Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 was the most anticipated smartphone this year. Why? Because I'm a gadget fan, and this equipment is just for such people!
However, I decided that I would not fight for the priority of testing this phone. I decided to wait until a slightly worn-out copy comes into my hands, in which - perhaps - some problems related to the complicated mechanism of folding the housing and the display will reveal itself. In addition - I always like to use the phone a bit longer, after all, not all nuances can be captured in the standard two weeks of testing. Therefore, according to the principle better late than fast, I invite you to review this interesting smartphone.
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 - videoreview
video: GSMchoice.com via YouTube
Table of Contents
- Design, durability, quality of workmanship
- Displays, interface
- Efficiency, communication, sound
- Battery, security
- Photography and video
- Summary. Pros and cons
Design, durability, quality of workmanship
Compared to its predecessor, Samsung's first folding phone, Galaxy Z Fold 2 has definitely gained in beauty. It is a bit thinner than its predecessor, and it does not offend with the ugly, wide border of the external display. The outer, smaller screen now occupies almost the entire half of the housing, thanks to which the device looks less bulky, and at the same time much more modern. The selfie camera is placed in a hole that may sting the eyes a bit, but it does not actually affect the comfort of using the device.
The internal flexible display has also grown. It is 12% larger, and its frames - 27% smaller. This is what the manufacturer says, and I do not play with the calculations, I only say briefly: the changes for the better are beating the eyes. An Ultra Thin Glass material coating was used. Thanks to this, the display should be more resistant. The display has a maximum brightness of 900 nits, and the typical, constant brightness is 700 nits. A large, disfiguring notch has disappeared from the corner of the screen, giving way to a selfie camera hole. Unfortunately, you can still see and feel the refraction under your finger where the screen folds. It turns out, however, that you can deftly "dodge" this feature - more about it in a moment. You can feel and you can also see a hollow at the height of the camera aperture - but it does not bother me at all. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 is not one of the lightest phones - but I put it down to its specific, complicated structure.
The hinge mechanism has also been changed by changing the look of the phone. It has better seals, so less dirt enters the interior. Is it working? I did not dare to throw Fold in the sand, but in everyday use, which involves carrying a smartphone in my pocket, the seals seem to do their job. When opening the housing, you do not hear the characteristic clicks, and the mechanism works smoothly - so nothing superfluous has penetrated there. The only disturbing noise is the sound of the display straightening.
However, I do not see that its appearance heralds a defect. It's been like that from the moment I got the phone. A few weeks passed - and nothing. It is worth adding that during the tests we were visited by the "beast from the east", that is, a few frosty days, with the temperature even below -20 degrees. Following recent reports from Korea regarding cracking Folds and Flips screens, I used the phone outside with a little apprehension - but nothing happened. So - let's not demonize the durability of the folding screen - but of course I don't encourage you to stab it hard with your nails or other harder objects. If you treat Fold just like a smartphone with normal, not increased durability - nothing should happen.
The hinge allows you to open the housing completely, but also leave it open only at a certain angle. What for - I'll tell you in a moment. For now, a few more words about the rest of the housing. The body of the phone's halves, like the hinge, is made of metal. The switch and the volume keys are placed classically on the right side, they are convenient to use when the phone is folded and definitely less comfortable after opening the housing. After folding, the device is quite thick, and there is a slight gap between the closed halves - but smaller than in the previous model.
The folded phone is much thicker than a classic smartphone, but also narrower, so you can easily hold it and use the auxiliary screen with one hand. Of course - it's hard to reach the top of the screen if we have short fingers, but fortunately Samsung's interface takes this problem into account and more important things are presented at the bottom of the screen. The housing can be opened and closed with one hand. It's an activity so addictive that I find myself doing it unknowingly and unnecessarily. Oh, I was having fun, forgetting that a flexible matrix is not eternal after all.
