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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Review

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is easily the most lavish and over-the-top smartphone in the market today.

We’ve seen a couple of bizarrely-designed and foldable smartphones in the market before. But most of them are just too over-reaching that they feel awkward to use as a daily driver.

The Z Fold 2 is nothing like that, surprisingly. It feels like a finished smartphone and not a prototype. But the question is, is it worth spending Php100,000+ on? We spent quite a long time with it to find out. So, without further ado, here’s our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Specs

  • Android 10, Samsung One UI
  • Dual SIM, dual standby
  • 7.6-inch Foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, 2208 x 1768 pixel resolution
  • 6.2-inch HD+ Super AMOLED cover display, 2260 x 816 pixel resolution, ~386ppi
  • 3Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus octa-core processor
  • 12GB RAM
  • 256GB UFS 3.1 internal storage, non-expandable
  • 10-megapixel cover camera, f/2.2
  • 10-megapixel front camera, f/2.2
  • 12-megapixel (Super Speed Dual Pixel AF, OIS, f/1.8) + 12-megapixel (ultra-wide, f/2.2) + 12-megapixel (f/2.4, OIS, Telephoto) rear cameras
  • 2x optical zoom, 10x digital zoom, HDR10+ recording, Tracking AF
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • Stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos
  • 4G LTE, 5G
  • WiFi 6, WiFi hotspot
  • Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
  • GPS, GALILEO, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 159.2 x 68.0 x 16.8mm (folded), 159.2 x 128.2 x 6.9mm (unfolded)
  • Weight: 282g
  • Color: Mystic Black, Mystic Bronze
  • 4,500mAh non-removable battery, 25W wired charging, 11W wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging

Design and Build Quality

The original Fold feels a lot like a prototype. If anything, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 should have been the first Fold sold to the market. The bezels and notches in the front and main screens are now larger and more usable, and its main component — the hinge — now feels sturdy enough to last long a long time.

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What struck us the most when we first saw this device is its outside 6.2-inch AMOLED screen. Besides being a huge step-up from its bezel-laden predecessor, its tall aspect ratio and uniform, ultra-thin bezels make it incredible to look at.

Other than looking good, this makes the outside screen more usable. It was supposedly made for quick tasks like checking notifications, skipping music, answering calls, and whatnot. However, possibly due to the size familiarity, I’ve used it in doing tasks that I should’ve done on the main screen like social media, web browsing, and more.

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And that’s just the first screen. The main event happens when you fold it open, where a tablet-like 7.6-inch Super AMOLED screen greets you. It now uses a more glass-like material for better durability.

Samsung downscaled the first generation’s annoying notch to a smaller single punch-hole for the selfie camera on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. The bezels are also ultra-thin and uniform, which makes it incredibly nice to look at.

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Although Samsung is yet to fix the creasing issue, that’s inevitable to pretty much anything that folds, just like the screen on this one.

But actually, the crease is almost unnoticeable during my time with it, especially when you’re looking at it head-on. You won’t be bothered by the crease unless you’re really looking for it or if you’re staring off-axis. You can feel the dent when you touch it, but you can get used to it immediately.

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Now let’s talk about one key feature that makes this form-factor possible: the hinge. A new internal mechanism provides enough tension, so you can have it folded half-way in a laptop-like form without the screen slipping down.

I also like how it provides a satisfying click when you fold it close or open. Letting you know that it would stay in place.

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The screen gap when it’s closed was also kept at the minimum so it stays thin as possible when in your pocket.

You can also notice that the hinge is almost tightly sealed to prevent any dust from coming in and possibly ruining the screen or the internals. The hinge is completely concealed when you open it up, just like the Galaxy Z Flip 2.

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Probably my only gripe about the design is its chunkiness. It weighs a whopping 282g, about 50% heavier than a regular smartphone. It’s also 16.8mm thick when folded. Clearly, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is quite hard to hold for a normal phone and really sticks out in your pocket.

But you have to understand that this is a new form-factor. Clearly, there’s a price to pay for having a smartphone-tablet hybrid as a daily driver. On the upside, when unfolded, it’s only 6.9mm thin, making it really sleek for a tablet.

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The rest of the outer features are pretty basic. We have the tactile volume controls on the side, just above the lock/power switch that doubles as the fingerprint scanner. Having it on the side makes more sense than having an in-display scanner on the outside and inside screens.

