Galaxy Z Fold 2 foldable phone: Near-total refresh, hinge that holds its folded shape are genuinely exciting - CNET

CNET/Samsung On Wednesday, Samsung unveiled its newest foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, during a virt

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On Wednesday, Samsung unveiled its newest foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, during a virtual launch hosted online. Introduced alongside the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, the Z Fold 2 is part of Samsung's annual August bid to define premium phones, ahead of September's typical iPhone launch.

With its 7.6-inch inner screen, 6.2-inch outer screen and new mystic-bronze color option, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has much to prove after the original Galaxy Fold's botched launch and Samsung's frantic response to shore up the flaws. While the Galaxy Z Flip is a genuinely delightful clamshell foldable phone, the full-size Fold that opens into a tablet still has to win over naysayers.

For me (though I haven't yet seen it in the flesh), the Z Fold 2 is off to a stronger start, using the same ultrathin glass as on the Galaxy Z Flip, a large-enough cover screen that could make typing and using apps more practical than it was on the cramped Galaxy Z Fold and two Infinity-O displays that make the eyesore notch of the original Fold a shudder from the past. It also has a thinner body than last year's model, with fewer gaps, which is to be expected.

The part I can't wait to try out -- and what could be the Z Fold 2's standout feature -- is the hinge that's rigid enough for the Fold 2 screens to stay open on their own. This freestanding feature was my absolute favorite trick on the smaller Galaxy Z Flip, and exactly how a foldable phone can one-up a typical brick phone. With the phone standing up in "flex mode," you can watch videos, read and host video calls absolutely hands-and-stand-free.


The Galaxy Z Fold 2's 7.2-inch inner screen, with a front-facing camera, but no notch in sight.


The Galaxy Z Fold 2 looks like it has the same camera setup as the Note 20 Ultra, which features a main camera capable of taking 108-megapixel photos, 5x optical zoom (and 50x Space Zoom), and 12-megapixel sensors for ultrawide-angle and telephoto shots. It has two front-facing cameras as well, one on the inner screen and one on the cover display, which should each be 10 megapixels, same as on the Galaxy Note 20 phones.

You'll find the fingerprint reader on the right spine, so it's on the bottom of the screen sandwich when the phone is folded up. 

The Fold 2 comes in mystic bronze, Samsung's signature color for this batch of devices, as well as mystic black. Although you can reserve the Galaxy Z Fold 2 right now on -- and by the way, there was never a Z Fold 1 to begin with -- it isn't clear from Samsung's site how much it costs. For reference, the first Galaxy Fold cost $1,980.

Consider this announcement one big tease. Samsung says it'll share more information, including price and preorder details, on Sept. 1.


Remember the plastic adhesive and giant notch from the original Galaxy Fold?

Angela Lang/CNET

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

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