The back of the housing is covered with glass crossed by a protruding camera bezel, very similar to the one used in Note 20. One of the colours was also taken from Note, also known as brown. No matter how you define this colour - I find it wonderful. I like the whole thing the more that the backs of the phone are matte, which makes them less dirty. In addition, the matte beautifully combines with the shiny camera frame and hinge frame.
For traditionalists, there is also a black version with shiny backs, much less attractive in my opinion. In some countries, you could also choose the colour of the hinge cover when you purchased it. Due to its construction, the smartphone is unfortunately not waterproof. Too bad, something for something. You have to take Galaxy S to the bathtub... The quality of the materials and assembly used is top - but in such an expensive flagship it cannot be otherwise.
A few words about the image quality on the displays. The external one is a 6.2-inch SuperAMOLED matrix with a resolution of 2260x816 pixels, with a standard refresh rate. And actually - I don't expect anything more. The external display still - in my opinion - only plays an auxiliary role. It is useful for handling calls, quickly suspecting notifications or - possibly - for occasional use of certain applications, e.g. navigation in a car. Rather, the folded Fold fits most handles - I've tried five different ones.
The internal, folded screen is a 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED matrix with a resolution of 2208x1768 px, refreshing the image with a frequency of 120 Hz. Apart from its slightly wavy surface when folded and the camera, it actually looks like any other AMOLED screen. It gives high brightness, beautiful blacks and highly saturated colours (if we want). The only difference is the tactile impression - the matrix cover (just like in other assemblies) seems to be soft and warm, just pleasant. Of course, this softness is apparent, but I'm just trying to convey to you some indescribable feeling when using the touchpad, which - I will add - works well.
Of course, the options for modifying the colour balance and the blue light filter have not been forgotten. There is also, of course, Always-on-Display and a dark interface mode. The only thing I can complain about is screen cleaning. It is possible that I unknowingly pressed the cloth more gently against it, but it seems to me that UTG is more difficult to clean than ordinary glass. As I mentioned, you can see a distinct wave on the screen where it bends, but believe me - it doesn't bother you at all, after a while you stop noticing it. Plus, Samsung used them cleverly, but more on that in a moment...
…that is now. But first, two words about the interface itself. This is known to us well from other Samsung OneUI models with a few additions that allow you to fully use the potential of the folded screen. Maybe I will spare you a closer description of the interface (referring to other Samsung reviews), and I will focus on the details that differ the Fold version from the rest. As I mentioned, the hinge of the phone is designed so that it is possible to set the phone in the half-open position, as in a laptop.
Then, the lower part of the screen may, for example, display a keyboard, while the upper part has a text field. Similarly, a movie or game can be shown on the top and a control box on the bottom. There are many possibilities, and the refraction of the screen creates a natural dividing line. Importantly, the software automatically recognizes whether we want to use the full screen or its division, adjusting the interface depending on the degree of part of the housing. Importantly, the half-open phone stands steadily, does not wobble - you can easily conduct video conversations this way.
As in the previous model, you can also divide up three different applications on the flexible screen. Two are displayed in boxes roughly 1/4 of the large screen, and one can appear as a long vertical window. Naturally, we can change the division of the windows or make them float.
What is even more practical, in the case of some applications we can run them simultaneously in two windows - it will be liked by everyone who years ago got used to different types of "commanders" on the PC. Here - we can just open the file manager - and, for example, copy from one location to another, opened in the next window. Just like on a PC.
As in the previous Fold, in Galaxy Z Fold2 we can still use the function of moving applications between screens - when we close the housing, what we watched on the big screen will appear on the external display - and vice versa: the image viewed on a smaller screen can be easily shown in a larger format by simply opening the casing.
Just enable the appropriate option in the menu and choose which applications you want to work in this way. In addition, we can switch the view of the application between the smartphone or tablet type. In the latter case, care was taken to optimize the appearance of a number of popular applications, such as Fabebook or YouTube. Of course, Samsung also provides a full package of Microsoft applications that allow you to appreciate the advantages of a large, fold-out display.