We have the USB-C port and microphone on the bottom, while on the top, we have the noise-isolating microphone. The second part of the screen has loudspeakers on each side. Ensure that it’s the one on top while you’re holding the device on landscape, so you don’t cover the speakers with your hands.

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 features a Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for the cover display, Gorilla Glass 6 on the back, and a solid aluminum frame.

You can notice the triple cameras on the back, which has a Galaxy Note 20 design to it.

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Well, it goes without saying that the design and form-factor is the key feature of the Galaxy Z Fold 2. We just wish that, in the future, foldable phones will be a whole lot thinner and more compact.

Display and Sound Quality

Let’s talk about the center of attraction here, the main foldable display. At 7.6-inches, it’s almost tablet-like. It features a Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel with a 2208 x 1768 pixel resolution.

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Being an OLED panel, it offers vibrant colors and deep contrast. Screen brightness is also sufficient in outdoor use.

Another key feature here is the 120Hz refresh rate. Due to its large size, we keep the setting to Adaptive, which intelligently switches to 60Hz depending on the task at hand to conserve battery. The high refresh rate works really well, making everything a whole lot smoother — from browsing the interface to playing select compatible games.

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One of the key improvements of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 over the first Fold is the outside screen. It’s now a larger 6.2-inch Super AMOLED screen, but only with an HD+ resolution, so sharpness is really not the best.

Samsung rigged that Galaxy Z Fold 2 with a great pair of speakers to complement its large screen. It has a really loud volume, with great sound balance. And since it’s a large device, the stereo separation is really distinct.

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But just like most high-end phones, this one doesn’t come with a headphone jack. No Type-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box either. Thankfully, the AKG wired earphones that it came with is USB-C. There’s also a chance that you’d get it with a free Galaxy Buds Live bundled.

Performance and Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is already a niche device by itself, which is probably why it comes standard with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus processor for all markets. No Exynos 990 variant, which not a lot of people are a fan of.

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AnTuTu Benchmark on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
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GeekBench on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

As you know by now, the Snapdragon 865 Plus is the most powerful mobile chipset in the market today. Partnered with its generous 12GB of RAM, you can take full advantage of the device’s large screen. You can multitask and split-screen all you want.

Gaming was also great on this phone, especially on this screen. You can play top games like League of Legends Wild Rift and Call of Duty Mobile at max settings with no issue.

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Call of Duty Mobile on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

The tall aspect ratio of the inside screen sure makes everything large. However, in games like CODM, it would be better to have a widescreen, so your peripheral vision is wider, helping see if there’s an enemy coming from the sides.

Software and User Interface

As you know, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a unique form-factor. What’s impressive is that the company could optimize the interface as best as they could to accommodate the larger screen.

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Outside display | Main display

At first look, the UI just feels stretched out on this large 7.6-inch screen. Facebook is just stretched out. In fact, it’s better to use the taller outside screen for this, as you’re presented with more details.

Apps like Instagram are also not ready for this type of aspect ratio. As you can see, there are bars on the side, wasting extra space of real estate.

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Instagram also doesn’t work with the device’s “Continue apps on cover screen” feature. Which basically keeps the app running when you switch to the outside screen and vice versa.

Other than that, the rest of the features really utilizes the unique form-factor of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.

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The most primary one is the split-screen mode. You can cut this screen into four quadrants, allowing you to run four compatible apps simultaneously. If you’re really hardcore, you can drag an app from the sidebar and place it in the middle and have it running in a pop-up view along with the other four apps.

Although, the quadrants are too small that it’s quite hard to use all of them. In our testing, we’re more comfortable with two apps running on one side and a full app on the other.

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By the way, the sidebar we’re talking about is called the Samsung Edge screen feature. This lets you launch apps instantly. You can also save the split-screen layout you’re using, so you can launch them instantly from the Edge screen.

The strong hinge allows the Galaxy Z Fold 2 to sit at 75-degrees, kind of like how you’d position a laptop. Dubbed as Flex mode and Flex view, it unlocks new software tricks for the device, especially in the camera app.

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You can see the viewfinder on the top screen and the camera settings and image preview on the bottom in this orientation. This orientation also lets you take pictures hands-free by placing it on a table, no tripod needed. It’s also great for Zoom meetings and other types of video calls.

Thanks to the outside screen, you can take ultra-sharp photos with the 12-megapixel main camera on the back. You can also use the ultra-wide sensor for group shots. No monopod needed.

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Probably what you’re worried about this unique form-factor is the keyboard. Don’t worry, because as per our testing, it’s not a big issue. Well, maybe not at first, but you can easily get used to it.

