It looks like a phone a character from a science fiction film would own, but the Samsung Z Fold2 5G has floated from the future into the year 2020.
Foldable smartphones aren’t exactly a pioneering idea, but if you’re going to invest in one – the Z Fold2 is probably the best on the market.
If you are used to the slimline, handheld phones Samsung usually rolls out, the Z Fold2 might take a bit of time getting used to. With a 6.2inch cover display which folds out into a 7.6inch screen, it feels like you own both a smartphone and a mini-tablet at the same time.
It looks like Samsung wants to sim take on the iPad and the iPhone simultaneously with the one device.
The Z-Fold comes in two colours: Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black. I had the Mystic Bronze which resembles more of a rose-gold colour and is quite pretty, especially when the device is folded.
At first touch, the folded phone is a little clunky and heavy – but it will still fit easily in your pocket. The extra weight on the hand is a bit of an irritant after a while, however the ease of use and vivid screen colour once it unfolds makes up for this.
While the width of the folded screen is significantly smaller than the average Android smartphone, the unfolded display is exceptional.
It’s hard not to notice the faint crease running down the middle of the two screens, however it virtually disappears when using the camera and streaming content.
But for $2149, which places it firmly in the high-range smartphone market, the camera quality does not really reflect the price point. It does have five cameras, including three on the back, but it still won’t capture the most crystal-clear image possible. It’s hard not the compare the Samsung camera to iPhone – as a former iPhone user I have noticed Android cameras have a slightly different, blurrier hue.
And the camera’s 2x optical and 10x digital zoom makes it a step down from Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20, which has an incredible 5x optical and 50x digital zoom.
One bonus is the sweeping camera size makes panoramic shots that much better, and the three pro-grade cameras sitting on the back allows for angles most other smartphone cameras simply can’t reach.
But users aren’t going to be flocking to buy the Z Fold2 for its camera quality.
It is the phone-tablet hybrid which is its biggest drawcard perfect for artists – despite the fact it doesn’t come with a stylus pen – and for commuters. The Z Fold2 is a fitting train companion for those long journeys where the smaller smartphone screen just doesn’t cut it for streaming video. The crisp, vivid colour is just right for the big screen.
Using the folded screen in isolation, I was surprised at how unsophisticated the interface was given the high price. If you want the phone to continue running apps on the cover screen, you have to manually check every single one. There should be a function to select all apps.
Par for the course, the audio is top notch. Despite the box not coming with a pair of Galaxy earbuds, the sound is a stunning addition which is a great bonus for the intended use of the larger screen: streaming music, watching TV and YouTube.
The Galaxy Z Fold2 5G also combines the power of two batteries into one long-lasting 4500mAh power source and supports fast 11W wireless charging.
As for the display navigation, I found it took a lot of getting used to without having the Apple-esque ‘swipe up’ function to exit apps. Instead, users need to press the little arrow on the bottom right or the middle ‘home’ button. Samsung could really benefit users if they added this function to an update for the Z Fold2, as the arrow gets lost especially on the larger unfolded screen.
It also runs at 120Hz, which makes for quick scrolling and eliminates lags.
The facial recognition makes it on par with other Samsung and Apple phones currently on the market too.
While the fold function allows the Z Fold2 to be used as a mini laptop – a lot of Samsung promotion photos show the Z Fold2 being used this way – I found the keyboard didn’t really work with it all too well. It was great for watching content such as sports or toggling between emails and streaming, though.
After a using it for a while, I found the setting the change screen layout to see more content at the same time. This mode lets some apps give you more than one pane, making it like a desktop or laptop layout. With the size of the screen, Samsung would be ill-advised not to allow this function.
With similar devices on the market such as the LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen, I’m surprised the Z Fold2 doesn’t have a detachable second screen which would make it more appealing to those who are put off by the heaviness.
The Z Fold2 isn’t a smartphone for the faint-hearted or for those who only need simple device for calling home or messaging friends on Facebook. Its innovative features, which dictate the expensive price-point, are catered towards users who need a multi-functional smartphone-slash-tablet that could be the perfect portable work-from-home companion.
High-quality screen resolution
Fast 5G connectivity
Big and clunky
No stylus pen
Camera quality isn’t best on market
Main screen: 7.6in QXGA+ Dynamic Amoled 2X Infinity Flex Display
Cover screen: 6.2in HD+ Super Amoled
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
RAM: 12GB of RAM
Operating system: One UI 2.5 based on Android 10
Camera: Triple rear: 12MP wide angle, 12MP ultra-wide angle, 12MP 2x telephoto; two separate 10MP selfie cameras
Connectivity: 5G, single nano sim + esim, USB-C, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5, UWB and location
Water resistance: none
Dimensions folded: 159.2 x 68 x 16.8mm
Dimensions unfolded: 159.2 x 128.2 x 6.9mm