Importantly, a large part of the application perfectly adjusts its proportions to both screens. Sometimes it is better, sometimes it is worse... For example, on Netflix we have black stripes at the top and bottom of the image, and on Instagram - on both sides. This is because the foldable display does not have the typical 16: 9 aspect ratio. Using maps on this screen is fabulous, just like manipulating text files, reading e-books or browsing the Internet. I love this screen!
How does it all work? Unlike other Samsung flagships, Galaxy Z Fold2 works based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor, which will surely please the Exynos anti-fans. The processor works with 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256 GB of UFS 3.1 flash memory. And how is this supposed to work, if not perfect?!
You can rest assured that Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 will cope with any task that you put before it, and the high power will last it for the next 2-3 years. The smartphone works without cuts and short of breath, although sometimes it gets a bit warm. However, it does not seem to have any negative impact on performance. The only thing that irritates and worries me is the lack of a memory card slot. 230 GB that we have for a start, in such a gadget phone is definitely not enough, 512 GB would seem to be ok...
Sound and communication
Galaxy Z Fold2 has all of the important communication interfaces, there are even stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos technology and the AKG logo - but a minijack is missing. The smartphone can support physical (Dual SIM) and virtual SIM cards and of course it works on 5G.
The sound quality during calls is perfect, although a discreet conversation (due to the design) is possible only after closing the housing. On the open phone we can talk in the hands-free mode, but it is even better for remote work. I like long chats by Fold, because due to its thickness, it is more comfortable to hold it with the shoulder. I did not notice any problems with the range (yes! I finally caught 5G in the bedroom!), Or with the work of other communication modules. Everything works as it should.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is perfect as a multimedia consumption device, because it has not only a large and good screen, but also excellent stereo speakers. They are placed in such a way that we are unlikely to cover them with our hands, and they sound just perfect. Loud, clean, even, you can clearly hear the depth of the sound, and sometimes we even hear a little bass. In the menu we have an extensive equalizer and the Adapt Sound function typical of Samsung, which allows us to adjust the equalization to our needs.
Text communication is a separate issue. Thanks to the large display and various split screen options, typing on Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a fairy tale. Believe me, there is no smartphone where the comfort of writing would be better. Forget the old models with micro mechanical keyboards - Fold is better for those who type a lot. You can set the phone in the "laptop" position, but you can also enlarge the keyboard, divide it and write vertically, in both cases with both hands.
It is a pity that we are currently working rather in our homes - Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 would be the perfect phone for work in the field. You can easily develop even quite a long test on it, take decent photos with it, make a good movie, edit it and send it out into the world. I promise myself that for this reason I will probably start to postpone for the next generation, maybe until the end of the pandemic or the launch of Fold 4 somehow I will succeed...
I would just have to remember about a decent power bank. There is no need to curse reality, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 received a two-piece battery with a capacity of 4500 mAh with 25 W fast charging and 11 W wireless charging, as well as reverse charging. The battery is divided, among others in order to ensure perfect balance of both housing parts. As you can see, the capacity is not impressive, but I can understand that the larger batteries simply could not be squeezed into Fold... And unfortunately, it is a smartphone that will last for a day without charging. Of course, as long as you intend to use it.
If you do not open it, and you light up the external screen only occasionally, Galaxy Z Fold 2 may last up to 2 days. But you don't buy such phones so as not to enjoy the big screen, multimedia, high performance or 5G - right? My practice of using Galaxy Z Fold 2 looked simple: unused, it landed on the induction charger. That way, I was able to fully use it all day to at night - put it back on slow charging again. However, it must be remembered that the equipment was used intensively, largely replacing PCs and laptops.
Will I criticize something in Galaxy Z Fold 2? Those who waited until I finally grumbled should be happy by now. The fingerprint reader is pretty average. It is classic and placed on the side - which I like and appreciate. Unfortunately, I have some reservations about the pace of its operation and the reliability of its readings. This is not a flagship level. Believe it or not, I haven't noticed that this reader is dramatically better than the one I used recently in the cheap POCO. And it should be! I definitely preferred to use the well-functioning, but of course less reliable, security in the form of facial recognition. It was quick and more convenient to use with the housing open.
