Galaxy Z Fold 2: Samsung may have fixed everything I hated about last year’s model – CNET


Samsung has finally announced all the Galaxy Z Fold 2 details, including its camera specs, screen size and price.


I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Galaxy Z Fold 2. As Samsung’s third foldable phone and second with a tablet-size screen, the Z Fold 2’s design and specs are gripping. I won’t know for sure until I get a chance to test it, but Samsung appears to have addressed every glaring flaw from the original Galaxy Fold design, while keeping the price just about the same at $2,000 (about £1,490 or AU$2,700). 

That’s a whopper of a price tag, no doubt, but it’s only $20 more than the original Galaxy Fold for an almost completely redesigned device. The Z Fold 2 comes at an odd time for Samsung. With the coronavirus pandemic and global recession in full effect, a $2,000 luxury device feels out of place. That’s certainly the case with the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, which I find overpriced for the times. 

I’m more forgiving of the Z Fold 2, which will never be anything but a niche, aspirational device for people who live for the cutting edge and want all the shiniest tech toys. Even if you never dream of buying it, it’s exciting to follow along.

Galaxy Z Fold 2 preorders begin Sept. 2 at 12:01am ET and the phone goes on sale Sept. 18. 

Now playing: Watch this: Galaxy Z Fold 2: Hinge, cameras and durability revealed


Samsung’s most important change is to the internal screen. At 7.6 inches unfolded, the Z Fold 2 features an ultrathin glass cover material that should be stronger than the Fold’s plastic display — and, crucially, less prone to phone-destroying damage. There’s still a factory-installed screen protector on top, but Samsung’s redesign aims to further shore up the gaps that could cause an object to get stuck in the hinge or work under the display. It’s great to see the Z Fold 2 supports a 120Hz refresh rate.

I’ll be the first to agree that screen technology literally makes or breaks a foldable phone, but for me, the Z Fold 2 is all about the hinge. Using carryover technology from the much smaller Galaxy Z Flip, the Z Fold 2 is stiff enough for the two sides to stay open at a variety of angles (aka Flex Mode), which means it can prop itself up for you to take a video call, watch the screen hands-free and shoot photos. This was the most stellar part of the Z Flip and could very well be the Z Fold 2’s killer feature.

I’m also thrilled that Samsung stripped out the original Fold’s thumb-shaped notch, which gives the Z Fold 2’s internal screen much more usable real estate. A larger, 6.2-inch display that takes up the entire outer screen means it should be easier to actually use the phone in its closed position, like typing quick replies one-handed or snapping and immediately sharing a quick photo. Samsung has also made it possible to move back and forth with apps you start on one screen and continue to watch on the other.

Read on for all the details, including which apps work with the phone when the Z Fold 2 is in Flex Mode, all the perks Samsung will give you for being a VIP foldable phone owner and every important feature and spec.

Multitasking on the Z Fold 2 has gotten smarter.


Galaxy Z Fold 2 design and cameras

All in all, the Z Fold 2 has the same essential design as the Galaxy Fold — it unfolds like a book into a tablet, with a vertical screen crease running from north to south along the display. Although the screen material is topped with ultrathin glass, Samsung says a crease will still be evident, just as it is on the Z Flip. Hopefully, the UTG and other reinforcing structures beneath the display will help minimize that bend and keep it relatively smooth.

The Z Fold 2 uses an Infinity-O layout, which gives it a single 10-megapixel camera as you unfold the phone. You get the same camera on the cover display when the device is closed, and a three-camera system on the back that features 12-megapixel wide angle, ultra-wide angle and telephoto sensors. 

It’s disappointing you only get 2x optical zoom, unlike the 3x and 5x optical zoom on the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, respectively. There’s no 8K video. This is not a camera phone at the top of its class (although low light photos should be better than on the original Fold), and that’s likely a decision Samsung made to help keep costs in check.

However, there are two camera features I’m excited to use. Dual Preview lets people on either side of the screen see what they look like before snapping the shot. Adaptive auto-framing will register if two or more people are detected in frame; if it detects more than three people, the algorithm will automatically switch from the main camera to the ultra-wide sensor.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2’s hinge can stand upright all on its own.


Flex Mode: More about the flexible hinge and which apps work 

With the Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung started making my foldable phone dream a reality with a self-supporting screen that doesn’t snap shut or flop open until you really want it to. It can prop itself open from a range of 75 to 115 degrees, according to Samsung, though it might be even more flexible than that.

Samsung also said it’s tightened the gaps and shortened the hinge height to keep out more dust and debris using the same “sweeper” technology found in the Galaxy Z Flip clamshell.

You can use any app in Flex Mode, but some of them will respond to the bend in the screen and adjust. These include YouTube and Google Duo along with native Samsung apps such as the camera, video call, clock, gallery, video player and calendar. 

Battery life will be important and is one serious question mark

One thing I know I’ll want to keep an eye on is battery life, especially with a 120Hz screen. The Z Fold 2 has a dual-battery system that brings you a combined capacity of 4,500 mAh in two separate battery cells: 2,155 mAh and 2,345 mAh, respectively.

This is the same battery capacity as the Note 20 Ultra (6.9-inch screen), whose battery life seems good-not-great in daily life. Separate battery cells are inherently less efficient than one larger battery, so it will be interesting to see how the supercharged refresh rate on such a large-screen device. For context, the smaller Note 20 Ultra certainly made it through the day, but it didn’t impress me with its longevity.

