffer from relatively slow updates, at least in comparison to other phones (particularly iPhones). However, this will be the same for both devices, so given that they’re running the same OS, this round can only be a tie.
It’s no surprise that the main special feature of both smartphones is the ability to fold, allowing both to function like a tablet and like a normal smartphone. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 offers one notable upgrade in this area, with its hinge capable of stopping firmly at angles between 75 and 115 degrees. This lets you sit it up, much like a laptop, although at this stage, we’re not sure what kind of distinct functionality will follow from this.
Another key difference is that the Z Fold 2 supports 5G as standard, while the Fold can be bought as a 5G version in various markets outside of the United States. We’re a little tired of explaining that widespread coverage for 5G is still one or two years away, but the inclusion of 5G support by default does make the Z Fold 2 more advanced and forward-looking than its predecessor.
Other than that, there’s not much particularly special, although it’s worth recalling that the Z Fold 2 supports a 120Hz refresh rate, and also comes with the latest UTG foldable screen technology. Because of this, we’re giving this round to the newer phone.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
Price and availability
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 starts at $2,000. It’s available to order from Samsung and will be supported by all major carriers.
The Fold’s official price tag is also $2,000, although you’re likely to find it for $100 less than this in various places, given that it has been out for a year. It’s supported by all major carriers and is available from most major retailers.
Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
Both smartphones have the same unique selling point, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 does its job better than the Galaxy Fold. It looks better and has a bigger and sharper screen, a more powerful processor, and 5G support. It also looks like it’s more durable than the Fold, thanks to its redesigned, sturdier hinge and use of Ultra Thin Glass.
Just as importantly, it’s the same price as the Fold despite offering upgraded specs and better overall experience. It’s therefore a worthy winner of this head-to-head, even if the Fold might still be worth getting if you can manage to find it at a significant discount from certain retailers.
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