Photography and video
Galaxy Z Fold 2 - as for a Samsung's flagship - has a solid photographic set. The rear camera has three modules. They all have 12 megapixels, but different tasks. The main one has an f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization, while the next one - a telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture and 2x zoom.
The last one takes pictures with a wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture. In Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 we also find two selfie cameras. Both are in the screen holes and have 10 megapixels and f/2.2 aperture.
Photography is not a key feature of this model, but it's hard to have any serious reservations about the photos. Yes, the photos from the wide-angle camera lose a bit of sharpness in the extreme parts of the frame, but this is a typical feature of this type of lenses. In turn, the telephoto lens, due to its construction, does not have a very large aperture, so after dark it performs much worse than the main lens.
You can also complain that the lossless zoom could be greater than 2x - but let's not dramatize. We have a fairly universal set of cameras, and if we need more goodies - you have to reach for the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Importantly, all cameras have a similar colour reproduction, which is not always obvious.
Night photos are correct, although it is worth using the night mode if you want to avoid excessive noise and possible overexposure from the lanterns, but I do not recommend using a telephoto lens at night. I do not recommend zooming more - because it is already a "number". However, you can count on quite decent selfies - both selfie cameras offer a similar level of quality. All cameras can blur the background - also when recording video - which is really decent.
Videos come out very decently, where you can use some interesting functions. One of them is tracking the subject in the frame. The phone - after indicating and correctly detecting the object (which sometimes fails ...) can "follow" the camera behind it, appropriately trimming the frame. Another handy solution is the ability to change the sound recording microphones - you can even use the microphone in your Bluetooth headphones. We also have the option of manual adjustment of image parameters, not only in photography, but also in video.
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 - sample videos
video: GSMchoice.com via YouTube
In Fold 2 we can also find photo functions already known from other Samsung flagship models - such as "One shot". The camera interface is consistently brilliant. I would like to add that shooting with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 may be more convenient than with a regular smartphone. We can use the half-open housing as a stand - for example for longer exposure at night or for a selfie with a self-timer.
As you may have noticed, there is a bit more emotion to this review than usual. It's probably because I just liked this phone enormously - and not only for its "fabulousness". It is a smartphone perfect for working with text - and as I have already mentioned - I know that it would be a great "reporter" equipment. I like the comfort of reading on the big screen, as well as the sound that comes out of the two speakers. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a sensible, convenient interface as well as full communication facilities. I also like how this design has changed from its predecessor, not to mention the copper colour of the housing.
I have no objections to the performance and smoothness of operation, and I cannot complain about the quality of photos and videos. To the ideal I put aside, I miss more memory (or a microSD card slot, and preferably - both), a minijack, a greater zoom ratio and a better fingerprint reader. This last element disturbed me the most. Having tested all (so far) Samsung foldable smartphones, I am completely not afraid of the durability of the structure. I am able to get over the performance of the battery, because I am aware that it results directly from the specifics of this design. Agreed, there could be better, I wouldn't disregard it.
The wave on the screen does not bother me at all, although I would not be offended if my dream smartphone was no longer there. And of course the price. What can you say when a smartphone, however great it may be, costs 1800-2000 euro depending on a country? The case is not saved by a possible return of 600 euro after the purchase, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is expensive and that's it. Expending such an amount on a smartphone is an abstraction for many of us - but if you can afford such a purchase, buy this phone. Or its successor ...
- Large, fold-out screen
- Stereo speakers
- Reasonable dimensions when folded
- Remarkable comfort of working with text
- Meaningful interface
- Smooth operation
- Large, useful external screen
- DualSIM and 5G
- Appearance, especially the brown version
- Decent photo quality
- Fold on flexible screen
- The battery could be larger
- No microSD slot
- No minijack
- Not waterproof
- Thickness of the folded phone
- Just an average fingerprint reader
- Quite heavy