Now we’re taking the same battery capacity in the Note 20 Ultra and applying it to a phone with a full-size 6.2-inch screen in addition to a 7.6-inch display and it’s could be potentially less efficient. As with the Note 20 Ultra, the Z Fold 2 will use an adaptive 120Hz screen, which means that it’ll kick into high gear for smooth scrolling and drop down to 60Hz when you’re staring at a static image. While 120Hz is known to drain battery faster than 60Hz, this adaptive setting should help keep battery drain under control. The question is, how much?

Just a glimpse of the Z Fold 2.


Multitasking is set to get better

The idea of splitting the Z Fold 2’s large 7.6-inch display into multiple panes makes perfect sense for a device of this type, but on the original Fold, it didn’t work as well as it should have. Samsung makes some changes with the Z Fold 2, including allowing drag and drop between certain apps (including Gmail, Chrome, Microsoft Outlook and Samsung native apps).

You also get more flexibility in how you arrange and resize up to three apps on the screen (this is called Multi-Active Window), and you can set up a pair of apps (a currently limited list) to open side by side. YouTube, Gmail, Spotify and mIcrosoft office apps will automatically get a tablet-like split-screen view with a sidebar and main app pane. 

You’ll also be able to select different screen layouts for the outer and inner screens. As with the original Fold, you’ll be able to open any app from the outer screen to use on the inner display.

You can customize the Fold’s hinge color — again

You can buy the Z Fold 2 in mystic bronze and mystic black, and customize the hinge in metallic red, silver, gold or blue. This isn’t the first time Samsung has offered Fold hinge customization.

The original Fold was sold in martian green and astro blue before the Fold screen disaster that saw production minimized and those flashy colors pulled. I originally customized my martian green purchase with a gold hinge. Hopefully this time around we’ll see those custom colors shine.


The original Galaxy Fold came in two colors that never made it to launch, and it let you customize the hinge color.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Galaxy Z Fold 2: What you don’t get

There’s no waterproofing, no 512GB storage option, no microSD storage card or in-screen fingerprint reader (it’s integrated into the power button).

Unlike last year’s Galaxy Fold, you won’t get wireless or wired earbuds in the box (you can specifically request wired USB-C AKG headphones from Samsung) and there’s no free case.

Samsung’s VIP foldable Z Premiere treatment

Samsung has expanded its VIP club for foldable phones. Anyone who buys a Z Fold 2, Fold or Z Flip (including the new Z Flip 5G) gets access to the program.

  • Galaxy Z Concierge program for on-demand customer service and consultation
  • First-time screen replacement of $149
  • Six months of LinkedIn Premium
  • Founders Card benefits: 12 month membership when you preorder. After launch, you get six months free
  • A prepared meal from a Michelin starred restaurant through Tock
  • Fairway Pass Elite through ClubCorp, which gives you access to golf clubs
  • Six months of Obe Fitness online workouts
  • $50 off Glamsquad in-home hair service

Galaxy Z Fold 2 versus Galaxy Fold vs Galaxy Z Flip

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Samsung Galaxy Fold Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Display size, resolution External 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED; Internal: 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED; External: 2260 x 816 pixels Internal: 2208 x 1768 Internal: 7.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED; 2,152×1,536-pixels (plastic) / External: 4.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED; 1,680×720-pixels (Gorilla Glass 6) Internal: 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED; 2,636×1,080-pixels / External: 1.1-inch Super AMOLED; 300×112-pixels
Pixel density 386ppi + 373ppi 362ppi (internal screen) 425ppi (internal) / 303ppi (external)
Dimensions (Inches) Folded: 2.67 x 6.26 x 0.6 in (Hinge) ~ 0.54 in(Sagging), Unfolded: 5.04 x 6.26 x 0.27 in(Frame) ~ 0.23 in(Screen) Folded: 6.3 x 2.5 x 0.6 in / Unfolded: 6.3 x 4.6 x 0.3 in Folded: 2.99 x 3.44 x 0.62 ~ 0.68 in / Unfolded: 2.99 x 6.59 x 0.27 ~0.28 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) Folded: 68.0 x 159.2 x 16.8mm (Hinge) ~ 13.8mm(Sagging), Unfolded: 128.2 x 159.2 x 6.9mm(Frame) ~ 6.0mm(Screen) Folded: 62.8 x 161 x 15.7mm ~ 17.1mm / Unfolded: 117.9 x 161 x 6.9mm ~ 7.6mm Folded: 73.6 x 87.4 x 15.4 ~17.3 mm / Unfolded: 73.6 x 167.3 x 6.9 ~ 7.2 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 9.95 oz; 282 grams 9.7 oz; 276g 6.46 oz; 183g
Mobile software Android 10 Android 9.0 with Samsung One UI Android 10
Camera 12-megapixel (main) + 12-megapixel (wide angle) + 12 megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra wide-angle)
Front-facing camera 10-megapixel, 10-megapixel Two 10-megapixel, 8-megapixel 3D depth 10-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K (HDR 10+) 4K (HDR 10+)
Processor Snapdragon 865 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ (64-bit octa-core)
Storage 256GB 512GB 256GB
Expandable storage No No None
Battery 4,500 mAh 4,380mAh 3,300mAh
Fingerprint sensor Side Power button Power button
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack No No No
Special features Foldable display, 120Hz refresh rate, wireless charging support, Foldable display, wireless charging, fast charging Foldable display; wireless PowerShare; wireless charging; fast charging
Price off-contract (USD) $1,999 $1,980 $1,380
Price (GBP) Converts to £1,480 £2,000 £1,300
Price (AUD) Converts to $AU 2,710 AU$2,950 AU$2,999

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung and BTS introduce the new Galaxy Z Fold 2



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