It uses Samsung’s own Keyboard. On the outside screen, the keys are narrow and feel a bit cramped. But after some time, typing errors are almost gone.

On the big screen, the keyboard was split into each side, so you can easily reach keys with your thumbs. It was weird at first, but I easily got used to it. In fact, it taught me how to type more ergonomically. My thumb was only reaching the letters that are close to it. But if it’s not your cup of tea, there are tons of alternative keyboards in the Android space that may fit your taste.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 shares an identical camera setup to the Galaxy S20. It features the same 12-megapixel Super Speed Dual pixel AF main camera with OIS and a bright f/1.8 aperture. A 12-megapixel ultra-wide is also present. However, the 64-megapixel telephoto lens was swapped with a 12-megapixel sensor, which still has OIS and can do 2x optical zoom.

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We also have two 10-megapixel selfie cameras. There’s one on the outside screen and the other on the main foldable display. You can use the one on the back for ultra-wide shots and have the second screen as the viewfinder.

The image quality is flagship-like, no noticeable issues here. But if you want the best camera performance that Samsung offers, you should check out the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

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Samsung has graduated from oversaturating images and now outputs vibrant but natural-looking photos. The contrast is deep, the dynamic range hits the right spot, and the low-light image is really clean.

The telephoto lens is great for portraits. You can stretch it all the way to 10x hybrid zoom and still get a relatively usable image. The Night Mode makes dark images brighter. What’s surprising is, the software managed the dark areas really well with less visible noises and grains.

As for the selfie cameras, they both take well-lit images, even in low-light, with natural skin tones. The face beauty is buried within the settings to encourage you to be comfortable with your own skin.

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See also: Huawei Mate Xs

Connectivity

In this era, it can’t be considered as a flagship phone without 5G. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has that feature, but it’s not the main reason you should get it. As you probably heard, 5G consumes a lot of power, making battery longevity worse for the Z Fold 2 (more on that later).

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But if you’re one of the select parts of the country who already have 5G coverage, then this feature could be a huge plus.

Besides 5G, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has other next-gen connectivity features, and they all worked well. It has WiFI 6, NFC, USB Type-C 3.2, and numerous GPS antennas. Although, it only has Bluetooth 5.0 instead of 5.1.

It also has Samsung’s Ultra-wideband (UWB) file sharing and wireless feature, although the support is only limited on select devices. Samsung DeX lets you project a desktop version of the UI on a larger screen wirelessly, and use the device as the trackpad and keyboard.. Link to windows is also present. All of which maximizes the potential of the Z Fold 2.

Battery

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a 4,500mAh battery. As you expect, battery longevity is not the best. The screenshot below is the score we got when we ran PCMark’s battery test with the large screen.

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If you use the 7.6-inch screen a lot, then you might have to reach for the charger before the day ends. However, if you’re like me who spends more time on the smaller screen, then you might get the usual whole-day-battery that you would have on a normal phone.

Probably what’s really disappointing is the charger. While devices like the Mate 40 series already have 66W fast charging, this only has 25W. On the upside, it does have wireless charging and reverse wireless charging features.

Verdict

So, is it worth spending Php109,990 on? Well, if you’re actually willing to spend that much money on a phone, then you shouldn’t be asking at all. Chances are, you’re money is locked in and ready to fire.

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But if you want our honest opinion, it would be more practical to get a premium smartphone — say the latest Galaxy Note 20, which starts at Php53,990, and a separate tablet like the Galaxy Tab S7 for Php47,990, with money to spare.

But we get it, it is a niche device. If you really want a smartphone that turns to a tablet when you want to, then we’ll support your decision to get the Z Fold 2. It’s a much improvement over its predecessor and a great device overall.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 pricing and availability in the Philippines

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 has an official price of Php109,990. For a device this premium, there’s a chance you can get it with a free Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Watch, or any premium accessory from Samsung.

But then again, it’s an expensive device, so don’t expect it to be available in every Samsung stores nationwide. Check for in-store availability first. It’s not even available in Samsung’s Lazada and Shopee store, but you can get it in their official website.

Pros

  • Sleek and revolutionary design
  • Better inside and outside screen
  • Sturdy hinge
  • Seamless performance in games, multitasking
  • Good cameras
  • 5G connectivity

Cons

  • Still not practical
  • More apps should adapt to the form-factor
  • Only HD resolution on outside screen
  • Poor battery performance
  • Relatively slow charger

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