Nandini YadavSep 25, 2020 15:47:35 IST
Recently, Samsung launched the second generation Fold device in India – the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Over the OG Galaxy Fold, Samsung promises to have made a bunch of improvements in the Galaxy Z Fold 2. But the pricing of the phone – which is a whopping Rs 1,50,000 in India – leads to a number of obvious questions: Who is the target audience for the Galaxy Z Fold 2? How durable is it this time? Is it worth the money?
While I’d only be able to really answer those questions after an in-depth review of the device, I got to spend a few hours with the Galaxy Z Fold 2, and in that brief period, I did try to get a sense of the look and feel, and the general ergonomics of the device. Here’s what I found:
Design and Display
Although the huge 7.7-inch sAMOLED display on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is what you’d notice first about the device, I loved that the foldable phone attempts to carry on the same design that we have seen on this year’s Note series. Not only does it use the thematic ‘Mystic Bronze’ colour, even the rear-camera setup on the phone imitates the Note 20 series’.
When you hold the Galaxy Z Fold 2 folded in half, it understandably feels bulkier and much thicker than your usual flagship smartphone, but I can bet when you see it in its open position, you’ll be impressed. At least I was.
On the outside, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 features a 6.2-inch AMOLED display. The exterior display doesn’t offer a very aggressive screen-to-body-ratio, but what I like about it is that it isn’t just a “quick view screen”, it’s a full-fledged display like a regular smartphone. You don’t need to unfold the phone for some tasks, the exterior display works for everything.
When you unfold the Galaxy Z Fold 2, you see a huge, almost square-looking display. Like any Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a beautiful screen with bright, vibrant colours. You have the option to use the display at a 60 Hz or 120 Hz refresh rate. The external display, by default, runs at 60 Hz.
In order to add additional layers of protection, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 features ultra-thin glass above the display. It also comes with a screen-guard pre-installed.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 unfolded is as slim as your Note device. The weight distribution of the smartphone is well executed. You’d think that the side where the rear camera setup sits would feel heavier, but the weight of the phone has been very evenly distributed.
Another thing that I noticed about the Galaxy Z Fold 2 was that the rim along the internal display is now much thinner as compared to the first generation Fold or even the Galaxy Z Flip (review). The rim is supposed to keep the display safe when you fold the device.
When I got my hands on the device – I am not going to lie – I wanted to quickly see how sturdy the device looks and feels. Memories of the first generation Galaxy Fold still stung.
While I only used the device briefly, I could tell that there has been a visible improvement to the hinge. I was intrepidly folding and unfolding the phone, and the hinge felt way more trustworthy.
The new hinge design also allows you to freeze the fold at any angle you want it at – and this makes the Flex mode on the phone more enjoyable too.
Software and UI
Samsung’s Flex mode has especially been designed for its foldable range of devices. On the Galaxy Z Fold 2, the mode has been slightly improved as well. While many apps on the phone are still not optimised for Flex Mode (like Spotify, which comes pre-installed on the phone), for the brief period I used the device, Flex Mode seemed to be working on the camera app and on YouTube.
For the uninitiated, Flex Mode essentially lets you partially fold or ‘flex’ the smartphone and the UI of the app adjusts accordingly for a better view.
But more than Flex Mode, what I enjoyed on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the seamless transition while watching content on the primary display to switching to the external one, and vice versa. If you are watching a YouTube video or any other content on the larger display, and you shut the phone and wake up the external display, you can continue to watch the video on that screen, right where you left off. This feature can be customised by choosing the apps you want to allow to do that.
The camera UI on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is also well optimised for the large display. When unfolded, the entire settings panel moves to the right side of the display, so you can easily reach all the settings without needing to move your hand around the phone.
In addition, the fluidity between the external and the main screen is maintained within the camera app. The camera app UI also lets you use the triple camera setup for selfies and use the external display as your viewfinder.
Multitasking is a crucial part of a smartphone that offers a 7.7-inch display as the Galaxy Z Fold 2 does – and it does a pretty good job at that.
Samsung’s OneUI on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has been optimised to let you use three apps simultaneously. You can open apps side by side, rearrange them horizontally or vertically, and also open apps in a floating window. You can even rearrange the size of each app window that you open.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a total of five cameras – three 12 MP sensors at the rear, one 10 MP punch-hole selfie camera on the external display, and another 10 MP punch hole camera on the 7.7-inch screen.
I had only a couple of hours with the Galaxy Z Fold 2, so camera tests were impossible. We’ll do a proper test once we get the device for review.
However, in my brief testing, the pictures clicked from the Samsung camera are a little over-saturated. But if you click pictures for social media, you’d have nothing to complain about.
Samsung and several other smartphone manufacturers have been experimenting with foldable display technology for a few years now. Mistakes were made and there were flaws, sometimes dramatic ones.
But this time around, it feels like foldable phones have really arrived.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 feels solid, sturdy and promising. It has the signature display of a flagship Samsung phone, it features the Note 20-series design and a hinge that claims to have been redone entirely. It offers you two displays, and both of them give you the complete experience of a smartphone. You also get a flagship-level camera setup.
Essentially, the Rs 1,49,999 that you pay for the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the cost for a device that looks futuristic, let’s you multitask, gives you flagship features, and gives you that early-adopter cred.
Is it worth the money? We will find out once we do a full review of the Galaxy Z Fold 2.